Promises of revolutionary mobile services certainly haven’t been rare. T-Mobile has largely been at the forefront of the mobile industry, and while things have improved across the board, it would be hard to argue that we’re in the middle of a “revolution.”
So, when we heard of NetTalk’s new service, NetTalk Connect On, which offers unlimited talk, text, and 10GB of data for only $40 per month, we were pretty intrigued. An offering like that is far better than anything that the big four wireless carriers have in their arsenal, and NetTalk’s service runs off of T-Mobile’s network. It even offers all the same Uncarrier benefits. So what’s the catch? Well, it doesn’t seem like there is one.
What does NetTalk Connect On offer?
First up, the nitty gritty: As mentioned, the service gives you unlimited talk, text, and 10GB of LTE data. Not only that, but it gets even better for travelers, because you can use your phone in the States, Canada, and Mexico, without any extra charges or changes to service. If you wanted, you could go to Mexico and use all 10GB of your data. After that 10GB is all used up, NetTalk Connect won’t even cut you off, you’ll just be limited to 2G speeds, kind of like how T-Mobile throttles your data when you pass your limit.
The company relies primarily on word of mouth, letting its service speak for itself.
Unlimited data and texting is also offered in more than 140 countries, and while you might miss being able to make calls, having data and texts available while traveling for no extra charge is a pretty big deal. There’s even data rollover of up to 20GB of unused data for 12 months.
Because it operates on T-Mobile, plenty of music and video streaming services also don’t count against your data at all, and services are continually added. As soon as YouTube and Google Play Video were added to T-Mobile’s Binge On streaming list, they were also added to NetTalk Connect’s service. Others on the list include the likes of Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, and more. Chances are, if you stream from it, it’s on the list.
We tried it, and it works
We decided to test out NetTalk Connect’s service to see if it actually worked as advertised. Although we didn’t travel extensively enough to test T-Mobile’s coverage map, we were impressed by the service. T-Mobile’s LTE network really is blazingly fast, arguably faster than Sprint’s, at least from our location in LA. Of course, the fact that we tested the service in a big city means that service was probably going to be good, anyway. T-Mobile is known for strong urban coverage, but rural areas might not get a signal at all. That said, we had no problems using NetTalk Connect on the Uncarrier’s network. It seems as though the service really does work on T-Mobile’s airwaves. In fact, the carrier thought I was a new customer, and sent me a nice welcome text.
The service is available to customers for $40 per month, although the company is currently running a promotion to offer the first five months at only $20 each.
Signing up is easy, but you have to make sure you own a GSM phone (T-Mobile and AT&T users already have GSM phones, others might need to buy an unlocked one). Then, you can head to the website to sign up and order a SIM card. Once you get the SIM card, simply pop it in to your phone, and you should be ready to go. Luckily, you will be able to keep your old phone number, so you won’t have to let your entire contacts list know of a number change.
How does NetTalk Connect compare to other mobile carriers?
|Overages||No — 2G speeds||Yes||Yes||No — 2G speeds||Yes|
|Roaming||Unlimited text/data in 140+ countries||Fees apply||Fees apply||Unlimited text/data in 140+ countries||Fees apply|
|Streaming||Most services exempt from data limit||Counts toward data limit||Counts toward data limit||Most services exempt from data limit||Counts towrad data limit|
All this talk about the service itself is well and good, but it doesn’t really matter much if there are other comparable services out there. To make things a little more digestible we put together this graph. In compiling this information, we tried to find plans that were most similar to NetTalk’s.
How is NetTalk Connect this cheap?
The company itself has been around for a while now, as it was founded back in 2008. To date, NetTalk has primarily been a home phone service, offering Voice over IP. When it launched, it made headlines for its low-cost VoIP home phone service that was only $40 per year.
“We were a pioneer in ultra-low cost VoIP space … and were asked the same question back in the day,” Nicholas Kyriakides told Digital Trends when we asked him what the catch is. “We basically have taken what we have learned and built in the home phone space and have begun to disrupt the mobile space (we’ve built a lean operation).”
In other words, the company has been able to develop a business that has what it needs and nothing more. Since NetConnect doesn’t have to keep tabs on cell towers or perform maintenance on the network, it doesn’t have many costs to cover. There is very little advertising, too, which helps keep the price down. In fact, according to Kyriakides, the company relies primarily on word of mouth, letting its service speak for itself. While it might be easy to assume that NetConnect is skimping on customer service to cut down on costs, we, at least, didn’t experience that during our testing of the service.
NetTalk also has a range of apps for its users to take advantage of. These messages employ “military-grade security,” and include apps for messaging and calling. We haven’t tested these thoroughly.
“The Connect Secure Messaging app (iOS and Android) texts are encrypted using AES 128, then we re-encrypt with RSA, then you can enable our built-in VPN (iOS version) which encrypts again and creates a secure App-to-App private tunnel,” explained Kyriakides.
Because of the high level of security, NetTalk is looking at marketing the new Connect service at small businesses, but anyone is able to take advantage of it.
If NetTalk Connect On had a price tag of $60 per month, it would still be a bargain. It doesn’t. At only $40 per month, with unlimited talk and text in more than 140 countries and 10GB of LTE speed data in North America, it’s one of the better offers we’ve seen for individual mobile plans.
Will it revolutionize the mobile industry? Probably not, since it buys its coverage from T-Mobile, but it’s a great deal nonetheless. If you’re looking for a new mobile carrier and you live in an area with god T-Mobile coverage, NetTalk is definitely something you should consider. We highly recommend NetTalk Connect to anyone on the hunt for a new mobile carrier, but those who live in rural areas should be careful to check T-Mobile’s coverage map and see if NetTalk Connect will work for you. If you live in or near a city, NetTalk Connect is a serious contender in the ever changing mobile carrier market.