Author Topic: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO  (Read 5925 times)

RedMaple

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Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« on: September 29, 2015, 08:42:34 PM »
Two years ago I.P. Daley recommended that I try Airvoice Wireless. It's been a great ride (thanks I.P. Daley) but my phone is dying and I have to get a Verizon provider. When I had Airvoice Wireless I had the $10 per month plan (4 cents per minute voice, 2 cents per text message, .066 per MB data). I liked that I got to allocate the money anyway I wanted and the money rolled forward. I always have money roll forward.

I will be purchasing an iPhone 6 or 6s (but which ever phone I get, I will pay full price at the Apple store.) and I am looking to spend $15 per month ($20 max... if possible) for service. I know Verizon is more expensive. Can anyone recommend a cheap and reliable Verizon MVNO?


Thanks in advance!

e: My average usage is I spend 30 minutes on the phone, 10 text messages, 20MB data per month.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 09:03:20 PM by RedMaple »

CCCA

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2015, 09:15:21 PM »
You seem to be the perfect usage candidate for tracfone BYOP. 
for $19.99 you get 90 days (3 months or less than $7/month) of service with 180 min/180 sms/180MB of data and everytime you refill you roll over any unused min/sms/data (so 60 min/60sms and 60MB of data per month).
http://tracfonewireless.com/plans/
This website says android but it works on iPHones as well.
http://tracfonewireless.com/byop/

I actually use the GSM version on my AT&T iphone but they have a verizon CDMA/LTE version that would work with the iPhone 6.

IP Daley has some negative things to say about tracfone, but I don't have any issues with them. 

edit: I was going to suggest Page Plus which has a pay as you go (standard plan) which would also be very inexpensive for you, but they do not offer it for LTE 4G phones like the iPhone 6, only for 3G phones.  My wife uses it with an iPhone 4s, the last version of the iPhone that is 3G.  The 5 and up are 4G phones.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 09:17:37 PM by CCCA »

RedMaple

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2015, 10:09:10 PM »
Thanks for your response. How were you able to get iPhone to work with the 3x talk, text, data? Can you please explain the process? Also, how is the customer service and do you speak Spanish?

I found some of your conversations with IP Daley regarding Tracfone. It looks like the 3 biggest issues he has is that you have to purchase an Andriod phone through them - but you're saying that isn't so, you are stuck with a fixed plan so you end up wasting money on things that you don't use, and the customer service sucks.

Daley

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2015, 10:15:50 PM »
Selectel (official recommendation - oldest non-America Movil provider, has roaming) or Puppy Wireless (unofficial - Kitty Wireless owned, but still new and no roaming). The other two options (Tracfone and Page Plus) are owned by the same corporate overlords now, and you know my feelings on Carlos Slim's offerings.

Going 6s may be a PITA for activation with a Verizon MVNO, though, as the IMEI/ESN MUST be in the Verizon database for activation, so no buying the unlocked T-Mobile handset and bringing it over, and buying the Verizon handset requires activating a line and account for at least a month with Verizon postpaid first. Get a used Verizon branded 6 instead with a clean ESN/IMEI that's not under contract or buy a 6 from Selectel directly.

As for plans, Selectel's cheapest LTE plan is their $100/year for 2000 minutes and 2000 SMS messages with 2.5MB of data for MMS, and no mobile data without buying $10 Flex Cards for data billed at 5¢/MB. The annual plan is a use it or lose it, but the Flex Card balance doesn't expire. After the first year, so long as you have Flex Card balance active on the account, you can technically (for the time) get PAYGO going for 5¢/minute/SMS/MB - but the Flex Cards are technically designed to be paired only with an ongoing monthly or annual plan, and not meant to be used alone. It is a billing fluke that others have used, however, with great success in the past.

Puppy's best priced LTE plan is $15/month for 250 minutes, plus 250 SMS messages, plus 100MB of data, and as this is a monthly plan, there's no balance rollover. Strictly use it or lose it, and over-use it, you're going to need to cover overages. There's also a $10/month plan, but it's only 60 minutes, 60 SMS and 2.5MB of data. Puppy does not offer annual plans.

