Red Pocket Mobile is one of the most flexible low-cost cell phone service providers available in 2023, but is it right for you?
With the service, you can keep your phone, your number and even your network.
As a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Red Pocket sells prepaid plans that use the same towers as its network partners: AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.
Is Red Pocket Mobile Worth It? My Real Customer Review
But Red Pocket may still be worth considering, particularly as an AT&T alternative.
I put Red Pocket Mobile to the test for a third time. In this article, I’ll break down the pros and cons that you need to know before signing up.
Table of Contents:
- Network Coverage
- Plans and Pricing
- Call, Text and Data Performance
- Phone Number Portability
- Device Compatibility
- Customer Service
- Other Services to Consider
1. Choose From Any of the Major Networks
Red Pocket Mobile has partnerships with all three of the major networks (AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon) to use their towers.
Customers can choose the network that they want during the signup process.
- GSMA = AT&T
- GSMT = T-Mobile
- CDMA = Verizon
Red Pocket doesn’t shout the names of the major networks on its website. In most cases, it uses generic terms like “We use America’s best networks.”
But there are strong clues to help you figure out which network is which.
For example, GSMA is how Red Pocket refers to the AT&T network. The blue color on Red Pocket’s website matches the one that AT&T uses.
Meanwhile, GSMT (T-Mobile) is shown in magenta and CDMA (Verizon) is red.
At the time of this update, Red Pocket’s website says its plans on all three of the networks now include access to 5G data speeds at no additional charge.
I tested Red Pocket most recently using the GSMA (AT&T) network.
Red Pocket says the plans on AT&T’s network are the most popular. I also believe they are the best value for several reasons, which I’ll explain throughout this review.
TIP: When people switch to low-cost providers, I typically recommend that they keep their existing network. So if you’re currently with AT&T and are happy with the coverage, switch to an MVNO with plans on AT&T’s network. That way, you’re more likely to be satisfied with the network coverage.
2. Affordable Monthly and Annual Plans Explained
Red Pocket Mobile’s flexibility extends beyond the network partners. It also offers a wide variety of prepaid plans: monthly, annual, family, business and more.
For this review, I’ll focus on three types of plans: monthly, annual and eBay exclusive plans.
Red Pocket Mobile’s website highlights four monthly plans that range in price from $10 to $40.
Each plan comes with unlimited domestic talk, text and a fixed amount of high-speed data. Data is slowed to 2G speeds if you go over your allotment.
Free international calling to dozens of countries is also included with all plans.
Red Pocket Mobile now offers the same data allotments across all networks. Previously, the monthly plans had different data caps depending on the network you chose.
This is something I criticized Red Pocket for in previous reviews. I am glad they chose to simplify the plans.
Red Pocket Mobile offers popular 360-day plans on its website that are sold at a discount over the monthly plans.
These prepaid annual plans are available on the GSMA (AT&T) network as of this writing.
For example, you can get unlimited talk, text and 20GB of high-speed data per month for the annual price of $300 paid in advance.
If you paid for the monthly version of that plan at $30 a month, you’d spend $360 in a year.
This is a significant savings, but I only recommend annual plans to people who’ve already tested out Red Pocket Mobile in the past.
I wouldn’t want anyone to pay for a year upfront for a service they don’t like.
eBay Exclusive Plans
Light data users who are comfortable signing up for an annual prepaid plan will find special Red Pocket Mobile deals on eBay.
These annual plans may also be a great value for people who need a backup or spare phone.
For example, you can get 1,000 minutes of talk, unlimited texting and 1GB of high-speed data per month for the annual price of $99.
That works out to $8.25 per month, but these eBay annual plans start at $2.50 per month.
Make sure to read the fine print with these offers. Depending on the plan, you may be limited to specific networks for the eBay plans.
3. Red Pocket Call, Text and Data Performance
My overall experience with Red Pocket Mobile was pretty good during my latest 30-day trial of its GSMA (AT&T) network.
I had the unique opportunity to test out Red Pocket Mobile while driving across the country.
From California to Florida, I relied on my 10GB Red Pocket plan for calls, texts and high-speed data that I needed primarily for Google Maps.
