Author Topic: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good  (Read 16120 times)

spoonman

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PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« on: September 08, 2013, 12:00:04 PM »
A couple of weeks ago I made the plunge and switched from T-Mobile to the pay-as-you-go company Platinum Tel (PTEL).  The switch to PTEL was very smooth and so far Iíve had an excellent user experience.  Since PTEL operates out of the T-Mobile network, and since I am using the same smartphone as before (MyTouch 4G), the user experience has been virtually the same.  I used to pay $75/mo for my T-mobile plan, and so far these past two weeks Iíve only used $1.39 of service with PTEL.  So all in all, Iíve pretty much slashed my cell phone bill by $70/mo.

Before taking the plunge, I went through my call records for the past several months and discovered that I only use about 150 minutes of calling and about 100 text messages per month.  The thing that had kept me from ditching my cadillac phone plan with T-Mobile was my data usage, which was as high as 1.5 Gigabytes per month.  Also, when I had first heard of MVNOs I was in the middle of a serious Blood Brothers addiction.  Blood Brothers is a free-to-play smartphone game that is thoroughly addicting, reaching as high as the number 1 spot on Google Play 8 months ago.  Anyway, Iíve been clean now for 6 months and took the opportunity to reassess my data usage patterns with a clear head.  Upon further investigation, I discovered that the overwhelming amount of data usage came from podcast downloads.  I realized that if I was willing to accept not having the convenience of downloading a podcast whenever/wherever I wanted, then an MVNO could be a viable option for me.   I would just have to adjust my data usage behavior and download the majority of my podcasts at home.  I mean, I can still download podcasts whenever/wherever I want using the cell phone network, but I would have to be more careful with my data usage.

And so, I decided to take the plunge two weeks ago.  My biggest surprise in the switching process was that T-Mobile did not put up a fight.  Iíd been a T-Mobile customer for over 10 years and was grandfathered into their unlimited data plan.  Maybe they were just happy to see me go because I was a data hog.

It should be noted that Iíve been complementing my PTEL plan with Google Voice via the Talkatone app.  Iíve had very long phone conversations with some family members completely free of charge with Talkatone.  I initially used the free version of Talkatone, which enabled decent call quality, but I decided to pay the $19.99 to unlock the highest wifi call quality.  Talkatone has taken the place of the wifi calling feature that I used to enjoy with T-Mobile, while not using PTEL minutes.

If you are reading this and havenít taken the plunge yet, I suggest you reassess your usage patterns and see if you truly need the plan that you currently have.  Saving $70/mo is more than just pocket change.  The way I see it, ditching the $75/mo plan has shortened the horizon to Financial Independence.  When viewed in those terms, you can have a more critical look at your phone plan.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 12:27:12 PM by spoonman »

Daley

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2013, 12:07:03 PM »
This is excellent news to hear, Spoonman!

Now you know first hand why I'm such a firm supporter of P'tel as an MVNO. ;)

(Also, great to see another Tick fan on the boards. You probably haven't been around long enough to remember my own first avatar.)

spoonman

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2013, 12:19:26 PM »
I have to personally thank you, I.P. Daley, because I learned about PTEL from you through the Radical Personal Finance Podcast.  I think youíve done the community a great service by sharing all your knowledge on the subject.  Youíve given us freedom-enabling wisdom.

You know, the transition to PTEL was so smooth it truly feels like Iím getting away with murder!  Everything is pretty much the same, no real sacrifice to speak of.

Ahhh, the Tick, my favorite hero.  I hope they resurrect the show someday!

Iíve been a lurker in the MMM boards since their inception, but I donít remember your other avatar.  Maybe itís because the bearded one youíve got is far too memorable!

Daley

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2013, 12:40:28 PM »
Hey, really glad to be of such great help!

Personally, as much as I enjoyed the animated series (and even the live action one with Patrick Warburton), the Edlund comics will always hold first in my heart.



And finally, let there finally be a full disclosure of my name and tagline... two things that used to make far more sense to those in the know before the avatar switch.

Got that mustache feeling!

Your forum's beloved Daley is actually a closet comics nerd.

Cromacster

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2013, 12:40:33 PM »
I mean, I can still download podcasts whenever/wherever I want using the cell phone network, but I would have to be more careful with my data usage.


I use the Doggcatcher App (I'm sure other apps do this as well) but you can set automatic updates and downloads for wifi only so you will always have your up to date podcasts without having to plan ahead.

I just made the switch to Ptel as well.  Only on my second day.  I went with the 40$ plan, I may decide to make the switch to the al a carte service as you are doing though.

