Author Topic: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO  (Read 4883 times)

CurranBishop

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Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« on: November 18, 2017, 07:21:50 PM »
I switched from AT&T to H2O a few months ago and am finding it difficult to not have MMS (I keep not getting info that I miss in group texts, etc.) so I'm wanting to switch to another AT&T network MVNO that does provide MMS (visual voicemail would be nice, but not nearly as important as "chat" style group texting and image texting).

I'm looking at Cricket and Airvoice; The Son of Superguide (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-son-of-the-superguide!/) is enormously helpful but makes no mention of Cricket, and from what research I'm doing on Cricket's website it looks pretty similar to AirVoice.

Have you used either of these carriers, or another AT&T network MVNO or other cheap carrier, and had good results with MMS and visual voicemail (or at least the call forwarding ability to use Google Voice as your voicemail)?

CurranBishop

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2017, 07:43:29 PM »
Should have included PureTalk in my question--they're looking like the best deal assuming they do MMS!

geekette

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2017, 09:20:34 PM »
I assume you have an iPhone?  Then from my understanding (and experience with airvoice and redpocket) no visual voicemail or MMS or group texts that include a droid (unless you jailbreak). I don't run into it often since almost everyone I text with has an iPhone (and iMessage works fine), but there's that one friend...

I have heard, but have no first hand knowledge, that Cricket does have visual voicemail and MMS/group texts. I believe that cricket is owned by ATT.

adamR18

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2017, 10:39:37 PM »
Happy Cricket user here... MMS works as does group texting. I'm on the $35 a month plan- ATT service is great in my area so I highly recommend it!

sailinlight

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2017, 10:43:49 PM »
Strange, I was using Straight Talk for my wife's plan and she was having trouble getting MMSs. So we moved to H20 and it's working great. Did you check you APN settings?

Daley

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2017, 10:50:46 PM »
iPhones and AT&T MVNOs don't play well together, as Apple has literally locked users out of changing their MMS settings with any AT&T network based SIM card, even in fully carrier unlocked handsets. Through this move, Apple dictates which carriers you can and cannot use, and there's only two AT&T MVNOs from the guide that's gotten Apple's approved carrier blessing - Consumer Cellular and TruPhone SIM. Every other unlocked phone on the planet with the right network band support works just fine with MMS and any AT&T based MVNO you throw at it, and every other AT&T locked phone used with an AT&T MVNO will let you edit the MMS and data APN settings as well.

This is one of the reasons why I don't recommend iPhones. Any device you don't have the full freedom to use with any carrier you like, you don't own it, it owns you - which is quite a statement to heap on when it comes to an entire class of network devices designed around turning its users into the service actually being sold to begin with. When you consider that some of their phones now cost in excess of $1000, that's a pretty jagged pill to swallow. If I'm going to have a universal communications device that's going to narc on my every move and everything I do to build advertising profiles to sell to the highest corporate bidder no matter how much "external" security theater from the scawy gubmit they try to dazzle me with, at least don't charge me an arm and a leg for it and let me pretend I own the thing enough to take it to any carrier I choose....

...but I digress.

There's a reason why I don't include Cricket, and it has to do with who Cricket's parent company is (AT&T), the undercutting of network access pricing AT&T offers their customers through Cricket versus the premiums that AT&T charges to their wholesaler clients (the MVNOs) due to lack of wholesale access regulation in this country, the poor customer service, and the ridiculous terms of service with the nickel and dime fees and charges that impact and hurt their poorest customers the hardest (these are charges and fees, I might add, that no other MVNOs charge).

There may be a couple more brands in general that I should update the guide with (US Mobile, mostly, maybe Ultra, Twigby or Boom), and at least one more I should probably at least downgrade at this point (Airvoice, though they are trying in earnest to recover from their recent problems)... but for the most part, if a carrier isn't in the guide? There's probably a good reason why. I'm picky about which companies I recommend.

