Total Wireless… Same Verizon Network, Less $$$

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Total Wireless... Same Verizon Network, Less $$$I debated quite a bit about writing this post.  What makes a post on Total Wireless as a cell phone provider any better than the cable-cutting posts that you see all over the place?

The last thing I want to do to you as my readers is provide a disservice by focusing too much on the small side of savings.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is something that you need to be familiar with.  And the reason why is because this small change can save you a ton of dough without a difference in service.

Interested?  You should be.  I switched over a year ago and I’m just speaking from experience.  I wish I had done this years ago.

Mrs. R2R and I were on a family plan with Verizon for well over a decade.  Here in northeast Ohio, there was no reason to go anywhere else because Verizon covered the whole area with very little in dead spots.

A lot has changed since then and now the other big carriers (T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T) offer some great coverage here as well.  The other thing that changed is the price, which continued to grow.  It’s crazy how much we spend on our cell phone plans every month.

So a little over a year ago, I decided to dig into these “other” small-time carriers.  If you’re not familiar, these alternative carriers are called mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).

All that means is that these companies don’t own the infrastructure providing you the service.  They lease the lines from the big carriers out there and resell the service to you… at a much cheaper price.

In a nutshell, you’re getting the same cell service for less money.  Sounds too good to be true, right?  It’s not – it’s completely legit and works well.

And these aren’t just tiny companies out there doing this.  There’s a little company called Google that runs their own MVNO called Project Fi that piggybacks off Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Three.  In fact, this is the plan I moved my mom onto a while back.


Total Wireless

Total Wireless... Same Verizon Network, Less $$$ - Total WirelessThen there’s Total Wireless.  This is a brand of the TracFone Wireless company.  They’re an MVNO that uses the Verizon network.

This one struck me as a possible replacement for Verizon and I dug into them quite a bit.  I talked to Mrs. R2R about the idea of switching.  She was a little apprehensive at first but was willing to give it a shot.

I think the big selling point was that nothing should change except our price.

We’re now paying $61.99 (including tax) per month for phone service for the both of us with Total Wireless.  The plan gives us unlimited minutes, unlimited text messages, and 15GB of shared data.

Just to compare, an 8GB plan at Verizon (just over half of what we’re getting with Total Wireless), would cost us $70 each.  In other words, it would run us $140 before taxes for similar service with much less data.

So we’re saving over $80 per month for something that’s no different for us than before.  That’s close to $1,000 a year!

If you think I’m here to tell you about all kinds of reasons that Total Wireless does better than the big carriers, you’re mistaken.

The big reason why I’m not going to tell you that is because nothing really changed when we switched.


How did the transition go?

At the time of our switch to Total Wireless, my wife and I each had a Samsung Galaxy S5 phone.  We had bought them through Verizon so they were loaded with all that wonderful Verizon bloatware.  The phones were also paid off.

Because they were Verizon-branded, I was a little uneasy that maybe it would cause us some issues moving them to a new provider.  However, there were two things that made me feel a little more confident:

  • Verizon had made a deal with the government years ago to keep all their LTE phones unlocked in exchange for some wireless spectrum they wanted to buy.  Unlocked means you can move the phone to a different carrier.  So I knew the phones were already unlocked.  Be aware that Verizon’s been shady lately and trying to start locking their phones again… claiming for “customer protection.”  Jerks.  If that happens though, they are still required by law to unlock the phones if requested by you (assuming your phone is paid off).
  • You can check your phone’s IMEI/MEID/serial number to see if it’s compatible with their network.  Ours were.  If you “Bring Your Own Phone”, it needs to be able to operate on the Verizon network.  In other words, it needs to be CDMA compatible.

Total Wireless... Same Verizon Network, Less $$$ - How did the transition go?

So I went to Walmart and bought two of the Total Wireless Bring Your Own Phone SIM Kits.  And boy were they expensive – $0.99… each!  This was not in the budget, but I somehow came up with the two bucks for the kits.

While I was there, I also picked up a Total Wireless data plan for two lines.  This plan has changed since we bought it, but as of this writing, it’s now the $60 Shared Data Family Plan w/15GB.

