Does your area have good AT&T coverage? Pure Talk has a nice cell phone service from as low as $16 and at least 2GB of high-speed data per line. The service also includes a number of cool perks to enhance your phone experience. But when you also check out the Pure Talk Wireless reviews on customer satisfaction forums, you’ll notice not everyone is too happy with their service.
However, we all usually have different preferences for everything. The telecommunication industry is no different, as we have those of us a carrier like Pure Talk will work out for, and others not so much.
In this guide, I’ve put together details to help you decide if Pure Talk will be any good for you or not. The article has covered the:
- Pure Talk Network Coverage
- Pure Talk Roaming Options
- Pure Talk Phone APN Settings
- Pure Talk Browsing Data Speeds
- Pure Talk Service Plan Structure
- Pure Talk Free Cell Phone Deals
- Pure Talk Throttling & Deprioritization
Pure Talk Reviews: A Summary of the Prepaid Cell Phone Service
|Type of Service
|5G Download Speeds
|LTE Download Speeds
|YES (With Cap)
|Calls to Mexico/ Canada Call
|YES (At a Fee)
|Sell Unlocked Phones
Even before we jump to the main Pure Talk review, you can see in the chart the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) has quite lovable features. Starting with the carrier network, AT&T, it has the second largest LTE coverage in the country, including various remote areas like Milwaukee.
Pure Talk also offers some lovely perks on its service plans. The perks are not the best, for sure, when you compare them to competitors like Mint vs US Mobile. But 60GB of high-speed data is more allowance than most small carriers will give you.
Other pros and cons of Pure Talk Wireless you should know include:
- It sells fully unlocked cell phones
- Offers mobile hotspot on all plans
- You can activate the service on eSIM
- Has lovely multi-line/ family discounts
- Supports WiFi calling & texting feature
- It includes domestic roaming free of charge
- It deprioritizes & throttles all plans
- Has no free international calls or texting
- The carrier has limited international roaming
Pure Talk Wireless Reviews: Things You Should Know Before Joining
In this section, I’ll now take you through the eight crucial points you should know about Pure Talk service before joining:
Pure Talk’s Available to Select People on eSIM
As a prepaid phone operator, Pure Talk is so easy to join. The MVNO requires no credit check, security deposit, or contract. Thus, available to everyone, including those with bad credit or no credit at all.
Similar to most MVNOs, though, Pure Talk is yet to establish physical stores. You’ll have to purchase your service (and device) online. Then the provider will ship your order with the SIM kit through FedEx, which can take 1-3 days to arrive.
If desired, you can join Pure Talk on eSIM, which makes it possible to activate the service instantly. Nonetheless, Pure Talk has limited eSIM activation to only Apple devices at the moment, including iPhone XS/ XS Max/ XR and later. The eSIM support on Android devices is still unavailable.
Pure Talk Network Coverage is Great
Pure Talk, being an MVNO, doesn’t have cell towers of its own. Instead, the mobile operator has a deal with a Major Carrier, AT&T to be specific, to resell their service.
As mentioned earlier, this is a cool partnership, thanks to the extensive coverage of AT&T across the country. And when you place the Pure Talk coverage map beside that of AT&T, you’ll actually notice they’re so similar.
Of course, these online maps are not always accurate. But the service is great on the ground, with a signal even in various rural areas of the Western region where T-Mobile and its MVNOs don’t work too well.
Pure Talk Offers Free Roaming
Even though AT&T has the second-best coverage in the country, pretty many places are still yet covered. And any of the areas AT&T doesn’t have cell towers means its MVNOs, including our Pure Talk, won’t have native coverage too.
Fortunately, Pure Talk does offer domestic roaming, where you can use your phone when outside the native coverage. I’ve seen bloggers say otherwise from the statement “…you will not have access to our network outside of our coverage areas” under Pure Talk Terms & Conditions. But if you can read the whole section properly, the carrier does mention “our coverage areas” include “coverage on the network as well as coverage we make available to you through agreements with other carriers (“off-network” or “roaming”)”.
Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find the “other carriers” Pure Talk has partnered with to offer domestic roaming. Then, sometime in 2021, the provider did introduce roaming in Canada and Mexico at an add-on fee of $10. But again, I’m yet to find the roaming partners of Pure Talk in these regions.
Note: I’m also not sure why Pure Talk didn’t update their FAQ section when they launched roaming in Canada and Mexico. The website still claims PureTalk service works in the United States only.
Pure Talk Data Speeds are Decent
In the Simple Mobile review the other day, we saw the Tracfone brand peaking around 200+Mbps data speed on 5G. Pure Talk also has a similar 5G speed range, which isn’t bad, albeit slower than its Carrier Network, AT&T. (AT&T can record up to 2+Gbps [2000+Mbps] on the 5+ mmWave).
As for the LTE, Pure Talk advertises that you should expect data speeds between 4-35Mbps. But with a good phone (with access to high-capacity frequencies), it’s possible to hit up to 70Mbps.
Pure Talk Phone Plans & Pricing aren’t Bad
As mentioned in the beginning, Pure Talk is a decent option when looking for a budget-friendly cell phone service. In the chart below, you can see that the MVNO has the lowest rate plan at $20, which can later drop to $16 with multiple lines.