Cricket doesn't pass that criteria, and it's partly due to the damage they're doing to the MVNO marketplace in general. It took wholesalers repackaging cheaper plans for over a decade to get the major carriers to even start dropping their per line costs (which in and of itself highlights the absurdity of mobile pricing in this country that third party resellers could offer cheaper phone plans - thanks deregulation!), and once these MVNOs actually started cutting into their profit margins, the carriers started fighting back dirty to reclaim customers, shore their profit margins back up, and drive out of business the only real competition they had in the marketplace... their own wholesale customers. Wholesale mobile network access and pricing in places like Europe are regulated, protected, and required, and it actually seems to help keep costs lower and network compatibility higher for everyone, and competition stiffer. We have no such protections here, so the only way to protect that diversity and the businesses that helped drive down prices in the first place is not to do business with the major carriers hiding behind different names or have no incentive to keep costs down once the competition is driven out.

Unfortunately, most people care more about getting their ridiculous mobile data habits on for as cheap as possible right here and now because using less of anything is for chumps, and give zero cares for the quality of the customer service they receive or the fact that the companies they're dealing with have histories steeped with predatory and exploitative pricing whenever their competition thinned out. It's a losing battle.

As for visual voicemail, it's a premium feature that usually gets reserved by the major carriers for the people willing to go postpaid and under contract. Google Voice can provide similar service, but due to the above problems with wholesale pricing in the mobile industry combined with promises of "unlimited" services while playing dangerous budgeting games in an effort to appear competitive in price, more and more MVNOs are abandoning hard numbers on minutes provided, and where the term "unlimited" crops up, services like call forwarding (used to forward your cell number to a third party voicemail service) usually disappear and become violations of terms of service to use.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 11:09:46 PM by I.P. Daley »

Cwadda

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2017, 11:49:42 PM »
Thank you I.P. Daley for posting.

He raises several really good points, I would re-read his whole post again.  I especially like his point about data usage.  It is NOT Mustachian to buy as much data you can for as cheap as possible; that is consumerism at its finest.  The real solution is realize that with a smartphone one needs very little data and you will be fine getting less than you think you need.

I have the unlimited talk/text with 1 GB data plan via Airvoice and have been happy about it.  It is $30/month.  I've also received good customer service, barring long wait times.  I'm interested in hearing I.P.'s updated review on the company, however. 

A few things that changed when I switched from AT&T to Airvoice.
1. I could no longer send MMS text messages.  Note, iMessage still works so you can send MMS from iPhone to iPhone.  This did not bother me since most of my family and friends are iPhone users, and sending pictures/videos to non-iPhone users is simple through things like GroupMe, Facebook, and email.

2. No visual voicemail.  Definitely not hard getting used to dialing voicemail.  Especially when my phone bill went from $65/month to $30/month.


CurranBishop

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2017, 03:28:25 PM »
Strange, I was using Straight Talk for my wife's plan and she was having trouble getting MMSs. So we moved to H20 and it's working great. Did you check you APN settings?
Yes, worked on the APN settings, and spent an hour waiting to talk to tech support and they specifically said that they don't support MMS or group texting.

But the friend who recommended H2O to me had no problems using group and MMS for over a year--then they started having problems the same week I signed up (though I'm not sure they were the same problems).

CurranBishop

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2017, 03:34:43 PM »
I assume you have an iPhone? 

Actually I have an android, my wife has an iPhone, so it messes up solutions from either direction!

Daley

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2017, 07:12:19 PM »
Yes, worked on the APN settings, and spent an hour waiting to talk to tech support and they specifically said that they don't support MMS or group texting.

I assume you're using their $10 plan?

I assure you that Airvoice does indeed support MMS. If you're using their $10/month plan, however, it's worth noting that MMS and data both are disabled on their end by default as smartphones that aren't tweaked to restrict mobile data out of the gate can rapidly burn through the entire $10 worth of credit, and so you have to call in and request that they enable MMS and mobile data first. Unfortunately, there's been a lot of turnover and changes in the support department lately, so their support staff aren't entirely back up to snuff yet. Sorry you got the runaround. These are part of the problems I was alluding to in my previous post...

I assume you did find the APN settings for both internet and MMS for Airvoice, correct? So long as they're set up properly and you get Airvoice to turn on data and MMS on the account, you should be good to go after a reboot. If you get a hold of someone who doesn't know how to do it and they tell you they don't support MMS, ask to be transferred to someone else or a supervisor... because again, they do support MMS on all their plans (even PAYGO), but they have to enable it first if you're not on one of their monthly unlimited plans.

Just as a general resource, when one can't easily and quickly find their APN settings for a specific carrier or specific handset, this resource over at Gishan Networks is immensely handy.

Good luck, keep us posted!

