BYOD competitor – Platinum Tel allowed BYOD for GSM devices work in T-mobile coverage

A friend just recently show me the Platinum Tel, they’re moving from Verizon MVNO to T-Mobile space.

They allow BYOD for unlocked GSM phone or locked T mobile devices.

While they have $40 and $50 unlimited plan, what caught my attention is their ‘Real PAY Go ‘ plan

Talk : 5c / min

Text: 2c/ min

Data: 10c/ MB

For a Family with 3-4 phones, Ting will still be more efficient (read: cheaper), for an individual user like me that didn’t use much minutes or data – since I have home and office Wi-Fi overage almost all the time, their plan is giving a better option

As a comparison , I use less than 50 minutes, less than 50 text and about 150 MB a month

Google Voice and GV lite for my phone when there is Wi-Fi.

Platinum Tel will have the upper hand (for me at least)

-           No new device to buy, I can use my latest Tmobile out of contract phone.

-           They hit the sweet spot by charging the actual minutes/data without any bracket, this will not work for everyone, but it fit my need better than Ting plan.

I can buy $100 prepaid for 12 months and use it as needed.

-           No monthly device maintenance cost, if we did not use the services.

-           No tax, for S plan in Ting the tax can hit about 15% (I’m in CA )

-           4G data (T-Mo HSDPA)

-           I Phone will work – some city T- mo already convert the 3G/4G that work with IPhone.

Ting Benefit:

-           Customer Service and support still can’t be beat .

-           Ability to control internet usage and text for each device from the Account dashboard.  Work best for Parent with teenager :)

  •           Sharing minutes/text/data in 1 account for multiple devices 

-           For multiple phone in a single account, Ting is cheaper.

-           If you already have Sprint devices for BYOSD.

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Comments

17 comments
  • BYOD on GSM is somewhat of a red herring. There's nothing preventing unlocked phones from using any carrier. This has been the case since the technology has been deployed and is true with any GSM carrier (AT&T, T-mobile, etc). The offering here is migrating T-mobile accounts, which is novel, I will admit. However, it's a T-mobile MVNO, so no phone-level unlocking is actually happening, it's all just backend billing. The phone isn't actually getting the GSM unlock (which is unfortunate).

    One thing to keep in mind however is that as with other pay-as-you-go services I've seen, money put into an account expires ($10 across 60 days, $20 for 90 days, etc). I find that to be somewhat gimmicky. It's an indirect (and less honest) way to charge a monthly fee. It actually isn't so friendly for devices being left idle with money on the account (since, as far as I can tell, there is no shared plan). As you said, this is pretty appropriate for single line accounts.

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  • you can read some reviews about them here at prepaid reviews

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  • The problem with PlatinumTel is data is too expensive for the Real PayGo plan. WiFi is not everywhere. For example, it's not in your car. I don't use a lot of data either, but with Ting it's nice knowing that reasonalbe priced data is available anytime I need it. If you use a lot of data, PlatinumTel's unlimited plans might be good deal.

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  • I supposed if you rarely use your phone its a decent plan. But if I have a moment where I need to use GPS unexpectedly or get stuck somewhere without wifi I don't want to start worrying about the cost. The unlimited seems cheap though but I don't see the difference from SIMPLE Mobile (another TMO MVNO).

    In any case, more competition and choice is just better for us. The fact there are carriers for each type of user is great. 

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  • Just a quick look through the fine print it looks like they don't offer true inter carrier roaming like Ting. The BS is the claim that "on network roaming" is included meaning no real roaming.

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  • PlatinumTel is a former Sprint MVNO, not Verizon. I have a CDMA flip phone with them now.

    PTel and Page Plus (Verizon) are the two cheapest pay-as-you-go providers for low-usage cell service right now, playing in the same space as Tracfone. PTel's new unlimited plan on T-Mobile beats every other current offering on price without hidden cutoffs, only explicit throttling, and their CS is pretty good (albeit not on Ting's level). Simple Mobile might be the nearest obvious competitor, but they have hidden cutoffs, and like all the América Móvil companies have terrible CS. There are several others playing in this space of course.

    Whether they offer coverage on T-Mobile's regional partner network (even the prepaid one) is still a subject of some debate, as their coverage map is unclear and there hasn't been a statement from them clarifying that yet. So far evidence points to "no". There is no roaming to AT&T areas.

    One of the OP's points is wrong, there is a monthly service cost of $0.50 on Real PayGo (it's in the fine print, tagged for federal wireless tax). Also note that going 60 days without any activity at all may trigger account closure.

