MetroPCS is a solid choice if you're looking for unlimited monthly plans. MetroPCS ranks in second place among prepaid wireless providers in the 2011 J.D. Power and Associates national survey, where it is rated against Virgin Mobile, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and other carriers. The carrier's biggest setback is its limited coverage.
You don't have to track your usage. Editors at TopTenReviews.com say that MetroPCS's monthly plans are among the best they've evaluated. Other reviewers agree that MetroPCS's flat-rate, unlimited-minutes system is simple to use and means that you don't have to worry about going over your allotment of minutes.
A monthly plan with unlimited local and long-distance calls, text and picture messages and MetroWeb (with access to most websites) costs $40. For $5 more, you can add unlimited international text messaging and more; another $5 adds unlimited email access, instant messaging and MetroNavigator GPS navigation. BlackBerry service costs $10 more.
Some complaints about limited coverage. Customers at PrepaidReviews.com complain about MetroPCS's customer service and limited regional coverage. MetroPCS receives a 4-star rating (out of 5) at PrepaidReviews.com, although editors say the carrier's biggest setback is its limited coverage, as its best coverage is in the Eastern United States.
Experts and users have different views. Editors at TopTenReviews.com praise Metro PCS's customer service after trying it themselves. In contrast, customers at PrepaidReviews.com have mixed views: Some say that they've always had excellent customer service, while others report that it's difficult to contact customer support without having the call dropped several times.
Basic and advanced phones. Like Virgin Mobile, MetroPCS offers some advanced handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III (*Est. $500) with an 8-megapixel camera and HD Video. In addition, there is a large selection of basic phones (*Est. $60 and up) if you use the 3G network.
1. J.D. Power & Associates
Review Credibility: Excellent In this survey of about 6,400 prepaid wireless cell phone users, MetroPCS is in second place out of nine carriers reviewed. It is beaten by Boost Mobile and in turn ranks higher than TracFone, Net10 and Virgin Mobile, among others.
Review: 2011 Wireless Non-Contract Customer Satisfaction Index Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, March 31, 2011
Review Credibility: Excellent In this survey of over 66,000 respondents, Metro PCS falls behind all other prepaid service carriers reviewed except for AT&T GoPhone.
Review: Recommended Cell Phone Services, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, January 2011
Review Credibility: Good MetroPCS is in eighth place in
TopTenReviews.com's 2012 roundup of prepaid phone services
for 2013, receiving 2.5 stars out of 4. Editors say that MetroPCS's monthly plans are among the best they've evaluated, but that service has limited coverage outside its home areas, incurring extra fees for usage in these regions. Its customer support service, which the editors tried out, and its phone selection receive praise. However, TopTenReviews.com's evaluation of prepaid cell phone providers is based only on features and doesn't look at how each phone service performs.
Review: 2013 Prepaid Cell Phones Comparisons, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Good As of 2009, MetroPCS's flat-rate unlimited monthly prepaid wireless plans are "the best value" for people looking to replace their contract plans, CNET says -- but only for those within MetroPCS's limited coverage area. CNET evaluates nine prepaid wireless carriers in all, but doesn't pick a favorite.
Review: Prepaid Wireless: In Search of the Perfect Bargain, Marguerite Reardon, May 15, 2009
Review Credibility: Fair MetroPCS receives a 4-star rating (out of 5) at PrepaidReviews.com, although editors say the carrier's biggest setback is its limited coverage. Subscribers aren't as impressed: a number complain about poor customer service, limited coverage and call quality.
Review: Metro PCS Prepaid Cell Phone Plans, Editors of and Contributors to PrepaidReviews.com, As of December 2012