I went home, popped in the new SIM card into my phone and… nothing.  It didn’t work.  What a letdown.

So I called Total Wireless, they walked me through the activation, and we were tested and done within ten minutes.

And that’s it.  That’s the highlight of the story!

Nothing changed on my phone – you don’t lose any of your apps or anything.  It was basically like a reboot of the phone and done.

My number stayed the same.  Incoming and outgoing phone calls and text messages were the same.

Just to make this clear in case it’s not already, nothing really changed except my price.

I tested it for a few days just to make sure everything was good-to-go and then I did the same to Mrs. R2R’s phone.

So one visit to Walmart (which I could have done online) and about 15 minutes on each phone and we’re saving loads of money each month.  Crazy, right?

Since then, I bought an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8 phone on Black Friday in 2017.  I swapped out the SIM card in the new phone and just continued where I left off.  How awesome is that?!


So what is actually different with Total Wireless?

Total Wireless... Same Verizon Network, Less $$$ - So what is actually different with Total Wireless?Like I said, the service is exactly the same for us.  Reception is the same as it was when we were with Verizon – and it should be since we’re using the same infrastructure.

But technically, there are a few small differences…



One difference is that it’s a pre-paid plan.  That means instead of paying for your service once the month is over, you pay in advance.

On the plus side, there’s no long-term contract.  You pay for the month and that’s it.  If you want to go elsewhere, you’re not locked in at all.  Not happy with Total Wireless, switch to another MVNO at the drop of a hat.

The downside to the pre-paid plan is that if you run out of data, you’re out until the end of the month.  There’s no “overage” – when it’s gone, it’s gone.  And if you’re not in a place to add more, you’re up a creek.

Running out of 15GB of data isn’t something we should ever have a problem with (we use about 1 to 2GB a month).  However, Total Wireless has your back if that’s a worry of yours.  You can buy an extra 5GB of data for $10 that can be used if you ever hit your cap and the extra data is rolled over month-to-month.


Customer service

When you use an MVNO, the customer service and billing is handled by the MVNO and not by the backbone provider.  In this case, that means Verizon only provides the infrastructure – you work with Total Wireless for customer service issues.

I talked to their customer service/tech support a couple times as we made the transition and everything went well.  They were as helpful as I could hope for and everything went smooth.

Since then, I’ve never needed to contact them so I can’t tell you if they’re still as good as they were a year ago.



Total Wireless handles the billing for your account.  This is pretty simple.  You have an account and can pay every month manually if you want.

Or they shave a few bucks off if you set it to auto-renew and automatically pay with a credit card every month – still no contract.  I actually like this better since I don’t have a bill every month – they just send me an email when the monthly renewal is happening… love it!


Advanced features

One of the things that no longer worked on our S5 phones were the “advanced features” that Verizon added to the phones.  In this case, that was Verizon’s WiFi calling and HD voice calls (VoLTE).

At the time, there weren’t a lot of phones that supported VoLTE so that didn’t make a difference to us.  And as far as WiFi calling goes, we always used Google Hangouts whenever we wanted to do video chatting anyway.  Skype is another one that does the same thing… they’re a dime a dozen now.

In other words, these features that are specific to Verizon get lost in the transition, but I would imagine that very few people would ever miss them.


Different widget

Yeah, I’m going there.  I told you I’d tell you the differences and this is the smallest difference out there.

Instead of using Verizon’s app and widget to manage your data, you can download and use the one from Total Wireless.

Not much else I can say on this – it works well and the widget shows you your remaining data for the month.  The app lets you do some basic account management.

Whoop dee doo.

So why is Total Wireless better than the big cell phone carriers?  One big reason…


I wouldn’t recommend if I didn’t use them myself and feel they present a smart way for you to save money.  I strongly encourage you to look at switching over to Total Wireless if you’re on Verizon (and your phone is paid off).

