Simple Mobile is one of the many mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) you can consider for a budget cell phone service. The carrier also advertises having plans with “Truly” Unlimited Data, something not many small carriers offer. But when you check Simple Mobile reviews online, there are mixed reactions, with some recommending it to be good and others warning you to stay away.
The truth, though, is that the experience of any phone service provider (and even internet providers) usually varies with a person. What may be good on my end may turn out ineffective for you. Then again, prepaid carriers like Simple Mobile are a no-contract service. You can join or leave at any given time.
Verdict: What I’ve Covered in the Article
In this guide, I’ve put together everything there’s to know about Simple Mobile in case you wanted to join. The main points I’ll be covering include:
- Network Coverage
- Roaming Capability
- Activation process
- Browsing data speeds
- Service plan structure
- Free Cell phone deals
- Customer Care service
- Throttling & Deprioritization
Simple Mobile Reviews: A Summary of the Prepaid Cell Phone Service
|Type of Service
|Verizon (Previously T-Mobile)
|5G Download Speeds
|LTE Download Speeds
|Lowest Phone Plan
|Free calls to Mexico/ Canada Call
|Free Cloud storage
Simple Mobile is one of the MVNOs that have been in the market for quite a while, over ten years now. It’s brand of TracFone Wireless, Inc., which used to be a subsidiary of América Móvil before Verizon acquired it in 2021.
What this acquisition mean is Simple Mobile, just like other brands of TracFone, will still operate as an individual company. But Verizon will be managing major decisions of the company, which, by the way, have already started.
I mean, all TracFone brands will be dropping their previous Carrier Network and switch to Verizon infrastructure. It’s the same thing T-Mobile did to Sprint and its brand (such as Assurance Wireless) after the 2020 merger.
Anyway, back to Simple Mobile, the service is decently good, especially if you happen to use a lot of mobile data. The Simple Mobile Truly Unlimited service plan promises data with no cap. But as we shall see shortly, the carrier may throttle your line if you “abuse” the service.
A few other pros and cons of Simple Mobile you should know before we jump to the main review include:
- It offers Free international roaming
- Supports WiFi calling & texting feature
- You can also make free international calls
- Offers decent multi-line/ family discounts
- Supports Mobile Hotspot/ tethering on all plans
- It now has extended coverage, including rural areas
- It’s yet to support eSIM
- Offers deprioritized mobile data
- The carrier seems to cap data speed
Simple Mobile Reviews: 9 Crucial Things You Should Know about before Joining
Below is a summary of the features and perks you get to enjoy with Simple Mobile. I’ve covered only the most relevant details, starting with availability.
Available to Everyone
As a prepaid carrier, Simple Mobile is available to anyone. There are no special requirements like those lifeline providers ask for eligibility. Then the operator doesn’t require a credit check or ask for a deposit, both of which are compulsory on postpaid carriers like T-Mobile.
Nevertheless, Simple Mobile doesn’t have physical stores. And for that, you’ll have to purchase the service online. The provider will then ship the SIM kit and service card (of the selected plan), which can take 1 – 4 days to get to you.
Unfortunately, Simple Mobile is still yet to bring us the eSIM function. If it would have been available, the digital SIM allow instant activation without having to wait for the physical SIM kit.
So, Simple Mobile has been a bit of a letdown here, considering most of its competitors now support eSIM. And if an Apple fan, this means you currently can’t activate iPhone 14 (US variants have no physical SIM slot).
Network Coverage is Better Now
As a mobile virtual network operator, Simple Mobile doesn’t have its own network infrastructure. Instead, the brand has made a deal with a major carrier to use its cell towers to connect its subscribers.
For years, T-Mobile has been the network Simple Mobile use for native coverage. A lot of people have been outright happy with their service and signal. But others not so much, especially those in rural areas where T-Mobile has spotty coverage.
In particular, in the western and northwestern regions, the previous Simple Mobile coverage map had so many blank spaces. And this is pretty much the same with T-Mobile.
Nonetheless, after acquiring Tracfone, Verizon will be switching customers on other networks (AT&T and T-Mobile) to its towers. It would make sense the Major provider doesn’t want to pay for the airtime bundle of its MVNOs to the rivals.
