Red Pocket Mobile: 7 Things to Know Before You Sign Up
Red Pocket Mobile is a low-cost cell phone service provider that lets you keep your phone and choose from any of the major wireless networks.
The prepaid carrier is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that offers big savings compared to Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.
Is Red Pocket Mobile Worth It? Team Thegadgetlocker’s Review
I’ve reviewed more than a dozen cheap wireless providers for Team Thegadgetlocker. I first tested Red Pocket Mobile in 2018 and revisited the service in 2020 to see if anything had changed.
After most of my reviews, I can confidently say whether the service is worth it or not. But it’s complicated with Red Pocket.
Pricing is Red Pocket Mobile’s biggest strength. However, I ran into customer service issues during both testing periods that I don’t typically encounter.
I’ll share more details in this article. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
- Network Coverage
- Plans and Pricing
- Activation Process
- Phone Selection
- Call and Text Performance
- Data Speeds
- Customer Service
1. Network Coverage
Most smaller cell phone carriers partner with only one of the major networks, and those that work with all of them typically don’t let you choose the network that you want to use.
What makes Red Pocket different is that you can choose your own network:
- GSMA = AT&T
- CDMA = Verizon
- GSMT = T-Mobile
- CDMAS = Sprint
For example: If Verizon has the best service in your area, choose the CDMA network with Red Pocket Mobile and you’ll get access to Verizon’s towers for a fraction of the price.
Before you sign up, enter your ZIP code on Red Pocket’s website and carefully review the coverage maps.
2. Plans and Pricing
Red Pocket Mobile’s plans are a good value for people who don’t use a lot of data. As of this writing, monthly data plans start at $10. However, you’ll pay closer to $20 a month for unlimited talk, text and 3GB of high-speed data.
Red Pocket also sells annual plans through eBay that cost as low as $60, which works out to just $5 a month.
The annual plans are the best deal, but I do not recommend that you sign up for one right away. Start with a monthly plan to see if the service is a good fit before you think about one of the 360-day plans.
Since Red Pocket Mobile is a prepaid carrier, there are no contracts, credit checks, activation fees or overage fees.
3. Activation Process
When your SIM card from Red Pocket Mobile arrives, you’ll receive detailed instructions on how to activate your service.
The process will be familiar to many people reading this article. You’ll enter a number from the SIM card on Red Pocket’s website, insert your SIM card and program your phone using instructions that are sent to your email.
For my CDMA (Verizon) SIM card, the configuration step hit a snag. My phone would not place calls.
Red Pocket Mobile’s customer service representative told me this was a known issue with CDMA SIM cards and Motorola devices. I used a Motorola G Power for my latest test.
To make the service work, I had to put the SIM card into a different phone, make a call and then put it back into my test phone.
Since I test cell phone service providers for a living, this wasn’t a problem and my service did get activated. But I could see this being an issue for people who have only one phone.
Again, this problem was only with the CDMA (Verizon) SIM card. I had no issue with the GSMA (AT&T) SIM card.
4. Phone Selection
Most Red Pocket Mobile customers will want to bring their existing device to the service. After all, one of Red Pocket’s selling points is that you can keep your phone and your existing network.
However, I’ve noticed that Red Pocket now sells a limited number of devices.
As of this writing, Red Pocket’s website listed seven different iPhones for sale. Phone discounts were advertised for customers who also purchased a service plan.
There’s also phone financing as low as 0% for up to 24 months that’s provided through Affirm.
5. Call and Text Performance
For my latest test of Red Pocket Mobile, call and text performance was very good. With both the CDMA (Verizon) and GSMA (AT&T) SIM cards, I experienced no issues with the call quality.
That’s a change from my initial review back in 2018 when my voice sounded muffled and dropped out at times.
Although the call quality improved with my latest test, I received far more spam calls and unwanted text messages than I’ve had with other providers.
I downloaded Hiya to stop the calls, but I had to manually block all of the text messages. This happened with both SIM cards.
Of course, spam calls and unwanted text messages can happen with any provider. However, I feel this is worth mentioning because I received more of them compared to the other dozen services that I’ve tested.
If this becomes a problem for you, Red Pocket says you can contact customer service to change your number.
6. Data Speeds
One myth is that your data will be unusable with low-cost cell phone service providers. That’s never been my experience.
For my test of Red Pocket Mobile, download speeds averaged around 25 to 30 Mbps with both the CDMA (Verizon) and AT&T (AT&T) SIM cards. The lowest speed I recorded was 10 Mbps and the highest was 62 Mbps.
Here are some of the speed test results from the CDMA (Verizon) network:
Those speeds enabled me to do everything that I needed including streaming video and music with zero buffering. Download the free Speedtest app to conduct your own tests.
7. Customer Service
Red Pocket Mobile doesn’t have any stores, but you can get customer support by phone or live chat. Some cheap wireless carriers no longer offer phone support, so that’s a plus for Red Pocket.
I preferred the live chat feature because there can be long hold times when you call during peak hours.
With most of the cell phone service providers that I test, I only contact customer support to provide a better review. But with Red Pocket, I had to contact them out of necessity.
First, the activation issue. Next, the spam calls. And again to enable the mobile hotspot feature.
I can’t tell you the last time I contacted customer service with my main wireless provider. I generally don’t need a lot of help. That’s the only reason why I point out these roadblocks that I experienced along the way.
Red Pocket Mobile offers access to all of the major networks at a low price, but you have to weigh the pros and cons.
I’m a huge believer in prepaid plans. Most of the low-cost cell phone service providers that I’ve tested have been worth the savings, but I’m not sure I would include Red Pocket on that list.
I experienced headaches with Red Pocket in 2018 and again in 2020. I’ve tested it for a total of four months.
If you want to try Red Pocket for yourself, I recommend that you sign up for one of the cheapest monthly plans. If you have a better experience than mine, perhaps consider one of the annual plans.
Before you switch, see more of your options in Team Thegadgetlocker’s guide to the best cell phone plans and deals!
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