Simple Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or MVNO for short, that’s owned and operated by TracFone Wireless, which owns multiple other MVNOs, like StraightTalk and Total Wireless. As a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, Simple Mobile doesn’t own or operate any cellular towers of its own.
Instead, they use T-Mobile’s network, buying texts, minutes, and data from the larger carrier at wholesale, then selling it for cheap to consumers. Because of this, while you should reap the same rewards of T-Mobile in terms of coverage and speed…
Actual availability, coverage, and speed may vary
Simple Mobile Plans + Pricing
Like many of its competitors, Simple Mobile splits its offerings between tiered-data plans and unlimited data plans. Let’s look at the Prepaid plans first, though.
|1GB*||$25/mo.|| ||View plans|
|2GB*||$30/mo.|| ||View plans|
|10GB*||$40/mo.|| ||View plans|
*Reflects regular data limit. Current deals noted below.
While the tiered plans regularly run at 1GB, 2GB, and 10GB of 4G LTE data (after hitting that threshold, your speeds drop down to 2G speeds; no fees, though), currently we like a lot of their deals. The 1GB plan goes up to 3GB and the 10GB plan rises to 15GB. Both specials are good through June, so there’s plenty of time for new subscribers to take advantage.
For the cost, that’s not bad, especially for casual Facebook or Instagram surfers who mainly stick to Wi-Fi anyway. But if you like to stream videos or play games, well, it’s a bit lacking.
|Truly Unlimited||$50/mo.|| ||View plans|
|Truly Unlimited||$60/mo.|| ||View plans|
Thankfully, Simple Mobile offers two unlimited plans, both of which are titled “Truly Unlimited”, which doesn’t confuse things for us at all… Running at $50 and $60 per month apiece, you get unlimited 4G LTE data — but notice the fine print (there’s a rather impressive list of asterisks and other footnotes on simplemobile.com) about throttling:
[throttling will begin] for a small number of customers who use >40GB.
Hmm. Since T-Mobile sets their data deprioritization threshold at 50GB, that’s not bad.
The only real difference between the 2 Truly Unlimited plans is that the $60 one includes a 10GB hotspot, too.
MetroPCS’s 2 comparable plans ($50 and $60, respectively) each offer greater hotspot data: 5GB and 15GB, alongside other features that Simple Mobile doesn’t. But, their threshold is set at just 35GB. That may not matter to most, but to those who stream and play games on their Wi-Fi, 5 gigs can make a difference.
|Plan||1 Line||2 Lines||3 Lines||4 Lines|
|$60 Truly Unlimited||$60/mo.||$85/mo.||$110/mo.||$135/mo.|
Simple Mobile does offer some pretty discounts for multiple lines, though. For their standard $25 per month plan, each additional line is just $20 per line. And for each of the other service plans, each additional line is just $25 per line.
The catch is that each additional line can’t be mixed-and-matched– they have to be same service plan. But, if you’re choosing the $60 Truly Unlimited plan, you save $35 per line– for 4 lines, you’d only pay $135 per month. If these discounts didn’t exist, you’d pay $240.
MetroPCS has a “4 lines for $100” multi-line discount plan, which looks better– until you look closer. MetroPCS begins reducing speeds of its users starting at 35GB (vs. Simple’s 40GB threshold), and the 4-lines plan doesn’t include hotspot– which Simple’s $60 plan does, with 10GB of 4G data.
Simple Mobile Auto Re-Up Discounts
Simple Mobile, like TracFone itself and other competitors, offers “re-up” discounts. Essentially, you sign up for your plan to be restarted (“re-upped”) when it expires at the end of 30 days. It’s a nice way to save a few bucks each month. That said, the discounts aren’t straightforward– each plan varies:
*For the first 3 months only.
**Limited time deal.
|Add-on||2 GB||5 GB||10 GB||International|
If you find yourself running up to that throttling threshold, or that data limit for the tiered plans, never fear– there’s always add-ons. Simple Mobile has three that extend data: 2GB, 5GB, and 10GB. The downside with these is that they don’t roll over into the next 30-day service cycle– if you don’t use it all, you’ve lost cash. And since it’d be extremely hard to use all of it, you will definitely lose some cash.
Simple’s international add-on, however, does roll over. While Simple Mobile includes international calling with its normal service plans, that only covers 69 countries. If the person you’re trying to call isn’t in one of those available countries, you’ll need the pay-as-you-go international plan.