Chart 2.1: Pure Talk Basic Cell Phone Plans
|Regular Price per Month
|3G Unlimited Data
|$100 phone discount
Chart 2.2: Pure Talk Unlimited Cell Phone Plans
|Unlimited Plan 1
|Unlimited Plan 2
|Regular Price per Month
|3G Unlimited Data
|$175 phone discount
|$250 phone discount
The Pure Talk cell phone plans are seven in total: five with basic data allowance and the rest unlimited. We could say the 2GB is the cheapest at the regular price of $20. But the carrier only has this plan available with at least two lines.
If you only need a single line, the lowest plan eligible will be for 4GB of data, currently going for $25/ month. Then the most expensive package is the Unlimited + 25GB hotspot at $65 per month.
Nevertheless, Pure Talk Wireless does offer a family discount, i.e. when you have more lines to your account. The discount is available even on the 2GB, bringing the price to as low as $16 with four lines.
- The price here and on the Pure Talk website doesn’t include taxes. Your tax amount is available at the checkout, amounting to around $2-$3 depending on the state. (Here in California the extra tax charge is $2.66)
- Pure Talk offers a military discount to both active personnel and veterans. The military discount is currently at 15% of the service plan cost
- Pure Talk has an ongoing offer for new customers, whereby you can get 50% off your first month on either of the plans.
Pure Talk Throttles & Deprioritize Data
Like most small mobile carriers, Pure Talk does throttle data on all the service plans, including the unlimited packages. Your monthly service will start with the stated high-speed allowance on the highest 5G/ LTE data speed before dropping to 256kbps.
256kbps isn’t exactly something you can use for streaming, gaming, or any other high-data task. But it should be enough to download maps and open light social media apps.
In most cases, though, you’ll come to find your Pure Talk phone unusable on data services after reaching the high-speed cap. And the reason for this is that Pure Talk gets deprioritized data from its Carrier Network, AT&T. Thus, the data speed will be slower than for AT&T customers during network congestion.
Tip: The Pure Talk Unlimited plans offer 60GB of premium data- the limit at which you will notice a significant drop in data speed.
Pure Talk Free Phone Deals are still Non-existent
Indeed, Pure Talk Wireless is not part of the companies that give a free phone when you join or add a line. But the carrier does have quite great phone deals, including an instant discount of $100 up to $250. The phone deals are only available to new customers, and you must place the order together with either of the eligible plans.
Alternatively, you can purchase your phone elsewhere and bring it to Pure Talk Wireless without any issue. The best phones compatible with Pure Talk you can bring are factory-unlocked models since the MVNO also sells fully-unlocked devices. However, you could also bring a device from either of the carriers compatible with the AT&T network, provided it’s fully unlocked.
Tip: A phone is compatible with Pure Talk (and AT&T) if it has bands at least bands 12* or 17* for LTE connectivity. Then frequency bands N2, N5, or N66 for low-band 5G and N77 (C-Band), N258, or N260 for 5G high-capacity.
Key Takeaway: Pure Talk Phone APN Settings
If you have a phone compatible with Pure Talk but still can’t browse the internet, chances are the door to the carrier gateway is locked. A correct APN profile is usually the key to opening this gateway door. And in our case here, the APN settings of Pure Talk Wireless at the moment are:
Name: (whichever you prefer)
Username: (leave it blank)
Password: (leave it blank)
Proxy: (none or not set)
Port: (none or not set)
Server: (none or not set)
MMS Proxy: (none or not set)
MMS Port: 80
Authentication Type: (none or not set)
Please note, these APN settings apply only to the Pure Talk service on Android devices. If you have an iPhone/ iOS device, the Pure Talk “Carrier Settings Update” pop-up you receive on the home screen should update the APN information automatically. You just have to tap on the “Update” button there.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who’s the carrier network of Pure Talk Wireless?
As you already know, mobile virtual network operators usually don’t have cell towers of their own. The Carrier Network of Pure Talk at the moment is AT&T, which you should know has the overall best GSM coverage.
What network does Pure Talk use?
As I’ve just mentioned, the network Pure Talk use for native coverage is AT&T, which has a signal even in various rural areas. When you’re driving outside the native coverage areas, Pure Talk has also partnered with several carriers for domestic roaming benefits.
Can I put my Pure Talk SIM card in another phone?
YES, you can put your Pure Talk SIM card into another phone, provided it will pass both carrier and network compatibility. In network compatibility, it means the phone you intend to use must have at least one of the AT&T frequencies, including band 12 or 17 for LTE connectivity. Then frequency band N2, N5, N66, N77 (C-Band), N258, or N260 for 5G.
As for carrier compatibility, Pure Talk can only work with fully unlocked and AT&T-branded phones.
Can I Use a Verizon phone with Pure Talk?
Technically, you can use a Verizon phone with Pure Talk service when Unlocked. You only have to make sure the device in question also supports the base frequencies for the Pure Talk carrier network, AT&T, including bands 12, 17, or both for LTE.
If the idea is to cover every bit of detail about Pure Talk Wireless, we can be here the whole day. But when it comes to the most relevant details that matter, the eight points I’ve covered in the review should help you decide about the service.
In my opinion, the Pure Talk phone service is worth it if you’re in an area where AT&T is the only reliable network. However, I’m still not very happy with how the carrier has limited the eSIM activation to only Apple users. The lack of free calling to Canada and Mexico or international texting is also a major drawback for a lot people.
So, if you’re in a location where T-Mobile and Verizon networks are as good as AT&T, their MVNOs may be of better value. A perfect example is Mint Mobile and Tello (on T-Mobile) or Visible and US Mobile (on Verizon).