Off-brand mobile providers: MVNO experiences?

We're returning to the US in about a month. I've had an AT&T unlimited plan for many years, but I'm not eager to go back to it. After experiencing the world of cheap data in the UK and Chile using prepaid cards, I'm interested in using a prepaid system or MVNO provider for our phone service.

So, does anyone have any comments on the MVNO providers / plans that are out there in the US? I'd prefer to be on the AT&T network, as the coverage has always been good (plus I want to maintain a GSM-compatible phone for international travel).

I've been looking at Net10 and AT&T Prepaid services, but wondered if anyone had any experience with speed / cost benefits of those or others.

I highly recommend Ting. Their GSM backend is T-Mobile, though. They are inexpensive, pay-as-you-go, and I've had very few problems with their service.

Thanks. I'll look into it. It's not clear T-Mobile is bad, per se, I've just always been happy with AT&T's coverage in the places I frequent.

I've never used an AT&T-based one. We tried Ting for a bit, but it had dead zones at our work and home. Currently using Google Fi and we're really liking it. We almost switched to MintSim since they were very very cheap.

The issue with all of these is that you have to be careful about your data. You only get a gig or two before you're better off using one of the bigger company's plans.

Another vote for Ting. I have experienced the dead zones here and there, but they're not a deal breaker for me. Monthly bill is usually between 30 and 40 bucks.

mwdowns wrote:

Another vote for Ting. I have experienced the dead zones here and there, but they're not a deal breaker for me. Monthly bill is usually between 30 and 40 bucks.

I like that it charges you by what you use, and that you share the data across lines.

firesloth wrote:

Thanks. I'll look into it. It's not clear T-Mobile is bad, per se, I've just always been happy with AT&T's coverage in the places I frequent.

As an aside, T-Mobile was stuck on inferior spectrum for a long time, which didn't penetrate buildings very well. They did a good job building out towers, so the physical coverage was good, but you've frequently had to go outside to get a decent signal.

In an auction recently, I think early this year, they won a bunch of spectrum that WILL go through walls, so this next year you should start to see T-Mobile phones that will work much better indoors.

Cricket is great if you want to be on att, 5gb of data for $40. They do cap your speed at 8mbps, but I never really had an issue with it. Only moved to t-mobile because it is cheaper for unlimited data.

Happy with Fi. Spouse had to switch back to Sprint because there was a giant deadzone for Fi where they needed it... Which is really odd since Fi supposedly uses Sprint, but whatever other signals were there would put the phone into some kind of "maybe ring, maybe hear something when calling, maybe not" mode that was unacceptable.

Very satisfied with Fi. I've never really experienced dead zones on any of the carriers we've had,my wife however now has fewer dead zones with Fi than she experienced with AT&T. Four phones on a family plan with 4.0Gb per month, actual cost with all fees included is ~$115/month. We aren't big data users though - I can see where it becomes less attractive if you are looking for unlimited data (and actually consume decent amounts), but it's perfect for us.