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PTel

Est. $35 per month and up
Reviewed
December 2013
by ConsumerSearch
PlatinumTel prepaid cell phone review

Pros
  • Unlimited plans
  • Broad coverage with T-Mobile network
Cons
  • Customer service complaints
  • Limited phone selection

Bottom line

PTel (formerly PlatinumTel) has undergone some significant changes of late, such as abandoning Sprint as its network partner in favor of T-Mobile. Plan offerings aren't extensive, but include both unlimited and pay-as-you-go options. The phone selections are modest as well, but you can bring your own compatible unlocked phone -- just not one of the very latest phones.

Plans and flexibility

Limited plan options. PTel's Real Paygo is a true pay-as-you-go plan: You load money into a PTel account (minimum of $10), with calls (5 cents per minute), texts (2 cents each), data (10 cents per MB), etc., deducted from the balance as you go. Service days are determined by the amount loaded, from 60 days for $10 to 365 days for $100. Unused amounts can be rolled over for up to one year if service is renewed, except for the $100 plan, which carries over until depleted. A $35 monthly plan includes unlimited talk, text and data, but no high-speed data. The $40 monthly plan is identical but includes 250 MB of high-speed data, while the $50 plan jumps that to 2 GB. A $1.50 daily unlimited plan is also available, but that must be bought in top-up allotments of $10 to $45, with service days and data allowances varying with the amount of the top-up.

Performance

As good as T-Mobile. PTel gets very little feedback from users or experts. However, since its network is the same as T-Mobile's, performance in your locale should be similar.

Customer service

Some fumbling of the hand-off. PTel has generally enjoyed a decent reputation for its customer service, but the changeover from Sprint (a CDMA carrier) to T-Mobile (a GSM carrier) generated a fair number of complaints at PrepaidReviews.com. Currently, the carrier earns a 3-star rating there, based on feedback from more than 100 user reviews.

Phone selection

Great for those who talk and text. The phone selection offered by PTel leans heavily toward feature phones. Some smartphones are offered, such as the LG Nexus 4 (Est. $300) and the HTC One S (Est. $230), but the relatively hefty data costs PTel imposes will likely scare away those who use lots of data. Basic phones start at $20, and SIM cards for those who want to use their own compatible device are $5.

Our Sources

1. PrepaidReviews.com

Editors here give PTel one of their highest ratings, 4 stars out of 5, though some of the information is outdated. They note that the limited data included with PTel's plans make the carrier's smartphones less attractive. More than 100 users rate the service, but these reviews are fairly evenly split between 5-star praise and 1-star dislike. The issues related to the switch-over from the Sprint to the T-Mobile system make up a good percentage of the recent poorer evaluations.

Review: PlatinumTel Prepaid, Editors of and Contributors to PrepaidReviews.com, Not Dated

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