    Another point of comparison for data users is, like everyone else, PTel forbids tethering on the unlimited plan -- though they do have a quiet exception allowing it on Real PayGo. Ting always allows tethering/hotspot.

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  • Matthew - GPS itself does not use data.  If you're running Google Maps or the carrier's navigation, that will use data.  Try something like CoPilot GPS to reduce data usage.  You download the maps when on wifi, and then use no data when actually traveling.  If you have to do a web search, you will have to turn data on.  The maps are voluminous, though you can choose which you want to download, and will be stored on your SD if you have one.

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  • I understand there are a ton of ways to minimize data usage. You can do offline maps, mail, even offline rss/news readers, etc. It was just an example of an unexpected data use. 

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  • Even cheaper option is Spot Mobile - also on T-Mobile. For $20 you could last a year, $5 refill lasts 90 days ($0.10/min). Ting is disappointing - on my $9 plan (100 min) they charge $3 tax. That's just ridiculous - 33% tax. As a result I pay $0.12 a minute - you call it cheap?

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  • @Georgiy 

    If someone only needs 200 minutes per year Spot might be the ticket but it doesn't take much to go way beyond what is available on Ting. Ting doesn't fit everyone nor will Spot or any other carrier or re seller.     Pick the carrier / re seller that fits best with your needs. As for the taxes and fees Ting has no choice but to apply them. 

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  • Sure thing Ting does have a choice - just to include them (taxes) in active device support each month ( in those $6) and charge for the actual usage - which is not that cheap actually. Like it's done by various MVNO / reseller companies. Take Spot or Ptel or any other - no tax...After all what are we paying those $6?

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  • I believe we pay the $6 dollars because that's what Ting has to pay Sprint to keep a line active. 

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  • That you don't see the tax doesn't mean it isn't being charged. Have a look at what local, state and federal taxes are included in gasoline.

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  • @Georgiy

    If Ting isn't satisfying your needs and if you believe Spot can save you money and better serve you then that is where you should go. Ting can not satisfy everyone. 

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  • Well, tax varies from state to state. I would carefully check the fine print to ensure there isn't tax being passed onto you when you refill on those plans.

    Just as point of reference, I have 4-5 lines on my account and I pay less than $2 in tax. It varies tremendously by state.

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  • Problem Using Tmobile on Platinumtel, Optel, ptel

    Not sure why all the name changes at ptel. I have been using ptel on sprint for a while. Now they tell me I need to switch to tmobile phone. I got one from a friend and bought $100 worth of minutes because they offered a 25% discount when switching from sprint to tmobile. Now the problem:

    Ptel told me all I had to do was call tmobile to unlock the phone. It wasn't true. I took the phone and my friend to the tmobile store. She spoke to a rep over the phone with the help of an employee. The assured her if her bill was up to date, she could get the unlock code sent to me within 14 days. Two days after that call, I received an email stating she would have to use the phone for 7 days before they would send an unlock code. I chatted with ptel, platinumtel, optel about this and they could not tell me how to use their service with that phone. I asked for a refund after several minutes talking with a customer service rep. They had no solution for me except to buy one of their unlocked phones. In phone conversations with them, they said any tmobile phone would work. I even recommended them to a friend but was embarrassed to tell the friend I could not use the phone unless she used it for 7 days first. Wow!

    I signed a petition to get t-mobile to change their policy. They have become very strict in how they will unlock a phone since April which is when ptel moved away from sprint to t-mobile.

    --

    Here is the response I got from tmobile after my friend's call:

    T-Mobile Sim Unlock Request

    Sim Unlock Reference:  5899363

    IMEI:  012826003266404

    Thank you for taking the time to contact T-Mobile. We have received your SIM Unlock Request. Unfortunately, this subscriber is not eligible to receive the unlock code at this time. In order to be eligible, the subscriber must complete 7 days of active service on the line. Please submit a new request 7 days after this device has been in use.

    Thank You,

    Sim Unlock Department

    T-Mobile USA, Inc


    Ptel was not able to help with this situation and said they could only use unlocked phones from tmobile. They did refund my money once I requested it. However now I have to choose another way of making calls. I may try some online services for most of my calls such as skype, talkatone, so many others. I could also use online texting. I want to port my phone number though since I've had it for 25 years and it is connected to my business.

     

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  • I would call Ting. It may be possible for you to BYOD your old phone.

    When Ting first announced BYOD, they indicated that MVNO devices, excluding Boost & Virgin, should work too. 

    I know Ting was experimenting with BYOD for an active phone & number, but I do not recall the status of that testing.

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