CurranBishop

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2017, 12:12:34 PM »
I assume you're using their $10 plan?

I assure you that Airvoice does indeed support MMS. If you're using their $10/month plan, however, it's worth noting that MMS and data both are disabled on their end by default as smartphones that aren't tweaked to restrict mobile data out of the gate can rapidly burn through the entire $10 worth of credit, and so you have to call in and request that they enable MMS and mobile data first. Unfortunately, there's been a lot of turnover and changes in the support department lately, so their support staff aren't entirely back up to snuff yet. Sorry you got the runaround. These are part of the problems I was alluding to in my previous post...

Good luck, keep us posted!

Thanks so much for the info! Actually, I should have reiterated I'm still on H2O and considering Airvoice and PureTalk (you've convinced me to avoid Cricket if at all possible).

My friend on H2O said they had no problems, but it was H2O's customer service (that I found slow) that said they didn't support images/group texts.

We're currently on the $30 plan with 10% off for auto-reload ($27).

My wife has an iPhone (which she's not willing to part with), I switched to android. Because we're in the process of moving cross-country we need to keep our cell phones as our primary phones at least until we're settled in our new place (in CT) and can begin working out cheaper internet/landline options as you outline in the guide (thanks again for all your work on that by the way).

My job requires a lot of informal networking so group "chat" texting is essential for me (I've missed appointments or shown up at already-canceled appointments several times as a result of not being able to get MMS [BTW--is "MMS" the technology that enables both image and group texting?] in the few months we've been on H2O).

I don't need visual voicemail, though the call forwarding that would enable Google Voice would be nice, but at least for the short term we're going to need to stick with "unlimited talk and text" plans (if we go down to pay for use, do they enable call-forwarding?).

Thanks again so much for sharing all the work you've done on this!

Daley

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2017, 01:12:32 PM »
Thanks so much for the info! Actually, I should have reiterated I'm still on H2O and considering Airvoice and PureTalk (you've convinced me to avoid Cricket if at all possible).

My friend on H2O said they had no problems, but it was H2O's customer service (that I found slow) that said they didn't support images/group texts.

We're currently on the $30 plan with 10% off for auto-reload ($27).

My wife has an iPhone (which she's not willing to part with), I switched to android. Because we're in the process of moving cross-country we need to keep our cell phones as our primary phones at least until we're settled in our new place (in CT) and can begin working out cheaper internet/landline options as you outline in the guide (thanks again for all your work on that by the way).

My job requires a lot of informal networking so group "chat" texting is essential for me (I've missed appointments or shown up at already-canceled appointments several times as a result of not being able to get MMS [BTW--is "MMS" the technology that enables both image and group texting?] in the few months we've been on H2O).

I don't need visual voicemail, though the call forwarding that would enable Google Voice would be nice, but at least for the short term we're going to need to stick with "unlimited talk and text" plans (if we go down to pay for use, do they enable call-forwarding?).

Thanks again so much for sharing all the work you've done on this!

Okay, details are good. Very good, even!

Yes, H2O Wireless supports MMS as well. Everyone does, so long as you have some sort of data plan on the account. H2O, however, has gone and hidden their MMS settings, preferring you to only have access to them if you have an active account. The Gishan Networks APN resource to the rescue!

H2O Internet APN settings
H2O MMS APN settings

Also, yes, most smartphones are set up to send group texts via MMS. You can send group texts via SMS as well, but your settings won't impact the protocol in which they send their group texts. Additionally, most smartphones will default to sending SMS messages longer than 160 characters as MMS as well, instead of splitting the message across multiple SMS messages. Again, this is a setting you can tweak on your end, but once more does not change the protocol in which others send long text messages. A wiser man might think there was some collusion between the manufacturers and the mobile industry to make mobile data a hard requirement, or something... naah, that would never happen!

As far as I remember, H2O doesn't allow call forwarding except on their per minute PAYGO plans.

With all the additional information, however, might I suggest giving Consumer Cellular a look instead? Excuse the additional telecom taxes that'll be heaped on top - two lines, "unlimited" calling, "unlimited" SMS, and 3GB of shared mobile data with them would be $55/month. Granted, you'd need to be sure to restrict app and system updates to WiFi, and be a bit more strict about your data usage and what apps could run in the background and use mobile data than you have to be with H2O... but 5GB is only an extra $10/month, 10GB an extra $20/month, the plan could be set lower and auto-adjust upward if the data is needed without buying another monthly plan in advance just for more data, and your wife would get MMS support back on her iGizmo. Though CC recently redefined "unlimited" calling to anything above 250 minutes, there's been no change thus far (last I checked was two weeks ago) to their terms of service and call forwarding should still be allowed. You'd also potentially benefit from the off AT&T network roaming, as well, given you're travelling.

