US Mobile Review 2022: Is It Better Than Verizon Prepaid?
In this review, I’ll cover everything you need to know about US Mobile, including:
- How US Mobile Got Started
- US Mobile’s Custom Plans Explained
- US Mobile’s Unlimited Plans Explained
- US Mobile’s Family Plans, Perks, & Discounts Explained
- US Mobile’s Plan Features
- How US Mobile Compares with T-Mobile, Verizon, and Visible
What is US Mobile?
The family perks also include getting your favorite subscriptions covered for free, such as Spotify Family, Apple Music, Netflix, Disney+, Huly, and ESPN+, and even gaming services like PlayStation Plus or Stadia Pro.
10GB of international data are also included for free with the unlimited plan, keeping you connected when you travel abroad.
A lot has changed since US Mobile first launched in 2014, and since first I reviewed them back in 2015. But how is the experience using them in 2020? And more importantly, how do they stack up against the competition?
To find out, I signed up for four lines on US Mobile, both on the Verizon and T-Mobile networks.
How US Mobile Got Started
US Mobile was started in 2014 by Ahmed Khattak. The whole idea behind US Mobile was to democratize cell phone plans by giving choice back to the user.
That’s why US Mobile started by offering custom plans where you could choose how many minutes, texts, and megabytes of data you wanted each month.
The service launched by offering coverage on the T-Mobile network, and later in 2017 began offering plans on the Verizon network too.
US Mobile calls their T-Mobile network “GSM LTE” and their Verizon network “Super LTE.”
US Mobile quickly grew in popularity. Inc. Magazine ranked them 94th on their list of fastest growing companies in America with revenue growth over 3,300%.
This growth meant US Mobile was able to negotiate better rates with Verizon and T-Mobile.
US Mobile dropped their prices in October 2018, further reduced their rates in October 2019 (when they first introduced their popular $40 unlimited plan), and most recently updated their plans & prices on September 4th, 2020, with what you see today.
US Mobile currently offers two kinds of plans to choose from: custom plans and unlimited plans. Let’s start with the custom plans.
US Mobile’s Custom Plans Explained
US Mobile’s custom plans let you customize your plan to choose the exact amount of minutes, texts, and megabytes of data you want.
US Mobile also offers a $10 unlimited minutes and texts option that you can use by itself or pair with a data amount of your choice.
If you run out of minutes, texts, or data, that feature stops working.
However, you can easily add more with “top-ups.” Top-ups give you extra minutes, texts, or megabytes of data to carry you through until your plan renews.
If you are on GSM LTE, your top-ups will rollover to your next month of service as long as you have auto-pay enabled.
On Super LTE, your top-ups will rollover as long as you have auto-pay enabled and the top-up category was part of your base plan.
For example, if your base plan was 75 minutes and 100 texts, data top-ups would not rollover. However, if your base plan included 50MB of data, then data top-ups would rollover.
It’s easy to monitor your minutes, texts, and data usage with the US Mobile app and website.
All custom plans support the mobile hotspot feature and offer full-speed LTE data, and as a bonus you’ll also get 250MB of data to use for international data roaming.
Custom plans tend to be great for lighter users, such as kids getting their first smartphone, grandparents, backup or emergency phones, or for using a data-only plan for a tablet.
US Mobile’s Unlimited Plans Explained
US Mobile offers three types of "unlimited plans to choose from:
The $15 and $30 plans are by no means “unlimited,” but they are included in the unlimited category because they include unlimited minutes and texts.
I have both of my grandparents on US Mobile’s $15 2.5GB plan because it gives them Verizon coverage at an affordable price point.
The third plan is US Mobile’s $40 Unlimited All plan.
Unfortunately, this is not a true unlimited data plan. Your speeds will slow to 2G speeds after 50GB of usage on Super LTE, and you’ll get slowed to 2G speeds after just 15GB of usage on the GSM LTE network.
There are 3 variations of US Mobile’s unlimited all plan. The base $40 plan includes 50GB of data at 5Mbps down and 2Mbps up. For $5 extra, you can upgrade to ludicrous speeds, which provides full speed LTE data. For $10 extra, you can get the ludicrous speed upgrade and 10GB of dedicated high-speed hotspot data.
These plans naturally beg the question, how fast is 5Mbps? Are those speeds fast enough for my daily usage?
