Discounted plans with plenty of hotspot data
PureTalk Cell Phone Plans Review 2023
PureTalk uses AT&T’s network to provide coverage for its customers, but there’s one major thing PureTalk offers that AT&T does not: Discounts. Since PureTalk operates as a prepaid cell phone carrier, it has the flexibility to offer regular promotions and discounts on cell phone service. Our advice is to only sign up for PureTalk when there’s an ongoing promotion, otherwise you can get better value elsewhere for your cell phone plan.
Lucky for you, at the time of writing this review, we’ve got a 25% discount lined up for the first three months of service. As long as that discount is still active, PureTalk offers good value.
PureTalk Cell Phone Plans
Here’s the full list of PureTalk cell phone plans currently offered:
PureTalk offers six cell phone plans to choose from, but you should only consider the discounted plans. For now, the 25% discount applies to the $45 Simply Smarter Plan, $55 Simply Smarter Plan, and the $65 Simply Smarter Plan only. Your choice of plan completely depends on how much high-speed data you see yourself using every month. The more you pay for your plan, the higher your data cap. Let’s walk through your options, starting with the $45 Simply Smarter plan with a 25 GB data cap and building our way up.
$45 Simply Smarter Plan
The $45 Simply Smarter plan gives you 25 GB of full-speed data every month. Once you pass that data threshold, your data speeds slow to a crawl. So for all intents and purposes, you essentially get 25 GB of data to spend every month with this plan. If you can comfortably stay under 25 GB of wireless data every month, then getting this plan at the discounted rate is a steal.
If you’re researching the best cell phone plans, you’ve for sure come across Mint Mobile and its heavily discounted unlimited plan (which is even cheaper than this PureTalk plan). Mint Mobile has PureTalk beat in terms of straight-up price, but PureTalk beats Mint Mobile with guaranteed high-speed data. While Mint Mobile may throttle data speeds at any time, PureTalk customers get guaranteed high-speed data until hitting their data cap. In other words, you can reliably use PureTalk to hail an Uber after a crowded concert without worrying about your data speeds slowing at the most inconvenient times.
On top of the high-speed data, you also get 5 GB of mobile hotspot data every month with PureTalk’s $45 Simply Smarter plan. It’s not enough hotspot data to facilitate working remotely wherever you want throughout the month, but it’s enough to give your toddler’s iPad a Wi-Fi signal if you need a moment's peace.
$55 Simply Smarter Plan
The next discounted plan gives you a whopping 60 GB of high-speed data every month, which for most people, essentially feels like an unlimited plan. Unless you plan on streaming 30+ movies every month with wireless data (meaning you’re not connected to Wi-Fi), you’d probably never come near your 60 GB monthly data cap.
You also get 20 GB of mobile hotspot data—another huge leap from the previous plan that only gave you 5 GB of hotspot data. We’re talking about enough hotspot data to work a handful of hours every month in the great outdoors with a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot connection.
Overall, the $55 Simply Smarter plan feels like the perfect middle ground between the two discounted PureTalk plans. You get significantly more high-speed data and hotspot data compared to the $45 Simply Smarter plan without a similarly large leap in price.
$65 Simply Smarter Plan
Jumping to the highest-tier PureTalk plan isn’t nearly as big of an upgrade as is the leap between the $45 plan and the $55 plan. The main difference is a jump from 20 GB to 30 GB of mobile hotspot data. The $65 Simply Smarter plan offers the same data cap as the $55 Simply Smarter plan (60 GB), so choose this plan only if you use a lot of hotspot data regularly.
No data overage charges with any PureTalk plan
In essence, all PureTalk’s wireless plans are unlimited plans. You don’t get charged a dime for going over your allotted data for the month. Instead, your data slows down to a snail’s pace after you pass your data threshold. We’re not kidding when we say snail’s pace—your data speeds drop down to 128 Kbps. With those speeds, it would take you about two hours to buffer through an episode on Netflix.
So, yes, no charges for going over your data allotment, but the catch is that your data slows down dramatically once you do. This is where Wi-Fi can really come in handy—the last thing you want is to be stuck in the DMV without data. That sounds like a living nightmare.
How do PureTalk plans compare with other carriers?
