PureTalk USA Cell Phone Plans Review 2020
PureTalk USA feels like the generic-brand version of AT&T—and that’s a good thing in this case. Kind of like how I save $15 opting for the generic Target-brand baby formula instead of the fancy Similac brand, you can save $10 to $40 on your wireless plan. Sure, you miss out on some of the big, name-brand perks, but overall, you get the AT&T network experience for a fraction of the price.
Before you get too excited about the prices, make sure to read the rest of the PureTalk USA review for details on data and deprioritization.
PureTalk USA data plans
Aim for a data plan in the middle.
- Affordable plans
- No overage charges
What we like
PureTalk USA serves up six different prepaid data plans ranging from $20 a month for one gig of data to $55 a month for unlimited data. You get the most value by choosing a plan somewhere in the middle.
Forget about the $20 Simply Smarter Plan because you can pay $5 more each month and triple your data. Likewise, forget about the unlimited plan because you can get a better deal elsewhere.
You’ll get the most bang for your buck by selecting one of the wireless deals below:
The above deals fall right in the sweet spot where you get the most value and don’t overpay for data plans. The deal gets even sweeter when you factor in the extra 10% off you get for the next two years.
Before you pick a plan, you need to pick a data allotment. You can get a good idea of how much data you’ll need by looking at your current data usage. Take a look at my data usage, for example.
An unlimited data plan makes the most sense for me. You probably use much less data than I do, but you should double-check on your phone to make sure. Once you have a better idea of how much data you use, just choose a PureTalk USA plan that reflects that.
No data overages
In essence, all of PureTalk USA’s wireless plans are unlimited plans. You won’t be charged a dime for going over your allotted data for the month. Instead, your data will be slowed 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 will drop down to 128 Kbps. With those speeds, it would take you about two hours to buffer an episode on Netflix.
So, yes, you’ll never be charged for going over your data allotment, but the catch is that your data will slow 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 any data. It’s a nightmare.
How do PureTalk USA plans compare?
PureTalk USA’s pricing blows the big providers out of the water. The above table is organized from least expensive to most, and you get three PureTalk USA plans in a row before you hit a Sprint plan.
Even the most expensive PureTalk USA plan ends up being cheaper than any AT&T and Verizon plans. You’ll notice T-Mobile didn’t even make it on this list—its plans were too expensive.
Still, since PureTalk USA is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), and it’s supposed to be cheaper than big wireless providers, it’s only fair to compare PureTalk USA with fellow MVNOs.
This is where things get a little more tricky. PureTalk USA doesn’t stand out nearly as much when paired with other MVNOs. To be fair, the difference between PureTalk USA 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 USA offers affordable wireless plans, but they’re not quite as cheap as some other MVNO providers on different networks. But if you want to get on AT&T’s network, it’ll be tough to find a better deal.
What we don’t like
Here’s the deal with all MVNO wireless providers: you get really cheap wireless, but your data speeds can be deprioritized at any time. For example, let’s say you (a PureTalk USA user) and a friend (an AT&T user) are walking around a busy mall.
Suddenly, your bars drop, and you can’t even get a text out. Meanwhile, your friend has no problem refreshing their Instagram feed. Considering PureTalk USA is on AT&T’s network, shouldn’t you and your friend have the same data speeds?
Wrong! Since PureTalk USA is an MVNO, its data speeds can be deprioritized in favor of AT&T users in congested areas. It’s kind of like having that thing on airlines when other people can get on the plane right away. Economy folks, like you and me, need to wait for our zone to be called. MVNOs are basically the economy airlines of cellular service.
PureTalk USA family data plans
PureTalk USA offers family plans, which is actually fairly rare in the MVNO wireless world. You can save money by bundling plans together, and you don’t have to pay any extra fees.
Here’s how the pricing breaks down for a PureTalk USA family plan with three people:
In this case, we’re using the Simply Starter plan, which usually costs $25 a line. By going with a family plan, you’re saving about $3 per line. It may not sound like much, but you end up saving $36 per line over the course of a year. You can buy a real nice meal for $36.
PureTalk USA’s family plans have the same pros and cons you would expect. Overall, it’s affordable pricing on a decent network, but your lines can be deprioritized.
PureTalk USA coverage
Reliable enough coverage with AT&T’s network
Since PureTalk USA shares AT&T’s network, you can expect pretty decent coverage. AT&T currently ranks in third place, offering 4G availability 88.9% of the time to its users.1 It’s a few notches below Verizon and T-Mobile in terms of coverage reliability, but as an AT&T user myself, my coverage feels consistent.
But due to deprioritization, you might experience less reliable coverage with PureTalk USA. It shouldn’t be a constant problem, and it really should flare up only when you’re in super crowded areas.
PureTalk USA cell phones and devices
iPhone users, avert your gaze.
PureTalk USA is compatible with the latest Samsung Galaxy devices (which is great), but it goes only as far as the iPhone 8 Plus for Apple devices (less than great). If you’re a die-hard Apple iPhone user, you’d be better off checking out another MVNO. But if you love that Android life, PureTalk USA works with the Galaxy S10.
Recap: Is PureTalk USA good?
PureTalk USA offers pretty cheap wireless deals with pretty decent coverage. Neither the deals nor the coverage are among the best available, but it’s a great fit for folks wanting an affordable wireless plan that’s compatible with the latest Android devices.
- Plans: PureTalk USA serves up lots of different data plans to choose from. The best part is that, no matter what data plan you choose, you won’t be charged for going over your data limit. You get the most value by choosing a data plan towards the middle (avoid the basic and unlimited plan).
- Coverage: PureTalk USA shares the AT&T network, and the coverage should feel reliable. Just watch out for your data slowing down in crowded areas.
- Devices: You can get the latest Samsung Galaxy devices with your plan, but the iPhone 8 is the newest Apple device available with PureTalk USA.
- Overall: PureTalk USA feels like a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. It doesn’t dominate any one category, but it still offers solid value.
Thinking of making the switch to PureTalk USA? What’s got you most interested in switching providers? Let us know in the comments below our PureTalk USA review.