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Simple Mobile 4G Review

Updated on July 18, 2011

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).

Carrier
4G speed range
Cost for 450 min. voice plan (min/data limit)
Cost for unlimited voice plan (data limit)
AT&T
2-5 Mbps
$65/85 + taxes/fees (2GB/4GB)
$95/115 + taxes/fees (2GB/4GB)
Simple Mobile
2-5 Mbps
n/a
$60 (2GB)
Sprint
2-5 Mbps
$80 + taxes/fees (unlimited)
$110 + taxes/fees (unlimited)
T-Mobile
2-5 Mbps
$70/110 + taxes/fees (2GB/10GB)
$80/120 + taxes/fees (2GB/10GB)
Verizon
8+ Mbps
$90/140 + taxes/fees (2GB/10GB)
$120/170 + taxes/fees (2GB/10GB)

Data overages

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

Conclusions

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.

Comments

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    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      KJ & Paul Johnson: Nope, it doesn't. I've tried. I disabled Simple Mobile voicemail, and enabled Google Voice on my phone for voicemail. It doesn't pick up, because Simple Mobile doesn't support conditional call forwarding. When I tried to set up call forwarding, I also got a network error.

    • profile image

      Paul Johnson 

      6 years ago

      You can use Google Voice with Simple Mobile. Call 611 from your Simple Mobile line and ask 'em to disable voicemail on your line. Voila, GV works.

    • profile image

      KJ 

      6 years ago

      Re using Google voice for voicemail messages rather than Simple Mobile, next time you reup, uncheck the voicemail box. Then Google voice should work.

    • profile image

      Laurad 

      6 years ago

      You didn't mention that you must use an unlocked 4G T-Mobile phone or one on Simple Mobile's list to get those speeds. You cannot use an AT&T or Verizon phone because they are not using CDMA, per customer service. You'll only get 2G service, which I am currently getting with my HTC Inspire 4G! It crawls at 10Kbps!!! Snail speed! If you don't have an unlocked 4G phone that is on their list or a non-AT&T or Verizon phone, you're dead in the water or should I say air!

    • profile image

      chelsea 

      6 years ago

      Simple mobile and G2x does not mix. I hate I dropped T-Mobile. Simple Mobile 4g is extremely slow. You have to keep resetting to Simple Mobile through settings. I would much rather get my old service back!

    • Casey Strouse profile image

      Casey Strouse 

      6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I have an LTE hotspot with Verizon and love it. I get solid 1.5mbps speeds and can sometimes hit even higher sustained speeds here in Phoenix. I've had the device and service since November 2011 and this month for the first time ever have come close to my allotted 5GB of data transfer.

      They're terrible as a replacement for regular home internet connections but for someone like myself who works on the go all the time and has been super frustrated and missed client deadlines due to poor wifi at coffee shops the LTE hotspot I have has been a lifesaver.

    • profile image

      HDP 

      6 years ago

      Simple= Customer service reps that put you on hold if you complain about slow data. 3G plan is only 112kpbs. that is about as fast as the old dial up modems.

      I may try their 4G but skeptical about it since their advertising on the 3G is so false.

    • profile image

      Simple lover 

      6 years ago

      I just got simple mobile! I had a little problem at first! But issuse resolved n happy as a lock! I have a g2x! I can thether and everything.

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Craig: There's a widget (Data counter widget) that lets you know how much data you've used (you can change the start date to whatever you want). I check that periodically to make sure I'm not on pace to run aground of that 2GB limit.

    • profile image

      craig 

      6 years ago

      I'm on simplest unlimited 4g plan and love it on my amaze 4g but indeed I did go over my allowed 2gigs of dataand I'm down from 13 mbps download to 120kbps download big drop

    • livelonger profile imageAUTHOR

      Jason Menayan 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Jovanna: I can verify that you can, yes, tether your phone and have it function as a mobile hotspot. There have been several times I've done that, and it's easy. Keep in mind, though, that you're capped at 2GB per month total transfer, and when you use your phone as a hotspot, you are likely to eat up lots of data very quickly...

    • profile image

      Jovanna C 

      6 years ago

      I am still debating over switching to Simple Mobile or sticking with T-mobile. I was curious to know if I switch to Simple Mobile will I still be able to use my tehtering to connect to internet on my laptop (Lg G2x)If anyone knows please I'd appreciate it if you let me know...Thanks

    • profile image

      Chris 

      7 years ago

      Amazing help!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      7 years ago from Northern, California

      Outstanding review of the Simple Mobile 4G. This gives me pause to consider a change since I'm "shelling out a lot more money for a Verizon plan and phone that's compatible with the network." I appreciate how complete and easy to understand your review is. Thanks a bunch! Awesome stuff--

      K9

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      7 years ago from Jamaica

      It seems to me that Simple has the better plan at a fixed rate of $60, 2-5 mbps, only Verizon has better download speed but at a higher price. The speed test that you did showed that you got a better download with Simple mobile too, not by much but still better than T-Mobile.

      Good review!

    • BakerRambles profile image

      BakerRambles 

      7 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This was useful, and very detailed, Great Hub.

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