I’ve been testing a line on the 5Mbps plan, and from my experience the speeds are easily fast enough for everyday use. The speeds were plenty fast for getting directions in Google Maps, browsing through social media, and even streaming YouTube videos.
Considering it’s the cheapest option, I’d honestly encourage you to try the $40 plan and see if it’ll work for you.
If it does, great! You’ll save yourself $60/year. And if not, no worries, you can upgrade to full speed LTE data for just $5 extra per month.
US Mobile Family Plan Perks & Discounts Explained
All variations of the Unlimited All plan are eligible for US Mobile’s new multi-line discounts.
This is where things get exciting.
If you add multiple lines to your US Mobile account on the Unlimited All plan, the additional lines are eligible for discounts.
The second line gets $10 off, and the third and fourth lines each get $20 off.
This brings the total cost of 4 lines on the base unlimited all plan to just $110 per month, or $28 per line.
What’s great is the discount is applied automatically when you go to add a line to your account.
And the deal gets better, too.
US Mobile will cover the cost of your favorite subscription services when you have three or four lines of the Unlimited All plan on your account.
The way it works is with three lines you can choose one subscription service to get covered for free.
If you have four lines on your account, you can choose two subscription services to get covered for free.
US Mobile lets you choose from a variety of popular services, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+; Apple TV+; Apple Music; Spotify Family; Netflix Standard; HBO Max; Playstation Plus; and more.
If you do have four lines and are eligible for two perks, the perks will need to be from different categories.
For example, you could choose one music perk and one video perk, such as Spotify Family with HBO Max, but you couldn’t choose two video perks like HBO Max and Netflix Standard.
To get credit for your subscription services, you email firstname.lastname@example.org. You put your US Mobile phone number and service name in the subject line (example: (978) 201-1371 - Netflix Standard), and attach a copy of your subscription receipt that shows a billing period from the current month date.
That’s it. No signing in through a separate portal and no weird linking accounts together.
Once US Mobile approves the discount, you receive account credit on one of your lines equal to the value of your subscription service.
I heard back within 30 minutes confirming the credit would be added to my account when I emailed US Mobile.
This reimbursement method is also great because it means you can switch subscription services any time you want.
The one downside is you will need to remember to email US Mobile each month.
Still, this is a great benefit to have and a great way for US Mobile to add value to their family plans.
US Mobile’s Plan Features on GSM LTE and Super LTE on iPhone and Android
US Mobile supports many of your favorite features with their different plans, including VoLTE, personal hotspot, and group and picture messaging.
However, there are some differences between the GSM LTE and Super LTE networks, and whether or not you are using an iPhone or an Android phone with your service.
Let’s take a look:
US Mobile GSM LTE Features
On GSM LTE, US Mobile supports MMS, VoLTE, mobile hotspot, FaceTime over cellular, HD video streaming, and international data add-ons available with an eSIM compatible phone.
The biggest difference is that on iPhone, you manually need to enter APN settings for group and picture messaging to work. To do this, go to settings > cellular > cellular data network > and enter the APN settings.
I found the fast.t-mobile.com APN settings worked best for me. On Android, these settings were configured automatically.
GSM LTE also supports 5G access on T-Mobile’s non-standalone 5G network. This means you can enjoy 5G coverage and data speeds on compatible devices.
US Mobile has announced that Wi-Fi calling is coming soon to their plans. I’ll update this post once it’s available.
Super LTE Features
On Super LTE, both iPhone and Android support MMS, VoLTE, and the mobile hotspot, but iPhone gets support for visual voicemail whereas Android does not.
iPhone users also no longer need to enter custom APN settings for MMS to work, and FaceTime over cellular continues to work as it should.
5G is also now supported on Super LTE on Verizon’s Nationwide 5G network.
The biggest difference between Super LTE and GSM LTE is that Super LTE restricts Netflix data speeds.
A fast.com speed test reveals speeds are capped at 2Mbps, the same as on Verizon Prepaid. These speeds are typically optimized for Standard Definition (480p) video streaming.
If you’d like to stream content in HD quality, then you can use a VPN to do so.
VPNs hide network traffic, which means the network can’t tell that you’re streaming a video. As a result, the video gets uncapped data speeds.
I used ExpressVPN to test out streaming HD video because they are one of the #1 VPNs for streaming Netflix.
Their VPN worked great for me, and I was able to partner with ExpressVPN to get you 3 months free when you sign up for a 12-month plan.