Unfortunately, you're wanting to play with the most expensive phone on the most expensive network. Them's the prices, no matter how little you use. Selectel's probably your best bet between the annual plan and $10 Flex Cards for a rough monthly cost of $9.34 (that's assuming your data use doesn't spike with the new phone). You can potentially get marginally cheaper "per month" as has been pointed out, but their service level and account management is something that leaves me incapable of saying nice things, and the actual cost per minute/message/MB isn't that hot. That's also assuming you can even activate a Verizon iPhone 6 on their Android 3x plan on the Verizon network. And I won't even get into the possible nightmare scenarios with them and ESN locking/blacklisting...

CCCA

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2015, 11:13:58 PM »

Thanks for your response. How were you able to get iPhone to work with the 3x talk, text, data? Can you please explain the process? Also, how is the customer service and do you speak Spanish?

I found some of your conversations with IP Daley regarding Tracfone. It looks like the 3 biggest issues he has is that you have to purchase an Andriod phone through them - but you're saying that isn't so, you are stuck with a fixed plan so you end up wasting money on things that you don't use, and the customer service sucks.

I do not speak spanish. 
1) I bought a tracfone sim kit.  It came with both GSM LTE and CDMA LTE sims.  As I said, I have an AT&T iPhone.
2) I just got the relevant info ready for the port (I also ported from Airvoice), Account # which is the airvoice sim #, and Pin is last 4 digits of the phone number.
3) I initiated a port request on the tracfone website (using a form)
4) I called Airvoice to make sure that they would release the number (This is important.  I waited a day or so and wondered why the port hadn't gone through so I called Airvoice.  They didn't allow the port to be completed until I called in.  After I called in, it went through in an hour or so.
5) I chatted with tracfone instead of calling in (just to check on my port) and also I used the APN changer (http://www.unlockit.co.nz/unlockit/) to change the APN settings to tracfone (for data).

I think that is all, but no issues with customer service (the chat folks were pretty helpful), though I didn't try calling in.

edit to address IP's comments: As I said I'm using an AT&T phone so once the sim is activated, i can just stick it in.  Using a Verizon phone could introduce some complications as IP notes (regarding getting your phone off of their network in the future, which is not an issue with a GSM phone).
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 11:17:41 PM by CCCA »

RedMaple

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2015, 09:50:16 AM »
Selectel (official recommendation - oldest non-America Movil provider, has roaming) or Puppy Wireless (unofficial - Kitty Wireless owned, but still new and no roaming). The other two options (Tracfone and Page Plus) are owned by the same corporate overlords now, and you know my feelings on Carlos Slim's offerings.

Going 6s may be a PITA for activation with a Verizon MVNO, though, as the IMEI/ESN MUST be in the Verizon database for activation, so no buying the unlocked T-Mobile handset and bringing it over, and buying the Verizon handset requires activating a line and account for at least a month with Verizon postpaid first. Get a used Verizon branded 6 instead with a clean ESN/IMEI that's not under contract or buy a 6 from Selectel directly.

As for plans, Selectel's cheapest LTE plan is their $100/year for 2000 minutes and 2000 SMS messages with 2.5MB of data for MMS, and no mobile data without buying $10 Flex Cards for data billed at 5¢/MB. The annual plan is a use it or lose it, but the Flex Card balance doesn't expire. After the first year, so long as you have Flex Card balance active on the account, you can technically (for the time) get PAYGO going for 5¢/minute/SMS/MB - but the Flex Cards are technically designed to be paired only with an ongoing monthly or annual plan, and not meant to be used alone. It is a billing fluke that others have used, however, with great success in the past.

Puppy's best priced LTE plan is $15/month for 250 minutes, plus 250 SMS messages, plus 100MB of data, and as this is a monthly plan, there's no balance rollover. Strictly use it or lose it, and over-use it, you're going to need to cover overages. There's also a $10/month plan, but it's only 60 minutes, 60 SMS and 2.5MB of data. Puppy does not offer annual plans.

