Net10 Wireless is a prepaid cell phone service provider that says it can give you everything you love about your current network for a lower price.
Owned by TracFone Wireless, you may have seen Net10’s SIM kits for sale at major retailers alongside some of TracFone’s other brands like Total Wireless, Simple Mobile and Straight Talk.
I tried out Net10 Wireless for 30 days to see if it’s worth the savings. Here’s what you need to know before signing up…
Table of Contents:
- Plans and Pricing
- Network Partners
- Getting Started
- Phone Options
- Call and Text Performance
- Data Speeds
- Customer Service
1. Plans and Pricing
When I logged on to Net10’s website, I found more than a handful of smartphone service plans available. All of them had data caps. There is no unlimited data plan option with Net10.
As of March 2020, the cheapest plan is $20 per month before taxes and fees for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of high-speed data.
The 30-day plan I chose is $35 per month and provides unlimited talk, text and 4GB of 4G LTE data. The price drops to $31.50 if you sign up for the auto-refill feature.
With all of its plans, data is slowed to 2G speeds if you go over your monthly limit for high-speed data.
Like most prepaid carriers, there are no activation or cancellation fees with Net10 Wireless. There are also discounts if you add multiple lines to your account and set up auto-refill.
At the time of this writing, select plans now include international calling credit. Not all prepaid carriers offer that!
2. Network Partners
Net10 Wireless doesn’t own any cell phone towers, but it partners with the major wireless networks to provide service to its customers.
With Net10, you can likely keep your current network when you switch. A company spokesperson told me that Net10 uses the four major networks: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.
Customers get access to one of those networks, not all four. It’s determined based on your location and device.
3. Getting Started
You can get started with Net10 Wireless by visiting Net10Wireless.com or stopping by a retailer that sells the provider’s SIM kits.
When I entered my zip code on Net10’s website, I learned that retailers like CVS, Walgreens and 7-Eleven sell Net10 SIM cards, as do a number of smaller authorized retailers.
However, I chose to purchase an AT&T SIM kit on Net10’s website after checking phone compatibility. (More on that later.)
A few days after my order, FedEx delivered my Net10 activation kit, with a signature required. I was up and running within a few minutes by following these steps:
- Inserted SIM card into my phone
- Went to Net10’s special activation website
- Entered SIM card number
- Confirmed phone compatibility
- Chose whether to keep my number or get a new one
- Created a Net10 account
- Started my phone and began using it
The Net10 Wireless SIM kit includes step-by-step directions. If you’re not tech-savvy, you can always call customer service for assistance. The number is 877-836-2368.
4. Phone Options
Most Net10 customers will likely want to keep the smartphone that they already have. To make sure that’s possible, go to Net10’s website and select the option to check compatibility. Your device will determine which network you’ll be assigned.
For those who want a new phone, Net10 has a limited selection of devices available for sale online.
When I checked Net10’s website, there were 17 devices for sale from brands like Apple, Samsung, LG and Motorola. The majority of the phones were priced less than $50.
If you want a more high-end phone, you can always buy an unlocked device somewhere else and bring it to Net10.
5. Call and Text Performance
For my 30-day test, I experienced zero dropped calls and zero missing texts with Net10 Wireless. My Moto G6 smartphone was compatible with AT&T, so that’s the network I was assigned to.
Wi-Fi calling is a feature that Net10 makes available, but your phone must have Wi-Fi calling capabilities.
6. Data Speeds
When I’ve tried out other TracFone-owned brands, data speeds have averaged around 10 Mbps. That’s fast enough to stream video or music, surf the web and check your emails.
With Net10, I averaged a download speed of 11.8 Mbps based on six tests from SpeedTest.net.
I opened up YouTube and played a video after every speed test to see if there were any performance issues, but there were none. Even at 5 Mbps, I was able to watch a video with no buffering.
7. Customer Service
Net10 Wireless has no stores, so customer service is handled by phone or live chat. For this review, I contacted Net10 several times and received prompt answers to my questions — with little or no wait time.
I preferred phone customer support over chat because the representatives appeared to be more knowledgeable.
If you need quick answers to common questions like data usage, dial 611611 from your Net10 phone. This text helpline is a feature that all of the TracFone brands offer.
If you’re trying to leave one of the Big 4 carriers, Net10 makes it easy. In most cases, you can keep your network, keep your phone and even keep your phone number!
And with a presence in major retailers nationwide, you can walk into a store and purchase a SIM card today if you want to.
For those who are new to prepaid carriers, I like TracFone’s brands like Net10 because there are no activation fees or long-term commitments. If it doesn’t work out, just try another service at the end of your billing cycle.
To learn about other low-cost options, see Clark’s list of the best cell phone plans and deals!
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