Update: we have since switched our service to Tracfone, a Net10 sister brand. You can check out my full Tracfone review here. I still think that Net10 is great for many users, but Tracfone came in a bit cheaper for us.
Prior to the switch my wife and I had a family plan through Verizon and we were paying $60 per month, which was their cheapest monthly plan.
Post Verizon, we paid $200 for the Ooma VOIP (one-time charge with no monthly fee), and we’re paying $30 per month for two cell phones through Net10. We’ve cut our phone bills in half, and actually have better all around service now. I recently provided an Ooma review, and this post will cover the second part of monthly budget slimming plan, cell phone service through Net10.
What is Net10?
Net10, Straight Talk, and Tracfone are all owned by the same company – America Movil – which has nearly 250 million subscribers worldwide. Net10 is an MVNO that operates off of other wireless carriers networks, such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, and phones can be either CDMA or GSM, based on the model that you purchase. LG, Motorola, and Nokia are some of the phone models available.
How does Net10 Work?
It’s pretty simple:
- You pay 10 cents per minute. Minutes are deducted from your total balance.
- Text messages sent and at first read when received are a deduction of half of a minute.
- Each minute of web access deducts a minute from your balance.
- You can buy airtime cards, usually in one month increments. For instance, you can buy 300 minutes and 60 service days for $30, or 10 cents per minute (hence the name).
- There is no monthly service fee (update: Net10 now also offers prepaid monthly service plans as well)
- You can purchase more minutes directly through your phone or online.
What are the Benefits of Net10 Over Other Carriers?
- No contracts. Don’t like the service? Your loss of investment is extremely limited.
- You see your service date and minutes remaining right on your phone screen so you don’t have to worry about where you stand with either. No accidental overage charges.
- No daily airtime fees. This is where you can save money over other prepaid carriers. A lot of the other prepaid cell plans charge you $0.99 or more for each day you actually use the phone in addition to the per minute charges.
- The phones are cheap. They’re basically free because they come with free minutes and service.
- Want to pay for what you actually get a-la-carte? This is your chance! I had so many minutes that I never used and was paying for with previous cell carriers.
- Rollover! Unused minutes during your service dates are banked and rolled over.
What is Net10’s Performance Like?
So far, so good. I haven’t had one dropped call and the clarity is actually better than with my Verizon phone. I’m not sure what carrier network I’ve been operating off of, but I live in a densely populated area with a big Verizon contingent. I really have nothing to complain about with the phone or the service.
Any Downsides to Net10?
One downside thus far is that their customer service has not been good. I’ve called in twice and you can get to a real person quickly, but the two that I’ve talked to had no idea what they were doing. They had to ‘check with their supervisor’ and put me on hold multiple times. Thankfully, I don’t think I’ll have to use them much. The only reason I had to in the first place was because my wife’s phone was stolen and I had to have it deactivated. Also, the phones available are not the latest and greatest, if being trendy or an early mover is a motivator for you.
Who is Net10 Convenient For?
Anyone who can limit their minutes and total cost to less than that of a monthly plan through other major carriers.
Who is Net10 Not Convenient For?
If you live and die by your unlimited data plan from another carrier, you’re probably not going to see Net10 as a good deal in comparison. Net10 does have an unlimited plan, but if that’s what you want, you’re probably better off going elsewhere – I’d recommend Republic Wireless.
Final Thoughts on Net10
I really can’t be happier in my switch from Verizon to Net10. It’s saving me about $30 per month ($360 per year), I feel like I’m much more in control of the minutes that I’m using, and the reliability of the airtime has been great. I give Net10 my full recommendation if your goals are in line with mine. You can check out Net10’s full offering of plans and phones here.
Net10 Review & Phone Bill Cutting Discussion:
- How have you been able to cut your monthly cell phone bills?
- Do you have experience with Net10 or a comparable prepaid provider? Share your experience.