Just like any other provider, there are different options depending on your needs…

You need this for the Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) program:

  • Total Wireless Bring Your Own Phone SIM Kit – Verizon CDMA Compatible

One month’s service for 1 line:

  • Total Wireless $25 Unlimited Talk and SMS (No Data) 1 Line, 30 Service Days (Email Delivery)
  • Total Wireless $35 30-Day Plan – Unlimited Talk and Text with 5GB of High Speed Data (Email Delivery)
  • Total Wireless $50 30-Day Plan – Unlimited Talk and Text with 25GB of High Speed Data (Email Delivery)

One month’s service for 2 lines:

  • Total Wireless $60 Shared Data Family Plan w 30GB for up to 2 lines (Email Delivery)

One month’s service for 3 lines:

  • Total Wireless $85 Shared Data Family Plan w 60GB for up to 3 lines (Email Delivery)

One month’s service for 4 lines:

  • Total Wireless $100 Shared Data Family Plan w 100GB for up to 4 lines (Email Delivery)

Extra carryover data (optional):

  • Total Wireless Data Card $10 5GB, 0 Service Days (Email Delivery)

These prices are current as of 07/29/19.  You can purchase the service plans here: Total Wireless – Walmart.  Please note, this is an affiliate link.  Any purchases will send a small amount of money my way (at no extra cost to you).

You can either Bring Your Own Phone (if it’s compatible), buy a phone through Total Wireless, or buy an unlocked phone (just check compatibility first!).  The unlocked Galaxy S8 phone I bought was through Best Buy, but would have been just fine if it was from Amazon or any other retailer.

I can’t really think of a good reason not to move over if you’re currently on Verizon and your phone is paid off.

If you’re not using Verizon and Total Wireless isn’t a good match for you, don’t just bail.  Take the time to dig into some of the other MVNOs out there.  The potential to save a ton of money with little to no effort or difference is crazy.

Some of the others popular MVNOs include:

  • Straight Talk (owned by TracFone as well)
  • Republic Wireless (uses a combination of WiFi calling along with Sprint and T-Mobile lines) – very inexpensive
  • Project Fi (and that’s not Financial Independence!) – this is Google and it’s truly awesome, but only a few select phones are eligible to use
  • Boost Mobile (owned by Sprint)
  • MetroPCS (owned by T-Mobile)
  • Cricket Wireless (owned by AT&T)


Have you switched over to an MVNO like Total Wireless or considered doing so?


Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

You know you wanna share this!!

55 thoughts on “Total Wireless… Same Verizon Network, Less $$$”

    1. Good question, Kristin! We’re an Android family 🙂 but I did some digging around. Total Wireless does sell the iPhone so that’s a good sign. I can’t see why there would be any difference, but if you’re talking about bringing an existing Verizon iPhone over, type in the IMEI/MEID/serial number at their compatibility checker and see what it comes back with. If you could reply back with the results that could be helpful to others as well.

      — Jim

  1. To Kristin above – my kids are on Total Wireless with us (we have the four phone plan) and they have iPhones! We LOVE Total Wireless too and I’ve written about it as well on our site – (if you want another honest review.) Great job, Jim! We don’t even have home internet. We just buy extra GB from Total and use a phone as a hotspot!

    1. Thanks for the info on the iPhones, Vicki! I figured we’d have to be good there, but I didn’t want to pass along any misinformation. That’s a smart idea on doing the hotspot – I’d guess you guys are saving even more money by going that route.

      — Jim

  2. Very cool. It’s great that you saved some money and retained the same service. That’s a great way to save. We use Republic Wireless and it works well for us.

    1. I know quite a number of folks on Republic and I’ve heard only good things about it. We made the step to Total Wireless to start with since it was a smaller step since it kept us on Verizon. If we weren’t planning our move to Panama in the near future, I would bet Republic would be a possible next jump.

      — Jim

    1. Haha, I don’t even want to think about how much we spent in the past. It’s crazy how much money you can save just by understanding that the MVNOs work just as well as the big guys out there.

      — Jim

  3. I’ve been pounding the MVNO drum for a LONG time, but it doesn’t seem like most people are interested Jim. It’s not about the service (I think), it’s about the phone.

    They *want* to have the latest cool phones that the Verizon’s, AT&T, and T Mobile’s of the world sell. It’s another modern status symbol to have that cool new phone.