Paying by the calling minutes, you can call any country worldwide. And, unlike the data add-ons, it rolls over up to 180 days– truly a pay-as-you-need-it service.
Cell Phones + Devices
|Apple||iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 6-8, iPhone 6-8S, etc.|
|Samsung||Samsung Galaxy J3, Samsung Galaxy S10E, Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy S10+, Samsung Galaxy Note8, etc.|
|Others||ZTE, LG, LG-Inc, Motorola|
Want the iPhone X? Samsung Galaxy S10? While Simple Mobile looks a little more limited than the big-name carriers (Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.), they still carry the latest top-brand smartphones, including those from Apple and Samsung.
They also offer a BYO Sim Kit option for just $0.99. As long as your phone is GSM-compatible, you’re good to go– same phone, same number. You can check if your phone is GSM-compatible here.
Finally, Simple Mobile offers some refurbished options, too. Those are just more limited by availability, so models vary widely.
Simple Mobile Coverage + Performance
As we mentioned earlier, Simple Mobile piggy-backs off of T-Mobile’s cell phone towers. As alluded to, while performance and coverage can be excellent for some users, that’s no guarantee that Simple will share T-Mobile’s coverage picture-perfect.
Just take a look at the map if you doubt — the green is good coverage, the faded-green is poorer, and the white sections have no coverage (poor Montana).
You’ll definitely be fine in metro areas– a trait Simple Mobile shares with T-Mobile– but don’t expect good service and speed on camping trips. The network just isn’t that great; if you want that kind of coverage, you’ll need to go for Big Red (not the gum, we mean Verizon).
All of Simple Mobile’s plans come with unlimited international texting from the U.S. So you don’t need to worry about extra charges for messaging your aunt in Calgary or your brother in Borneo. You also get unlimited talk for 69 countries, like we mentioned.
But if you want to go beyond those limitations, you have 2 options: unlimited international calls, or the $10 ILD card already mentioned.
|Unlimited international||Included in $50+$60 plans|| |
|ILD card||$10|| |
Customer service, unfortunately, is always a sensitive topic for carriers in the cell phone industry. Simple Mobile is no exception– reviews are mixed… at best. The most common complaints center around encountering time-consuming complications getting started, and the functionality of the smartphone app.
Yelp reviews, in particular, focused on another issue: canceling service. Former customers complained about a lack of requested refunds and repeatedly being transferred when on customer support. The overall star rating of those same reviews on Yelp plummeted to just 1.5.
Reviews on Best Buy, in comparison, gave a much more favorable 4.5 star rating, so take from that what you will.
Recap -- Is Simple Mobile Good?
So how good is Simple Mobile? Well, their data plans are pretty good, with reasonable prices.
If you’re wondering about how Simple Mobile holds up versus MetroPCS, their multi-line discount is good if you like the extra 5GB of data cap and a 10GB hotspot; less so in comparison to MetroPCS if you don’t care about those things.
Simple Mobile’s Truly Unlimited plans have a better data deprioritization threshold than MetroPCS, but the latter carrier offers hotspots in both of its plans, and Google One for the same price, making Simple Mobile’s unlimited plans fall a bit short.
Simple Mobile relies on T-Mobile’s network, which is best for those living in metros and the surrounding areas and typically poor in rural or non-city regions. Customers complained most about how much time it takes to get started and not being able to get refunds. If they improved, those things, Simple Mobile could dramatically help their business.
Best for: Great prepaid plans and excellent multi-line discounts, especially if you live in a metro area and don’t care about extra perks.
Does Simple Mobile allow international roaming?
Yes and no. Simple Mobile allows international roaming for 16 Latin American countries. In those countries, you’ll be able to use Voice, Text, MMS, and Data. These are the only countries Simple Mobile allows for international roaming currently, however.
Does Simple Mobile allow tablets? Can I bring my own?
Yes. If you already own a tablet, you can bring it over to the Simple Mobile network. Any tablet or device that supports a SIM card can be brought over. The only caveat is that to receive 3G and 4G LTE data speeds, your device must have the 1700 or 1900/AWS band; otherwise, it will only work on EDGE.
How long does it take to move my number over to a Simple Mobile phone?
The actual transfer of your current number to Simple Mobile varies: it can take anywhere from a few hours to several business days. According to Simple Mobile’s website, 95% of Simple Mobile activations are completed within 48 hours.