Lately with Clark and Taylor giving a lot of information about Prepaid plans and carriers, I started doing a lot of research to find out what was best for me. When considering a cellular network to go with in the US, you basically have 4 choices: Verizon, ATT, TMobile, and Sprint. (Note I’m talking about cellular network/towers, not service)
My priorities for choosing a service, in order of most important to least important, include:
- Customer Service
Each person will have different priorities, and certainly different coverage based on their location. For me, Verizon has perfect coverage and great reliability. The worst part was the price. Seeing prepaid services for $35-50/month was embarrassing for me, knowing how much I was paying ($170/month for 2 smartphones with unlimited data). I don’t care about download/upload speed as much because for me 3G is fast enough, whether at 1Mbps or 3Mbps. Based on these priorities I knew I needed to stay with Verizon’s CDMA network. I started looking around and found Page Plus Cellular.
Reviewing the plans it seemed almost too good to be true. 3 Plans with data ranging from $30-55. For people switching from being on contract with one of the “Big 4”, “The 55” plan is most like any contract plan: Unlimited Call, Unlimited Text, 2Gb of data, $55. Doing 2 phones of that plan would save me $1440 over the life of the standard 2 year contract. I was sold.
Now that I knew I’d be saving tons of money (in my world that is a good sized chunk of change), I wanted to see what would be good about switching to this new company. First, and most importantly for my wife, we HAD to keep her number. Her business is run through that number, so losing it was not an option. We ported both of our numbers over in one evening, even when having to get approval from Verizon.
The biggest part of being content in my decision is that now that I have switched to PagePlus, my cell-service, quality, and coverage has not changed from the previous 9 years I was on Verizon. I can’t tell I’m using a different service.
Another aspect is that I found a “Page Plus Dealer” in the mall by my house that could do the initial porting, sign up, and setup. I wanted this because it was my first time on prepaid service and I wanted to make sure the transition went through without a hitch. I’ll cover the importance of this later in “The Bad” section.
Any Verizon 3G phone will work instantly with Page Plus. This is great because my wife and I already have 3G Verizon phones that we’re happy with. Also, any Non-Verizon CDMA phone can be flashed to work on PagePlus.
Signing up for an account on their website allows you to manage every aspect of your account including AutoPay, renewing for another month, changing plans, and “stacking” months.
No LTE as of yet. I know I said I don’t care about speed at all, but the problem is that Verizon’s LTE phones don’t work “stock”. Flashing is required to get an LTE phone of any CDMA band to work with PagePlus. This is an issue because Verizon is no longer releasing Non-LTE phones to the market, so flashing will take lots of study, effort, and heartache or just money and potential heartache. Along with that, if you decide to flash an LTE phone, many have had issues with being able to only get 1x speeds once flashed over. Getting 3G to work still remains a handful.
It has been noted so far that many Prepaid companies have bad customer service. PagePlus is no exception to this. So far all my dealings with their customer support representatives have been pleasant and helpful for anything I’ve needed to address, but my shortest on-hold-wait-time has been 8 minutes. My longest wait time was approximately 25 minutes. When you do get on the phone with them, there is a lot of noise in the background (other people working hard, scrambling around), but all my questions have been answered in a sufficient way. When doing my research I knew this was the case. I read many reviews on the internet giving them 1 or 2-star ratings because you have to wait on hold every time you call in. I was prepared to make this leap to PagePlus because saving $1440 a year is worth that extra few minutes on hold the few times I need to call in.
I wish I could go out and buy a phone like the Nexus 4 and have it unlocked and ready to go with my service. Do I miss it enough to switch to a GSM service? Not quite yet. I’ll play this one out for now, as I am content and enjoying a hassle free experience.
PagePlus is a great service for those who want to leave Verizon because of the pricing and “random charges” to their phone bill, but don’t want to leave the reliability of their network. It may not have the variety of plans/service one can get from going to a GSM prepaid plan, but it allows you to keep the peace of mind if of using their network.
I am planning on jumping to a Galaxy Nexus or Razr MAXX once my phone dies, and therefore will have to flash, but there is a lot of support popping up at XDA for these phones on Page Plus. It is a growing company and I have a feeling they’ll soon (6 months) be allowed to have access to Verizon’s LTE because of the phone options that are available.
If you have any questions about jumping to this, I’ll be more than happy to answer them for you. Or if you have any experience, good or bad, share it below.