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 Type||Talk Rate||Text & MMS||Data||Bonus||Expiration|
|$10 250||$0.04||$0.02/text $0.10/MMS||$0.066/MB||$0||30 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 Rate||Talk Minutes||Text/MMS||Data|
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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Mr.Money Mustache – October 11, 2012
- Tony Duckles – March 6, 2013
- Reddit Discussion Thread – May 25, 2014
- Bogleheads Forum Discussion – September 14, 2014
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.