From where I'm sitting, even if it costs $5-15 more a month than what you're paying, there'd be a lot less compromise across the board for what you're needing and wanting given the handsets at play and your living situation. After you finish relocating and settling back in, you could look at optimizing further on the mobile end at that point, even if it's back to individual prepaid accounts on the cellphones, and depending on area coverage in Connecticut and the model of iPhone she has, you could potentially flip her to a T-Mobile or Verizon MVNO instead, which could provide her MMS access once again on a cheaper plan without great pains.

geekette

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2017, 01:59:48 PM »
I'm confused.  I used Airvoice for years ($10 plans with data turned on because that's about all I used).  I could never get a group message that included the droid, although if we left the droid out, it worked just fine. 

I'm now on Red Pocket, also the $10 plan.  Same deal.  AFAIK, the one droid user I know has never tried to send me a photo message, just group messages. 

The Gishan network info you linked to states (for both Airvoice and Red Pocket) to:

Quote
Tap Cellular Data Network. 
(If this setting does not appear on the device, it has not unlocked (sic) and settings cannot be manipulated manually.)

Since I bought my phone directly from Apple, unlocked, this is not accurate.  From all I've read, it must be jailbroken, not just unlocked.


CurranBishop

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2017, 02:46:25 PM »
Okay, details are good. Very good, even!

Yes, H2O Wireless supports MMS as well. Everyone does, so long as you have some sort of data plan on the account. H2O, however, has gone and hidden their MMS settings, preferring you to only have access to them if you have an active account. The Gishan Networks APN resource to the rescue!
...

As far as I remember, H2O doesn't allow call forwarding except on their per minute PAYGO plans.

With all the additional information, however, might I suggest giving Consumer Cellular a look instead? ...

From where I'm sitting, even if it costs $5-15 more a month than what you're paying, there'd be a lot less compromise across the board for what you're needing and wanting given the handsets at play and your living situation. After you finish relocating and settling back in, you could look at optimizing further on the mobile end at that point, even if it's back to individual prepaid accounts on the cellphones, and depending on area coverage in Connecticut and the model of iPhone she has, you could potentially flip her to a T-Mobile or Verizon MVNO instead, which could provide her MMS access once again on a cheaper plan without great pains.

Excellent! Thanks so much! I'll look into CC.

I just got off the phone with Pure TalkUSA and Airvoice

PureTalk picked up the phone instantly and said they support MMS and call forwarding no problem on the $25 "unlimited" plan with 2GB of data (and 128kbps if you go over--which I don't think we'd ever do since we're already data meisers). That said, the salesperson didn't seem terribly familiar with/knowledgeable about my question, so I I'd imagine there'd be some tweaking or surprises if I went with them. That said, their $25 unlimited plan for each phone would then get a 10% discount and put us at $45 a month!

Airvoice I waited on hold to talk to someone for over 35 min and had to give up to deal with other things.

My sister is a Consumer Cellular customer <<correction: she's with Metro PCS--I was misremembering>> and had lousy service with the same model of iPhone my wife has (iPhone 5s) when she visited us last month - can CC's contract for coverage vary from location to location? We have had great coverage on AT&T and H2O with iPhone and Android...

Also, I just remembered that when I first tried to swap from AT&T to either H2O or Ting there was a failed attempt to port my number--is this a common problem?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 06:11:47 PM by CurranBishop »

Daley

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2017, 06:04:35 PM »
Since I bought my phone directly from Apple, unlocked, this is not accurate.  From all I've read, it must be jailbroken, not just unlocked.

Correct. MMS on AT&T MVNOs with unjailbroken iPhones simply will not work. Although the phrasing is poor, the disclaimer is mostly accurate, even if the proper technical term wasn't used. The phrasing on the H2O and Airvoice pages (at least for the iPhone 8) read:

(If this setting does not appear it cannot be configured manually. Please contact the seller.)

