What's the latest in cheap cell service?
November 3, 2022 4:08 PM   Subscribe

What are we using for cheap cell service these days? I specifically need a service that will TELL me via text when I have exceeded my data limit and will be charged extra. I just discovered that I have been accidentally leaving my phone with wifi turned off and racking up insane bills with Spectrum and had no idea because they don't text me. So upset.
posted by HotToddy to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I have MetroPCS, 10GB for $40/month pre-paid. It will update me on my data use, send me reminders about payment, and I can also look on their app for more details. I'm very happy with the service and could less or more depending on the plan I want.
posted by smorgasbord at 4:14 PM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Visible is $30 all in. Unlimited data.
posted by sandmanwv at 4:20 PM on November 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

MintMobile, unlimited, $15 a month if you pay for the full year. It runs off of the T-Mobile backbone, so you’d want to confirm their coverage for your area.
posted by Silvery Fish at 4:39 PM on November 3, 2022 [8 favorites]

My T-Mo prepaid is $25, I think i get 6 gigs. I get a text when I'm at 75% I think?

I think it's domestic only but if you don't travel much it's not a big deal. Their cheapest "normal" plan is $45 but if you go to the prepaid site you can get stuff for $25 and under.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 4:40 PM on November 3, 2022

Unlimited data from Mint Mobile will just be tethered after you exceed I believe 35 gb per month. Cost is just $30/mo.
posted by hydra77 at 4:44 PM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

By the way, if you're not comfortable trusting the network to always send you a timely reminder a good safety net is also setting up data limits and alerts on your phone.
posted by trig at 5:06 PM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm looking at Visible, but if you pre-pay a year @ $25/month, AT&T has 8GB of "high" speed and thereafter it just slows down (to a crawl 128Kbps...) instead of charging you without warning you.

(In looking to make sure I got the details right, I just saw they're offering 16GB for that price.)

But echoing those above about checking service maps; AT&T has great coverage at my house, and next-to-no coverage at our preferred vacation spot. Not a deal-breaker, but kind of a pain.
posted by adekllny at 5:53 PM on November 3, 2022

I can vouch for Mint. It's not as good as Verizon, but the price is right and the service is acceptable. Unlimited is $30/mo prepaid, the $15/mo mentioned above is for 4GB unless there's some deal I'm not seeing.
posted by sacrifix at 6:06 PM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I dimwittedly chopped through the fiber optic cable in my back yard while planting things, and had to rely on Mint for close to two weeks. $15 for 4GB is correct, but should you have to go over, Mint actually works pretty hard not to overcharge you. Once you've paid for extra data, Mint won't let you pay again until you've used 95% of what you've paid for.

The cable's fixed now, and I remain a happy Mint customer.
posted by humbug at 6:22 PM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Another Mint user. I have the 10gb plan which is $20/month if you prepay for a year. They text me when I hit 9gb I believe and then once you hit your data limit you need to intentionally purchase more or deal with the slow speeds.
posted by geegollygosh at 6:34 PM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I learned about Ting here on Ask Metafilter and I can't believe no one has mentioned it yet. With Ting, it's $10 a line with unlimited talk and text. Each GB of shared data you use is $5 and you can set as many usage alerts as you'd like.
posted by DrGail at 6:51 PM on November 3, 2022 [3 favorites]

I think I had issues with deprioritization on Mint. l consistently lost data in any kind of highway traffic.
I switched to at&t prepaid and it's working better for me so far.
posted by tresbizzare at 7:49 PM on November 3, 2022

2nding Ting. You can also just set it up to shut cellular data off at some amount, so you don't go over whatever limit you want. And then you can turn it back on manually if you want or it will reset at the start of the next billing period.
posted by sevenless at 7:53 PM on November 3, 2022

We use Tello. (T-Mobile reseller)

$9/mo = unlimited talk/text and minimal data.

$30/mo gets you "unlimited" data, which is actually 25gb at full speed then it scales down to 2G speed and tethering doesn't work. It doesn't charge you anything extra for continuing to use slow data. You can buy more data after hitting the monthly cap, but it's expensive.
posted by sibilatorix at 8:28 PM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Okay I just ordered Ting. Many thanks to all of you.
posted by HotToddy at 8:58 PM on November 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm on Visible. Looked a lot at Mint and have several friends who have it. They are both about the same, coverage-wise (can't speak to throttling since we're on our home wifi 90% of the time so hitting carrier data is not really an issue for us).

The "downside" of Mint is that you prepay for several months in advance - a minimum of three months at a time. Visible's $30/month for unlimited data, all taxes/fees included (it's $45 if you need international calling/data - the $30 plan gets you calls/texts in Canada, but not data). So if that's an issue, I'd recommend Visible. They're both good though, there's no wrong choice between the two.
posted by pdb at 9:01 PM on November 3, 2022

I am with Three and they do exactly this. Currently paying about £17/month (I bought my phone outright) and that has risen quite steeply recently so there may he better deals to be had.

That's in the UK, by the way.
posted by altolinguistic at 1:51 AM on November 4, 2022

Ting has the best customer service of any MVNO I've ever tried, by far.
posted by superelastic at 7:03 AM on November 4, 2022

Another happy Visible customer here.
posted by kathrynm at 9:55 AM on November 4, 2022

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