Total Wireless Review: Is it Really Good in 2019?

totalwireless-review

3 Facts About Total Wireless

Total Wireless is one of the MVNO companies, which means it doesn’t have its own wireless network but uses someone else’s instead. MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operator, and, being one of those, Total Wireless offers a rather affordable service because it doesn’t own and, consequently, doesn’t have to maintain its own towers.

Now, Total Wireless is among the most popular providers in the US. Interestingly enough, it operates on Verizon’s network (which is a giant in the world of cell phone connection). This allows the company to offer an excellent coverage across the whole country.

The main thing you should know about Total Wireless is that this service carrier specializes in no-contract and “pay-as-you-go” plans that offer a very transparent price policy and no hidden fees.

What We Like:

  • No credit checks needed to get started.
  • No contracts. Use a prepaid monthly plan and control your expenses as you go.
  • The plan costs are rather affordable (again, because the provider doesn’t use their own network).
  • Add-on cards for data or international calling are available, allowing for more flexibility.
  • No hidden costs and unexpected overcharges.
  • Good network coverage and great connection via Verizon.
  • Cost-efficient family plans available.
  • Can be used with your own phone (if it’s CDMA compatible).
  • An optional autopay service allows for a 5% discount.

Detailed Review

Plan Name And Features
Price

Provider: Total Wireless T&T

Network Used: Verizon

Talk: Unlimited

Text: Unlimited

Data: 0 GB

Price: $25

Provider: Total Wireless 2.5GB

Network Used: Verizon

Talk: Unlimited

Text: Unlimited

Data: 2.5 GB

Price: $28.75

Provider: Total Wireless 5GB

Network Used: Verizon

Talk: Unlimited

Text: Unlimited

Data: 5 GB

Price: $33.25

Provider: Total Wireless 2 Lines Family Plan

Network Used: Verizon

Talk: Unlimited

Text: Unlimited

Data: 15 GB

Price: $57

Provider: Total Wireless Up To 3 Lines Family

Network Used: Verizon

Talk: Unlimited

Text: Unlimited

Data: 20 GB

Price: $80.75

Provider: Total Wireless Family Plan For Up To 4 Lines

Network Used: Verizon

Talk: Unlimited

Text: Unlimited

Data: 25 GB

Price: $95

Total Wireless Cell Phone Plans

totalwireless

Total Wireless offers plans for both regular phones and smartphones that use mobile data. As basic one, there is a $25 monthly plan that allows for unlimited calls and texts on one line.

Another single-line plan offers 5GB of data, plus unlimited texts and calls for $35 per month.

Group plans are more versatile. They allow families or people who use multiple devices to save on average expenses. The cheapest option costs $60/month and offers unlimited calls, texting, and 15GB of data that can be shared on up to 2 different devices or lines.

The next plan is a bit more expensive and offers more data. For $85/month, it allows for unlimited calling and texting, plus 20GB of data. It can be shared up to 3 lines or devices.

The most expensive family plan costs $100/month. It offers unlimited calls and text, plus 25GB of data and can be shared on up to 4 lines or devices.

If you want to save some money, you can set up the auto-refill service, which will give you a 5% discount on every monthly payment. 5% doesn’t seem like too much, but it’s still a nice bonus that will result in a good savings program if you plan to use Total Wireless regularly and for a long period of time.

Another handy feature this provider offers is an add-on card for data. For only $10, you can purchase 5GB in addition to your regular pack. If you don’t use all of it, the remaining data will be transferred to your next monthly plan.

This is extra efficient for people who don’t use a lot of data. For instance, you can get the basic plan for $25 and purchase the 5Gb card for $10, using only 2.5GB a month. This means you will spend 30$ a month and get the essential pack: unlimited calls, texts, and just enough data for your needs.

There’s an add-on service for international calls, which also costs $10. Each call is charged per minute, with the rates depending on the country you make a call to and the cheapest being 2.5 cents per minute for Mexico.

Even though the number of available plans is a bit limited, Total Wireless offers the essentials for very reasonable prices (especially when compared to other big providers).

Network Coverage

Because Total Wireless operates on Verizon and its cell towers, it provides a very reliable coverage across the country. Customer reviews rarely contain complaints concerning the cell coverage and the connection quality. Overall, this carrier is able to offer a very solid network coverage (which is the courtesy of Verizon, actually).

Larger cities tend to have a stronger signal than smaller towns, but the difference isn’t that big. It will hardly affect your voice calls or texting. The only scenario when it can be noticeable is when streaming videos in HD using mobile data, which might not be fast enough in places with a bad signal.