Still slightly off-base in that it doesn't tell you why... but, what are you gonna do? Not everyone has the same level of communication skills, but I'm quite thankful that the resource exists anyway. The settings shared and provided are usually accurate, the iOS settings are just worthless with AT&T MVNOs without jailbreaking first.



I've just got off the phone with Pure TalkUSA and Airvoice

PureTalk picked up the phone instantly and said they support MMS and call forwarding no problem on the $25 "unlimited" plan with 2GB of data (and 128kbps if you go over--which I don't think we'd ever do since we're already data meisers). That said, the salesperson didn't seem terribly familiar with/knowledgeable about my question, so I I'd imagine there'd be some tweaking or surprises if I went with them. That said, their $25 unlimited plan for each phone would then get a 10% discount and put us as $45 a month!

Airvoice I waited on hold to talk to someone for over 35 min and had to give up to deal with other things.

My sister is a Consumer Cellular customer and had lousy service with the same model of iPhone my wife has (iPhone 5s) when she visited us last month - can CC's contract for coverage vary from location to location? We have had great coverage on AT&T and H2O with iPhone and Android...

Also, I just remembered that when I first tried to swap from AT&T to either H2O or Ting there was a failed attempt to port my number--is this a common problem?

Looks like Puretalk has put in a new clause in their terms of service since they discontinued the $10 and $15 calling plans. They now permit up to 750 minutes of talk time as either conference calls or call forwarding without risking the account. I also think that might be a good metric to understand more in line of what most AT&T MVNOs are defining as "unlimited" talk time these days. Industry averages for call time with most handsets are south of 750 minutes a month these days. This is part of the funny math that I was talking about that AT&T MVNOs are having to do to compete with Cricket. Once upon a time, back when the guide and the MMM forums were new, Airvoice didn't have "unlimited" talk and text plans, but the calling plans they had provided 5000 minutes, 10,000 SMS messages and xMB of data depending on the service tier. Then they went unlimited. About two-three years ago, the average "unlimited" calling plan with most MVNOs got redefined to a soft 2000 minutes. Now it's starting to look like around 1000 minutes. The problem is, most MVNOs don't define what number of minutes defines excessive usage and abuse in their TOS anymore... but as average minute usage has dropped in the industry, so too has the threshold for "unlimited" in unlimited plans, thus the scare quotes.

Like I said, though, they're having to get creative with accounting to appear competitive by playing numbers games to try and keep up with the pricing of Cricket without having access to the same wholesale pricing as what AT&T is using internally, and given everyone wants data these days?

Airvoice has been slammed the past few months due to their taking on a larger volume of Lifeline customers after AT&T abandoned providing Lifeline services in several states a few months back and put Airvoice at the top of one of the "alternative" providers on their website, but there's been unintended consequences, and I am concerned about their long term viability after the charlie foxtrot the FCC pulled last week on the Lifeline program and the hearty screw-over to the poor in this country that came with it.

Consumer Cellular technically has two SIM cards, one for the AT&T network and the other for the T-Mobile network. If both phones were identical and your AT&T coverage at the house is fine, but her Consumer Cellular coverage was not, then she likely had a T-Mobile SIM card.

Number porting can be problematic if you don't give the proper information up front, but otherwise should work just fine.

CurranBishop

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2017, 07:53:04 PM »
Yes, H2O Wireless supports MMS as well. Everyone does, so long as you have some sort of data plan on the account. H2O, however, has gone and hidden their MMS settings, preferring you to only have access to them if you have an active account. The Gishan Networks APN resource to the rescue!

H2O Internet APN settings
H2O MMS APN settings

THANK YOU! I just did the settings as the link describes and my phone (still on H2O) is doing group and image texting!

It sounds though, like my wife's iPhone won't be able to do group or images with non-iPhones without jailbreaking.
Any comments on the difficulties of jailbreaking?
Would her iPhone do MMS on Consumer Cellular without jailbreaking?