In our case here, Simple Mobile will be dropping T-Mobile. The MVNO has actually been pushing people to switch to its new Verizon-supported SIM cards. But the official hard switch is until November 2024, meaning you can still use your service on T-Mobile until then.
The good thing about Verizon is that the 4G LTE coverage is the largest in the country. And the best part, the Carrier does give its MVNOs access to the 21 LTEIRA partners for better signal in rural areas.
All the Phone Plans Have Roaming
Besides having the nation’s largest LTE coverage, Simple Mobile offers a roaming feature. I’ve not been able to identify the domestic roaming partners of the MVNO. But I do know the carrier will now have access to the LTEIRA partners of Verizon, such as Bluegrass Cellular, Pioneer Cellular, Thumb Cellular; Strata Networks, Chariton Valley Communication Corporation, Appalachian Wireless, etc.
Even better, Simple Mobile offers free international roaming in Mexico, Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and ten other Latin American countries. It also offers free calling from the States to these countries and 50+ others. Thus, can be handy if you have relatives or business deals in the destinations.
Easy to Activate Service
Simple Mobile is pretty straightforward to activate on your own. But to activate your service, you’ll have to first wait for your shipped SIM card to arrive. Then you must have a phone compatible with Simple Mobile.
A phone is compatible with Simple Mobile if it has the right network and cellular technology. In terms of network compatibility, the device will need to support the primary frequencies of its underlying network. And now the MVNO is switching to Verizon towers, your device must have bands 2, 4, 5*, 13*, and 66 for LTE. Then bands N2, N5, N66, N77, N260, and N261 for 5G.
As for the cellular compatibility, the phone you plan to use should either be locked to Simple Mobile or fully unlocked.
Once with the SIM card and the right phone, you can now activate your Simple Mobile service as follows:
- Visit Simple Website with an internet-enabled laptop, desktop, tablet, or another phone.
- Click on the “Activate” button and select whether you want to activate a “Simple Mobile phone” or “Bring your own device”.
- Now, enter the ICCID number of your SIM card and tap the bold “Continue”
- If the ICCID is correct, you’ll get the prompt to select whether you want to “Keep Current Number” or “Get a New Number”
- After you’ve selected your number option, choose how you want to pay for your service. If using the service plan card (if bought together with a SIM kit), enter its unique PIN. Then to purchase the service PIN online, select the Credit/ Debit card tab
- Next, “Log in” to your Simple Mobile account or “Create Account”. Then, confirm your Activation order
- Once done there, now pop your Simple Mobile SIM card from its plate and insert it into the phone
- When the phone powers up, it should have a connection and a “Simple” word next to the signal bars. If using an iPhone, you may get a prompt to “Update” the carrier settings to the latest configurations.
- Finally, you can now test how your service is by making a call, text, or data service
Data Speeds Could Be Better
In a nutshell, good data speed is very crucial if you want a superb online experience. The speed you get usually varies with three aspects: carrier, location, and phone in use. And the stronger the trio, the faster your data speeds will be.
I’m not going to lie I’ve tested Simple Mobile data recently. But in a test a couple of months back, a 5G iPhone would peak around 200Mbps, then around 54Mbps for LTE. If there was network congestion, the speeds would peak around 100Mbps and 13Mbps respectively.
Simple Mobile appears to cap the data speed as they never climbed beyond this range. But I should mention the test was with the Simple Mobile SIM card through T-Mobile towers. (I’ll update the speed tests later in the year after I test the new Verizon-compatible SIM).
Phone Plans & Pricing aren’t Bad
Simple Mobile is really not the cheapest cell phone service out there or on the Verizon network. It has five different phone plans to choose from, starting with the 3GB plan of $25/per month. See the full plan structure & pricing below:
|Price per Month
|2G Unlimited Data
|50GB Cloud Storage
As you can see in the chart, Truly Unlimited is the overall best Simple Mobile cell phone plan. And just like the name, the plan offer “Truly” unlimited mobile broadband allowance, where you should be able to browse or stream with no limit.
