US Mobile teases a summer launch on 'America's biggest LTE network'

best cell phone plans wireless carrier
Mobile virtual network operators, or MVNOs, are popular choices for wireless customers looking to get service on a budget, without tying themselves down with any long-term contracts or device payment plans. They’re separate companies that operate on major networks, which means they offer the same coverage of some of America’s largest wireless providers for a reduced cost.

US Mobile, an up-and-coming prepaid MVNO that has made news for its à la carte plans that allow you to pick and choose the precise amount of data, texting, and talk time you need, seems to be on the brink of a major partnership with Verizon.

Although the carrier’s website doesn’t specifically name its infrastructure partners, it is widely believed US Mobile uses T-Mobile’s towers — their coverage maps are identical. An update to the site says a launch on “America’s biggest and most dependable 4G LTE network” is coming in the summer, which points to Verizon.

Upon reaching out for clarification, US Mobile could not confirm partnership with either carrier — though the company did relay to Digital Trends that “customers will be on the network that will optimize their coverage depending on where they live and their user habits.”

Many MVNOs that consolidate multiple networks allow devices to switch between them on the fly — so if Verizon has a stronger signal in a given area than T-Mobile, the phone will default to Verizon’s network. And, in this case, US Mobile’s rates aren’t changing. So coverage improves ten-fold, while prices stay the same. In that sense, it’s a win-win.

US Mobile’s plans aren’t necessarily complicated, but they do offer a lot of choices. Customers have the option of anywhere from a paltry 100 MB of data for $2 a month, to 10GB for $30. On top of that, there’s talk and text. For calling, options range from 100 minutes for $3 to 1,500 minutes for $15. When it comes to texting, plans start at 100 messages for $2, and progress up to unlimited for $7.

Add in the $2 monthly service charge, and the highest allotment plan US Mobile offers comes in at $54. Not bad at all — though, as always with third-party prepaid carriers, there are some caveats to be mindful of.

Although MVNOs benefit from major network coverage, they don’t always offer major network speed. For example, some Verizon MVNOs, like StraightTalk and Tracfone, reportedly only deliver a max of 5Mbps download and 2Mbps upload. That’s significantly slower than the more than 30Mbps download some Verizon post-paid customers are now getting in certain parts of the country.

Furthermore, these customers also tend to miss out on some features, like voice over LTE, visual voicemail, and international roaming, depending on the company. US Mobile confirms on its website that it does not currently support the latter two features, though it does offer “competitive” international calling rates.

It is no surprise that you get what you pay for — but if you can live without the fastest speeds and certain features, companies like US Mobile offer reasonable service for rock-bottom prices. Check out our list of the best prepaid carriers you’ve never heard of to learn more.

Article originally published on 05-22-2017 by Adam Ismail. Updated on 05-23-2017: Added statement from a US Mobile representative.


Verizon wants you to lobby the government for 5G deployment

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.

Sprint’s 5G rollout: Everything you need to know about it

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a 2019 rollout, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.

T-Mobile says Sprint merger will boost 5G speeds by up to 6 times

2019 will be a huge year for T-Mobile. Not only is a merger with Sprint likely, but T-Mobile is also in the midst of building out its next-generation mobile service. Here's everything you need to know about the T-Mobile 5G rollout.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Social Media

Instagram to make giving easier with a Stories donation sticker for fundraisers

Instagram is preparing to launch a donation feature within Stories that would allow users to raise cash for a range of nonprofit charities. The company confirmed it's aiming to launch the donation sticker later this year.

The Huawei P30 will zoom into view on March 26 in Paris

The Huawei P30 Pro will be announced on March 26, 2019. It has already started to leak ahead of this date, and expectations are high that the company will improve even further on the P20 Pro's camera.

First phone specs reveal premium is the path for Vivo spinoff Iqoo

A new smartphone brand has launched. It's called Iqoo, and it's a sub-brand of Vivo, the Chinese device manufacturer owned by BBK Electronics. Excitingly, details about its first phone are slowly being released.

Need speed? Qualcomm unveils the Snapdragon X55, the world’s fastest 5G modem

Qualcomm is preparing for an even faster future: The silicon giant just unveiled a second generation 5G modem for smartphones, promising blistering download speeds as high as 7Gbps.

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Home Theater

Accidentally aired Samsung ad shows Galaxy S10, Galaxy Buds a day before launch

One day before the launch event that is widely expected to contain both the new Galaxy S10 smartphone and the Galaxy Buds fully wireless earbuds, an accidentally aired Samsung TV ad from Norway confirms both products.

The name of Samsung's folding phone may have been revealed a day early

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

The Razer Phone 2 is getting Android 9.0 Pie starting this month

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

Apple brings back the iPhone SE with a $100 clearance discount included

Apple is offering the iPhone SE on their online clearance store once again. With discounts of $100, you can get a brand new unlocked iPhone SE for as little as $249. This offer is only available while supplies last.
Product Review

Fascinating Finney phone is crypto in a nutshell: Exciting, but also terrifying

The Sirin Labs Finney phone is to cryptocurrency what the iPhone is to Apple Pay. It facilitates the payment, processing, and exchanging of cryptocurrencies on a smartphone, and surprisingly does it in a user-friendly way.