Edit: erm, I have the 40$ plan.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 10:38:42 AM by Cromacster »

spoonman

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2013, 09:11:42 PM »
I use Doggcatcher too!  I made a similar arrangement with it so that it takes care of business automatically when I'm on wifi.

adam

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2013, 08:54:06 AM »
I switched to PTEL on Sunday.  I'm going to give it a month on the $40 plan to check my usage (specifically data).  I went for 6 months on PagePlus with the $12 and 10MB of data, so I know I can cut WAAAY down from my previous grandfathered unlimited verizon plan, but I want to see where I'm comfortable.  Then see if its worth going paygo depending on that.  5 days in I've used 54.38MB, but 28.53MB of that was doing speed tests on the new phone/new network :)

I want to watch the individual apps and see which ones are using the most and determine if they need to be locked down.  Right now I just have it set to do play store updates and photo uploads on wifi only.

driftwood

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2014, 07:11:08 PM »
I switched to PTEL on Sunday.  I'm going to give it a month on the $40 plan to check my usage (specifically data).  I went for 6 months on PagePlus with the $12 and 10MB of data, so I know I can cut WAAAY down from my previous grandfathered unlimited verizon plan, but I want to see where I'm comfortable.  Then see if its worth going paygo depending on that.  5 days in I've used 54.38MB, but 28.53MB of that was doing speed tests on the new phone/new network :)

I want to watch the individual apps and see which ones are using the most and determine if they need to be locked down.  Right now I just have it set to do play store updates and photo uploads on wifi only.

How do you feel about PTel now?  I'm looking to switch but finding mixed reviews around the net.

Daley

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2014, 08:59:39 PM »
How do you feel about PTel now?  I'm looking to switch but finding mixed reviews around the net.

Wow, quite the necropost! I can't answer for Adam (though I know he had switched to Airvoice due to getting jumpy after some issues of his own with P'tel, though he talked of switching for work reasons prior), but I can answer for myself.

Both my wife and myself have been with P'tel now for just a little over four years (October 2010), so we've been through both the Sprint and current T-Mobile MVNO eras with the company. Also for full disclosure, I know people can be wary of folks who shill for companies as money and referrals can influence the perception and believed quality of a service, so let me disclose exactly how much in the way of referral kickbacks I've received from them in that time: $5 in phone credits that I received from one fellow MMM forum member as a referral back when they offered the program before the T-Mobile transition. The parent company of P'tel/Giv Mobile also donated ten feature phones and twelve SIM cards each with one month of $40 unlimited talk/text/data (at the time) service to help with the 2013 Oklahoma tornado relief efforts, with all phones and service distributed to folks within the Bethel Acres community. I do not participate in their current referral service, nor any of their advertising campaigns.

My mother is also currently on P'tel for a total of three months now, and T-Mobile coverage in Oklahoma (the native coverage stomping grounds) is probably some of the best coverage statewide of any of the T-Mo coverage areas, even if most of it is 2G GSM. Between my wife and myself, we spend on average about $15 of service credit a month. My mother is on their newer $25/month unlimited everything plan, but may transition down to their $20/month plan now that it includes 150MB of data.

Customer service has always been helpful, though hold times to talk with a person has increased a bit over the years. There's never been any billing issues, no issues with mysterious vanishing credits, and service has always worked for us when we've needed it. We're pleased, all of us, and I'm notoriously difficult to please (as I'm sure you've noticed if you've ever read the guide). There's a reason why it's there and I still recommend them. Of course, the greatest dependence upon service quality for most everyone is going to come down to T-Mobile coverage in your area, which can be spotty in some regions (it was worse for us personally with Sprint), and I think most people confuse technical limitations of the network with problems with the MVNO itself, because I too read and keep up with these sorts of reviews. This isn't to say that they haven't had some technical issues in the past that have briefly disrupted service for some people (such as back in May or so of this year, IIRC), but they've always been helpful and done what was needed to correct issues for myself, my wife, and others here in the community who have used P'tel and followed-up with me both in the good times and bad with the provider. I also know of a lot of other satisfied P'tel customers here on the forums, who have expressed their fondness both publicly and privately.

Take it for what it's worth, but I'll take P'tel over any America Movil product out there (TracFone, NET10, StraightTalk, SIMple Mobile, and Page Plus after January 2015), definitely take them over Republic Wireless, and I'd still take them over T-Mobile's own prepaid division and most of the other T-Mo MVNOs as well, including Brightspot, Walmart Family Mobile, LycaMobile, Solavei, and Ultra Mobile. I won't say they're perfect or 100% problem free, but they've treated us extraordinarily well... especially when you consider what we spend per month with them.

There's my two cents and more, hope it helps.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 09:15:53 PM by I.P. Daley »

driftwood

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2014, 11:16:16 AM »
I.P. Daley, (hahaha),

Thanks for the reply.  We pulled the trigger on PTEL today.  I saw it in your guide, and on here, but it seems like the reviews jumped around throughout the past couple of years.

barbaroja

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2014, 06:54:00 PM »
My wife and I switched from AT&T's GoPhone to PTel in June 2014 after purchasing a Moto G Smartphone.  We bought $100 worth of PayGo credit and our balance today after almost 6 months of use is $53.05.  With the GoPhone, we were spending $100 per year to run an old Moto Razor flip phone.  So we're currently on track to spend the same $100 per year but have been able to enjoy the added features of the Moto G Smartphone.  We're generally pleased with the service but there have been a few glitches.  The first is that the SIM card came in an opened package.  It worked fine but it was a little strange to receive a package that was slit open.  Second, after looking at our bill log, there were several instances where we were charged multiple times for a single text.  The worst case was 9 times when we got a text telling us our newest grandson was born.  At first I thought it might be due to the text message exceeding the 160 char SMS limit but I  counted the characters and that was not the problem.  So I reported the problem via PTel's Chat function.  The chat session took about 30 mintues, most of it waiting for responses.  But the final response came back that it looked like a system error and our account was credited.  The final glitch was that a review of our call log showed we were getting billed about 40 cents a day for data even though we thought the phone was set up to only allow data updates via Wi-Fi.  So chaulk this one up to operator error.  After correcting that problem, I expect the next six months will actually be cheaper than the first.  All in all we're pleased with PTel and plan to continue to use them next year.


