Author Topic: Verizon MVNO  (Read 562 times)

Hibernaculum

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Verizon MVNO
« on: March 04, 2020, 09:37:38 AM »
Hi Folks- Anybody have experience to share with a good cell phone provider that uses Verizon's towers?

My phone is Motorola Moto G Play, running Android 7.1.1. It's about two and a half years old. I like the phone and would prefer to keep it, since the screen is fine, speed seems OK, and the battery still easily gets me through a day and more.

Wife's phone: Pixel 3, maybe a year and a half old. She'd like to keep it.

Preferred features:
visual voicemail (where when someone leaves a voicemail, it texts you a transcription of the message, for my wife, a must-have)
text-to-speech (where your text messages are read aloud to you as they come in...I enjoy this feature, but it isn't a total must-have, not sure if this is an Android feature or a Verizon feature)

Data Usage:
wife: around 8 gb
me: around 1 gb

Easy and somewhat cheap international calling would be a bonus. Ability to port our current numbers without a great deal of hassle would also be nice.

We just moved from Colorado to Atlanta. A while back, due to Verizon's high prices, we tried to switch to a different carrier. We tried Red Pocket. That didn't work out very well, unfortunately. There in Colorado, we were in a cell phone dead zone, with very poor reception. We used a network device that allowed us to be connected via WiFi rather than cell while we were at home. That device could only be used with actual Verizon phone service, not with a MVNO. In an attempt to test other carriers, I used (or tried to use) Red Pocket with some of the other major networks.

First off, since Verizon seemed to have marginally better coverage than the others, I went with Verizon. Turns out, Red Pocket doesn't work with my phone on the Verizon network. The link to check the compatibility of a particular on Red Pocket's website is a dead link, and all you find is a generic recommendation that indicates that things will probably in general work unless you've got a weird phone or whatnot. But no, Verizon is actually a no-go with my particular model of phone. It took many hours of tech support for me to finally get someone to tell me this.

So then I tried an ATT Sim card. Turns out that DID work with my phone, but the reception was very poor, and it doesn't work with WiFi calling. That's another couple of hours with tech support down the drain.

Then I tried GSMT/t-mobile. Again, poor reception, but it DOES support WiFi calling with that network. I didn't get a chance to try that out, however, because I found out that the with t-mobile, WiFi calling is supported, but visual voicemail is not. Turns out that is a must-have for my wife. To Red Pocket's credit, this information is available on their website.

At this point, after a LOT of wasted time, I gave up on Red Pocket and re-installed the Verizon Sim card. And also, my wife told me she had called Verizon and had gotten our bill considerably lowered AND moved to "unlimited" data.

A month or two later, as we were busy with moving house, we found out that that wasn't exactly true. What Verizon had done was (without informing my wife) cleave off my account into a separate account. Her account charges were slightly lower (since my phone wasn't on them), and she did in fact get the highest tier of data BUT I ended up with my own account that costs $83/month. And of course, the only way I found out about this was when the bill was past due. Since we hadn't been informed that my account had been cleaved off, I had no way of knowing it needed to be paid, nor no easy way to pay it once we did figure it out! Boo on Verizon. Anyway, I eventually straightened all that out, and now that we're settled in Atlanta, it's time to give Verizon the boot. I hope to avoid all the wasted time of the previous effort to do so.

The good news is that our reception here is excellent. It should be- there's a honking big Verizon tower we can see out our back window, about 100 feet away!

So, we'd like to divorce Verizon and find a good MVNO using the Verizon towers. Actually, I care (about price) and am a bit flexible. My wife isn't really bothered either way, so if we end up moving her, we need to do it in a way that has the least impact on her usage. So: same phone number, must have visual voicemail, must have lots of data.

I figure the best way, since I'm already on a separate account anyway, is for me to try an MVNO myself and see how it works out as far as tech support, billing, whatever. And then, if I'm happy and it has the features my wife wants, we can switch her over too.

I couldn't use Red Pocket with my current phone and Verizon towers, even if I wanted to, because my phone isn't compatible. Now, that could have something to do with 5G compatibility and I may face it with other MVNOs, so at some point (and it may be now), I may end up having to get a new phone. Certainly, it would be cheaper to do that than continue to pay $83/month and use less than 1 gb of data! But I'd rather not replace the phone yet, if that is possible.

Suggestions?
TIA!
John in Atlanta, GA


LilTazzy

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Re: Verizon MVNO
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2020, 11:28:48 AM »
Total Wireless

Hibernaculum

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Re: Verizon MVNO
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2020, 03:47:05 PM »
Thanks- I'll check that out!

dodojojo

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Re: Verizon MVNO
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2020, 07:39:25 AM »
Are you with Xfinity for cable and/or internet?  If so, that opens up Xfinity Mobile as an option since they used Verizon towers.  I joined September 2019 and it's worked well.  The one caveat is I couldn't bring my own phone and had to buy one from Xfinity.  That was fine because I was looking for a new phone as my first priority and wasn't looking to switch providers.  I have visual voicemail and wifi calling.