Total Wireless Cell Phone Plans Review

If you need a well-priced prepaid plan without the frills, check out Total Wireless.
total wireless logo
If you need a well-priced prepaid plan without the frills, check out Total Wireless.
Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Uses Verizon's network
Competitive pricing
Plans lack features

Overview

We understand minimalism in terms of closets and homes, but minimalism in a phone plan? We’re not sure what to make of it.

Total Wireless plans and prices

DataPrice*Learn more
None$57 for 30 daysView plans
5 GB$33.20 for 30 daysView plans
15 GB$57 for 30 daysView plans
20 GB$80.70 for 30 daysView plans
25 GB$95 for 30 daysView plans

* Prices include discounts for autorefill and paperless billing where applicable. Tax and fees not included.
** Data for multi-line plans is shared. Information effective 8/31/18. Offers, pricing, and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. 

But if you’d rather skip all the frills that come with most other cell phone plans, Total Wireless might be a match made in heaven for you. Oh, and it costs less than most competitors. Cue the celebratory fist pump.

Total Wireless prepaid plans and pricing

It scores an A+ for low prices, but Total Wireless needs improvement when it comes to plan features. 

Prices for Total Wireless plans are refreshingly low. Prepaid plans from other companies will have you pay more for the same amount of data—or, in some cases, less data.

Take Total’s 5 GB plan, for example. Here’s how it compares to some other prepaid carriers out there.

Total Wireless plans and prices

DataPrice*Learn more
None$57 for 30 daysView plans
5 GB$33.20 for 30 daysView plans
15 GB$57 for 30 daysView plans
20 GB$80.70 for 30 daysView plans
25 GB$95 for 30 daysView plans

* Prices include discounts for autorefill and paperless billing where applicable. Tax and fees not included.
** Data for multi-line plans is shared. Information effective 8/31/18. Offers, pricing, and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. 

But while the price for the amount of data you get makes your wallet happy, the lack of features included in your plan might leave you feeling high and dry.

One huge gap in Total Wireless’s offerings is that it lacks any type of unlimited data plan. By comparison, both Boost Mobile and MetroPCS—not to mention many other prepaid carriers—offer at least one unlimited data option. So if you’re big on streaming videos with your mobile device, Total Wireless may not measure up.

Total Wireless price comparisons

CarrierPrice*DataLearn more
Total Wireless$33.20 for 30 days5 GBView plans
MetroPCS$40/mo.5 GBView plans
Boost Mobile$35/mo.3 GBView plans

* Prices include discounts for autorefill and paperless billing where applicable. Tax and fees not included.
** Data for multi-line plans is shared. Information effective 8/31/18. Offers, pricing, and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. 

As far as other features, here’s where Total Wireless falls behind.

Total Wireless plan features comparison

FeatureTotal WirelessMetroPCSBoost Mobile
Unlimited talk and textYesYesYes
Mobile hotspotNo3/4 plansYes
Unlimited music streamingNo3/4 plansYes
Caller IDNoYesYes—$3/mo.
Learn moreView plansView plansView plans

Total Wireless add-ons

If you’re looking for more data or international calling, look no further than Total Wireless’s low-priced add-ons.

You can grab 5 GB of extra data for just $10—you only get 4 GB of extra data for $10 from MetroPCS. And Boost Mobile only gives you 2 GB for ten bucks.

Total Wireless add-ons

Add-onPrice
5 GB data$10
Global calling**$10
View plansView plans

* Tax and fees not included.
** Only for calls originating in the U.S. Information effective 8/31/18. Offers, pricing, and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. 

We also like that Total Wireless’s data add-on doesn’t expire if your service is active—and it won’t be spent until you’ve already used all the data that comes with your plans.

However, the biggest bonus is that any unused data you’ve added on will keep rolling over. (As long as you keep your service active, of course.) That means you can save up your data for when you really need it.

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Find the best prepaid plan

Check out our review of the Best Prepaid Cell Phone Plans.

For example, one Total Wireless reviewer mentioned they use data only when they go out of town, making the price of a data plan not quite justifiable.

So the reviewer purchased the no-data plan and they add 5 GB of add-on data when they travel instead. That data keeps rolling over, so they’re able to use it as they please instead of paying for unused data every month.

Total Wireless phones and devices

Total Wireless has Apple and Samsung—but Google phones are left out. 

Gotta have the latest model? Total Wireless likely has you covered—as long as you’re shopping for an Apple or Samsung phone.

Google fans will be able to use Total Wireless only if they bring their own phone. Sad day, we know.

If you’d rather save a buck or ten, Total Wireless also has several older models as well as refurbished phones to choose from.

Which top phones does Total Wireless have?

