We recently had the chance to take a closer look at Total Wireless and want to share our in-store experience and thoughts on the overall plan performance.
Who is Total Wireless?
Customers can choose to purchase a phone from Total Wireless OR bring over a compatible or unlocked CDMA phone. The provider operates on the Verizon network and offers 4GLTE service. And, considering their network map, it's coverage is fairly robust:
My in-store experience
Our friends at Total Wireless graciously provided a credit for us to go and check out one of their “Exclusive Location” stores in my city. Fortunately, there was one just miles from my house.
Truthfully, I'm not a big fan of purchasing a phone / service at a cell provider's store. Perhaps the internet has ruined me a bit, where I'm able to get all my utilities bought / paid for online. Plus, it seems signing up for service, getting a phone, etc. can take for-ever.
I went to the Total Wireless store after work on a weekday and was enthusiastically greeted by Khalid – the store owner. He was just finishing up with another customer, but soon after approached me.
“How can I help you today?”
“Oh, I'm looking to purchase a phone – maybe a refurbished one – and a cell phone plan.” I said.
Khalid went on to ask me what I would be using it for, and then went over the phone and plan options available. There were quite a few.
Not only did the store offer Total Wireless, but other providers like Simple Mobile and Tracfone.
Since my goal was to check out Total Wireless – I choose one of their plans and a refurbished iPhone 6.
Khalid made it a point to stress how the plans differed from some of the big four providers that often have higher pricing and contracts (though, he admitted more of them are doing away with the term “contracts” and tying customers into leasing cell phones – which obviously make the phone more expensive when paid through installments).
The plan I chose was an unlimited talk / text plan starting at $23.70 (not including taxes). I kinda hemmed / hawed on getting the data, so Khalid offered to bump me up to the 5GB, unlimited talk+text at no charge for my first month (regularly $35/mo). I figure that since I'm on Wi-Fi so much of the time, I could probably make due with the $23.70/mo plan.
I was in the store for about 20-30 minutes and soon Khalid had me up and running. It probably would have been shorter had we not discussed his immigration to the US, faith and other matters (which I found fascinating).
I spent a total of $222 w/ the phone + service.
I've had in-store experiences before at AT&T and while many of the reps were helpful, they were nothing compared to the smaller-vibe and customer friendly service provided at this Total Wireless location. Even with my negative bias of the cell store, the experience exceeded my expectations.
My experience with the cell service
Overall, the plan is really no different than my experience with AT&T. Often you can expect some hiccups here and there with some MVNO providers, but that's not been my experience thus far on Total Wireless. They seem very solid.
The only issue I had was getting an account set-up online after my in-store experience. This is the only thing Khalid didn't get a chance to go over with me at his store.
But, it's not hard and after an initial attempt at finding my account online at Total Wireless, I opted to chat with customer support. They were able to assist and had my account set-up in about 5 minutes. Again, the service was excellent.
While the cost on the 5GB data plan is a bit more than I'm used to paying with Tello Mobile ($11.35/mo for unlimited text, 300 min talk and 200MB data), it is an excellent provider and is half of what we're currently paying for my wife's AT&T plan (10GB, unlimited text, 1500 min).
I'd definitely consider using their plans if we had children in the house as they have inexpensive shared plans for families (see plan graphic above).
What are your thoughts?
Have you ever tried Total Wireless and/or their in-store locations to get a cell plan or phone? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experience.
This post was brought to you by our friends at Total Wireless and TTG may earn a commission on sales made through the links on this page – at no cost to the reader. All thoughts and opinions expressed are our own.
comparison of other mvno providers
|MVNO||Network Used||Plan Price|
|Calls to Mexico & Canada Included in Plan||Customer Service||Plan Friendliness|
(Ability to uprade / downgrade at will)
|Boost||Sprint||$35 (Unlimited / 3GB data)||$5 extra||Fair||1 month notice||No|
|Consumer Cellular||AT&T, T-Mobile||$15 (250 min / no data) AARP members can get 15% discount.||International direct dial||Good||Anytime||-|
|Cricket||AT&T||$25 (Unlimited Talk / Text Plan)||Smart / Pro Plans only||Fair||2x per billing cycle||No|
|Gen Mobile||Sprint||$5 (Unlimited text)||Yes (over 101 countries)||Good||Yes||Yes|
|Republic Wireless||Sprint, T-Mobile||$15 (Unlimited talk / text), + $5/GB||No||Fair (Most CS logged to community)||2x per billing cycle||Yes|
|Straight Talk Wireless||AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon||$35 (Unlimited text/talk + 2GB)||Add-on||Good||Anytime||No|
|Tello||Sprint||$5 (100 min / Unlimited text)||Yes (texts and MMS only)||Good||Anytime||Yes|
|Ting||Sprint, T-Mobile||$15 (100 min / MB / text. Plans based on what you use). Offers $50 credit upon signup||Yes||Good||Okay||Yes|
|TracFone||Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile US, Sprint Corporation, and U.S. Cellular||$14.25 for auto-renew (200 min / 500 texts / 500mb)||No||Fair||Okay||No|
|Twigby||Sprint, Verizon||$9.00 (Text + 300min + WiFi only)||Yes (and China)||Good||Yes||Yes|
|UNREAL||Sprint||$10 (Unlimited text + talk + data - up to 1GB)||No||Fair||Yes||No|
|Visible||Verizon (Visible is not considered a traditional MVNO)||$40 (unlimited talk,text and data)||No||Good||Only one plan offered||Yes|