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I've seen a lot of mixed reviews concerning PTEL... However, I side with the negative reviews because the positive reviews all sound like sales reps, where as the negative ones all sound like real customers.

I have never dealt with PTEL before, but according to the reviews "phone doesn't charge," "service area sucks," flagged for overusing the 'unlimited' calls and texts," etc... Yes, you can, apparently, get your account flagged for "abusing" their "unlimited" feature and lose the use of the phone for 7 days... Now, I don't know about you, but isn't "unlimited" supposed to mean UNLIMITED?


I don't know about the unlimited (or "unlimited" plans), but I love PTEL's prepaid plan. I do not use my phone very much, and the prepaid plan is an outstanding deal in comparison to other options if you are like me. Moreover, it has data. I switched from H2O (also prepaid), and could not be happier with the better coverage (big upgrade: H2O seems to use the AT&T network, where PTEL uses the Verizon network), and the amounts I get charged.

I am not a sales rep. :)


I dunno about PTEL's service, but those phones are way overpriced.


@omefrans: PTel uses the T-Mobile network, not Verizon's. I wouldn't be surprised if there were large cross-licensing deal between T-Mobile and Verizon for usage of each other's towers, so it may be that good Verizon coverage in your area equates to good PTel coverage.


@thenombomb: Here's a real (former) customer. I was very happy with them, and only stopped using them because I got a work phone. My wife is still currently using them, but we'll probably be switching away because T-Mobile coverage in my area doesn't exist.

I can't speak as to the unlimited plan, but the pay as you go plan is a great way for my wife to have a cell phone for less than $10/month. Including texting.

The only issues I had with PTel were coverage issues when they were on the Sprint network.


@thenombomb: And the bad reviews couldn't be from competing sales people? That would never happen.

I might get one of their cheapo pay as you go phones just to check out their coverage here, just in case it's decent. Would save a boatload of cayyyysh.


@knoid: Just looking at Android phones and comparing with Amazon, here's what I see. I don't see drastically overpriced phones, I just see normal retailer markup. On the higher end phones, PTel is cheaper than buying new on Amazon.

Regardless, PTel is now a "BYOPhone" carrier and sells just a SIM.

PTel: $100
Amazon: $90 (new)
Amazon: $75 (used)

PTel: $190
Amazon: $180 (new)
Amazon: $120 (used)

PTel: $220
Amazon: $237 (new)
Amazon: $165 (used)

PTel: $250
Amazon: $280 (new)
Amazon: $164 (used)

Now, I'm only comparing apples to apples here-- if you can find a phone you believe to be comparably better, please, please post it here. Seriously. I'm currently phone shopping and trying to get the very best deal I can.


@dpmonkeyboy: Check out to see what T-Mobile towers are in your area. That could give you a huge clue.

I can't speak for sure as to whether Non-T-Mobile GSM towers would give you a signal or not.


Lot's of things to consider here, but this is an mvno. MVNO's allowyou to bring your own phone, and do not subsidize the phone the way contracted services do.

similar to straight talk and net10 (owned by tracphone) and simple mobile.
straight talk uses at&t or Tmobile.
net 10 uses verizon or at&t or tmobile.
simple mobile uses tmobile.
virgin mobile uses sprint service.
If you use the tmobile towers, to get 3g you need a phone that will work on 1700 mhz.

I can't imagine a phone that would work on verizon and a gsm network, but I am n amateur.

I bought a google nexus 4 and am trying out straighttalk. no complaints so far. I can switch to a tmobile network if I want, because the phone works at 1700 mhz too.

good luck.


@kdulcimer: Thanks. My experience with t-mobile was pretty bad but that was a decade ago and in DC. I'd like to try them with a phone to see about specific areas in and around Albuquerque. AT&T just isn't doing it for me here. A $20 test that might save me $100 per month is worth it. And dulcimers are cool, always liked those things.

Update: thanks again, that map looks to be is a nice tool. Shows no t-mobile out where I live, spotty in the city. We don't use voice much, so if they actually do switch off to other networks then it might still work.


I have been using their prepaid service and phone for 3 years. An early generation pre-android Samsung smart phone which they gave me for free. Service and phone work fine in any urban environment. The rural areas can be spotty for coverage. They were utilizing the unused bandwith on the Sprint Network when I signed on. Not sure if they have switched to T-Mobile since. If anyone knows of a less costly prepaid plan, please post.


Well, I trust Wooters far more so I might just try 'em out. The pay-as-you-go plan would save me a ton of money so I might try it out now that I've heard your experiences. :p


I've been using PTel prepaid for a while and I'm very pleased with both the cheap service and the excellent coverage in my area. However, I'm a little confused as most posts are stating that PTel uses the Verizon network for their CDMA phones and T-Mobile for their GSM phones (includes the BYO SIM card phones). But strangely, here in Gainesville FL, we seem to be on the Sprint Network?!? Baffled, but I guess all's good as long as it works. Also, I have traveled to Central Florida and South Florida, and have had no problems with coverage.


Just an FYI to all. Not all Cell Phone providers "own" their own towers. What they purchase are frequencies that the towers contain. As an example in a suburb outside the Chicagoland area, AT&T does not have all AT&T towers, some of them work off of old SBC Holdings , New Cingular Wireless PCS LLC towers, Sprint works off of Stc Two LLC towers, SBa Monarch towers and many more (maybe reason service is spotty-repairs have to go through several channels for repair) Verizon works off of Chicago SMSA LP, Cellco Partnership and T-Mobile their towers are T-Mobile Central LLC and in areas where towers are unavailable they partner with other towers to make sure there is coverage for customers. A great resource is when looking for coverage with a carrier. I shows cell site locations and which providers have which towers. Hope this is helpful. (an ex wireless guru)


Oh PTel Mobile works off Sprint for CDMA (currently) and GSM, same as TMobile accorsing to custome rservice. To my knowledge when calling them to inquire of new service they informed me the CDMA or Sprint through PTel Mobile will only work until May of this year. Im in the process of purchasing an unlocked GSM phone along with a PTel Mobile SIM, moving my number over from AT&T and taking advantage of their $40 Unlim Everything plan. I asked if I would be penalized or flagged for excessive usage and they said no, unlimited everything is unlimited everything and data is 250 at high speed and after will decrease, in speed. Anyone else I know using PTel Mobile is quite satisfied.