Data Speed

With Total Wireless, data speed is something the provider is on par with its “big brothers”.  However, it hasn’t always been like that.

About a year ago, the provider offered a limited data speed: 2 Mbps for uploads and 5 Mbps for downloads. Those limitations didn’t really reflect on the overall experience, to be honest. You could use the Internet just fine, with pages loading quickly without delays, even when compared to the speed other large providers offered. When put to the test, such a speed limitation was enough to stream music and videos (even in the high definition quality), which was more than enough for the majority of users.

However, the LTE speed limitations were taken off of the companies working on Verizon’s network, which means now users can enjoy a faster speed. The high-quality content and HD videos take no time to load (if your location is in an area with a good signal, of course).

Voice Calls

Again, thanks to the reliable Verizon network coverage, Total Wireless users can enjoy the high-quality connection. Whether you make a call or receive one, the connection is strong and reliable in both cases. The complaints about dropped calls are close to zero, as such occurrences are extremely rare. Total Wireless provides an excellent signal across the country in most areas (not only in large cities but in smaller towns as well).

Occasionally, users may happen to deal with a bit of static noise, although in the majority of cases this issue is linked to the cell phone rather than the network.

Text Messaging

When it comes to texting, Total Wireless really does its best. Sending SMS messages is as reliable and fast as it can be, with no delays or other issues.

The only inconvenience users may face when sending MMS messages to AT&T devices. Those messages might not be delivered, depending on their size. The thing is that Total Wireless allows its customers to send larger MMS messages than AT&T users can accept.

International Calling and Texting

As it’s been mentioned before, international texting is not available for Total Wireless users. Of course, this can be considered as a serious drawback. However, the issue can be easily fixed by substituting SMS and picture texting with the services like Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.

Now, international calling is possible with a $10 add-on card that can be purchased and used along with your current plan. There are no limitations on the number of countries you want to call, as long as you stay within the budget limits of your card.

International calls are charged per minute. The rates depend on the country you want to reach, but they are rather affordable. For instance, calling a Mexican number costs only 2.5 cents per minute.

To make an international call after you’ve purchased the add-on card, you can either use the Total Wireless International App or call the number directly. However, keep in mind that you need to dial it correctly (011 + country code + the phone number you want to reach).

Another point to keep in mind is that international calls are available only if you’re calling from the US. The add-on card cannot be used as a roaming service when you’re traveling outside the country.

Tethering

There are two things you should know about tethering with Total Wireless. First: it is possible to use your computer or other devices with your phone’s mobile data. Second: the company doesn’t officially support such use of their services.

In Terms and Conditions, Total Wireless mentions tethering and states that this is an example of an unauthorized use of the services it provides. Therefore, the company does not approve it and can even shut down a customer’s account if it finds out about tethering.

Still, numerous users benefit from the opportunity to use the Internet on their computers by connecting it to their phone’s data. The data speed remains fast and allows browsing webpages with no delays or lagging. However, it can still be lower than your regular home network speed.

Phone Support

When it comes to phone support, Total Wireless can make you experience mixed feelings. The response is usually very fast (typically within a couple of minutes), but you might have to wait for around 5-7 minutes on some occasions to talk to a customer support representative.

The phone agents are always polite and friendly, which is a big plus. We conducted a few tests and called the support on different days. Each time a phone agent was friendly and professional without fail.

One of the cool features that you can expect from phone support concerns dropped calls. When this happens, the phone agent calls you back and leaves a message with their callback number, which you can use in case your issue wasn’t resolved.

Chat Support

There are many users who prefer chatting rather than calling, so we also decided to test the chat support, too. In the majority of cases, the response was very fast, within 2 minutes or so. Even after holidays, a very busy period, the response time in a chat was less than 5 minutes.

Again, the agents were polite and friendly. They did their best to help with our issues, making the whole process rather efficient.

Customer Service

To be honest, the customer support that the company provides is a rather contradictory subject. On the one hand, the agents are always polite and willing to help. However, at the same time, the whole problem-solving process can be rather slow and even frustrating.

We have noticed this in many customer reviews and have experienced this issue ourselves. For instance, if you get a phone from Total Wireless and it turns out to be defective, you will need to wait for a couple of days until your issue gets resolved. Getting your phone number transferred can also take a couple of days, which is still better than nothing but not good for company reputation.

Complaints

The majority of complaints you might see online are linked to the previously mentioned problem-solving process. Total Wireless really does take much time to deal with its customers’ issues, which annoys some users.