If you’re interested, head to expressvpn.com/stetson to take advantage of this deal.
Notes on Both GSM and Super LTE Networks
Something interesting I found on BOTH the GSM and Super LTE networks with the Unlimited All plan is that hotspot worked, even if I had paid for the hotspot add-on.
This glitch worked on my GSM and Super LTE plans on my unlocked Android phones, and it worked on GSM LTE with my unlocked iPhone.
US Mobile International Data Roaming
Lastly, I want to touch on international data roaming.
US Mobile supports international data roaming in over 140 countries using eSIM.
The way it works is you can purchase an eSIM data plan for the country you are visiting, load up the eSIM on your compatible phone, and then when you land in the country your plan will automatically activate.
US Mobile includes 250MB of international roaming data with their custom plans, and up to 10GB of international roaming data with their Unlimited All plans.
If your plan doesn’t include international data roaming, then you can purchase one of the eSIM data plans at any time to use with your device.
US Mobile’s international data rates are very affordable, making them one of the new best carriers to use for anyone who travels abroad.
One thing to note is that the eSIM international plans are data-only. This means calling and texting aren’t supported.
Instead, you’ll want to use apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Telegram, Signal, or others to communicate with your friends and family.
Having eSIM international data add-ons is a great feature for US Mobile, and one that makes their service unique.
How Does US Mobile Compare with T-Mobile, Verizon, and Visible?
All right, so how do US Mobile’s plans stack up against the competition?
To accurately compare the plans, we need to talk about pricing.
From my experience, US Mobile adds about $5 to the cost of their plans with their standard $2 service fee and then additional taxes & fees.
US Mobile recently updated their website to be more transparent about these fees, which I appreciate, but they are still something to keep in mind.
So factoring these fees, how does US Mobile compare?
How US Mobile Compares on the T-Mobile Network
On the T-Mobile network, I honestly don’t feel US Mobile is worth it.
T-Mobile Connect offers postpaid priority data, so you’ll get faster speeds when the network is busy, and their $15 2GB plan is a great value.
And if you’re willing to pay for 3-, 6-, or 12-months of service up front, then Mint Mobile’s bulk-pricing model simply can’t be beat.
You could even opt for Mint’s new $30 plan, which includes a tremendous 35GB of LTE/5G data––significantly more than US Mobile’s $30 10GB plan.
How US Mobile Compares on the Verizon Network
On the Verizon network, however, US Mobile delivers a tremendous value.
In fact, I’d call them a better version of Verizon Prepaid!
Verizon took away their multi-line discount for Prepaid users on June 24th, 2020, in favor of new customer loyalty discounts.
These discounts can be great, but it takes 10 months before you’re getting the best price possible.
With US Mobile, multi-line discounts are applied automatically, and you can get their 50GB plan for just $33 per month per line with 4 lines on your account.
Plus you’ll get two of your favorite subscription services covered for free.
Even for single-line users, I still think US Mobile is a great value.
Instead of paying $35 for 5GB from Verizon Prepaid, you can pay $35 for 10GB from US Mobile.
And instead of paying $50 for 15GB from Verizon Prepaid, you can pay $50 for 50GB from US Mobile.
The one plan with better pricing than US Mobile is Visible’s $40 unlimited plan.
However, Visible is using different network technology, which means their service works with a limited selection of phones. Visible users also often report having high latency, which is an increased delay in their service.
US Mobile typically has less latency than Visible, and US Mobile’s service will work with any Verizon compatible phone.
US Mobile also offers their international eSIM plans, whereas Visible currently lacks any international data roaming options at all.
Is US Mobile Worth Signing Up For?
US Mobile is a great carrier that offers a fantastic experience.
Ultimately, I think US Mobile is a better version of Verizon Prepaid.
I think their more affordable rates, multi-line discounts, available perks, international eSIM plans, and their beautiful application make them an overall better value and experience than Verizon Prepaid.
I had a great experience using US Mobile, and I think you will too, if one of their custom or unlimited plans meets your needs.
US Mobile was also kind enough to reach out and offer my readers a FREE SIM starter kit and $20 of account credit when you sign up and use code “stetson” at checkout.
This is a great opportunity to try US Mobile, and I wish I had gotten that discount when I signed up myself!
Watch my US Mobile Sign Up & Activation Guide video to see the step-by-step process for getting activated with their service.