Fast data speeds, customizable plans, and reliable coverage make this a winner.
Although the United States may only consist of four main wireless service providers, there are a plethora of smaller MVNOs out there that piggyback off of The Big 4’s service and use it to offer cellular plans that are more affordable and contract-free. Some of the most popular include the likes of Mint Mobile, Ting, and Cricket Wireless, but today I’ll be talking about one you likely haven’t heard of: US Mobile.
US Mobile is a relatively new MVNO, but after testing it out for a few weeks, I’m inclined to say it just might be one of the best.
Fast and reliable
A surprisingly great prepaid service.
US Mobile is a flexible and powerful wireless provider that offers highly customizable plans, fast data speeds, and affordable pricing. The phone lineup is disappointing, but that’s OK since you can bring your own device, too.
- Blazing fast data speeds
- Reliable coverage
- Plans are very customizable
- Bring your own device
- The phone selection is a joke
- No discount for family plans
Unlike the big carriers that are focused on only offering different tiers of unlimited plans, US Mobile offers a variety of plans that you can pretty much customize to your heart’s content.
If you don’t need an unlimited option, US Mobile’s Custom Plan allows you to specify how much talk, text, and data you want. You can mix and match these all day long to find something that’s just right for your needs. Only need text and data with no talk minutes? US Mobile has you covered. Just want data? You can do that, too.
For heavier users, the Unlimited Plan also offers a good deal of customization.
You start out with a $10/month fee for unlimited talk + text and then pay $15, $25, or $30 on top of that for 5GB, 10GB, or unlimited data, respectively. That secures you with Standard data seeds, but you also have the option of increasing that to Fast or Ludicrous for another $5 or $15 each month (the Custom Plans all include Ludicrous speeds for data). We’ll dive into what all that means a little later on.
You can add mobile hotspot use to any plan for $10/month, and if you’re signing up for a family, US Mobile offers an easy-to-use dashboard interface so you can see exactly how much talk, text, and data everyone’s using. There’s no discount for family plans, but I still appreciate that US Mobile makes them easy to manage.
Overall, I think most people will be quite pleased with the pricing structure that US Mobile offers. You can skirt by for as little as $6/month with 40 minutes of talk, 40 texts, and 100MB of data, and going all the way to the Unlimited Plan with unlimited Ludicrous data will only set you back $55/month.
US Mobile relies on two of the nation’s big carriers for its service. These carriers aren’t actually disclosed anywhere on US Mobile’s website, but we’re more than certain that it’s T-Mobile and Verizon.
When you sign up for US Mobile, the Starter Kit you’re sent includes two separate SIM cards — one for its GSM LTE Network (T-Mobile) and the Super LTE Network (Verizon). Since T-Mobile and Verizon each have their own SIM, this means you can’t just hop back and forth between the two the way you can with something like Google Fi.
The GSM LTE Network works with any GSM phone, meaning you can bring over devices from OnePlus, Nokia, Motorola, etc. On the flip side, the Super LTE Network is limited to Verizon-compatible devices. US Mobile promotes its Super LTE Network as being the better of the two with better coverage and faster LTE speeds, but all this essentially comes down to is how well or how poorly T-Mobile and Verizon have you covered in your area.
I’ve been using the GSM LTE Network SIM card in my OnePlus 6, and since T-Mobile has solid coverage in my area here in Michigan, there haven’t been any issues whatsoever. I consistently get 4-5 bars of service and some of the fastest data speeds I’ve seen on any MVNO.
Speaking of data speed, let’s talk about that, shall we?
Going back to those three data speeds mentioned above, here’s what they translate to:
- Standard — 1Mbps download speeds
- Fast — 5Mbps download speeds
- Ludicrous — No limits on download speeds
I’d urge anyone that’s considering joining to at least splurge for the Fast tier, but after using Ludicrous with a Custom Plan, I can say that it’s definitely worth the extra cash.
The lowest download speed I saw was 31.9Mbps late at night on a Sunday, with my fastest test hitting an impressive 98.8Mbps a little after 8:00 AM on a Tuesday. After running eleven speed tests at various times on multiple days, the mean download speed was about 68Mbps with the mean upload coming in at 13Mbps.
Those are some of the fastest speeds I’ve seen on any MVNO, and for folks that are frequently without a steady Wi-Fi connection, that’s a huge benefit.
If there’s one big weak point to US Mobile, it’s the company’s selection of phones that you can buy. Similar to other MVNOs, US Mobile has a small pool of Android and iOS devices that you can purchase directly through it. Unfortunately, the selection is extremely limited with the only flagship Android handsets being the HTC One M10, Galaxy S6 Edge+, and LG G4.
Furthermore, the fact that US Mobile is still charging $609 for a Galaxy S6 Edge+ — a phone that came out in 2015 — is downright criminal.
Thankfully, you’re not limited to these phones at all. You can bring over any phone you’d like, with US Mobile even offering to unlock AT&T phones for you for just $15 (a fee that’s refunded back to you if you stay with US Mobile for at least 6 months).
US Mobile Should you join?
So should you sign up for US Mobile? Absolutely.
I’ve really enjoyed my time using the service and came away with my experience rather impressed. The coverage is reliable, data speeds are incredibly fast, and the flexibility with all of the various plan options makes it easy on just about any wallet.
It would be nice to see US Mobiel revamp its phone offering in the near future, but then again, the point is kind of moot when you can bring over virtually any device you’d like on your own terms.
out of 5
If you like what you’re seeing, give US Mobile a shot. The SIM Starter Kit is only $3.99, and if you’re currently on a main U.S. carrier or another MVNO, there’s a good chance you’ll find something here that better suits your needs.
November 30, 2018 at 03:06AM