Unfortunately, you're wanting to play with the most expensive phone on the most expensive network. Them's the prices, no matter how little you use. Selectel's probably your best bet between the annual plan and $10 Flex Cards for a rough monthly cost of $9.34 (that's assuming your data use doesn't spike with the new phone). You can potentially get marginally cheaper "per month" as has been pointed out, but their service level and account management is something that leaves me incapable of saying nice things, and the actual cost per minute/message/MB isn't that hot. That's also assuming you can even activate a Verizon iPhone 6 on their Android 3x plan on the Verizon network. And I won't even get into the possible nightmare scenarios with them and ESN locking/blacklisting...

Hey, I wanted to thank you for recommending Airvoice wireless 2 years ago to me. It was a good ride but I have to switch to Verizon.

I had no idea about the issues with Verizon iPhone 6s. I would like to get the latest model thought because I plan to keep the phone until it dies. I’ve had the iPhone 4 since 2010. What do you mean by “Verizon postpaid”? Feel free to send me a link, I can't seem to find anything regarding 6s hurdles.

Thanks for telling me my provider options. But it sounds like I would first have to get Verizon postpaid for a month, and then switch to the MVNO.

RedMaple

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2015, 09:53:27 AM »

Thanks for your response. How were you able to get iPhone to work with the 3x talk, text, data? Can you please explain the process? Also, how is the customer service and do you speak Spanish?

I found some of your conversations with IP Daley regarding Tracfone. It looks like the 3 biggest issues he has is that you have to purchase an Andriod phone through them - but you're saying that isn't so, you are stuck with a fixed plan so you end up wasting money on things that you don't use, and the customer service sucks.

I do not speak spanish. 
1) I bought a tracfone sim kit.  It came with both GSM LTE and CDMA LTE sims.  As I said, I have an AT&T iPhone.
2) I just got the relevant info ready for the port (I also ported from Airvoice), Account # which is the airvoice sim #, and Pin is last 4 digits of the phone number.
3) I initiated a port request on the tracfone website (using a form)
4) I called Airvoice to make sure that they would release the number (This is important.  I waited a day or so and wondered why the port hadn't gone through so I called Airvoice.  They didn't allow the port to be completed until I called in.  After I called in, it went through in an hour or so.
5) I chatted with tracfone instead of calling in (just to check on my port) and also I used the APN changer (http://www.unlockit.co.nz/unlockit/) to change the APN settings to tracfone (for data).

I think that is all, but no issues with customer service (the chat folks were pretty helpful), though I didn't try calling in.

edit to address IP's comments: As I said I'm using an AT&T phone so once the sim is activated, i can just stick it in.  Using a Verizon phone could introduce some complications as IP notes (regarding getting your phone off of their network in the future, which is not an issue with a GSM phone).


Curious, why did you switch from Airvoice?

Thanks for the tip regarding having to call Airvoice to release the number.

Daley

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2015, 10:14:06 AM »
Hey, I wanted to thank you for recommending Airvoice wireless 2 years ago to me. It was a good ride but I have to switch to Verizon.

I had no idea about the issues with Verizon iPhone 6s. I would like to get the latest model thought because I plan to keep the phone until it dies. I’ve had the iPhone 4 since 2010. What do you mean by “Verizon postpaid”? Feel free to send me a link, I can't seem to find anything regarding 6s hurdles.

Thanks for telling me my provider options. But it sounds like I would first have to get Verizon postpaid for a month, and then switch to the MVNO.

Not a problem.

It's not just the 6s, it's going to be any new Verizon iPhone bought from Apple. You can't just buy the phone, you have to buy the phone and sign up for service. Verizon postpaid is just their standard, overpriced postpaid plan (pay the bill after you use the service as opposed to prepaid, which is how MVNOs work), and you'll have to pay an additional $50 plus close to $10 in taxes for their "unlimited talk and text" plus 1GB of data plan per month, plus a $40 activation fee, plus plus plus... even the $650 6s by the time you're finished buying from Verizon is going to cost closer to $800-850 by the time you break free and take it to an MVNO.