Some reviews state that the experience with the company’s phone support can sometimes turn into a real headache. Even if the initial response is fast, you might have to be transferred to another department (depending on your issue), and this can take much longer. Some reviewers say that they had to wait for half an hour to be transferred to another phone agent.

Customer Reviews

Overall, the Total Wireless customers are satisfied with the services provided. Numerous users say praising words about the data and connection speeds, reliable network coverage, reasonable prices, available plans, and flexibility in use with those add-on cards and discounts.

Many parents state that they benefit from family plans and share the data with their teenage kids, saving some money and being able to control the usage levels.

There are a lot of customers who love using the phones purchased from Total Wireless. With different brands available, they include popular options like Apple or Samsung as well as alternatives such as Alcatel or ZTE.

Users also note how convenient it is to use the prepaid monthly plans without the need to go into expensive long-term contracts. They also like the ability to switch plans as many times as they want, even monthly.

A lot of customers use Total Wireless because of its simplicity and share their excitement in the reviews. They like the fact that there are no credit checks or activation fees. You don’t have to provide a social security number or be of certain age to buy a plan. Even a teenager can use one and be responsible for it. The single-line plans seem to be the most popular and get the highest ratings thanks to their affordable price and the included service essentials.

The number of complaints is rather limited. The majority of them are linked to the customer service and problem-solving process. A lot of users are frustrated because of the waiting period to get their phone number transferred or receive help on more complex issues.

Occasional reviews contain complaints concerning the signal, but the number of those is limited, which means issues with the signal and connectivity occur rarely, only in remote areas.

Read Also: Comparison: Total Wireless vs Straight Talk

How to Get Started

The starting-up process is as simple as it can be. You need to buy a Total Wireless phone and a monthly plan. You can pick the phone on the company’s website and check whether the phone you want to get is available in your town/city (you will be required to enter your zip code).

Another option for you is to use your own phone. It has to be CDMA compatible (either an iPhone model or an Android-enabled one), which you can check on the company’s website.

Total Wireless Phones

Total Wireless samsung galaxy s9+

Here’s the good news.

Total Wireless offers a large selection of different cell phones, including Apple, Samsung, LG, Motorola, ZTE, Alcatel, and so on. Before actually starting to pick a phone, you need to enter your zip code, so that the company could offer you its best deals available in your region.

To proceed with your phone activation, you need to buy your first monthly plan. Another good news is that the company always has great deals and discounts, offering you some simple models for as low as $30.

If you’re thinking about getting a more expensive phone, you can take advantage of the offered monthly installment service, which allows you to reduce your payments to $15/month. Refurbished and reconditioned phones are also available and come at lower prices.

Your Own Phone

You can purchase a Total Wireless plan for your existing phone, but only if it’s CDMA compatible. You will also need to get a CDMA Activation Kit with your service plan. This is a great option for people who already have a device that they enjoy using and don’t want to invest in a new one.

Transfer Your Phone Number

After your phone is activated with your new Total Wireless plan, you can either choose a new phone number or transfer your existing one. The second option is great if you want to stay in touch with all the people from your contact list without having to inform them about your new phone number.

The company representative will help you along the transfer process. It is rather simple and you don’t really have to do anything other than wait (which might take quite some time, so get yourself prepared).

Our Verdict

Despite the minor flaws like the absence of international texting or a prolonged problem-solving process, Total Wireless has many benefits to offer to its customers. So, even if you face one of those drawbacks, they will still be worth it, we are sure.

We appreciate the reasonably priced plans and the reliable coverage across the USA. The data speed is more than satisfactory. We also love how easy it is to start using Total Wireless. There are no credit checks or contracts. You can control your expenses and pay as you go, having picked the most efficient plan for your needs.

Overall, we are very happy with what Total Wireless has to offer. The company combines efficiency and affordability in its services, offering flexible plans at cheaper rates than what their competitors offer.

FAQ

What network and towers does Total Wireless use?
Total Wireless is powered by Verizon and its tower network.

Is Total Wireless GSM or CDMA?
This provider is CDMA.

What phones are compatible with Total Wireless?
All CDMA compatible phones will work with Total Wireless plans. To check your device compatibility, you can go to the provider’s website and input your phone’s serial number.

As an alternative (or if you don’t actually have a phone yet), you can buy your mobile device directly from Total Wireless. The company offers a wide array of models, including the most popular ones like iPhone and Samsung.

Are Total Wireless phones unlocked?
All Total Wireless phones cannot be used unless you buy a monthly plan. This is the required activation means to start using your new phone.

Does Total Wireless use SIM cards?
Yes.