Looks like Puretalk has put in a new clause in their terms of service since they discontinued the $10 and $15 calling plans. They now permit up to 750 minutes of talk time as either conference calls or call forwarding without risking the account. I also think that might be a good metric to understand more in line of what most AT&T MVNOs are defining as "unlimited" talk time these days. Industry averages for call time with most handsets are south of 750 minutes a month these days. This is part of the funny math that I was talking about that AT&T MVNOs are having to do to compete with Cricket. Once upon a time, back when the guide and the MMM forums were new, Airvoice didn't have "unlimited" talk and text plans, but the calling plans they had provided 5000 minutes, 10,000 SMS messages and xMB of data depending on the service tier. Then they went unlimited. About two-three years ago, the average "unlimited" calling plan with most MVNOs got redefined to a soft 2000 minutes. Now it's starting to look like around 1000 minutes. The problem is, most MVNOs don't define what number of minutes defines excessive usage and abuse in their TOS anymore... but as average minute usage has dropped in the industry, so too has the threshold for "unlimited" in unlimited plans, thus the scare quotes.

Thanks for the background, very helpful.

Does the new definition of abuse mean that if you use more than 750 min. of call forwarding (i.e. to a Google Voice number) or of conference calls (i.e. calls between more than two parties), you could be kicked off, but what if you go higher in straight-up 2-party calls? I looked back over my averages the last few months and with all the interviews and detail coordination I've had a few months in excess of 1,300 minutes!

Consumer Cellular technically has two SIM cards, one for the AT&T network and the other for the T-Mobile network. If both phones were identical and your AT&T coverage at the house is fine, but her Consumer Cellular coverage was not, then she likely had a T-Mobile SIM card.

I was remembering wrong: she is on Metro PCS (but she said that's on AT&T network--?)
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 07:54:45 PM by CurranBishop »

Timmm

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2017, 08:30:51 PM »
Happy Cricket user here... MMS works as does group texting. I'm on the $35 a month plan- ATT service is great in my area so I highly recommend it!

I'm happy with them too, on the $30 plan. I mention it because they just upgraded that from 1 to 2 GB/mo, might be worth seeing if that would work for you now.

Daley

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2017, 10:33:56 PM »
Any comments on the difficulties of jailbreaking?

Don't bother. Seriously.

Would her iPhone do MMS on Consumer Cellular without jailbreaking?

Yes. As I pointed out before, Consumer Cellular is one of the few AT&T MVNOs that's on Apple's approved list. It's why I recommended them. I always recommend AT&T iPhone users to Consumer Cellular.

Does the new definition of abuse mean that if you use more than 750 min. of call forwarding (i.e. to a Google Voice number) or of conference calls (i.e. calls between more than two parties), you could be kicked off, but what if you go higher in straight-up 2-party calls? I looked back over my averages the last few months and with all the interviews and detail coordination I've had a few months in excess of 1,300 minutes!

First, if you're only forwarding to Google Voice, the only "forwarding" minutes that'll be used will be the minutes used by callers to leave you a voicemail message.

Do keep in mind, however, that call forwarding and conference calling are billed at double minutes (one inbound and one outbound line or two outbound lines)... this gives you an idea of where Puretalk's calling threshold is. If they tolerate 750 minutes of call forwarding, their standard "unlimited" minute cap threshold is probably around 1500-ish before they might terminate the account for abuse.

This said, 1300 minutes is a steep number, and nobody is disclosing where their actual "unlimited" abuse cut-off point is. That's the point I was trying to make. I only mentioned Puretalk's 750 minute marker in their terms of service as a rarely spelled out threshold to demonstrate how little "unlimited" can actually be due to creative math and vague terms of service with abuse termination clauses these days.

Yet another reason why I recommended Consumer Cellular despite their re-definition of "unlimited" calling minutes as anything above 250. They don't have any gotchas on their "unlimited" calling plan in their terms of service that might result in your account termination as of yet. That said, "unlimited" is still a treacherous word in the telecom industry and never brings good things with it.

I was remembering wrong: she is on Metro PCS (but she said that's on AT&T network--?)

No, it isn't. MetroPCS is owned by T-Mobile. I'll also point out that T-Mobile is shutting down and re-farming all their 3G UMTS network bands to LTE nationwide. What does this mean for your sister and the iPhone 5s? It means that outside of their old, tiny, legacy, 2G GSM network, she's not going to have any mobile voice and data coverage on T-Mobile within the next few months. It'll still be fine on AT&T's network, but reception and coverage is going to be awful if she stays on T-Mo. It also means your wife can't take her 5s to any MVNO but AT&T ones as well... which means Consumer Cellular if she wants MMS, or making deals with either Carlos Slim or AT&T.