If interested, Simple Mobile does have a special family/ multi-line service. The various options at the time of writing include:
- $65 for 2 lines of Simple Mobile 6GB
- $90 for 3 lines of Simple Mobile 6GB
- $75 for 2 lines of Simple Mobile Truly Unlimited (with 5GB hotspot)
- $100 for 3 lines of Simple Mobile Truly Unlimited (with 5GB hotspot)
- $125 for 4 lines of Simple Mobile Truly Unlimited (with 5GB Hotspot)
Data Throttling & Deprioritization
As I’ve just mentioned, the “Truly Unlimited” plan advertises truly unlimited data that you should be able to use as much as desired. However, Simple Mobile seems to have changed this “truly unlimited” data policy. Previously, you would clock up to 3+TB per month without any issues. But when you now log in to your account (on the app or website), you’ll notice the dashboard says that the amount of “high-speed” is 600GB.
600GB is still a lot of data for many people, and better than many MVNOs that offer under 50GB limit. Nevertheless, some people used to use their service for the entire home connection- I guess instead of paying for both fixed and mobile services.
As for the personal hotspot, the 3GB, 5GB, and 15GB plans allow you to share all the high-speed data allowance available. But for the Simple Mobile Truly Unlimited, you will have capped high-speed hotspot. The$60 Truly Unlimited has 15GB of personal hotspots, whereas the $50 Truly Unlimited has a cap of 5GB.
Moreover, you should know all Simple Mobile phone plans get deprioritized data (data speeds drop when cell towers are too busy). In the Unlimited plans, the deprioritization should take place after hitting 40GB. I’ve seen some people say they never noticed a change in the browsing data speeds. But this may have a lot to do with access to 5G/ high-capacity LTE cellular frequencies, which often give the fastest speeds.
Free Phone Deals are still Non-existent
Sadly, Simple Mobile is not part of the companies that give free phones when you switch or add a line. However, it has some devices at better pricing than the manufacturer or third-party sellers. Just remember the phones from the carrier come locked to the service for about 12 months.
If you can’t afford the upfront payment, Simple Mobile is now offering a buy-now-pay-later option on its phones. It allows financing through Affirm, which means eligibility will be tricky with bad credit or poor history.
Note: Simple Mobile is one of the providers that are offering free cell phone service through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Unlike lifeline carriers like AirTalk Wireless or SafeLink, though, Simple Mobile doesn’t offer a free Smartphone.
Customer Care Service Could Be Better
In any carrier, the desire is to have the smooth phone experience promised when joining. But this doesn’t always happens, which is why great customer service is crucial with your plan bundle.
Sadly, most MVNOs usually don’t have the best customer care service. For instance, in Simple Mobile reviews online on platforms like Trustpilot, many of the complaints go back to a non-existence or unhelpful support team.
In any case, let’s wait and see if the quality of Verizon is going to rub off Simple Mobile’s customer care department. The Simple care team can be reached via online chat, mail, or telephone at 1-877-878-7908 (availability hours 8 AM – 11:45 PM EST)
Simple Mobile Phone APN Settings
When you activate Simple Mobile but notice the data services aren’t working, chances are the APN settings aren’t correct. The APN settings of Simple Mobile on Android the last time I checked were as follows:
Name: (whichever you prefer)
Username: (leave it blank)
Password: (leave it blank)
Proxy: (leave it blank)
Server: (leave it blank)
MMS Proxy: (leave it blank)
MMS Port: 80
MCC: (leave default)
MNC: (leave default)
Authentication type: PAP
APN type: default,mms,supl
APN protocol: IPv4/IPv6
APN protocol: IPv4
If these configurations don’t resolve your data issues, chances are Simple Mobile has made some changes to them. So, text the letters “APN” (without the quote marks) to 611611, and the carrier will send you the latest network configuration packet.
Make Sure You’ve Got the Right Simple Mobile SIM
Although there is a lot to talk about, these are the most relevant things you should know about Simple Mobile phone service. The service is seemingly expensive when you consider MVNO rivals like Twigby and Tello sell from $10. But here’s a good value since you get additional perks, like unlimited international calls and roaming in Latin America, something the rivals don’t have.
As I conclude, I’d like to remind you Verizon is no longer interested in paying T-Mobile for the Simple Mobile airtime. It has scheduled a hard switch to Verizon towers in November 2024. So, you’ll want to make sure you have a compatible phone and SIM card by then to get a signal.
In case you already have the Simple Mobile SIM, check it out to make sure it’s the new version. In a Verizon-compatible Simple Mobile SIM card, the first six digits of the ICCID number should be 891480 (T-Mobile is usually 890126).