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Net10 Wireless Cell Phone Plans Review
Net10 is a prepaid Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that can hop on any network in the country and hook you up with whatever carrier gets you the strongest signal. Instead of being on one network, you are on all the networks—which means reliable coverage. The main catch is that your data speeds will probably slow down every month due to low data caps.
An MVNO wireless provider uses other networks to provide coverage. It’s essentially a cheaper way to get on the Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, or AT&T networks.
Net10 Wireless data plans
- Unlimited data
- No contract
- Low data caps
What we like
Net10 Wireless gives its user a lot of flexibility. If you pass your data cap in a month, you won’t have to worry about incurring extra fees. If you want to switch to a different carrier, you can do that at any time.
Every single Net10 Wireless plan claims to offer unlimited data, and it’s technically true. You’ll never get charged for going over any data limits in a month—but you can run out of high-speed data. When you choose a plan, you’re basically deciding how much guaranteed high-speed data you want. You can choose anywhere between 1 GB of high-speed data for $20 a month or 12 GB of high-speed data for $60 a month.
Even though you can easily run out of high-speed data in a month, it’s nice knowing you won’t have any extra charges on your mobile bill. You can avoid getting that stressful text that says you’ve used 75% of your data for the month. It’s the worst when you get “the text” and you still have like two weeks left in the month.
Which Net10 Wireless plan should I get?
To get the most bang for your buck, we would recommend going with the $35 Unlimited Plan. Your prepaid wireless plan will give you unlimited talk and text and 4 GB of high-speed data for $31.50 at the beginning of the month.
If you sign up for autopay with your plan, you’ll get a discount and pay $31.50 for the $35 plan. You’ll save more than $50 over the course of the year with the autopay discount. You know what costs $50? Oh I don’t know, video games, nice dinners, or concert tickets. Go spend that money you’re saving on something you want.
For most folks, 4 GB of data should be plenty for a month. If and when you pass that 4 GB of data, your mobile speeds will slow down, but you’ll still have unlimited data to fall back on. So, it all depends on how much data you use in a month. Check your data usage on your current plan and see how much GBs you need..
I’ll show you my data usage as an example:
As you can tell by my whopping 115 GB of used data last month, I would not be a good fit for Net10 Wireless. Then again, I pay way more on an AT&T wireless plan than you would on a Net10 Wireless plan. If you aren’t much of a data fiend, then you can make Net10 wireless work for you.
You can save your high-speed data by getting on Wi-Fi wherever you go. Tons of places offer Wi-Fi these days—sometimes you just need to ask for the password.
You have an easy out of Net10 Wireless if you ever decide to move on. Even if you sign up for the prepaid autopay discount, you can still cancel your plan at any time without incurring extra fees. So if a wild deal (like these) comes along with another mobile provider, you can just cancel your plan with Net10 Wireless and jump to another carrier.
What we don’t like
Net10 Wireless was not designed for folks who use a lot of data in a month. If you are a data fiend (like me), you can end up using your high-speed data pretty quickly and be stuck with terrible data speeds.
Low data caps
Net10 Wireless’s high-speed data caps are so low that you can count on your data slowing down to a crawl every month. You have to pay big money (up to $60 a month) for higher data caps on Net10 Wireless. If you’re paying upwards of $60 a month for an MVNO like Net10, you’d be better off with another cell phone plan.
Net10 Wireless was intended for folks who don’t use a ton of mobile data. Even though the plans are advertised as “unlimited,” it won’t really feel like it toward the end of the month when you’ve used your high-speed data. It’s kind of like having “unlimited” access to a car with a few drops of gasoline left.
We haven’t got a firm answer from Net10 Wireless on how slow your data can become, but we’d guess your 4G data speeds will be downgraded to 2G data speeds (between 0.1 and 0.2 Mbps). If you ever owned a PalmPilot back in the day, your internet connection will feel kind of how that felt. (Very slow.)
Here’s the catch with every MVNO wireless provider: your data speeds and coverage will be deprioritized on whatever network you’re on. In other words, your Net10 Wireless coverage might drop out of nowhere when you’re in a crowded area. That's because the Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint networks will always cater to their own customers before providing coverage for MVNO users.
So if you’re at a crowded airport, sports arena, or concert, there’s a chance your coverage can suddenly drop.
How do Net10 Wireless plans compare?
What a relief—Net10 Wireless’s most basic unlimited plan ends up cheaper than the other providers. Keep in mind that the low price comes with the significant catch of having limited high-speed data. You can pay less for Net10 Wireless than you would compared to a bigger provider, but your data speeds won’t be as quick.
Now, let’s compare Net10’s basic plan with fellow MVNOs:
Net10 ends up towards the middle of the pack of the most popular MVNOs. It’s a few dollars more expensive than an MVNO like Ultra Mobile, PureTalk USA, or Simple Mobile—and it doesn’t come with as much high-speed data as Simple Mobile either.
The one advantage Net10 has over the competition is its multi-network access. Most MVNOs hook up to just one network, whereas Net10 can connect to multiple networks. In theory, your coverage should be more reliable with Net10 Wireless than your typical MVNO.
Net10 Wireless coverage
Net10 Wireless doesn’t use just one network, it uses all the networks. At least, all of the big four networks (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon). What network you're on depends on where you are and what kind of device you are using.
The easiest way to find out what kind of coverage you can expect in your area is to enter your ZIP code here and check out the coverage map. In general, your coverage should be better with Net10 than your average MVNO. That’s a major plus in Net10 Wireless’s favor.
Net10 Wireless cell phones and devices
Another thing Net10 Wireless has going for it—it's compatible with the latest and greatest devices. You can get a Google Pixel 4, iPhone 11, or Samsung Galaxy S10 with your Net10 Wireless plan. The main thing to know is that you’ll have to pay more upfront for your new device than you would with a bigger provider like Sprint.
For example, you would have to shell out $699 upfront if you wanted an Apple iPhone 11 64 GB. Of course, you can always bring an unlocked phone into the equation and insert your Net10 Wireless SIM card in your old device.
Yes. Net10 Wireless allows users to bring your own phone (BYOP) and offers a long list of compatible phones. If you want to keep your Apple iPhone, Android, or Google phone, chances are you can transfer over to your Net10 Wireless plan.
For reference, here are the top five cell phone devices for Net10 Wireless users.
Top Net10 Wireless devices
Recap: Is Net10 Wireless good?
Net10 Wireless has the advantage of working on multiple networks, but its data caps are relatively low considering its price. In other words, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting a signal anywhere in the country, but once you pass your data threshold for the month, your speeds will slow down dramatically.
Net10 Wireless makes the most sense for folks who don’t use much data and don’t want to worry about data overages.
Plans: Net10 Wireless offers a bunch of “Unlimited Plans,” but that’s a misleading name. The main difference between the plans is your data cap. Once you pass that data cap, your data will slow down so much it won’t feel like an unlimited plan. If you can choose a Net10 Wireless data plan and stay below your data cap every month, you’ll get a pretty good deal.
Coverage: Net10 Wireless should have better coverage than your average MVNO cellular wireless provider. It will hook you up to whatever network carries the strongest signal in your area.
Devices: All the latest devices from Apple, Android, and Google will work with your Net10 Wireless plan. Just expect to pay a big chunk of change for a new device.
Overall: Net10 Wireless offers reliable coverage and affordable pricing, but you need to stay below your data cap or internet access on your phone will be a slog.
If you’re currently a user with Net10 Wireless, please let us know how you would rate your coverage. Do you find it more reliable than you expected? For those of you who are thinking of making the switch to Net10 Wireless, let us know why in the comments below.