It's that or replace the 5s with an SE if either one wants to use an iPhone with either a T-Mobile or Verizon MVNO.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 09:00:41 AM by I.P. Daley »

dodojojo

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2018, 12:04:10 PM »
I finally left T-Mobile and joined Puretalk last month.  My data usage was running anywhere from 35 to 250mb and obviously I didn't need the 2gb from TM.  Now my bill is $22 instead of $55.  That's the great news.

Now...for the not so good news.  Before I switched, I called and wrote Puretalk to ensure my phone would work with them.  They assured me my unlocked Galaxy S3 would and it does--making calls and using data.  So the basics are covered.  But I also discovered some features advertised do not work at all.  Initially, the most obvious was visual voicemail and shortcode text messages.  I love VV, but okay I can accept its absence if I'm saving over $360 annually.  But not receiving shortcode text messages is a bit of a pain as many companies use them for verification purposes.  I discovered this issue because I was on the phone with financial and cable businesses and they would tell me to check my phone for text messages that never arrived. 

I brought up these issues with Puretalk and they were apologetic  but that these features would only work if I had an AT&T phone.  Wish that minor detail was shared before I switched.  I repeatedly told Puretalk during the questions stage I was coming from T-Mobile.

More annoyingly, MMS no longer works.  It worked initially and then it worked but in a patchy way. Now, it doesn't work at all.  VV I can live without (grudgingly), but no shortcode SMS and MMS is a step too far.  They're an ingrained part of communication for me and I want them in my life.

I've stuck with Puretalk because I plan on replacing my S3 and anticipated S8 sales  with the S9 release. The hope is to luck into a AT&T S8 and/or that newer phone would be more compatible with Puretalk. Unfortunately, the sales haven't materialized.  I'm going to give it  a couple of weeks to see if I can get a new unlocked phone that works with Puretalk.  But if not, I'm either going to find a T-Mobile MVNO that will be more compatible with my current phone.  Or if there is a good carrier-backed phone sale, I may go that route.

catccc

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2018, 10:44:53 AM »
I was with airvoice for years, and most group texting I would do involved iphones only.  That changed when we had a new team member join my group with an android.  Airvoice couldn't find a fix for this (I thought it was just settings, but it turned out to be a hard no on the mms group messaging with an iphone, according to customer service.)

I ended up switching to US Mobile, and I can successfully get MMS with them.  It's not as flexible as Airvoice because I need to elect a bucket of texts, minutes, and data, but it works for my low usage.  I use their GSM LTE plan, and it's a $2 service fee, $3 for 100 minutes, $2 for 100 texts, and $2 for 100 MB (per 30 days).  That's $9, and I do pay an additional $0.09 in taxes, so $9.09/month.  I've had to buy extra allotments for $2-3 some months, and I've bumped up my allotments some months and back down in others as I've gotten to know my usage.  So over 6 months that I've been with US mobile, my cost per month has actually averaged $11.75, but I'm at a place now where I think the $9.09 should do it most months.  Yes, my allotments are relatively low, but the thing I do the most on my phone is text other iphones, so they are imessages and don't cost anything.  I use talkatone for outgoing calls when I am in wifi, which is most of the time.  I use very little data- I turn it off for almost all my apps, so it is used for messaging, moviepass, and waze and almost nothing else, unless I really, really wanna ig something.  This may seem restrictive to some, but I'm used to it, so it just seems normal to me.  I only started using data on my phone 1 year or 2 ago.

https://www.usmobile.com/plans  make sure you click on GSM LTE for the best prices.  (IDK what super LTE is, but I don't need super anything.)

I also just got a truphone sim for a very very low use home phone.  My truphone for home use would probably get $3 or less of use per month, relying primarily on free imessaging and facetime video/audio, very occasionally used when the kids are home for short periods without us.  I think it would end up costing too much as my regular use phone at $0.09 per minute, text, or mb.  If I used my US Mobile allotments at Truphone rates, it would be $27/month.  Except incoming calls and texts are free, so maybe not that high, but still higher than US Mobile.   

IDK if US mobile is on this coveted Apple approved list, but I can tell you firsthand that it works.

Cwadda

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2018, 11:59:56 AM »
I was with airvoice for years, and most group texting I would do involved iphones only.  That changed when we had a new team member join my group with an android.  Airvoice couldn't find a fix for this (I thought it was just settings, but it turned out to be a hard no on the mms group messaging with an iphone, according to customer service.)