Keeping it until it dies is a noble idea, but it's not worth the price premium new versus the price discount of used/refurbished and reduced hassle of activation. The lifespan between a new and clean used/refurbished 6/6s is going to be minimal, and going used/refurbished is going to not only be better for the environment, but it'll save you several hundred dollars. Heck, going 5/5c/5s would save you even more money. Buying new and wearing it out is a sunk cost fallacy. The added cost of buying new isn't going to reduce total cost of ownership lower than used over the lifetime of the device, so let some other sucker take the retail price hit. It's exactly like buying a car. Just buy a nice used Verizon iPhone in good condition with a clean ESN. You can get really nice 5s handsets with a clean ESN off Ebay from reputable volume phone resellers for under $300. There is simply no way you're going to get an extra $400-500 worth of lifetime use out of a new 6s even over a used 5s.

On another point, why do you "have" to switch to Verizon, exactly?
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 10:16:56 AM by I.P. Daley »

RedMaple

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2015, 12:09:55 PM »
Hey, I wanted to thank you for recommending Airvoice wireless 2 years ago to me. It was a good ride but I have to switch to Verizon.

I had no idea about the issues with Verizon iPhone 6s. I would like to get the latest model thought because I plan to keep the phone until it dies. I’ve had the iPhone 4 since 2010. What do you mean by “Verizon postpaid”? Feel free to send me a link, I can't seem to find anything regarding 6s hurdles.

Thanks for telling me my provider options. But it sounds like I would first have to get Verizon postpaid for a month, and then switch to the MVNO.

Not a problem.

It's not just the 6s, it's going to be any new Verizon iPhone bought from Apple. You can't just buy the phone, you have to buy the phone and sign up for service. Verizon postpaid is just their standard, overpriced postpaid plan (pay the bill after you use the service as opposed to prepaid, which is how MVNOs work), and you'll have to pay an additional $50 plus close to $10 in taxes for their "unlimited talk and text" plus 1GB of data plan per month, plus a $40 activation fee, plus plus plus... even the $650 6s by the time you're finished buying from Verizon is going to cost closer to $800-850 by the time you break free and take it to an MVNO.

Keeping it until it dies is a noble idea, but it's not worth the price premium new versus the price discount of used/refurbished and reduced hassle of activation. The lifespan between a new and clean used/refurbished 6/6s is going to be minimal, and going used/refurbished is going to not only be better for the environment, but it'll save you several hundred dollars. Heck, going 5/5c/5s would save you even more money. Buying new and wearing it out is a sunk cost fallacy. The added cost of buying new isn't going to reduce total cost of ownership lower than used over the lifetime of the device, so let some other sucker take the retail price hit. It's exactly like buying a car. Just buy a nice used Verizon iPhone in good condition with a clean ESN. You can get really nice 5s handsets with a clean ESN off Ebay from reputable volume phone resellers for under $300. There is simply no way you're going to get an extra $400-500 worth of lifetime use out of a new 6s even over a used 5s.

On another point, why do you "have" to switch to Verizon, exactly?

I recently moved and AT&T is very spotty in my apartment, it works slightly better in my area. Most people have Verizon and don’t have connection issues.

That really sucks about the 6s - it's very inconvenient and expensive. So to my understanding, if I buy a 6 I can just go straight to an MVNO correct? Where do you recommend I purchase a refurbished 6? You said "Ebay from reputable volume phone resellers" how can I tell if someone is reputable? I've never purchased anything form ebay. Thanks!

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2015, 12:14:29 PM »
The point was if you buy a used Verizon LTE phone, you can go straight to the MVNO, if the phone is new, you'll have to activate regular Verizon service first - the used phone has the benefit of someone else having done that part already. You could use Ting as it roams on Verizon.

RedMaple

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2015, 02:38:28 PM »
The point was if you buy a used Verizon LTE phone, you can go straight to the MVNO, if the phone is new, you'll have to activate regular Verizon service first - the used phone has the benefit of someone else having done that part already. You could use Ting as it roams on Verizon.

Where do you buy a used phone? Can you recommend trustworthy resellers?

Daley

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2015, 04:01:59 PM »
I recently moved and AT&T is very spotty in my apartment, it works slightly better in my area. Most people have Verizon and don’t have connection issues.

That really sucks about the 6s - it's very inconvenient and expensive. So to my understanding, if I buy a 6 I can just go straight to an MVNO correct? Where do you recommend I purchase a refurbished 6? You said "Ebay from reputable volume phone resellers" how can I tell if someone is reputable? I've never purchased anything form ebay. Thanks!

