Sacramento Friends: What are your experiences with Page Plus, Virgin Mobile, and StraightTalk?
March 11, 2012 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Sacramento, CA Filter: What are your experiences with Page Plus, Virgin Mobile, and StraightTalk? Leaning toward Page Plus for their coverage map and price point.

I am scouring the Internet trying to find deals on the best prepaid contract. I've been with Verizon for quite a few years and my contract is up in July. I'd like to switch to a prepaid plan to save money. I live in the Sacramento area but travel the bay area quite a bit. Also travel to CT about once a year to see family - would like service there as well. Some stats on usage are:

Minutes used per month: 450 (some are anytime mins so I don't hit the limit)
SMS used per month: 350
MMS used per month: 5-10
Data used per month: 800MB*
*My data usage is high because I use Google's GPS. With a prepaid plan, I'd invest in a GPS unit to save on data. My guess is that the majority of my data is spent on data.

I have plenty of info on specific plans, but would like info from others on what the true coverage is.
posted by luciddream928 to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: OP here - I'm comparing Virgin Mobile, Page Plus, and StraightTalk but if you have good experience with another carrier, I'd love to hear it. Thank you!!
posted by luciddream928 at 10:35 AM on March 11, 2012

Best answer: Are you familiar with Sprint's coverage in the area? Ting is a new carrier that uses Sprint's network and offers great prices. I live in SoCal and am pleased with Ting and I've never had any problems with Sprint's coverage while traveling thru Sacramento and the Bay Area.
posted by buggzzee23 at 10:43 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, I'll check that out too!
posted by luciddream928 at 10:54 AM on March 11, 2012

buggzzee23, thanks for pointing out Ting. Interesting model.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 1:53 PM on March 11, 2012

Ting was just launched by Tucows and it looks great so far. On top of a unique pricing model, tethering and hotspotting is included in the price with no add'l monthly charge for phones with 4G capability. I've been a huge fan of Tucows since I 1st got online 14-15 years ago and it was their involvement that convinced me to sign up.
posted by buggzzee23 at 2:43 PM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I tried Page Plus a few years ago in PA/WV. It was absolutely awful. Not only was the network almost always busy (I had one very frustrating day where way less than half of my calls would go through), but trying to recharge was also a pain. So yeah, it was cheap for a reason.
posted by Metasyntactic at 5:33 PM on March 11, 2012

I'm a happy Page Plus user. I switched from Virgin Mobile a few years ago to leave the Sprint network and use the (much wider coverage) Verizon network so I'll have a better chance of getting a signal when travelling. I refill my account with minutes very easily online. In my experience, Page Plus service has been flawless. Disclaimer: I have no connection with any of these companies except as a customer.
posted by exphysicist345 at 6:39 PM on March 11, 2012

I have used all 3. Service is fine for me (Seattle/WA area)

Pageplus is the best value in terms of talk minutes or talk/text. I do not believe they have data plans (other than giving 100mb). I only used them for voice.

Virgin mobile had extremely slow 3G speeds. I was using the Optimus V. I would stay away from any Sprint MVNOs if you care about data speed.

Right now I'm using Straight talk. They are the most expensive, but you can bring your own phone (AT&T or T-Mobile, can be carrier locked). Data speeds are good.
posted by wongcorgi at 11:34 AM on March 12, 2012

Thanks to this thread, I'm now a Ting subscriber. Thank you for the leads. Republic was actually my first choice, but they're not taking new subscribers at the moment. So second choice it was.

Ting supports only the phone models they sell, and it's a very small set. Most of which are less than excellent. The upside is that the staff know their phones very well, and every model is right there at the tech's desk. So when there isn't something they know off the cuff, they can walk through it with me, instead of huffily quoting knowledgebase entries.

Customer service closes for the weekend(!) But when they're there, they've been amazing. At one point, I emailed a question and the technician called me of his own accord just to ensure that everything had been fully resolved, and let me ask as many more questions as I could think of. Which spent a good while on the phone for that. You can use 4G phones without surcharge, make mobile hotspots without surcharge, no surcharges just for having [Special Phone Model]. Call quality is ok, not remarkable. (Hilariously, the support people use VoIP instead. Which of course has sound quality which is notably shitty.)

Ting has its limitations, clearly. Plus, the data prices get craazzzzy if you're a moderate or higher user. But for us folks who use mobile lightly overall, it's a really nice price model and thumbs up to the customer experience. May AT&T rot in hell now.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 1:02 AM on March 28, 2012

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