Airvoice Wireless Review

Overview

Airvoice Wireless is an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) that offers low cost cheap cell phone plans through the AT&T network. Most notable for their Pay As You Go plans, AirVoice also offers several unlimited plans, along with their $10 per month plan, a frugal favorite amongst many budget conscious folks. This MVNO makes sense for those wanting the coverage of the AT&T network while also having the flexibility to only pay for the minutes, texts, and data they actually use.

Cell Phone Plans

There two main types of plans you can get from Airvoice which includes four types of unlimited plans and four types of pay as you go plans. The unlimited plans range from $30 to $60 while the pay as you go plans are as cheap as $10 and go up to $30.

Pay As You Go Plan Rates

Plan TypeTalk RateText & MMSDataBonusExpiration
$10 250$0.04$0.02/text $0.10/MMS$0.066/MB$030 Days
$10$0.10$0.10$0.066/MB$090 Days
$20$0.10$0.10$0.066/MB$1120 Days
$30$0.10$0.10$0.066/MB$2150 Days

First let me start with an explanation of what a Pay as You Go plan is. This type of plan is slightly similar to a prepaid plan in that you pay the wireless company up front, but is quite different in how the plan is used and how the cost charges are calculated. Basically, for a Pay as You Go plan you “refill” your phone buy buying a set card value, in this case either $10, $20, or $30 at a time. Then as you use the phone, the charge rate for each minute/text/MB of data is deducted from your balance until it is used up or you have reached the expiration date of the refill.

For example, if we bought the $20 Airvoice Pay as You Go plan, we could use our cell phone for a talk time of up to 200 minutes ($10/$0.10min = 200 minutes) before we had to pay again OR until the expiration date is reached of 120 days after the initial purchase of that refill “card.”

These types of plans can be very useful if you rarely use your phone or are very disciplined about keeping track of how often you use it. So in this example, if you rarely used your phone, you could end up only paying 20 bucks for 4 months, or $5 per month… not bad!

The $30 pay as you go plan is pretty nifty as well since the expiration for this plan is 150 days, almost 5 months. So if you did the calculation, that comes out to a $3.33 per month cell phone plan, assuming you could stretch your balance that long.

In addition, if you notice on the rate plan chart above, the $20 & $30 plans give you a little extra bonus to put towards your usage. The bonus for the $20 plan is $1 and the bonus for the $30 plan is $2. It might not seem like a lot but that $2 is worth an extra 20 minutes so it could be worthwhile to shoot for the higher priced Pay As You Go plans since you get bonus minutes/texts/data and a longer expiration date.

Dueling $10 Pay As You Go Plans

You also might notice that there are two different ten dollar pay as you go plans offered by Airvoice wireless. This is not a mistake, there are two $10 plans but they each have a few trade-offs which should be considered based on your phone usage.

The regular $10 pay as you go plan is similar to the other higher priced plans in that the rates for minutes and text messages are $0.10/minute and $0.10/text message. Also, the regular $10 plan give you a 90 day expiration period so you have plenty of time to use up your balance before you lose it.

The other plan called the $10 250 has much cheaper talk and text rates which come to $0.04/minute and $0.02/text. Basically, if you used all the talk minutes on this plan you’d get the equivalent of 250 minutes of talk time (or 500 text messages), hence the name $10 250. This is a much cheaper plan than the other $10 plan but there is a hitch, the expiration time is only 30 days. Thus if you didn’t use up your balance within a months time, you lose it.

So which $10 plan do you choose? Well that depends on what your phone usage is like. I’d recommend digging into your current phone plans usage which you can usually find online at the wireless company’s website. I think if you use less than 30 minutes of talk per month or less than 30 text messages a month then the regular $10 plan might be good. However if you do talk a lot and send a lot of texts then the $10 250 plan would be a pretty good deal.

Prepaid Monthly Plan Rates

Monthly RateTalk MinutesText/MMSData
$30/monthUnlimitedUnlimited500MB
$40/monthUnlimitedUnlimited1GB
$50/monthUnlimitedUnlimited2GB
$60/monthUnlimitedUnlimited3GB

Airvoice also has a number of “unlimited” prepaid plans which are pretty standard. They all include unlimited minutes and texting but with differing amounts of data available. The data ranges from 500 MB for the lowest $30 plan up to 3 GB for the $60 plan.

While these prepaid plans offer some decent deals, you can find better unlimited prepaid plans on the AT&T network through its Cricket Wireless brand which has unlimited talk, text, and GSM data for all its plans including limited data on the LTE 4G network.

Airvoice Wireless Vs. Cricket Wireless

If we compare the two lowest rate plans which are both on the AT&T network, we’d get unlimited talk and text for both, but for an extra $5 per month on the Cricket plan you get unlimited GSM data and 1GB of 4G LTE data compared to Airvoice’s 500MB of GSM data and nothing on the LTE network.