As Robartsd pointed out, it's for all new Verizon phones, not just the 6s. I'll also point out that iPhones generally have some of the lousier antennas of smartphones. Before you leap to thinking you need Verizon, perhaps see how other AT&T Android handsets fair in your house, and check with someone else who has a Verizon iPhone to see how their reception is in your house before making such a potentially costly commitment. Don't blame a network for the potential shortcomings of a phone.

As for shopping on Ebay (or anywhere for a used phone), here's a good overview on shopping for used handsets (the iPhone advice in that post is since dated, but the generals are good). There's also Amazon, Swappa, and even used/refurbished units for sale from the MVNOs in question if you don't want to stick your neck out too far. As I mentioned before, Selectel does have the 5/5c and 6 available to buy directly.

You could use Ting as it roams on Verizon.

Ting CDMA is Sprint devices only, though they do have voice and SMS roaming on Verizon. Sprint still has a time activation blacklist for newer handsets on MVNOs, IIRC. I'm mostly responding to this comment for RedMaple's benefit.

CCCA

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2015, 10:30:41 PM »


Thanks for your response. How were you able to get iPhone to work with the 3x talk, text, data? Can you please explain the process? Also, how is the customer service and do you speak Spanish?

I found some of your conversations with IP Daley regarding Tracfone. It looks like the 3 biggest issues he has is that you have to purchase an Andriod phone through them - but you're saying that isn't so, you are stuck with a fixed plan so you end up wasting money on things that you don't use, and the customer service sucks.

I do not speak spanish. 
1) I bought a tracfone sim kit.  It came with both GSM LTE and CDMA LTE sims.  As I said, I have an AT&T iPhone.
2) I just got the relevant info ready for the port (I also ported from Airvoice), Account # which is the airvoice sim #, and Pin is last 4 digits of the phone number.
3) I initiated a port request on the tracfone website (using a form)
4) I called Airvoice to make sure that they would release the number (This is important.  I waited a day or so and wondered why the port hadn't gone through so I called Airvoice.  They didn't allow the port to be completed until I called in.  After I called in, it went through in an hour or so.
5) I chatted with tracfone instead of calling in (just to check on my port) and also I used the APN changer (http://www.unlockit.co.nz/unlockit/) to change the APN settings to tracfone (for data).

I think that is all, but no issues with customer service (the chat folks were pretty helpful), though I didn't try calling in.

edit to address IP's comments: As I said I'm using an AT&T phone so once the sim is activated, i can just stick it in.  Using a Verizon phone could introduce some complications as IP notes (regarding getting your phone off of their network in the future, which is not an issue with a GSM phone).


Curious, why did you switch from Airvoice?

Thanks for the tip regarding having to call Airvoice to release the number.

I switched because the data rate is much better on tracfone. You can get a data card where the per mb rate is ~1.5 cents per mb which is much cheaper than airboice at 6.6c. I use 100-200 mb per month so the tracfone plan is much cheaper. Also it's nice to only have to refill every three months instead of every month.

I would agree with the others to buy a used Verizon iPhone (if you do want some sort of iPhone). You can get a 5S for less than half the price of a 6S and you'll still get many years out of it.

alanwbaker

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2016, 09:47:13 AM »

As for plans, Selectel's cheapest LTE plan is their $100/year for 2000 minutes and 2000 SMS messages with 2.5MB of data for MMS, and no mobile data without buying $10 Flex Cards for data billed at 5¢/MB. The annual plan is a use it or lose it, but the Flex Card balance doesn't expire.

Selectel's support person Zach just told me that their $100/year and $20/month 4G plans can use flex cards only for MMS texts, not for web/email/etc.  Curiously, their $75/year and $15/month 3G plans can use flex cards for web/email/etc, not just MMS texts.

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2016, 05:09:25 PM »
Posting to follow.  Great advice on this thread.

CCCA

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Re: Cheap (and reliable) Verizon MVNO
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2016, 12:15:01 AM »
Tracfone now has 1 cent per MB data rates now.  $10 for 1 GB of data (data carries over as long as you refill each 90 days).