MakeModelLearn more
iPhoneX, 8/8 Plus, 7/7 Plus, 6/6 Plus, SEView options
SamsungGalaxy S9/S9+, S8/S8+, S7, Note8, J7 Sky ProView options
GoogleBring your own deviceView options

How good is Total Wireless’s performance?

Total runs on the Verizon network, so coverage is excellent but speeds could be slow.

Total Wireless runs on the Verizon network, so you can count on some pretty expansive coverage.

In fact, we rank Verizon’s coverage first out of the top four carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint are the rest)—and third-party tests confirm that.1, 2 That means you’ll have a signal almost anywhere you go in the U.S.

Case in point: my T-Mobile phone had just one bar while traveling through rural Georgia, but my mom’s Verizon phone had full bars. (I guess mother does know best.)

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How many Mbps do you need?

If you’re not sure how many megabits per second (Mbps) you need, you’re not alone. Check out our Mbps guideto find out what you need for emailing, video streaming, and more.

But while we also rated Verizon top dog for speed, Total Wireless customers may not get to enjoy the same speeds as Verizon customers. Talk about a bad surprise.

This is because Verizon has been known to slow the speeds of other cell phone carriers using its network. Some Total Wireless users have noted speeds of about 5 Mbps, while Verizon users can get up to double that.

Those slower speeds may not be a huge deal, though, since you should be fine even streaming video with 5 Mbps. And word on the street is Verizon stopped slowing speeds for TracFone companies, including Total Wireless.3

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4G, what does it all mean?

You see it everywhere, but what the heck does “4G” mean, anyway? Well, it’s a measure of how fast your phone downloads information from the internet. If you’re rolling on a 4G network, you’ll get about 15 Mbps. To put that into everyday terms, that means downloading a photograph will take about one second on 4G. Compare that to four seconds on 3G or three minutes on 2G, and you’ll see why 4G is such a big deal.4

It’s also worth noting that Total Wireless claims your actual speed may vary—note the clever phrasing of “up to 4G LTE speeds.” While this is pretty common practice among wireless companies, it’s still like rubbing salt in the wound.

Total Wireless customer service

Total Wireless shot for the five-star reviews—and missed.

We’d be surprised if anyone out there hasn’t encountered poor customer service, especially when it comes to cell phone providers. Sadly, Total Wireless isn’t an exception to this rule.

While many reviewers were satisfied with their service from Total, others experienced issues.

One common theme was customers who canceled their account and transferred their phone number to another company, and then were denied a refund for the remainder of their Total Wireless service.5 Yikes.

If you do end up canceling your Total Wireless account, we recommend keeping track of everything.

We noted some helpful responses from the company on its Better Business Bureau page that referred to this issue and said a refund had been processed. But we’re still left scratching our heads as to why Total’s reps would deny a refund in the first place.

While we’d love to say this is no longer an issue with Total Wireless, we can’t be 100% sure. If you do end up canceling your Total Wireless account, we recommend keeping track of everything. That includes dates, times, and names of people you talked to, plus what they said. If you can get it in writing through an online chat, social media comment, or email, even better.

If the person you’re talking to denies you a refund, ask for their manager. Keep moving up that good ol’ chain of command until you find the right person to process your refund.

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Talking to the right person

If the person you’re talking to denies you a refund, ask for their manager. Keep moving up that good ol’ chain of command until you find the right person to process your refund.

And if you can, try to cancel your account so your service ends right at the end of your 30 days. Then—hopefully—you won’t be charged for anything you didn’t end up using.

If you do find yourself in need of customer service, we recommend checking out Total’s chat feature. That way you won’t be stuck listening to horrible hold recordings while you wait. (And you’ll have everything in writing. Just remember to take screenshots.)

Recap—Is Simple Mobile good?

total wireless logo

Here’s our quick take on whether Total Wireless is worth it or not.

  • Plans: Plans go up to four lines—any more and you’ll need another account. And while prices are some of the lowest we’ve seen, you won’t get some of the same features that come stock with other wireless companies’ plans, including unlimited data.
  • Performance: Total Wireless runs on the Verizon network, so coverage is about the best you can get. But your speed may be slower than what Verizon customers get.
  • Customer service: Total seems to have a bad reputation for not refunding customers who cancel their service.
  • Overall: If all you need is talk, text, and some data, Total Wireless is a great choice. But if you need a hotspot or like to stream videos all day, we vote you should skip it and move on to the next.

FAQs

Q: Can I tether my Total Wireless phone?

While it’s possible to tether your phone—that is, surf the internet on your computer while using your phone’s data—it’s technically against the terms of service.

That means you risk getting a warning—or worse yet, getting your account shut down—if Total Wireless finds out.

Q: Is Total Wireless on a GSM network?

Short answer: no. Total Wireless uses the Verizon network, which is a CDMA network.