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Thread: Looking for new US prepaid company

  1. #1
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    Question Looking for new US prepaid company

    Hello, Ontario Canada resident here, I was with AT&T Prepaid until May 3, 2022 when I added $25 to my account (to keep it active) on the morning of May 3rd, 2022. I haven't used my phone since I was last in the US (January 2020), but was trying to keep my number active until I can get back down to the US to visit family and friends.

    Later that day (May 3rd, 2022) I got an automated email from AT&T stating that my email address was no longer associated to my account. I had over $200 in my prepaid account and ended up losing it all (I was on the pay as you go $0.10/minute plan that was no longer offered by AT&T.

    Long story short, I'm now looking for a new US prepaid provider (MVNO or otherwise). I originally was with TMobile from early 2010 to January 2020. I switched to AT&T due to TMobile doing away with their $3/month plan for when I come back to Canada, I could at least keep my US number active for cheap, then before travelling to the US (usually for at least 3 weeks at a time), I would switch to a more robust monthly prepaid plan so I can use my phone while in the US (I usually opted for one of TMobile's $40+ plans where I could call back home if needed).

    I am looking for a mobile company with similar plans where I can keep a US number cheaply while back home here in Canada, but then switch to a more featured plan for when I travel to the US, but am at a loss of where to look. Is there anyone out there who could point me in the right direction for such a company?

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    If you want to stay with AT&T, the best deal available for pay-as-you-go is with H2O Wireless. There may be better deals with RedPocket at their eBay store, but I've been reading some negative reports about RedPocket here on HoFo and they seem to be having a lot of glitches of late.

    H2O paygo is 5˘/minute or text and 10˘/MB for data and you can pay as little as $10 US for 90 days. They also have an annual plan but you probably don't want that if you'll be travelling back and forth to the U.S.

    At any point you can change to a monthly plan if you need more voice minutes, texts or data. Of course you'll lose your paygo balance when you do that. And by the same token you'll lose the balance of your monthly plan if you switch back to paygo.

    I maintain a number for my sister-in-law with H2O Wireless and I've been pleased with the flexibility and customer service. Coverage is the same as with any other AT&T MVNO.
    If you think the pandemic is bad now, just wait. Doctors tell us the next variant plays the accordion.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    If you want to stay with AT&T, the best deal available for pay-as-you-go is with H2O Wireless. There may be better deals with RedPocket at their eBay store, but I've been reading some negative reports about RedPocket here on HoFo and they seem to be having a lot of glitches of late.

    H2O paygo is 5˘/minute or text and 10˘/MB for data and you can pay as little as $10 US for 90 days. They also have an annual plan but you probably don't want that if you'll be travelling back and forth to the U.S.

    At any point you can change to a monthly plan if you need more voice minutes, texts or data. Of course you'll lose your paygo balance when you do that. And by the same token you'll lose the balance of your monthly plan if you switch back to paygo.

    I maintain a number for my sister-in-law with H2O Wireless and I've been pleased with the flexibility and customer service. Coverage is the same as with any other AT&T MVNO.
    Thank you for the help. I heard about H2O Wireless before, but never really looked into them. I know since AT&T shutdown their 3G network, they're only allowing certain phones on their system. I wonder if it would be the same for H2O Wireless (seeing as they are an AT&T MVNO)?

  4. #4
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    What phone do you plan to use for your US service?


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  5. #5
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    Any phone on the AT&T network is supposed to be on the AT&T whitelist.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjemartin View Post
    Hello, Ontario Canada resident here, I was with AT&T Prepaid until May 3, 2022 when I added $25 to my account (to keep it active) on the morning of May 3rd, 2022. I haven't used my phone since I was last in the US (January 2020), but was trying to keep my number active until I can get back down to the US to visit family and friends.

    Later that day (May 3rd, 2022) I got an automated email from AT&T stating that my email address was no longer associated to my account. I had over $200 in my prepaid account and ended up losing it all (I was on the pay as you go $0.10/minute plan that was no longer offered by AT&T.
    I'm helping an elderly couple with the same 10cents/minute plan, and AT&TPrepaid has been getting on my nerves. I totally sympathize with your situation! Making customers lose huge balances is just so totally unfair, IMO.

    An ATTPrepaid rep told me that their rules changed on Jan 5, 2022. The new rules are that if you don't make a payment before expiration date, you lose your balance - even if you have hundreds of dollars in Prepaid balance.

