Red Pocket Mobile Review: Pre-Paid Wireless for iPhone & Android
Red Pocket Mobile is a pre-paid wireless company that offers affordable connectivity to the iPhone and Android smartphones with no contracts for $40 to $55 a month.
This means users can bring the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, Android smartphones like the LG Nexus 4, and AT&T Windows Phone 8 smartphones to Red Pocket using a $10 Red Pocket SIM card.
AT&T compatible smartphones connect through Red Pocket Mobile to a large network with 3G and 4G speeds, depending on the device, offering coverage and speed on par with the same phone on AT&T.
Over the past two months GottaBeMobile tested the red Pocket Mobile pre-paid service with an AT&T iPhone 4, using the bring your own smartphone plan.
The iPhone 4 used is not unlocked and Red Pocket now sells Micro SIM cards so there’s no need to cut a SIM down. Red Pocket Mobile works with locked AT&T phones or unlocked GSM phones with 850 mhz, but not with T-Mobile phones.
Coverage & Service
Red Pocket mobile offers a wide area of coverage, following AT&T’s footprint in the U.S. This means if AT&T is a good carrier choice for coverage, Red Pocket Mobile is as well.
The map below shows Red Pocket Mobile’s coverage, and users can zoom in on areas of interest on the Red Pocket Mobile Website.
While using Red Pocket Mobile, coverage was good with no dropped calls during tests in various cities in Ohio. Call quality was also good, with clear sounding audio on both ends of calls. Users can bring their own number, or get a new number.
Red Pocket Mobile offers 4G – HSPA+ speeds on AT&T where available, but the iPhone 4 used to test Red Pocket Mobile is not capable of 4G.
Setting up the iPhone is easy enough, and does not require a jailbreak or an unlock. Red Pocket installs a profile to change settings automatically. Texting works fine, but picture messaging will not work without a jailbreak. Users can send iMessages with photos though.
Data & Speed
Thanks to the roaming on AT&T’s large 4G HSPA+ network, Red Pocket Mobile users can expect download speeds around 4Mbps down, while in 4G coverage. This is not the faster LTE coverage found in the iPhone 5 and other phones, but it is faster than 3G, and more widely accessible than AT&T’s LTE network.
The iPhone 4 used to test Red Pocket Mobile is not compatible with 4G networks, but it did deliver fast 3G connectivity as shown in the photo above. A newer iPhone 4S and various Android phones can connect at faster speeds.
Red Pocket Mobile offers 1GB of data for $54.99 a month, with unlimited talk, text and MMS. This is more than Straight Talk charges for “unlimited” data, but Straight Talk tells users not to stream audio and clamps down on users that use over 200MB in a day or 2GB in a month.
These plans offer a good value to users that can keep data usage in check by connecting to WiFi whenever possible. The data limits are tight, but compared to plans on other carriers the price remains a good deal.
- AT&T – 450 Minutes 300MB of data for $59.99
- Verizon – Unlimited Minutes 1GB of data for $90 (300MB for $80)
- Sprint – 450 Minutes Unlimited data for $80
All of these plans include subsidized phones, instead of a bring your own phone approach, so that is another factor to consider. But, for users that already have a phone, it’s a good deal.
Red Pocket Mobile is $10 more per month than Straight Talk. Straight Talk’s unlimited plan is not really unlimited, so it’s not a major advantage. Red Pocket Mobile includes 200 international rollover minutes, which could be a plus for some users.
Red Pocket Mobile delivers a good value in pre-paid wireless and the ability to bring an iPhone or AT&T or unlocked Android phone offers a lot of choice to smartphone owners looking for a lower monthly bill.
The service is $10 more a month than Straight Talk, but it offers clear limits on use, something that Straight Talk refuses to do, while advertising an unlimited plan. Some users complain that Straight Talk shut off their number due to excessive use.
Users looking for a cheaper monthly cell phone bill, who are able to control data usage, should check out Red Pocket Mobile.