I Switched My Family from Verizon to Net10 Wireless and save $33 a Month

A reader, Susan writes,

Hi Bob,
Your tutorial was amazing. I had no idea where to start and you took me through it step by step. I followed your steps and easily set up data and MMS picture messages on the first try.

The fact that you had such a great tutorial available made buying my unlocked Nexus 5 and Net10 sim card a little less scary. This is my first smart phone (I know, welcome to the new millenia).

I used these settings:
APN: wap.tracfone
MMSC: http://mms.tracfone.com
MMS proxy: 216.155.165.40
MMS proxy port: 8080

A note on actually activating my phone: I received my phone and sim card in the mail. I could not for love or money get my phone activated by purchasing a Net10 plan online. This may be because I was porting my number from Verizon.

I had to buy a $50 minutes card at a retailer so I had a PIN to enter when prompted during the port process. I plan to sign up for the $50 monthly unlimited plan with auto refill so it will cost $45/mo.

Since you asked another user about cost savings, I thought I’d let you know how I decided to buy an unlocked Nexus 5 and Net10 service. My partner and I had a family plan with Verizon that cost about $93/mo including 700 shared minutes, 250 texts, taxes, etc. We had two lines and these were not smart phones, just flip phones for voice and text.

My partner needed a new flip phone so we ordered a basic model from Net10 with a $15 limited minutes plan just to try it out. The phone was only $5 plus $7 shipping! We ported the number, signed up for a auto refill monthly plan, and within minutes he was off Verizon.

In the Columbus, OH area, the signal is excellent. We constantly had dropped calls with Verizon, and their solution was to try to sell us a signal booster for $200. I had to always make calls from a bathroom where the signal was strongest. Since he had such good luck with his phone, I ordered a Nexus 5, protective case, and sim card.

My plan will cost $45/mo, so plus his $15/mo plan we’re saving $33 dollars each month. In about 14 months we’ll recover the cost of my phone. If we’d added a smart phone to Verizon, our bill would have gone up to about $123 per month. We’re paying less than half of that for excellent service, plus no contract. Not to mention the cost of a Galaxy or iPhone with a contract-it wouldn’t have been free, even with rebates.

When we reviewed our text and voice usage, we decided it would be worth a little extra to have one phone with unlimited usage up to 2.5GB. We use my phone for lengthy calls to family, tech support, etc. I haven’t downloaded much but browsing the internet is very fast with or without wifi. I’m leaving my friends’ HTC and iPhone in the dust.

Overall Net10 is a great way to save money without compromising service or getting tied down with a contract. I loved my pay-as-you-go phone when I lived in England 10 years ago and couldn’t understand why everyone in the US was buying contracts.

Thanks again for your awesome tutorial. I really appreciate the work you put into making it so detailed. I appreciate your tutorials and blog so much! I’d like to make a donation. Are you set up for that via Paypal?

Susan

Hi Susan,
Thank you so much for your kind remarks and sharing your Net10 story with us. Please forgive the my delayed response but I wanted to take the time to reply by in a post on the site rather than in the comments.

Congratulations on your Nexus 5, its an awesome phone and a great value. I am glad to hear that you were able to follow the guide, and that you got your phone working on the first try. The fact that this is your first smartphone just goes to prove that given a little information, people can sign up for prepaid wireless, set their phones up and save.

Thanks for sharing the settings that worked for you, its been a while since I have heard someone report that set of values working, I wish Net10 would just standardize on one set, but I guess I just keep documenting the ones I hear about.

I use the same Net10 plan myself. I have been pretty happy. I activated some phones recently with Straight Talk (same company as Net10), and I can report having problems completing the port online. NOTE, if you entered your credit card online when you tried to activate the phone, check you credit card statement and make sure your weren’t billed for it. If so, call them and get a refund or service credit. I had that problem myself.

I am glad to hear about your $33 a month savings too. And yes, you will pay off the phone in less than a year and a half. You could easily keep this phone for three or more years. You also have the option to sell the phone to Gazelle or on eBay, and buy a new phone too. Now that you have embraced smartphones, maybe you’ll want the latest Nexus phone then. either way, its a win for you!

Your experience with Verizon also reflects an important point. When shopping for wireless service it’s important to pick the company with a network that have good coverage where you live, work, or plan to use your phone. I have seen many people sign up for prepaid, only to realize they are no on a network with little to no coverage in their area. That is a painful experience.

As you may have noticed when you signed up. Net10 has recently added tiered plans. If you find you aren’t using all that data, you can go to a $40 a month plan and save an extra $120 a month (not sure if the $40 plan gets the $5 auto refill discount).
I am happy to hear you data is fast. If you get a chance, install the Speedtest app and measure your data speeds.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.zwanoo.android.speedtest
I’d like to hear what speeds you are getting. The app also keeps a history of results, so many people use the app to figure out if there phone got slower over time.

I also wanted to point out, that based on your APN settings, you may be using Net10’s T-Mobile network. Net10 uses both the ATT and Tmobile network based on which SIM card you use. I don’t know if whether the AT&T or T-Mobile network is the better choice where you live. If you find you have a problem on one network, you can transfer your service to the other network just by getting the right SIM card and transfering to it online.

Most Europeans are more familiar with GSM phones with SIM cards, contract free service, and generally much less expensive phone service. People accepted the contracts as a part of getting an inexpensive phone. I think this is changing as more and more Americans are realizing the total cost of ownership of a smartphone.

I agree with you that Net10 is a great way to save money and for many people the service works just as well as any of the post-paid carriers. When it works well its great. When their is a problem, you can’t just walk into a store in the mall and get help. I encourage people consider prepaid wireless and try to provide the information needed to make an informed choice.

And guess what, your story here is now part of helping others! That’s why I love to hear from readers.

Finally, thank you for the offer to donate. I will eventually get a donate button set up. For now, I’d just ask you if you use Facebook or Twitter to follow or like us. I am trying to improve my use of social media. If you don’t use social media, thats ok. Remember to refer your friends to smartphonematters. Also, from time to time come back and check the site. I am working on some new projects and working to grow the site.

Thank you again for sharing your story. Its nice to hear the success stories.

Regards
Bob

3 Comments

  1. Susan | |

    Thanks for the reply, Bob. I looked at several websites with ratings of service in the Columbus area before deciding to go with AT&T, and so far my signal has been great all over town. If it changes I will definitely think about switching-I love the flexibility of not being locked in with a carrier.
    I’m more familiar with my phone now and love the seamless integration with google products, which I’ve been using on computers for years.
    I just installed the Speed Test app and I’m at 14.5 Mbps for downloads and 1.62 Mbps for uploads over the mobile network. The speed of my phone puts my Surface tablet to shame. I’m able to download videos for school and watch them on my phone in a matter of seconds.
    Thanks again! I’m getting a great value-I’m saving $33 over what I was spending for flip phones, and $63 over what I’d be spending for less data, minutes, and signal strength from Verizon.

  2. john | |

    Hi Bob, i need some help with installing the carrier update tfw 15.6 and removing 15.7… i followed your instructions the best i could however, after downloading the file i am not able to get it to the phone. please help. i am running windows 64bit. my email is xxxx if you can help… thank you….

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi john,
      What is the problem you are having?
      Regards
      Bob

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