    Worse, even if you sign up for a monthly plan and set up auto-pay to draw from your Prepaid balance, you still have to make a payment before your monthly plan expiration date - or you lose your balance. So you are required to keep adding to your Prepaid balance to keep your balance, otherwise AT&TPrepaid makes you lose it. I think Prepaid is becoming very different from true Pay-as-you-go.
    You can activate new service on Tracfone and get $80 by using my referral code (you get 8,000 rewards points - that's $80 in service or a brand new phone!)
    You can sign up for Red Pocket and get $25 off your monthly-plan order using my referral code. Feel free to PM me for the codes. Thank you!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjemartin View Post
    Thank you for the help. I heard about H2O Wireless before, but never really looked into them. I know since AT&T shutdown their 3G network, they're only allowing certain phones on their system. I wonder if it would be the same for H2O Wireless (seeing as they are an AT&T MVNO)?
    Yes, all MVNOs are (or will be) subject to this AT&T requirement, so the S6 in your signature is probably a no-go now...

    Back to finding a carrier that would be a good fit for the use case you describe, Tracfone's BYOD plan might be a good option. The plan is $60 / Year (sometimes discounted down to $40 or $50) and is available on eBay only. It comes with an annual bucket (not monthly) of 1200 mins / 1200 text / 3GB data and 365 days of service with no minimum usage requirement. So you can leave it dormant for any amount of time, and use all of the buckets at any time during the year. Find it by searching "Tracfone 1200" on eBay (US site only).

    Extra minutes/texts are very reasonable (I think it's $10 for another 500 mins and $5 for another 1000 texts). Data is $10/GB. You'll also need an international calling card add-on which is $10 for about 700 mins to Canada - this just lasts like a pay=go balance and doesn't expire -- but you'll need to dial an access number first to call outside the US (or use their Android dialer app).

    Unlimited rollover as long as the account remains active (i.e., you buy another $60SIM and transfer your existing service to it). Think of this like an internal Tracfone-Tracfone port, and they will add your remaining balances to the new SIM (e.g., if you have 500 minutes remaining on the old SIM, you'll have 1700 on the new one -- same with unused texts, data and service days).

    You can also add a 1 month plan at any time and it will pause your buckets and use the monthly plan (lots of options, but $25 for unlimited talk/text/2GB data might be a good one for you for a 3-week visit) until it expires -- then the data bucket plan resumes if you don't add another monthly plan. Please note that the monthly allowances don't combine with the buckets (e.g., any remaining data left on the monthly plan expires when your buckets resume at the end of month).

    Tracfone was recently bought by Verizon, but they are still selling the "any network" SIM card bundle on eBay (it's the one with 3 maps of the US in the picture -- blue, red and pink (aligning with the carriers). The Verizon only one is also offered (only a red map) for $10 less, so I can't guarantee you that tri-network one will be available for much longer. They say they aren't kicking anyone off the other networks in the near future, but I suspect they'll stop selling the other network SIMs once their pre-acquisition contracts run out...

    If you're still using the S6 in your signature, that's a T-Mobile device that might not work on the AT&T network going forward -- they are LTE/VoLTE only, and requiring phones on a whitelist -- that's causing all sorts of issues for people who don't have AT&T branded devices (or recent iPhone/Samsung Galaxy S-series phones that can auto-configure among the carriers). If you still use the S6, you'll want the T-Mobile version of this bundle. If you have a Verizon capable device then I would opt for that since it's more likely you'll be able to get renewal SIMs in the future for this.

    You'll need a US address for shipping, so you might need to get this shipped to the US and someone mail the SIM to you in Canada since this plan isn't sold in stores. If you are in Niagara Falls, you may have a US shipping address already on the other side of the border.

    Tracfone also has a rewards program, so current users can give you a referral and you'll get points that are worth $50 (you can use for a monthly plan or add-ons). You need to sign up for the rewards program when you activate (it's a separate sign-up). I have a code you can use if you decide to go this route.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sillyette View Post
    I'm helping an elderly couple with the same 10cents/minute plan, and AT&TPrepaid has been getting on my nerves. I totally sympathize with your situation! Making customers lose huge balances is just so totally unfair, IMO.

    An ATTPrepaid rep told me that their rules changed on Jan 5, 2022. The new rules are that if you don't make a payment before expiration date, you lose your balance - even if you have hundreds of dollars in Prepaid balance.

