Unlimited international calling and texting
Ultra Cell Phone Plans Review 2023
Ultra Mobile is a prepaid cell phone carrier, and what makes it special can be summarized in a single sentence on the company’s website:
“Unlimited Talk & Text to 80+ Countries, Free Wi-Fi Calling & Free Mobile Hotspot on all plans.”
Every Ultra Mobile plan comes with those features, even if you opt for the least expensive option. If you’ve got friends or family that you’d like to call and text on the regular, Ultra Mobile is definitely a perfect fit for you. The fact you get free Wi-Fi calling and hotspot data (a rarity in the world of prepaid carriers) is just icing on the cake.
That being said, if you don’t have people to call and text in other countries, you’ll find a better deal on an unlimited plan elsewhere.
Ultra Mobile Cell Phone Plans
There are three Ultra Mobile cell phone plans to choose from. Like we mentioned, every plan comes with some guaranteed perks, like free talk and text to 80+ countries, but what you pay depends on how much monthly data you want, and how often you want to pay. If you pay for three months of service in advance, you’ll actually save a few bucks compared to paying month-to-month. Now let’s take a look at your options with Ultra Mobile.
Ultra Mobile Talk & Text Plan
The base Talk & Text plan on Ultra Mobile only gives you 250MB of data every month, which is essentially nothing. You’ll use up that much data simply by using your GPS for a few hours (if not less). This plan only really makes sense if you have people to call or text abroad and that’s literally all you use your phone to do.
Ultra Mobile 2GB Plan
Ultra Mobile’s mid-tier plan costs a little bit more than the 250MB plan, but gives you 8-times the amount of data. If you’re trying to decide between the basic talk and text option and this, you should definitely pay the extra dollars (or cents if you decide to pay for 6 months in advance and get your bill down to $10/mo.) to get a little bit of extra data every month. You still can’t do much with only 2GB of data, but at least you can reliably use your GPS or look something up on your phone in a pinch.
Ultra Mobile Unlimited Plan
Ultra Mobile doesn’t have the cheapest unlimited plan in the world, but it’s a solid price when you factor in the international calling/texting perks and the hotspot data. Though we have to point out that the word “unlimited” here is a little misleading–in reality, you only get 40GB of high-speed data with this plan. For most folks, 40GB might as well be an unlimited plan because you won’t come close to using that much wireless data in a month. On the other hand, if you frequently use hotspot data to work remotely, or regularly stream Netflix on your train commute, you’ll want a truly unlimited plan.
Speaking of other unlimited plans, let's compare Ultra Mobile’s unlimited plan with some other options.
Ultra Mobile’s unlimited plan can’t compete with bargain-basement cell phone plans like Mint Mobile in terms of price, and it narrowly undercuts the base cell phone plans from major providers like T-Mobile and Verizon. The major cell phone carriers will give you more high-speed data, but don't offer the same international calling and texting perks that Ultra Mobile offers. It’s the same deal as before: If you have people to call and text abroad, Ultra Mobile makes the most sense.
Ultra Mobile coverage
Instead of operating its own network, Ultra Mobile piggybacks off T-Mobile’s cellular infrastructure to provide nationwide coverage. Considering T-Mobile offers the fastest data speeds out of all the networks, it’s a definite plus for Ultra Mobile users. On average, T-Mobile users and, by extension, Ultra Mobile users can expect download speeds of 32.73Mbps and upload speeds of 12.9Mbps.
As for coverage, we’ve got T-Mobile as the third-best coverage in the country, with some deadzone pockets in more rural areas of the country.
Your data speeds can occasionally get throttled with Ultra Mobile
Since Ultra Mobile doesn’t own its own cellular network, your data speeds might occasionally throttle and slow down on T-Mobile’s. If you find yourself in a crowded arena, for example, you might struggle getting an iMessage out due to throttled data speeds. It’s hopefully something you won’t encounter often (if ever), but can get annoying if you can’t get reliable internet access in a crowded place.
Ultra Mobile cell phones and devices
You can either bring your old phone to Ultra Mobile (as long as it's compatible), or you can finance a new phone through Ultra Mobile. For whatever reason, the only Apple device on the Ultra Mobile store is the Apple iPhone SE (3rd Gen), which is by all accounts an awesome phone, but you can’t finance a new iPhone 14 from Ultra Mobile.
To give you an idea of what types of phones people get on Ultra Mobile, here’s a list of the most popular smartphones on Ultra’s network:
Recap: Ultra Mobile is great for international callers
Ultra Mobile distinguishes itself from other carriers by offering free international talk and text. If you're looking to stay connected with friends or family across the globe without spending too much, Ultra Mobile is probably the best option available.
But for everyone else, Ultra’s probably not the best cell phone plan. Most of the company’s plans don’t offer much full-speed data, and its unlimited plan is pretty expensive for a prepaid carrier.
- Service plans: Every Ultra plan offers free, unlimited international text and calling to over 80 countries. The main difference between plans is the full-speed data allotment, which ranges from 1GB to unlimited. Ultra does not offer family plans.
- Performance: Ultra uses T-Mobile’s nationwide network. That means super fast speeds (at least until you use up your full-speed data) and solid coverage.
