Simple Mobile 4G Review
I have been using Simple Mobile for a couple of weeks now, after having used T-Mobile 4G (HSPA+) for about a month prior to that. With both carriers, I have used my unlocked HTC Sensation, a 4G-capable GSM phone.
Here are pluses and minuses of Simple Mobile, compared to T-Mobile:
- (+) Cheaper plan - $60 all-included includes unlimited voice, SMS (text) and 2 GB of 4G data using T-Mobile's network (a similar offering from T-Mobile runs about $10/month more, and requires a contract).
- (+) No contract - it's all month-to-month.
- (+) You're not a customer of T-Mobile, so if you want to buy a subsidized phone later from T-Mobile, you can do so when switching from Simple Mobile. [That was, incidentally, my motivation. See the blue text box to the lower right for more]
- (-) Since Simple Mobile doesn't have conditional call forwarding, you can not use Google Voice for voicemail.
- (-) You can't choose a plan with more (or less) data; you're capped at 2 gigs, and if you exceed that in a month, then your data speeds slow down to a crawl for the rest of your billing period (the same is the case for T-Mobile).
Simple Mobile 4G data speeds
Since Simple Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), using T-Mobile's GSM and data infrastructure, its data speeds are, unsurprisingly, strikingly similar to it. See the bandwidth tests I took at 2 very different locations in San Francisco; the speeds are generally the exact same.
T-Mobile's/Simple Mobile's HSPA+ (its 4G offering) is quite a bit slower than Verizon's LTE, but comparable to Sprint's WiMax and AT&T's HSPA+. Keep in mind, though, that Verizon's astounding speed comes at a price, which is substantially higher than its competitors.
While coverage can really vary, these ranges give you a taste of what to expect, and how much 4G access costs per month (assuming unlimited text messages).
4G speed range
Cost for 450 min. voice plan (min/data limit)
Cost for unlimited voice plan (data limit)
$65/85 + taxes/fees (2GB/4GB)
$95/115 + taxes/fees (2GB/4GB)
$80 + taxes/fees (unlimited)
$110 + taxes/fees (unlimited)
$70/110 + taxes/fees (2GB/10GB)
$80/120 + taxes/fees (2GB/10GB)
$90/140 + taxes/fees (2GB/10GB)
$120/170 + taxes/fees (2GB/10GB)
Each carrier handles data overages differently.
- AT&T: $10 per additional GB
- Simple Mobile: Speed slows down substantially for the remainder of the billing period
- Sprint: unlimited currently with no overages
- T-Mobile: Speed slows down substantially for the remainder of the billing period
- Verizon: $10 per additional GB
If you want decent speeds to download sites, email, apps, and even music, on the go, then Simple Mobile's a good option if you have a 4G GSM phone. It's certainly much cheaper than either T-Mobile or AT&T, which also run on the 4G GSM (HSPA+) data networks.
However, if you just want unlimited bandwidth and are willing to pay for it, your best bet is to shell out a lot more money and buy a Verizon plan and phone that's compatible with the network.
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