Although the United States may only consist of four main wireless service providers, there are a plethora of smaller MVNOs out there that piggyback off of The Big 4's service and use it to offer cellular plans that are more affordable and contract-free. Some of the most popular include the likes of Mint Mobile, Ting, and Cricket Wireless, but today I'll be talking about one you likely haven't heard of: US Mobile.
US Mobile is a relatively new MVNO, but after testing it out for a few weeks, I'm inclined to say it just might be one of the best.
Fast and reliable
Bottom line: US Mobile is a flexible and powerful wireless provider that offers highly customizable plans, fast data speeds, and affordable pricing. The phone lineup is disappointing, but that's OK since you can bring your own device, too.
- Blazing fast data speeds
- Reliable coverage
- Plans are very customizable
- Free perks like Disney+ and Spotify Premium
- Bring your own device
- The phone selection is a joke
- No discount for family plans
Unlike the big carriers that are focused on only offering different tiers of unlimited plans, US Mobile offers a variety of plans that you can pretty much customize to your heart's content.
If you don't need an unlimited option, US Mobile's Custom Plan allows you to specify how much talk, text, and data you want. You can mix and match these all day long to find something that's just right for your needs. Only need text and data with no talk minutes? US Mobile has you covered. Just want data? You can do that, too.
Having this level of customization is great, but we think the real value lies with US Mobile's Unlimited Plan.
It starts at $40/month for unlimited talk, text, and Fast data speeds (5Mbps) with 5GB of international roaming. From there, you can spend another $5/month for hotspot access or $10/month for hotspot + Ludicrous data (150Mbps) with 10GB of international roaming.
Adding further value to the Unlimited Plan are US Mobile's "perks." As you add multiple lines of Unlimited service, you can choose from a wide variety of free entertainment subscriptions.
Customers get to select a free perk with two, three, and four lines, with each tier giving you access to a new bundle of subscriptions. If you have two Unlimited plans, you can choose to get Slacker Plus LiveXLive, Pandora Plus, or Apple TV Plus at no extra cost to you.
If you have three lines of service, you then get access to the Disney Plus bundle with Hulu and ESPN Plus, Netflix Standard, an Audible membership, Spotify Premium Family, or Apple Music Family. Then, if you have four or more lines, you get either PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold.
You get one subscription from each tier, so if you have four lines on your account, you get three free subscriptions. In other words, you could get Pandora Plus, the Disney+ bundle, and PlayStation Plus without having to spend a dime.
This is a big draw to US Mobile, and giving customers the ability to choose which perks they want offers a level of customization we don't see from most other carriers that throw in free services like this.
US Mobile relies on two of the nation's big carriers for its service. These carriers aren't actually disclosed anywhere on US Mobile's website, but we're more than certain that it's T-Mobile and Verizon.
When you sign up for US Mobile, the Starter Kit you're sent includes two separate SIM cards — one for its GSM LTE Network (T-Mobile) and the Super LTE Network (Verizon). Since T-Mobile and Verizon each have their own SIM, this means you can't just hop back and forth between the two the way you can with something like Google Fi.
The GSM LTE Network works with any GSM phone, meaning you can bring over devices from OnePlus, Nokia, Motorola, etc. On the flip side, the Super LTE Network is limited to Verizon-compatible devices. US Mobile promotes its Super LTE Network as being the better of the two with better coverage and faster LTE speeds, but all this essentially comes down to is how well or how poorly T-Mobile and Verizon have you covered in your area.
I've been using the GSM LTE Network SIM card in my OnePlus 6, and since T-Mobile has solid coverage in my area here in Michigan, there haven't been any issues whatsoever. I consistently get 4-5 bars of service and some of the fastest data speeds I've seen on any MVNO.
Something else worth keeping in mind is that you can activate both SIM cards that are included with the starter kit. Each one will have a different phone number upon doing so and therefore both will need a separate monthly fee, meaning you can't just swap back and forth between the two for the price of one plan. However, if you and someone else you know are thinking about joining and at least one of you has a Verizon-compatible phone, this means you just need to order one starter kit instead of two.
Speaking of data speed, let's talk about that, shall we?
Going back to those three data speeds mentioned above, here's what they translate to:
- Fast — 5Mbps download speeds
- Ludicrous — 150Mbps download speeds
I tested the Ludicrous speeds on a Custom Plan, and the lowest download speed I saw was 31.9Mbps late at night on a Sunday, with my fastest test hitting an impressive 98.8Mbps a little after 8:00 AM on a Tuesday. After running eleven speed tests at various times on multiple days, the mean download speed was about 68Mbps with the mean upload coming in at 13Mbps.
Those are some of the fastest speeds I've seen on any MVNO, and for folks that are frequently without a steady Wi-Fi connection, that's a huge benefit.
If there's one big weak point to US Mobile, it's the company's selection of phones that you can buy. Similar to other MVNOs, US Mobile has a small pool of Android and iOS devices that you can purchase directly through it. Unfortunately, the selection is extremely limited with the only flagship Android handsets being the HTC One M10, Galaxy S6 Edge+, and LG G4.
Furthermore, the fact that US Mobile is still charging $569 for a Galaxy S6 Edge+ — a phone that came out in 2015 — is downright criminal.
Thankfully, you're not limited to these phones at all. You can bring over any phone you'd like, with US Mobile even offering to unlock AT&T phones for you for just $15 (a fee that's refunded back to you if you stay with US Mobile for at least 6 months).
US Mobile Should you join?
So should you sign up for US Mobile? Absolutely.
I've really enjoyed my time using the service and came away with my experience rather impressed. The coverage is reliable, data speeds are incredibly fast, and the flexibility with all of the various plan options makes it easy on just about any wallet. Plus, the free perks add a lot of value for people with multiple lines.
It would be nice to see US Mobile revamp its phone offering in the near future, but then again, the point is kind of moot when you can bring over virtually any device you'd like on your own terms.
If you like what you're seeing, give US Mobile a shot. The SIM Starter Kit is only $3.99, and if you're currently on a main U.S. carrier or another MVNO, there's a good chance you'll find something here that better suits your needs.