$0.20-$0.25 per text message. 20-25 bloody cents per bloody text message. I realize it costs carriers more to deliver a text message internationally than it does domestically, but not enough to charge 20-25 cents per message. 20-25 cents per message is simply opportunistic. On top of that, the big 4 – T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T – don’t offer any sort of package allowing for unlimited international text messages, so if you do want to text internationally you really are SOL. Well, not anymore.
Want to know a simple trick to save money on your monthly phone bill? Go with an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) rather than one of the big 4. Sure, you will have to prepay as opposed to postpay, but the savings can be enormous (depending on your needs) and you are never bound by those ugly contracts (so you can get up and leave whenever you want). One such MVNO is Simple Mobile.
Simple Mobile is an MVNO that piggy backs off T-Mobile’s network (i.e. anywhere you get T-Mobile coverage you will get Simple Mobile coverage, and Simple Mobile’s network will perform identically to T-Mobile’s network) and offers customers with the choice of three plans:
In of themselves, the plans are very cheap, compared to what the big 4 have, considering the features they offer. However, the feature I want to highlight is the ability to send unlimited international text/SMS messages: All three of Simple Mobile’s plan come with free, unlimited international text/SMS messages though (“free” in the sense that you are not charged on a per message basis… you still pay for the plan, though). A list of all supported destinations (over 380 worldwide) can be found here.
And the cool thing about Simple Mobile is you can use your own phone (assuming you have a GSM enabled phone) – simply pop in the Simple Mobile SIM card (Simple Mobile has no “activation fees” but it costs $12.99 to purchase a SIM card) and you are ready to go.
However, Simple Mobile isn’t perfect either. The not-so-cool aspects of Simple Mobile are:
- While you can send unlimited international text/SMS messages, you cannot send international MMS/picture messages.
- The $40 plan does not include domestic picture/MMS messages. You need the $50 or $60 to be able to send picture/MMS messages within the USA.
- Simple Mobile does not offer any family plans. So, if you belong to a family that shares a plan Simple Mobile may actually be more expensive for you since you have to purchase the $40/50/60 monthly plans for each phone.
- Simple Mobile allows you to add on international calling for an extra $10 a month. However, even after those $10 a month you are charged on a per minute basis and the international calling rates are expensive compared to alternative services you can use to call internationally.
Another not-so-hot aspect to Simple Mobile is T-Mobile’s network. Although some may claim T-Mobile’s network is not as bad as AT&T’s (this point is debatable), T-Mobile is known for having spotty coverage (depending on where you live – be sure to check coverage map). If you despise T-Mobile’s network, Boost Mobile is an MVNO that offers similar plans as Simple Mobile (everything unlimited for $50 a month + $10 a month for unlimited international text/SMS) but Boost Mobile runs on Verizon’s network, which as I am sure all American cell phone users know, is probably the best in the USA in terms of coverage Sprint’s network. However, if you do decide to go with Boost Mobile realize that you can only use Boost Mobile cell phones and will have to purchase one from them if you don’t have a Boost Mobile phone already. (As a side note, if you are a data junkie, Virgin Mobile – which also uses Verizon’s Sprint’s network – is an MVNO that offers dirt-cheap unlimited data plans [no international text/SMS though]. However, like Boost Mobile, with Virgin Mobile you can only use Virgin Mobile cell phones and the Virgin Mobile cell phones list is very, very skimpy.)
All in all, though, Simple Mobile can be a very attractive service depending on your needs. If you are a regular international text-messager, don’t even think twice before switching to Simple Mobile (or Boost Mobile, if that is what you prefer), because you will save a ton of money by not having to shell out 20-25 cents per text/SMS message.