PureTalk’s pricing blows the big providers out of the water. With the active discount, PureTalk significantly undercuts similar plans from the major carriers. With the discount, even the most expensive PureTalk plan (the Simply Smarter $65 Plan) ends up cheaper than any plan from AT&T or Verizon.
Still, since PureTalk is a prepaid carrier, it’s supposed to be cheaper than big wireless providers, so it’s only fair to compare it with other prepaid carriers:
PureTalk doesn’t stand out nearly as much against other MVNOs. The difference between PureTalk and most other MVNO wireless providers is only a few bucks, but a few bucks every month can certainly make a difference over the course of a year.
Overall, PureTalk offers affordable wireless plans, but they’re not quite as cheap as some other prepaid providers on different networks. But if you want to get on AT&T’s network, PureTalk still gives you a good deal with the discounted plans.
PureTalk family plans
PureTalk offers a 20% discount when you add four or more lines to your account, which is fairly rare in the prepaid wireless world. And unlike the new customer discount, the family plan discount still applies even after three months of service.
Here’s how the pricing breaks down for a $55 Simply Smarter family plan with four lines:
By bundling four lines together, you save about $50 a month total. It’s not a life-changing discount when you split the savings across the four lines, but more discounts on an already inexpensive data plan never hurt.
PureTalk shares AT&T’s network, which means you can expect solid coverage. AT&T currently ranks in second place amongst the major networks, offering 4G coverage to 68% of the country. Verizon currently has the best network, offering 70% coverage reliability, and AT&T is only 2% behind.
PureTalk download speeds
AT&T leads the pack when it comes to download speeds. Users report an average download speed on AT&T around 27.5 Mbps, so you can expect something similar with PureTalk. You should have no problem pulling up Instagram Stories or scrolling TikTok without slowdowns.
PureTalk cell phones and devices
You can either purchase a phone directly from PureTalk, or you can just swap out the SIM card in your current phone. PureTalk sells all the newest phones from Apple and Samsung in its online store—you can even find discounted rates on phones like the iPhone SE (3rd Gen), iPhone 14 Pro Max, and Samsung Galaxy S23 models.
Here are the five most popular devices compatible with PureTalk right now:
Recap: Is PureTalk good?
PureTalk offers pretty cheap wireless deals with impressive coverage. It isn't the best for any one thing, but it covers all its bases quite well and offers up strong value.
- Plans: PureTalk serves up lots of different data plans to choose from, but you should only hop on a new plan if you get a discount. No matter what data plan you choose, you don’t incur charges for going over your data limit. We recommend the Simply Smarter $55 Unlimited Plan as the best value for the money.
- Coverage: PureTalk shares the AT&T network and its reliable coverage in most of the country—though there are some exceptions and dead spots in more rural areas.
- Devices: You can get the latest Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone devices directly from PureTalk’s online store, or you can just swap out the SIM card in your old phone.
- Overall: PureTalk feels like a jack of all trades, master of none. It doesn’t dominate any one category, but it still offers solid value if you can score a discount.
Thinking of making the switch to PureTalk? What’s got you most interested in switching providers? Let us know in the comments below our PureTalk review.
In case you’re curious, this is how we conducted our PureTalk review:
Cell phone plan value review
- Data collection: We looked at PureTalk's cell phone plans, pricing, and promotional deals.
- Comparative analysis: We compared PureTalk’s plans to similar offerings from other carriers in terms of pricing, data allowances, coverage, hotspot data, and any additional benefits.
- User feedback: We looked at user reviews and feedback from existing PureTalk customers on social media platforms, like Reddit.
- Network research: We researched the wireless network PureTalk uses, which is AT&T in this case. Research includes looking at coverage maps and third-party network performance reports, along with any anecdotal evidence we can provide.
- Testing Methodology: Whenever we can, we try to test out services for hands-on experience.
- Smartphone offerings: We looked at smartphones and devices offered by PureTalk and considered the variety of models available, factoring in availability for the latest smartphone releases, along with any exclusive deals or budget-friendly options.
- Compatibility and flexibility: For folks who want to transfer their smartphone over to PureTalk’s service, we factor in what that process looks like. With PureTalk, it’s as simple as inserting a new SIM card.