All-around network providers are becoming more and more popular in the US. That’s because they tend to be cheaper than major carriers, are more customizable, and usually don’t involve contracts. One of these all-around network providers is Net10 Wireless. In this review, we’re telling you everything you need to know about this network carrier alternative, including its plans and prices, setup, as well as pros and cons.
Inside This Article
- What Is Net10 Wireless?
- Net10 Wireless Plans and Prices
- Network Partners and Coverage
- Compatibility and Phone Selections
- Getting Started with Net10 Wireless
- What’s Good About Net10 Wireless
- What’s Bad About Net10 Wireless
- Explore Other Options
- Verdict: Is Net10 Wireless Any Good?
Net10 Wireless is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that was launched in 1996 and is operated by mobile phone provider TracFone Wireless. An MVNO is a cell phone service provider that is relatively cheaper and runs on one or more of the top four network carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. In the case of Net10 Wireless, it uses all four and connects you to whichever of these carriers gives you the best signal.
Net10 Wireless has a number of plans you can choose from, which each runs for 30 days each. These include monthly unlimited plans, super unlimited plans, and add-on plans.
|$20 per month||2 GB of data with unlimited calls and texts|
|$35 per month||5 GB of data with unlimited calls and texts|
|$40 per month||10 GB of data with unlimited calls and texts|
|$60 per month||40 GB of data with unlimited calls (including international calling) and texts|
The data allocation per month of each plan refers to high-speed data. For instance, if you decide to go for the $20 by-the-gig plan, you’re guaranteed to have 2 GB of high-speed mobile data. Once you’ve used all of that up and exceeded that, your succeeding data usage will only run at 2G.
In addition, you can sign up for auto-refill to save around $4 dollars each month. However, only the $35 and the $45 plans have auto-refill at the moment.
With unlimited international calling, the plan allows you to call up to 15 different phone numbers per month. This resets every time your plan expires and you redeem a new plan. You also get to call both international landline and mobile numbers, but only in select locations and as long as you’re calling from the US or Puerto Rico.
|$50 per month||5 GB of mobile hotspot data with unlimited high-speed data, calls, and texts|
|$65 per month||10 GB of mobile hotspot data with unlimited high-speed data, calls (including international calling, and texts|
Just like with most network providers, Net10 Wireless’ unlimited high-speed data plans aren’t absolutely unlimited. You’re only allowed 60 GB of data usage per month, and anything beyond that will merit a review of your account. Plus, the streaming quality of your videos can only be up to standard definition or 480p, which can be considered good enough if you’re only watching on your phone.
|$5||500 MB of extra data|
|$10||1 GB of extra data|
|$10||Global calling card
Pay as you go with carry-over benefit
If you’ve gone over your high-speed data budget for the month, you can opt to purchase an add-on. The usage of each add-on data plan starts after you’ve consumed the allocated data of your active plan. Plus, you can purchase as many as you need without worrying about wasting your money on unused data. That’s because whatever amount of data you end up not using will be carried over to the next month.
For Net10 Wireless’ add-on global calling card, you can only use it if you have another active Net10 service plan. Your calls are also billed per minute since it’s a pay-as-you-go service. And as with their monthly plans, you can only make international calls if you’re calling from the US or Puerto Rico.
One of the good things about Net10 Wireless is that it has partnerships with and therefore runs on all of the four major networks, unlike other MVNOs that usually only run on one or two. The network Net10 connects you depending on what your device is, where you are, and how strong the signal is for that network in that area.
For example, when you’re at home, the strongest signal could be at Verizon, so Net10 connects you to that network. But when you travel elsewhere and the strongest signal is, say, at AT&T, Net10 then automatically transfers you to that network. So, since Net10 Wireless has partnered with the four biggest networks in the US, you can count on them to have better coverage than your average MVNO, regardless of where you are in the country.
Besides being able to run on all of the biggest networks in the country, Net10 Wireless is also compatible with a wide range of smartphones, which means it’s unlikely that you’ll need to buy a new phone to be able to use Net10. So, whether you have an AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, or an unlocked GSM phone, chances are you’ll be able to buy a Net10 Wireless activation kit for it. That way, you don’t have to part ways with your phone, number, and network. If you want to make absolutely sure that your phone is Net10-compatible, you can always check their website.
If you need a new phone, you can buy one together with a Net10 Wireless plan. However, their stock is only limited to 27 phone models as of writing. Currently, the company sells phones from brands like Samsung, Apple, LG, TCL, Alcatel, and Motorola. The upside, though, is that they offer big discounts on their available devices. For instance, they sell an iPhone XR, which costs $599.99, for only $349.99.
Setting up Net10 Wireless is easy and only includes these steps:
- Choose a phone that you’ll use with Net10 Wireless. It can either be the smartphone you currently have or a new one.
- Choose a SIM that’s compatible with your phone. Then, activate your phone through any of these methods:
- After that, you can now add airtime by purchasing a plan that’s perfect for your needs. To do so, you can do any of the following:
- Call Net10 Wireless at 1-800-867-7183.
- Activate online.