    Worse, even if you sign up for a monthly plan and set up auto-pay to draw from your Prepaid balance, you still have to make a payment before your monthly plan expiration date - or you lose your balance. So you are required to keep adding to your Prepaid balance to keep your balance, otherwise AT&TPrepaid makes you lose it. I think Prepaid is becoming very different from true Pay-as-you-go.
    I wonder what part is new for 2022? Their balance expiration policy has been in effect for years. I took over maintenance of my mom's phone number (on a paygo plan) in 2020 and it was in place then. At the time, she had an $140 balance so I imagine it was in place for her then, too, since she rarely used the phone except for an occasional long distance overseas call. The online account even says Balance Expires mm/dd/yy.

    Yeah, I switched to a monthly plan briefly and still had to refill per the schedule to maintain the balance. Simplest method is to just add $100 and it extends the expiration date a year. Buy a discount refill from Target or Kroger and forget about it. It doesn't stack so you have to set a reminder to add a day or two prior to expiration.

    It took me some reading and asking questions online to understand how it all worked when I started since it was my first experience with AT&T and I couldn't quite grasp the concept at first. The tiered expiration based on the refill value was new to me but once I actually refilled the plan it made more sense since I could see the Balance Expiration date change. It's spelled out pretty clearly on their Terms of Service Agreement (sec. 3.3).

    ref. https://www.att.com/legal/terms.cons...Agreement.html

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnciusD View Post
    I wonder what part is new for 2022? Their balance expiration policy has been in effect for years. I took over maintenance of my mom's phone number (on a paygo plan) in 2020 and it was in place then. At the time, she had an $140 balance so I imagine it was in place for her then, too, since she rarely used the phone except for an occasional long distance overseas call. The online account even says Balance Expires mm/dd/yy.

    Yeah, I switched to a monthly plan briefly and still had to refill per the schedule to maintain the balance. Simplest method is to just add $100 and it extends the expiration date a year. Buy a discount refill from Target or Kroger and forget about it. It doesn't stack so you have to set a reminder to add a day or two prior to expiration.

    It took me some reading and asking questions online to understand how it all worked when I started since it was my first experience with AT&T and I couldn't quite grasp the concept at first. The tiered expiration based on the refill value was new to me but once I actually refilled the plan it made more sense since I could see the Balance Expiration date change. It's spelled out pretty clearly on their Terms of Service Agreement (sec. 3.3).

    ref. https://www.att.com/legal/terms.cons...Agreement.html
    I've had a backup line since it was called gophone. The expiration policy has always been there, add money or loose it. Nothing new there. What changed recently was the dropping of the per minute plan and the $2 per day plan. Although if you had one you can keep it.
    If AT&T granted sillyette's people extensions, (I believe since 2014?) then they are very fortunate.
    For AT&T to keep a line active with zero additional income is not reasonable, as far as I'm concerned.
    But the OP seems to have had his account arbitrarily disconnected. I'd be complaining if I followed the terms and that happened.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnypackerfan View Post
    I've had a backup line since it was called gophone. The expiration policy has always been there, add money or loose it. Nothing new there. What changed recently was the dropping of the per minute plan and the $2 per day plan. Although if you had one you can keep it.
    If AT&T granted sillyette's people extensions, (I believe since 2014?) then they are very fortunate.
    For AT&T to keep a line active with zero additional income is not reasonable, as far as I'm concerned.
    But the OP seems to have had his account arbitrarily disconnected. I'd be complaining if I followed the terms and that happened.
    Yes, they used to call and get the balance extended for another year, and they didn't have to make a payment.

    Apparently, the fact that their balance was over $100 made the account eligible for 1-year extensions without having to pay additional money. My guess is that it applied only to the 10cents/min plan.

    The CSR I spoke to said that *that part* of the policy changed on Jan 5, 2022 - the part about getting an automatic 1-year extension if the balance was over $100. The change being that now, even if you have over $100 in your Prepaid balance, you still have to pay in order to extend the expiration date.

  11. #11
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    U.S. Mobile - choose from Verizon or T-Mobile's network. $2.00 per month minimum for 75 minutes of talk. Very good customer service for a Wireless provider. Most of their CSRs are college graduates in Pakistan.

    Ting- Choose from Verizon or T-Mobile. Customer service is in the Greater Toronto Area, so if you need help, you'll be talking to fellow Canucks.

    If you want to get your $$ back from AT&T, read their TOS and follow the instructions to institute arbitration. It will cost them US$5,000 to respond to your arbitration claim, and they'll gladly give you back a few hundred to avoid that.

    P.S. I'm going to BC this summer. Who do you recommend that I sign up with to get coverage while I'm there?
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