- Call quality: Clear reception and no dropped calls
- Text messages: All texts sent and delivered without fail
- Data speeds: Fast enough for all internet tasks
Prior to my cross-country trip, I tested Red Pocket Mobile for a couple of weeks in the Los Angeles area. Here’s a snapshot of data speed test results that I recorded using the Speedtest app:
|Date||Download Speed (Mbps)||Upload Speed (Mbps)||Ping (ms)|
These data speeds are fast enough to complete all of your everyday phone tasks such as streaming video and music, using apps and browsing the web.
I didn’t go over my 10GB data cap for the month, so I always had fast data.
If you reach your high-speed data limit, you’ll be slowed to 2G speeds for the remainder of the billing cycle. However, add-on data packs are available for purchase.
But monitoring your data usage through Red Pocket’s website or mobile app can help you avoid that.
4. Keep Your Phone Number or Get a New One
One question I get from people about switching cell phone providers is whether they can keep the phone number they already have.
With Red Pocket Mobile (and other carriers as well), the answer is yes.
In fact, I highly recommend that you keep your number instead of getting a new number from Red Pocket Mobile.
When I test cell phone plans for my reviews, I always get new numbers.
The problem is that these numbers are not really new. They are typically phone numbers that were previously in use and have been reassigned.
From my experience, getting a recycled number can lead to more text spam and robocalls.
During my latest 30-day test of Red Pocket using a “new” number, I received a lot of spam messages –- including X-rated material. I don’t believe this would have happened if I ported in my primary phone number.
This is important: Red Pocket Mobile told me the company will supply customers with a new number on request if the text spam and robocalls become unbearable.
But you can likely avoid this hassle by transferring your existing number in the first place.
5. Keep Your Phone or Buy a New One
Most Red Pocket Mobile customers will want to keep their existing phone.
As long as your phone is unlocked and compatible with at least one of Red Pocket’s network partners, you should be able to use it with the service.
I have an unlocked Apple iPhone 12 and had no problem getting activated.
Red Pocket says “nearly any phone in the U.S.” can be used with its service.
If you prefer to purchase a new phone from Red Pocket, there are about 15 devices for sale. Available phones include mostly Apple iPhones, but also some Samsung Galaxy devices.
Recently, Red Pocket has gotten more aggressive with frequent discounts on its phones.
And for those who can’t pay full-price for a device, Red Pocket Mobile provides 24-month financing to those who qualify through its SmartPay program.
6. Customer Service
Red Pocket doesn’t have any retail locations. Its customer service is primarily handled over the phone and through live chat.
This is common among affordable cell phone service providers.
One of the reasons that MVNOs like Red Pocket are able to charge less than Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile is because they have lower operating costs.
I contacted Red Pocket’s customer support a few times for the purpose of this review.
The first interaction was by phone. I called because I wasn’t getting 5G data immediately after activating my plan on the GSMA (AT&T) network.
The representative made some changes on their end, but nothing happened.
After I hung up with customer service, I decided to wait it out. A short time later, my 5G access on AT&T’s network was up and running.
Red Pocket later told me I may have experienced a “minor network provisioning delay.”
My second interaction with Red Pocket’s customer support was through live chat. The representative was prompt and helpful.
However, there was an estimated wait time of 1,382 minutes when I reached out at a later date.
I can’t blame Red Pocket for this situation. The long wait was due to AT&T’s 3G shutdown, which has also affected customers with other carriers.
In response to the 3G shutdown issues, Red Pocket told me it hired and trained new staff.
The bottom line: You have to be comfortable with the lack of in-person customer support if you switch to Red Pocket. Problems are handled by phone and chat.
7. Red Pocket Mobile Alternatives
Red Pocket Mobile will save you money compared to premium plans with Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. But there are more low-cost options to consider.
I’ve tested more than 15 cheap cell phone plans since 2016.
Throughout this review, I’ve mentioned the benefits of choosing Red Pocket’s GSMA (AT&T) network over the other two.
Here’s another reason: There are fewer AT&T MVNOs that really stand out!
Boost Mobile, Pure Talk and Consumer Cellular are three other services that use AT&T’s network. I’ve tested Pure Talk and Consumer Cellular, but I don’t have strong feelings about them compared to Red Pocket.
AT&T-owned Cricket Wireless and AT&T Prepaid may also be worth exploring.
Visible has been my primary carrier since 2019. It offers unlimited talk, text and data on Verizon’s network for only $25 a month.
Have you tried Red Pocket Mobile? Add to my review in the comments below!