After T-Mobile didn’t work out for me, I decided to try Net10 Wireless. Net10 Wireless offers a Bring your Own Phone Plan that lets you use your phone from ATT or T-Mobile. Net10 Wireless is a what’s known in the industry as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or MVNO for short. Unlike ATT, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint, an MVNO doesn’t actual own a their cell phone network. An MVNO buys cell phone service in bulk and resell it to customers under their own brand.
In Net10’s case, they buy service from both ATT and T-Mobile so that they can offer customers cell service nationwide. If you own an iPhone, this is great news because the ATT version of the iPhone will work very well. I signed up for Net10’s Nationwide Unlimited Data, Text, and Talk Plan for $50 a month.
Remember that I paid full price for my iPhone, $649. That’s $450 more than if I bought one with a 2 year contract. The Net10 service is $50 a month. If you sign up for the auto-enroll plan, you save $5, so the cost is $45 a month.
At a savings of $40 a month, I would be paying off the difference in cost of my iPhone in a little over 11 months. The difference between $649 – $199 = $450. $450 / $40 = 11.2 months.
With Net10 Wireless, I am enjoying a number of advantages. First is the cost savings, which is actually a little less expensive than the T-Mobile option I had. The next major benefit is 4G data speeds and better call quality because Net10 is using the ATT network.
While I get 4G data speeds with my iPhone 5 on Net10, I am not getting LTE, the fastest type of 4G service that ATT offers. LTE support was one of the big improvements in the iPhone 5. ATT does not currently offer LTE service to any of their MVNOs or their own prepaid service plans.
Getting your phone set up with Net10 is harder than T-Mobile was. With T-Mobile, I went into the retail store in the mall. For Net10, it was a do-it-yourself process.
I had to spend $15 to buy a SIM card. I bought mine at RadioShack. If I had to do it again, I’d would have shopped online or ordered from eBay and found one that was a cheaper.
The package comes with three SIM cards. You choose the one that is right for your phone. There are two for the ATT network and one for T-Mobile. Unfortunately, Net10 doesn’t include a nano SIM card for the iPhone 5. To make this work, you need to cut the SIM card to fit in your phone. It’s not hard to do, but it is not as easy as standing in the store while a salesman does all the work.
Finally, after getting your SIM card ready and paying for service. You need to configure your phone for the Web and MMS or picture messaging to work. None of this is rocket science, mind you, but it is a extra work, that you won’t need to go through if you used ATT, Verizon, Sprint or even T-Mobile.
I plan on posting a step-by-step guide on the site to help you use your iPhone with Net10.
As of this writing, I am still using Net10 and happy with the service. I may however soon be switching to StraightTalk.