    Yes, you can go out and buy an unlocked version of the latest phone off Amazon for big $$, but I honestly think people prefer paying a higher monthly cost instead of that big upfront phone cost.

    1. That’s a good point, Mr. Tako, and I personally love new gadgets like the latest phone (I’m working on that problem, though!). 😉 It took everything I had in me to get the Galaxy S8 right before the S9 came out. Yeah, I have issues.

      The good news is that some of the MVNOs (like Total Wireless) recognize this and will let you buy a phone through them and spread the payments out over 24 months. If you do the math on it though, you’ll find that you’re paying more than it would be outright. But if you feel you need a flagship phone and can’t afford to pay it outright, it’s an option. Personally, I think that if you can’t afford a fancy phone outright though, then you’re looking at the wrong phone.

      I so agree that people just don’t seem interested regardless. It’s like they think it’s not as good or reliable as going through a regular provider, which as you know, is far from the truth.

      — Jim

  4. Jeffrey J. Schaefer

    Maybe off the MVNO topic, but my wife and I are on the T-Mobile 55+ plan. Unlimited talk, text, & data. Works in Mexico & Canada at no extra charge too.

    See you in CLE for your talk on Thursday!!!

    1. I heard that Verizon would be shutting down CDMA, but didn’t realize it would be happening next year – glad to hear that though. If you’re happy with Verizon, you’ll be happy with TW – nothing really changes.

      — Jim

  5. Yes Verizon is paving the way for 5G, we too were informed by the company rep CDMA is on the way out and will be gone by the end of 2019 also. Is Total Wireless LTE?, If so, CDMA should not be an issue. We are Verizon prepaid customers. Great post thank you. I have in the past had TW imei checker say a phone is compatible, gotten a Sim and then discovered the TW “imei checker-compatability ” was wrong, to make long story short. Just a FYI.

    1. I’m really excited about 5G – not even so much for phones, but how it’s going to provide some competition to cable companies for Internet at home and crush their monopolies. Wow, that sucks on the IMEI checker giving you wrong info.

      — Jim

  6. Hello! Great article! I’m planning on switching from Verizon to TW soon for both my phone and my husbands. We both have iPhones, so hopefully we can transfer these phones and numbers. My question is, and maybe it’s silly, but do I cancel my Verizon account first? Just want to make sure since I want to keep our numbers …thanks for your help!

    1. Thanks, Traci – definitely don’t cancel your Verizon account until everything’s moved over. Check online or call Total Wireless to make sure your phones are compatible first (they should be since they’re already on Verizon). Then when you activate your phones, Total Wireless will help you port your numbers over from Verizon (you’ll need your Verizon PIN code if you have one). Once everything’s done and working on your new phones, then you can contact Verizon to cancel your service.

      — Jim

  7. Good article. Very accurate. I will say that not having wi do calling is a problem for us as Verizon service in our home is sketchy and calls drop. Never happened with Verizon due to WiFi calling. Make sure you have good LTE service before switching.

  8. I just had to take a moment to give this article a thumbs up.
    I changed over to Total Wireless about three weeks ago.
    My wife and I were Verizon customers since about 1983.
    A friend urged me to look into the Verizon pre paid to save money.
    The more I compared the more I realized we could save about $1000 per year to go this route.
    So far not enough difference to be upset about.
    Voice mail is not visual anymore but it works.
    I went to a local cell shop and purchased the SIM cards.
    They installed them and set everything up.
    I am waiting for the first month to run out so I can combine the phones into a two line account.
    The guy at the cell phone shop had some issues with the activation and could only get the phones to work on separate accounts the first month. Even at that we saved money.
    Well worth the money and time spent.

    1. Thanks so much – welcome to the world of same pre-paid service! That’s incredible that you were with Verizon so long… and it’s insane how much money you’re now going to be saving!

      I never noticed the visual voicemail because I’ve used Google Voice for my voicemail for a lot of years. I highly recommend checking it out. It basically has you use Google for your voicemail and they transcribe it, let you download the VMs as MP3’s if needed, and some other perks. And, of course, it’s free plus a free app you install on your phone. If you go that route, be aware that you don’t need to port over your number or anything – that’s if you want to do even more with them.