In my opinion, Airvoice’s prepaid plans are not its strong suit given its low data caps. However, they do seem to shine in the Pay As You Go category which are much more competitive with other Pay As You Go providers and worth a look if that is your preferred payment strategy.

Pros

  • Lots of plan options and flexibility for both Pay As You Go and Prepaid plans.
  • Runs on the AT&T GSM network which has wide coverage.
  • Useful for those wanting to bring a phone from their old AT&T plan.
  • Two varying options for $10 pay as you go plans that could be useful for certain people who want access to a solid network but don’t need unlimited amounts of talk/text/data.
  • The Pay As You Go plans work with iPhones compatible with the AT&T network which many MVNOs don’t typically offer.

Cons

  • While the AT&T network is vast, Airvoice only uses its GSM data and does not have access to the faster LTE 4G network.
  • The prepaid plans, while offering unlimited talk and text, have limited data caps that are smaller than other AT&T MVNOs and brands like Cricket Wireless for example.
  • If you use a Pay As You Go plan you’ll need to be more diligent about keeping track of your phone usage, especially data which can eat up your refill balance quickly.
  • Airvoice’s roaming is only on AT&T network and doesn’t roam off of other networks like someone with regular AT&T service might, so your roaming coverage is not as great.

Other Airvoice Wireless Reviews

Below is a list of some more Airvoice reviews from other bloggers, technology journalists, and discussion threads that I would trust to give fair objective reviews of the service:

If there are any readers who are currently using Airvoice or have used them in the past please let us know what your experience was like in the comments below.

22 comments

  1. “Thus if you didn’t use up your balance within a months time, you lose it.” Not entirely true. If you add an additional $10 to the $10/250 minute plan before it expires, the balance rolls over. For example. If your balance expires at 11:59 on October 12th and you still have $7.68 balance left, your balance will be $17.68 when you add the next months payment.

    1. Hi Dale,

      Wow, I did not realize that, but is definitely useful to know. Having the ability to rollover your balance from month to month makes the $10/250 plan wayyy more useful and definitely a cheaper option pay as you go plan if your mobile phone plan usage varies from month to month. Thanks so much for the heads up on this, I’ll be sure to edit the information in my review to reflect this.

  2. One other thing you may want to consider using along with the $10/250 plan, is some sort of WIFI messenger app such as whatsapp (I use BBM to SMS when wifi is available) if to have someone you regularly chat with allowing those precious minutes to be saved for when you actually need to call someone like parents or grandparents or to use when you really have a need for data usage (remember to turn data off when your finished)

    1. Dale, that’s a great point too. I think now that Google’s Hangout Dialer allows free voice calls over WiFi, combined with another texting app, it’d really cut down on one’s talk and text usage. Of course, this means that the person needs to pay attention to when he is on wifi and when he is connected to the towers.

  3. I use airvoice as a backup .. pay $10 good for 90 days.
    what I didn’t like about the monthly plans = you only get to use 1/2 the data you paid for ..once used … you have to CALL them to receive the other 1/2 ..
    (same on ALL plans 1/2 now and other 1/2 after you use the 1st half and you call in)
    fine print:
    To prevent fraudulent activity on the $60 plan, you will receive 1.5 GB of data at the time that you add your refill card. Once you complete your 1.5 GB of data, you must contact customer service at 1-888-944-2355 to apply the other 1.5 GB to your account.
    https://www.airvoicewireless.com/TermsOfService.aspx

    lost me as a monthly user over that term of services …

    1. Hi Donatello,

      I did not realize that you only get half of the data before having to activate the the second half of data use for the $10 plan. I can understand them wanting to prevent fraud, but this seems a bit excessive for a mere ten bucks. I think they should at least give you an option to do this or not as it would seem quite inconvenient to have to call them if you run out of data at a bad time or in an emergency situation.

      This is something I’ll be sure to add to the “Cons” section in the main review.

      Thanks so much for mentioning this, very useful for people to know if they are considering switching to Airvoice.

  4. Matthew, releasing 1/2 the data you paid for doesn’t pertain to the $10 plans. It only pertains to their $30-40-50-60 “unlimited” plans. Data on paygo and $10 250/500 pans is deducted from your balance at $.066(6?) per MB

  5. I moved to AirVoice from Boost for a better/larger coverage area but was disappointed after finding out that their roaming wasn’t up to par. I also wasn’t advised before the switch that MMS wasn’t available on my iPhone. Not cool AirVoice, not cool.

  6. Dee, did you try calling Airvoice to see if they could help set up MMS on your phone? They list the settings for IOS7.0 on their website. I did some poking around and found some references to issues a few people were having with T-mobile and IOS8.?? so I wouldn’t be to sure it’s just an issue with Airvoice. Dunno much about the APN setup on an Iphone as I use a Blackberry and my wife’s phone is Android.