- Add airtime via the mobile app.
- Text ADD to 611611.
And that’s it! You’re all set up and ready to go with Net10 Wireless.
Here are some of the benefits that you’ll reap when you get a Net10 Wireless plan.
1. Unlimited Data
One advantage that Net10 Wireless has over other MVNOs is that its plans practically give you unlimited data. Each monthly plan has an allocated data budget. But when you’ve used up and have gone over your data budget for that month, you can still keep using your mobile data, but not at high speed. Plus, Net10 won’t charge you extra for going over your data budget. So, technically, you get unlimited data regardless of the plan you’re on.
Another thing that Net10 Wireless has going for it is that it offers flexibility. With a Net10 Wireless plan, you can hop onto any network that has the strongest connection (depending on your device, of course). That means that you get the best signal wherever in the country you travel to. Plus, it’s compatible with almost any phone, so you can decide to keep the device you have now along with your number and network when you switch to Net10.
3. No Contracts
Net10 offers no-contract plans, which means you can just move on to another carrier if you come across a better deal. If you’ve signed up for auto-refill, you can cancel that any time as well, and you won’t incur extra fees.
4. Mobile Hotspot
Net10’s Super Unlimited plans also come with a mobile hotspot, which is something that not a lot of MVNOs have. A mobile hotspot connection can come in handy if you don’t have Wi-Fi, so you can share your mobile data connection with other devices.
If Net10 Wireless has some advantages, it has a few disadvantages as well. Here are the most notable of them.
1. Low Data Allocation
One downside to Net10 Wireless is that its data budget per plan is pretty low compared to other network carriers. Plus, you’ll have to shell out up to $60 a month if you want a decent amount of guaranteed high-speed mobile data. If you usually consume a lot of data, then you can expect to burn through a $40 plan with 10 GB of data in just a couple of weeks. Although Net10’s plans are marketed as unlimited, your mobile data will practically be useless once you’ve used up your data budget, as its speed will only be at 2G or 40 kbit per second.
2. Data Deprioritization
When you switch to Net10 Wireless, expect that whichever network carrier you connect to won’t prioritize your data speeds and coverage. That’s because of a thing called data deprioritization, where carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint prioritize their customers before catering to users of MVNO. As a result, your coverage might drop all of a sudden, especially when you’re in a crowded area. Data deprioritization is a disadvantage that every MVNO provider has, and not just Net10 Wireless.
Net10 Wireless is just one of the many MVNOs available in the market currently. There are plenty of others that offer different deals. Here are three of the best MVNO options you can also explore.
One MVNO alternative you can try out is Metro, which uses the T-Mobile LTE Network. It’s a bit pricier than Net10 Wireless since its cheapest plan costs $30 per month for 2 GB of mobile data. The next cheapest plan costs $40 per month, and this includes 10 GB of high-speed data. Plus, you get Metro’s Music Unlimited, which lets you stream all the music you want through over 40 apps without consuming your data budget. For $50 a month, you get unlimited high-speed data, 5 GB of hotspot data, and 100 GB of Google One expanded storage. You get the same features plus Amazon Prime when you upgrade to the $60 plan.
Metro works on most phones, especially if it’s unlocked. And just like Net10 Wireless, you’re not tied to a contract, so you can cancel your plan any time.
Another alternative to Net10 Wireless is Verizon’s Spectrum Mobile. With Spectrum, you can either go for a by-the-gig plan, which starts at $14 per GB, or an unlimited plan, which starts at $45 per line. With the by-the-gig plan, you can share data with up to 10 lines and switch to an unlimited plan any time if you need more data. On the other hand, the unlimited plan gives you calls, texts, and data with no additional fees for a mobile hotspot. You also have the option to combine plans should you need more than two lines.
There’s a bit of a catch with this Verizon MVNO. To be able to use their service, you have to sign up for Spectrum Internet first, which starts at $69.99 a month. Also, the number of devices that are compatible with Spectrum is only limited and only includes Apple, Samsung, Google, and LG.
It seems Google has dabbled into every corner of tech and now operates its very own MVNO, Google Fi. It’s similar to Net10 Wireless in that it also runs on the top four network carriers.
With Google Fi, you can choose one of three plans: Flexible, Simply Unlimited, and Unlimited Plus. Flexible costs $17 for 15 GB of high-speed data. This plan is recommended if you’re not so much of a mobile data user and/or rely more on Wi-Fi. But if you need more data, you can purchase more for $10 per GB.
Google Fi’s unlimited plans aren’t completely unlimited. The Simply Unlimited Plan costs $30 a month and only gives you 22 GB of high-speed data. The same goes for Unlimited Plus, priced at $50, but this one comes with 100 GB of Google One storage.
All plans include unlimited calls and texts and no contracts.
If you’re looking for an MVNO that lets you connect to any of the major network carriers, and if you’re not so much of a data user, then Net10 Wireless can be for you. But if you’re looking for a higher data cap for each plan, you can explore other MVNO options as well so you know which one best fits your needs. At the end of the day, it all boils down to you and your connectivity needs.