I ended up switching to US Mobile, and I can successfully get MMS with them.  It's not as flexible as Airvoice because I need to elect a bucket of texts, minutes, and data, but it works for my low usage.  I use their GSM LTE plan, and it's a $2 service fee, $3 for 100 minutes, $2 for 100 texts, and $2 for 100 MB (per 30 days).  That's $9, and I do pay an additional $0.09 in taxes, so $9.09/month.  I've had to buy extra allotments for $2-3 some months, and I've bumped up my allotments some months and back down in others as I've gotten to know my usage.  So over 6 months that I've been with US mobile, my cost per month has actually averaged $11.75, but I'm at a place now where I think the $9.09 should do it most months.  Yes, my allotments are relatively low, but the thing I do the most on my phone is text other iphones, so they are imessages and don't cost anything.  I use talkatone for outgoing calls when I am in wifi, which is most of the time.  I use very little data- I turn it off for almost all my apps, so it is used for messaging, moviepass, and waze and almost nothing else, unless I really, really wanna ig something.  This may seem restrictive to some, but I'm used to it, so it just seems normal to me.  I only started using data on my phone 1 year or 2 ago.

https://www.usmobile.com/plans  make sure you click on GSM LTE for the best prices.  (IDK what super LTE is, but I don't need super anything.)

I also just got a truphone sim for a very very low use home phone.  My truphone for home use would probably get $3 or less of use per month, relying primarily on free imessaging and facetime video/audio, very occasionally used when the kids are home for short periods without us.  I think it would end up costing too much as my regular use phone at $0.09 per minute, text, or mb.  If I used my US Mobile allotments at Truphone rates, it would be $27/month.  Except incoming calls and texts are free, so maybe not that high, but still higher than US Mobile.   

IDK if US mobile is on this coveted Apple approved list, but I can tell you firsthand that it works.

For anyone wondering, a fix for this is to use 3rd party mobile application such as:

-GroupMe
-Facebook Messenger
-WhatsApp

catccc

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2018, 01:15:40 PM »

For anyone wondering, a fix for this is to use 3rd party mobile application such as:

-GroupMe
-Facebook Messenger
-WhatsApp

I can't really force all my coworkers to use one of those apps just for my benefit.  Or the all kids' parents (who's kids are friends with my kids) that sometimes group text.  I do have specific friends I am close to and we are used to using a 3rd party app.  But I don't want to ask everyone else that I'm not close with to make accommodations for me and my frugal phone plan.  So while 3rd party apps are useful, they don't really resolve all the instances in which MMS might be needed.

geekette

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2018, 08:04:35 AM »
I finally solved this MMS problem for myself by switching to Red Pocket and their Verizon option. It wasn’t a smooth switch (although I never lost service, just time chatting with support), but I can now group text and get Visual Voicemail for the same $10/mo I was paying Airvoice. Well, they do as about a quarter for taxes. 500 minutes, 500 meg, 500 texts (iMessage still free).

Trying2bFrugal

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2018, 09:11:27 AM »
Its a old thread, but seems still people are replying.

I never used MMS (not once). Used email, watsapp, yahoo, skype, google hangout for sending info. But I am a light user of those.

For carrier, I switched to Sprint one year Free plan with all unlimited (about $6/mo for 2 phones), so if you have Sprint coverage use it, its still free until 4.2019
And I carry the Cricket in ATT with a group in reditt, thats about $20/mo (I get recharge cards from BB with 20% discount).

Its upto you, whichever works for you.

dodojojo

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2018, 10:28:49 AM »
More annoyingly, MMS no longer works.  It worked initially and then it worked but in a patchy way. Now, it doesn't work at all.  VV I can live without (grudgingly), but no shortcode SMS and MMS is a step too far.  They're an ingrained part of communication for me and I want them in my life..

Called Puretalk and they told me that MMS should only work on the data setting and not on WIFI.  When I switched to 4G, I was able to download failed MMS texts from this morning.  So okay, it's not ideal but there is a way for MMS to work.  The weird thing I switched back to WIFI and I was still able to send and receive MMS texts.  Who knows how long that works before the next failed MMS fail delivery message.

dang1

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Re: Cricket or AirVoice? MMS on MVNO
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2018, 12:50:36 AM »
use Google Voice