Neighbor Don

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2014, 03:09:06 PM »
My wife and I have been happy P'tel customers for just over 2.5 years now. We don't call or text too much so we get along just fine paying $10 every 60 days per phone. It's fun to brag that our individual cell plans are just $5 per month. The only complaint we have, and we knew this going into it, is that the coverage in our hometowns is non-existent. When that happens we call/text via Google Hangouts which I'm not too excited about yet(we used Groove IP and Google Voice before the Google transition to Hangouts and were happy with them). Those trips aren't regular so we can't complain too much. The only time I've ever had to use their customer service was when we transitioned to different phones. I used the chat line and while it wasn't very fast as previously mentioned it got the job done and I was satisfied.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2014, 05:50:41 PM »
ATT's network is considerably better in the outlying burbs here than TMo, so I went with AirVoice instead. If people have spotty TMo but still want a great GSM MVNO, I recommend them thoroughly.

I went from $50 with TMo to an average of $12 with AirVoice.

Exflyboy

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2014, 07:09:46 PM »
Yeah I'm looking forward to $5 a month too.. I just put in the port request from Airvoice.

The one problem is that when you go to put in your 14 digit code you have to put it in WITHOUT a space.. even though the code hey give you is written WITH a space.

It bombs otherwise.

Frank

livingthedream

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2014, 12:54:51 PM »
I've had Ptel for a little over a year now (big thanks to I.P. Daley) and use about $5 per month. The coverage isn't as great as Verizon but the cost savings more than makes up for it.

driftwood

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PTEL Review - Switched today
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2014, 09:22:10 PM »
So I ordered two SIMS last week to switch my wife and I over to PTEL. 

Activated my SIM today, incorrectly went through the "get a new number" process instead of "port" process. Got on the PTel customer service messenger and the rep:  1. Is sending me a free SIM so I can port it this time; 2. 'resetting' the $20 top up card I got so that I can apply it to the new SIM instead of it just being wasted.  This reset caused the Autopay I set up to charge me $20, so I got on the chat again and they refunded me.  Wait time for the first chat session - 5ish minutes.  Wait time for the second - close to an hour. 

Not really concerned about wait times, I just do other things with my laptop nearby.  This is the same wait time I'd expect from any company nowadays, but the difference with PTel is that I only had to explain my problem ONE time and they understood and helped me. 

I was smart enough to do all this on my line before attempting my wife's activation.  Activated her line just fine, port worked fine, no issues.

Hey It's Me

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2015, 07:49:50 PM »
This is excellent news to hear, Spoonman!

Now you know first hand why I'm such a firm supporter of P'tel as an MVNO. ;)

(Also, great to see another Tick fan on the boards. You probably haven't been around long enough to remember my own first avatar.)

IP Daley, do you have a referral code for PTel? I used your SuperGuide to make the decision to switch, and I'd like to pay it forwards. :)

Daley

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2015, 08:42:24 PM »
IP Daley, do you have a referral code for PTel? I used your SuperGuide to make the decision to switch, and I'd like to pay it forwards. :)

Nope. To be honest, I haven't really bothered with the referral programs of any of the MVNOs or VoIP providers I recommend, even if I could make hand over fist doing so. I picked up a free month or two off of Future Nine, and $5 off of P'tel a couple years back before the Sprint to T-Mo transition both at the behest of others... but that's about it. I've got this really weird hang-up that makes me feel like if I'm actively profiting off of the carriers I recommend, it cheapens my credibility.

However, I do get a 1-2% cut off of the few things I've got posted in the Amazon aStore tied to my website, and I also take Paypal donations in lieu of advertisements... both are accessible through the donate and shop buttons there in the top right corner. It's not as financially lucrative, but it feels more honest.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 08:44:18 PM by I.P. Daley »

Exflyboy

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2015, 09:18:22 PM »
Must say I'm pretty impressed with mine.. I pay more than $5 a month cus I use it for work now.. but it seems to work all over the USA as far as I can tell.

Frank

dopeysla69

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2015, 06:36:41 PM »
tmobile sucks

10dollarsatatime

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Re: PTEL Review: So Far, So Good
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2015, 11:05:59 AM »
I switched to Ptel a couple of months ago from TMobile.  No difference in service (except for the lack of visual voicemail, I suppose) and I'm saving $35 a month off my previous bill.  I have the $20 plan combined with a freedompop hotspot with their free plan.