    Now as to roaming capabilities, Airvoice’s coverage, like most MVNO’s out there is tied to the major carriers home network only, in this case that would be AT&T so there would be zero roaming. Their coverage would be the same or similar to what the Go-phone has. Home network only.

  7. My wife and I have been with Airvoice for over a year now. We’ve been generally happy, but two cons to note:

    1. With the $30-40-50-60 “unlimited” plans, half of your data allotment is high speed, the other half is low speed. Never used even half my data, so haven’t hit this limitation, but it’s there in their TOS.

    2. Their international calling is glitchy. My wife calls international friends on a regular basis, and several times a month has to phone Airvoice to make the international access work. They’re apologetic, and then a week later it happens again.

  8. I am frugal and really like AirVoice as the AT&T coverage is pretty good and I don’t really believe in expensive cellular data. To make things even better, my primary number is Google Voice and my phone is set up to use Voice for International calls which is 1¢/min to UK and Spain on top of my 4¢/min if I use my phone dialer but only 1¢ on Wi-Fi. Google Voice also sends calls to my email and I can answer these on the phone without using any minutes while on Wi-Fi and I can call USA and Canada for free on Wi-Fi using Hangouts. Thus the balance on my $10 plan is almost $60. One other cheap trick; far away from Wi-Fi I can compose an email to one or many recipients off-line, turn on data, click send, turn off data when it has gone and be notified it has cost me 7¢.

  9. I really like using Airvoice Wireless. I’ve been with them for a couple years now. There are 2 things I don’t like about it. First, is that you cannot send group texts. I can receive a group text but if I reply it will only go to the original sender. Second, if you have an iphone like me, you can only text pictures to other iphones. This was frustrating to me, as last year I was running an in-home daycare and wanted to send pictures to the kids’ parents but since some of my parents didn’t have iphones, I couldn’t. Otherwise, this has been a great plan for me. Just make sure you don’t have apps running in the background that will eat up all your data while you’re away from Wifi. I accidentally had Pandora running in the background when I was away from the house and it ate up all my data and I didn’t have a working phone until I got home, to my computer, to put more money on my phone.

    1. Kim, I’m familiar with the texting limitations you’re talking about. My wife encountered them when she moved from AT&T to Airvoice with her unlocked iPhone 5. My understanding is that the limitation comes from the inability to change APN settings on certain iPhones, such as those that were configured by AT&T. We’re going to get her a new phone soon anyway so I haven’t looked into whether there is a solution.

  10. I am Canadian looking for cheaper ways to roam in the USA. Thanks for pointing out these excellent options.

    Just one more comment. The $30 plan for 150 days does not come out to $3.33 a month. That is closer to $6.70 a month. The $3.33 a month deal comes in play in the $10 90 day plan.

    Keith R

  11. This sucks the worst carrier for cellular data it’s crap stream like 2 songs and I run out of data don’t waste your time or money

  12. Is Airvoice Wireless perpetrating a fraud? I don’t really know, but what I do know is that this network system upgrade was announced by AT&T in 2012 and on January 3rd 2016 the airvoice network went down here in California with no notification at all, they just turned the dam thing off.
    Of course we went to their website and their was this notification, “We are experiencing a higher call volume than usual due to the phase out of 2G devices. The 2G network was phased out on 12/31/16. Airvoice subscribers that are using a 2G device or lower (ex. E/G/Edge) will no longer be able to use that device with Airvoice service. We apologize for this inconvenience”, what call volume, they didn’t even answer.
    I was on the network thru the sprint to at&t change over about 9 years ago (a total of 15 years on their network), but this was the straw that broke the camels back, and because the total system was down I could not transfer to another provider, and I tried a number of others, even found out that I could not transfer to another at&t system which airvoice services under. With a 1 1/2 year old smart phone a DOOGEE F5 5.5″ FHD OGS Android 5.1 MTK6753 Octa-core 4G Phone 3GB RAM 16GB ROM GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz, the phone still hasn’t connected to the network, I don’t even know if it will. The phone also give us 4G – FDD-LTE, Band 1 (2100MHz), Band 3 (1800MHz), Band 7 (2600MHz), Band 8 (900MHz), Band 20 (800MHz) and 3G – Band 1 (WCDMA 2100MHz), Band 8 (WCDMA 900MHz), but in an email they told us “That the GSM 2G network is now phased out and that our device is not compatible. So as I wait to see if the new service I signed up on today will be able to port our number with the sim card account number and passcode I just needed to vent this 6 day old issue.

    1. Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I&1;#278ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for newbie blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.

  13. I had Air Voice, I was happy but Freedom Pop plan was so attractive hence i made an attempt to test it… What a mistake … Freedom Pop is not even using Cellular network, It was relying on 3G data for making and receiving call..I had similar issue with Republic only difference was Wifi…I better stick to Air Voice..

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