As we move back to the single line plans in our 2013 Best Value in Wireless survey, it’s time to crack the top three. We’ve already seen the values that Simple Mobile brought in our #5 spot and Virgin Mobile delivers amazing flexibility in with their $35-$55 monthly offerings. Our number three carrier is a familiar face, ranking number one in last year’s survey and only hurt by the data reduction that hit early in 2012. Red Pocket Mobile, is an AT&T MVNO that offers service that uses the AT&T network at a pretty hefty monthly discount.
Red Pocket Mobile offers two great smartphone plans in the $49.99 and $54.99 variety. The $49.99 plan offers unlimited talk, text and 500MB of data, while the $54.99 plan delivers the same level of talk and text, but adds another half gig of data to the plan for a total of 1GB. While the pricing doesn’t make Red Pocket Mobile an absolute steal, it saves the average AT&T user $1500 over a two year contract deal with similar options.
Red Pocket Mobile has an excellent network for voice quality and very good 3G data speeds. Of course, these can vary by area, so feel free to see what friends get on AT&T’s 3G network in your area. Our speed tests revealed quite a range, but averages were in the 3-5Mbps down range. This is more than adequate speed for most uses, especially since RPM doesn’t support tethering.
Handset selection for any AT&T MVNO is stellar as any world phone, quad-band or better, will work perfectly with AT&T’s US frequencies. Handsets like the Nokia Asha 311 are great semi-smartphones, at a very affordable price. Red Pocket Mobile does require that APN’s be edited for MMS and Data, so keep this in mind as you select that new phone.
As far as the customer service ranking goes, we had very few problems with anything but APN editing on newer iPhones. Again, we ran in to issues online with many having serious issues with the service department. Reports that people were having problems with both the online customer service and somewhat slow hold times, we had trouble lifting Red Pocket Mobile above the number three spot this year. If the service department was a bit faster on the response times, it would have had a shot at repeating even with the cut in the data plan.
That said, Red Pocket Mobile is still gets a thumbs up from us. While there are better priced plans on the market, RPM gives an honest look at what they offer, without hidden daily limits, throttling or other crazy limitations on the word ‘unlimited’. Now that said, there are actually limits on what unlimited means for voice, in this case, 15,000 minutes. If you plan on going over that, you might want to shop around, but that’s 250 hours of talk in 30 days.
You can purchase Red Pocket from many local dealers, from www.goredpocket.com or from our friends at KrazyBird Photography for extra special deals. It is also available from our friends at www.getsmartphones.info as well.
Update: We failed to mention the value of the 200 minutes of international calling that is available on all plans $39.99 and higher. With rates to landlines in places like the UK being just $.01 per minute, the $2.00 reoccurring credit allows you to use what you want and save the rest for the following month when you have more time to chat with those overseas friends.
Update #2: And just like that Red Pocket Mobile throws a wrench into the mix with new plan options for 2013! Starting today, the $39.99 plan includes 100MB of data and unlimited calling to many international destinations. This with the new “$59.99 Max Plan” that brings back the 2GB cap on data for only $5 more than the $54.99 plan that was reviewed. This once again puts Red Pocket Mobile back at the top of our listing.