Total Wireless Review – My In-store Experience and Plan Performance

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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?

Total Wireless is another MVNO provider whose parent company is Tracfone. They are a low-cost carrier with no contracts, no commitments, and coverage on the “largest, most dependable 4G LTE network.”

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:

total wireless coverage map
Total Wireless 4GLTE coverage map

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 soonafter 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.

individual single line plans
Total Wireless single line plans
Shared plans offered at Total Wireless
Shared plans offered at Total Wireless

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.

Plans starting at $25/month

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

MVNONetwork UsedPlan Price
(Min. available)
Calls to Mexico & Canada Included in PlanCustomer ServicePlan Friendliness
(Ability to uprade / downgrade at will)
Free Tethering
BoostSprint$35 (Unlimited / 3GB data)$5 extraFair1 month noticeNo
Consumer CellularAT&T, T-Mobile$15 (250 min / no data) AARP members can get 15% discount.International direct dialGoodAnytime-
CricketAT&T$25 (Unlimited Talk / Text Plan)Smart / Pro Plans onlyFair2x per billing cycleNo
Republic WirelessSprint, T-Mobile$15 (Unlimited talk / text), + $5/GBNoFair (Most CS logged to community)2x per billing cycleYes
Straight Talk WirelessAT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon$35 (Unlimited text/talk + 2GB)Add-onGoodAnytimeNo
TelloSprint$5 (100 min / Unlimited text)Yes (texts and MMS only)GoodAnytimeYes
TingSprint, T-Mobile$15 (100 min / MB / text. Plans based on what you use). Offers $50 credit upon signupYesGoodOkayYes
TracFoneVerizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile US, Sprint Corporation, and U.S. Cellular$14.25 for auto-renew (200 min / 500 texts / 500mb)NoFairOkayNo
TwigbySprint, Verizon$9.00 (Text + 300min + WiFi only)Yes (and China)GoodYesYes
UNREALSprint$10 (Unlimited text + talk + data - up to 1GB)NoFairYesNo
VisibleVerizon (Visible is not considered a traditional MVNO)$40 (unlimited talk,text and data)NoGoodOnly one plan offeredYes

Total Wireless

8.7

Customer service

9.2/10

Performance

9.0/10

Reliability

8.7/10

Thriftiness

8.0/10

Pros

  • No contracts
  • Lower cost
  • Excellent customer service
  • Good performing plan

Cons

  • Harder to get set-up online
  • Higher cost than most MVNO's

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6 comments

  1. Dave says:

    Glad you guys had a good experience, mine was the opposite. I had found a good inline deal at Total Wireless, and went to the store because I wanted to port two numbers from another carrier, but only buy one phone (the other I had planned to bring with me). I found the website to be a little unclear about this particular transaction, so I thought the store personnel would be able to clear it up on the spot.
    I had expected to get the same deal in store that I had found on the web. Not so, in fact the store employee first offered an iphone 7 at the retail price of $450, rather than the web-advertised price of $299. After I pointed out the difference, she “Called her boss” and confirmed that she could offer the phone for $299. Funny thing, she reached into a drawer and pulled out a phone. No box, manuals, charger… before I really addressed that, I asked about the 40% discount code (the code was SPECIAL40) -at a max of $100 that I’d found online. She was unaware of the code, and her system wouldn’t take it. She called Totalwireless support and they were also unaware of it. As all of this was happening, I brought up the Totalwireless web page on my current phone, applied the same items to my cart with the SPECIAL40 discount and showed her the checkout page with the discount applied. At this point, she assumed it was an online-only offer and couldn’t offer it to me.
    She was very polite, but at this point it’s fishy enough that I’ll go home and order it online.
    We’re not done yet. It took a while to navigate the TotalWireless web page. It would be very easy to order a new Android (or even apple) phone, sign up for a plan, and wait for it to be mailed. Bringing a number with you? Getting one phone but bringing your own for the second line? That’s a little more confusing. Over the next 1/2 hour I chose a set of options that I *think* will get me what I need. I’m in the middle of checkout when ‘Bonnie’ pops up in a Totalwireless chat window and says “Hey do you need any help?” I reply with a “Thanks, but no, by now I think I’ve got it.” In chat speak this must mean “By all means help me” because she starts to ask questions to confirm what’s in my cart. I kind of ride with it for a bit, thinking that I can confirm my choices, and know that I’ve got the right combination of things. Bonnie proceeds blow about 10 minutes “looking for an iphone in my area” and then recommends that I re-fill the cart with the exact things I’ve already chosen, and then offers me a 25% discount, which is great, but can’t be used with the 40% discount I’ve already applied. I followed through with the purchase I already had in my cart, but I obviously have some doubts. If I remember, I’ll come back here and leave a followup in a month or two after I’ve had the service for a bit. I can’t rate Performance and Reliability yet, so I’ll leave those marked at ‘5’ for now. But for me the price is good, and the customer service is abysmal, both in store and over chat.

  2. DAIBES says:

    THANK YOU FOR THIS HELPFUL AND TRUTHFUL ARTICLE ABOUT TOTAL WIRELESS AND THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE .,
    IT IS ALWAYS HELPFUL TO FIND GOOD REVIEW AND FEED BACK FROM CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES ;

    THANKS

  3. Bob Snyder says:

    I wanted to get my teenage son setup with ta cell phone a year or so ago. I need to be on the Verizon network because in the small town where we live Verizon is really the only provider that has good service, but I didn’t want to pay Verizon prices. Heard about Total Wireless on Clark Howard and decided to give it a try. I had my old Galaxy S5 that was my old Verizon cell phone so I got a new sim card for it. Installation was simple. He’s been using it for almost a year with no real issues. I am thinking about switching my wife over to it too. I am an IT professional and have to have a reliable phone as part of my job. Honestly, there is not really a good reason that all 3 of us couldn’t switch to Total other than I am just paranoid about needing the best service, plus for my phone I get a stipend from my work so Verizon service doesn’t cost me that much.

    • Aaron says:

      Good to get your experience with Total Wireless, Bob. I was thinking the same thing about their multiple line plans – very affordable for families. I think the perception the lines aren’t going to work when people need them are the biggest hurdles MVNO providers have to tackle. But, I’ve had no problems in the weeks of reviewing them. I even had someone remark “I’ve never heard you come across so clear” (when chatting on the phone).

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