With the announcement that Dish is terminating the Republic Wireless brand and moving all existing RW customers to Boost Infinite, I am looking for a solution for my mother-in-law.
She wouldn’t want me stating her age here, but she’s a senior citizen who likes the idea of having a cell phone in case of an emergency. She’s a power-texter, keeping up with family and friends by text message, but relies mostly on her home phone for calling and uses only a teensy bit of cellular data, mostly for MMS. She has a few games she likes to play on the phone, but they don’t require data.
So my needs here are a low-cost plan. “Unlimited” is not a selling point for me, for this situation. Coverage, however is a big deal.
I had her on the Republic Wireless My Choice plan on the T-Mobile network and having enough signal to send and receive text messages was, at times, iffy. She’s currently on the Republic by Dish 5.0 plan on AT&T’s network, and has the same trouble. She lives in a bit of a coverage black hole. Her daughter is a Verizon subscriber, so I’m optimistic that Verizon coverage will be okay for her.
My first visit to the US Mobile website left me thinking this was not going to work out. The featured plans are all Unlimited. But… scroll down, Southpaw, there’s more!
“Pay for what you need” plans start at… am I reading this right? $10 a month with 1GB of data? Mid-cycle top-ups for $2 per GB? I’ve never had to add data on her line, but if Verizon coverage is better, that could become a possibility. This is looking good.
I’ve had some of trouble with services that rely on Verizon in the past, because I have phones that Verizon does not consider compatible with their network. Knowing that’s problematic, I had checked the IMEI of the phone I plan to set up for my mother-in-law on Verizon’s IMEI checker before I looked at US Mobile, and it passed. I thought I’d double-check by seeing if US Mobile considers it compatible, as well.
I couldn’t find a stand-alone IMEI checker on the US Mobile website, so I started a chat. Just a couple of clicks into a chat-bot scripted chat and my IMEI was entered and I was handed over to receive the verdict from a live agent. I was assured the phone is compatible as long as it is unlocked. I like that they think to mention that caveat.
Everything I’ve seen on the US Mobile website mentions the Warp 5G network. Okay, I get it, it’s a catchy name that screams “speed” but the phone I want to use isn’t a 5G phone. So I asked my helpful chat representative whether this Warp 5G network is strictly 5G, and I’m assured it is both 4G and 5G.
I need to know for a fact that my mother-in-law will have coverage, so I’m hesitant to port her number when I activate the phone. (There is, however, a fabulous offer of a 100-day free trial on an unlimited plan for anyone willing to port their number!) So I ask the chat representative whether it’s possible to port a number later, or if that option is available only upon activation. I’m assured that porting later is possible.
All the answers to my questions hit the mark, so I’m going to give this a try.
Ok, I took the wrong path and hit a brief dead-end here.
From the US Mobile plans page, I clicked “get started” beside the “Pay for what you need” plan details. That lead me to Account creation.
Account creation is pretty easy - name, email address, password, agree to some terms.
Then I was prompted with a “where did you hear from us” modal with lots of choices and an “other” option that allowed me to plug rwusers.com!
But then I was deposited in my new account, where the three options are all activation options. “Activate your shareable data plan”, “Start your 100 free trial”, and “Activate an unlimited line.” I guess with the growing use of eSIM, this makes sense, but I’m going to need a SIM card.
On the “Shop” page of the website, I’m offered three SIM card options. A “Starter kit” with both Warp 5G and GSM SIM card, and an option for just a single of either SIM card. Each option is $3.99. I opt for the “Starter kit” just in case the Warp 5G coverage doesn’t work out. I add the kit to my virtual shopping bag, log into my newly-created account, apply the
FREEKIT coupon code I saw on their website when reading about the 100-day deal and place my order for my free SIM cards. Standard 4-6 day shipping is free. That may work out, since I’ll be going to see my mother-in-law next weekend, but since I’d like a little time to activate the phone and try it out, I’ll spring for $2 “fast” shipping. I enter my payment info (Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, or Discover) and off we go.
To be continued when the SIM cards arrive…