- Cell phones: Ultra Mobile is compatible with the latest Apple iPhones, Samsung Galaxies, and Google Pixel smartphones. You can transfer over your old phone to Ultra Mobile’s service, or you can finance a new phone from Ultra Mobile’s store.
In case you’re curious, this is how we conduct our Ultra Mobile review:
Cell Phone Plan Value Review
- Data Collection: We researched Ultra Mobile's cell phone plans, pricing tiers, and included features from the official website and marketing materials.
- Comparative Analysis: We compared Ultra Mobile’s plans to similar offerings from other carriers in terms of pricing, data allowances, coverage, text messages, and any additional benefits.
- User Feedback: We look at user reviews and feedback from existing Ultra Mobile customers on social media platforms, like Reddit.
Wireless Coverage Evaluation
- Network Research: We researched the wireless networks used by Ultra Mobile, which is T-Mobile in this case. This research includes looking at coverage maps, third-party network performance reports, and overall network reliability.
- Testing Methodology: Whenever we can, we try to test out services for hands-on experience.
Smartphone Offerings Assessment
- Smartphone Offerings: We looked at smartphones and devices offered by Ultra Mobile and considered the variety of models available, factoring in availability for the latest smartphone releases, and any exclusive or budget-friendly options.
- Compatibility and Flexibility: We factor in the compatibility of Ultra Mobile's plans with a wide range of smartphones to determine the level of flexibility and freedom given to customers in choosing their own devices.
Synthesis of Findings
- Data Integration: The data and insights obtained from all the previous steps are consolidated and organized to develop a holistic view of Ultra Mobile's cell phone plans.
- Strengths and Weaknesses: We review the strengths and weaknesses of Ultra Mobile's offerings, providing a balanced view of their services.
Ultra Mobile uses T-Mobile’s network to provide service for its customers.
You can get phones like the latest Apple iPhone SE (3rd Gen), or the Samsung Galaxy S23, or Google Pixel 7 directly from Ultra Mobile. You can also transfer your old phone, including keeping your phone number, installed apps, and photos.
Ultra Mobile plans cost anywhere from around $9 a month for 250MB of data to $49 a month for the unlimited option. Every plan (even the cheapest option) comes with unlimited talk and text to over 80 countries around the world.
Yes, you can keep your old cell phone number when you switch to Ultra Mobile. Just get in contact with Ultra Mobile’s support and make sure you’ve got account info or billing statements for your old cell phone provider handy. It should take about a day for everything to process and for your phone number to transfer.
Ultra Mobile does offer eSIM support. If you need to update your existing eSIM, you can complete the process through the Ultra Mobile App or by reaching out to Ultra Mobile at 888-777-0446. You can purchase an Ultra Mobile eSIM from retailers like Target and T-Mobile.
T-Mobile acquired Ultra Mobile in 2023.
What destinations can I call and text for free with Ultra Mobile?
Here’s the destinations that you can contact for free with any Ultra Mobile cell phone plan:
- Algeria (L)
- American Samoa (M)
- Andorra (L)
- Angola (L)
- Argentina (L)
- Australia (ML)
- Austria (ML)
- Belgium (ML)
- Bermuda (ML)
- Bhutan (L)
- Brazil (ML)
- Brunei (ML)
- Bulgaria (ML)
- Canada (ML)
- Chile (ML)
- China (ML)
- Colombia (ML)
- Costa Rica (L)
- Croatia (ML)
- Cyprus (ML)
- Czech Republic (ML)
- Denmark (ML)
- Dominican Republic (L)
- Estonia (L)
- Finland (ML)
- France (ML)
- Germany (ML)
(M) = Unlimited to Mobile
(L) = Unlimited to Landline
(ML) = Unlimited to Mobile & Landline
- Gibraltar (L)
- Greece (ML)
- Guadeloupe (L)
- Guam (ML)
- Hong Kong (ML)
- Hungary (ML)
- Iceland (ML)
- India (ML)
- Indonesia (ML)
- Ireland (ML)
- Israel (ML)
- Italy (ML)
- Japan (ML)
- Kazakhstan (L)
- Kuwait (ML)
- Lithuania (L)
- Luxembourg (ML)
- Macau (ML)
- Malaysia (ML)
- Malta (ML)
- Martinique (ML)
- Mexico (ML)
- Mongolia (ML)
- Morocco (L)
- Namibia (ML)
- Netherlands (L)
- New Zealand (ML)
- Northern Mariana Isl. (L)
- Norway (ML)
- Pakistan, Telenor+Zong (L)
- Panama (L)
- Paraguay (ML)
- Peru (ML)
- Poland (ML)
- Portugal (ML)
- Romania (ML)
- Russia (L)
- San Marino (L)
- Singapore (ML)
- Slovakia (L)
- Slovenia (L)
- South Africa (L)
- South Korea (ML)
- Spain (ML)
- Swaziland (L)
- Sweden (ML)
- Switzerland (L)
- Taiwan (L)
- Thailand (ML)
- Turkey (L)
- United Arab Emirates (L)
- United Kingdom (ML)
- Uruguay (L)
- Venezuela (L)