      — Jim

  9. I had Total Wireless for about 6 months. I switched to Xfinity Mobile because Total Wireless didn’t allow Mobile Hotspot tethering. Also, they don’t give you an actual billing statement so it was hard for my wife to get reimbursed for her cellphone use by her work. Those are pretty small things that won’t effect most people though.

    Another great MVNO is Consumer Cellular. They are consistently recognized for their fantastic customer service. I tried them out but they run on AT&T and T-Mobile towers and Verizon towers just have a lot better service in my area or I would have stayed with them.

    1. Those points are good to know, Adam. I didn’t realize that they didn’t support tethering. I don’t use that, but I just checked and you’re right. It looks like they don’t officially support it (though it should work – just at your own risk).

      Great info – thanks, Adam!

      — Jim

  10. Just a little more info from my personal experience for anyone who is interested. I started out on Total Wireless with a Samsung Galaxy S9, purchased unlocked from Samsung (not sure if that part is relevant). With this phone, I was able to tether without issue. We switched to Apple iPhones (also bought unlocked from the manufacturer) after a few months, and that was when tethering stopped for us. So it probably has something to do with how certain phones communicate with the network when trying to tether that allows Total Wireless to detect and disable this feature.

  11. We have been been with total wireless for over 3 years now. Down regret the switch from the big companies to the little one at all. I didn’t get any signal with Verizon or us cellular but paid double the prices. So we switched here and get the same signal but way cheaper on our monthly bill. So worth it.

  12. I had total wireless on two lines and it’s not the same service. My Pixel 2 wasn’t fully compatible with the Sim and it was a Verizon phone. Total wireless does not support using your phone as a hotspot and the sometimes the data was really slow. Total Wireless is like any MVNO will have their data de-prioritized and that is why people are hesitant to sign up, not to mention the fact their customer service is horrible. I went with Verizon Prepaid instead. I pay $75 for two lines and they both have 15 gigs each and the hotspot is fast. For the extra $15 a month to deal directly with Verizon. The old saying is true, you get what you pay for.

    1. Hey, Casey, I don’t work for the MVNO – I’m just letting you know my day-to-day experience, which has been wonderful for the almost two years we’ve been using it. It also tends to jive with a lot of what I’ve seen here in the comments and from family and friends. Feel free to give some more feedback on what you ran into if you think it’ll be helpful for others.

      — Jim

  13. Did the same as Jim a few months ago. There is no difference in service as compared to Verizon, except it’s less than half the price.

    1. They do not – they do provide a 5% discount by enrolling in auto-refill though so that cancels a lot of that out. Right now, our total bill out the door is $61.99 for 2 lines with 15GB of data. As I’m looking their site right now, it does look like some of what you get (more data) has changed very slightly since I wrote this post, so check their site for the latest. I’ll try to update this post here to reflect the changes in the next couple of days.

      — Jim

  14. I just joined Total Wireless because in their Terms of Service it states they have Wi-Fi calling but when I try to activate it on my phone it says to contact Verizon. I contacted Total Wireless via chat and tech support and they said they don’t support it. I explained that they list it in their TOS under #10 that they have and support Wi-Fi calling and they told me to contact AT&T my old provider…why would I contact them? They make absolutely no sense. It almost annoyed me so much that I might switch back after a month.

    1. Sorry to hear that Robert – that seems like a real pain. On the positive side, it’s nice that these are just per month with no contracts so you can jump around when not happy.

      Good luck!

      — Jim

  15. Love this article! It reflects my excitement for discovering Total Wireless!! I was with Verizon since 2005 until about a year & a half ago when switched to Project/Google FI. I’ve noticed the difference in coverage when go on a trip. Recently on the NextDoor website, there was a topic about someone switching to Consumer Cellular from Sprint. Since Google Fi uses Sprint towers, I wanted to poke my two cents into the topic. I did a lil bit of research that hadn’t done since going to FI. I was surprised at the cost of data on Consumer Cellular. Low & behold, I found Total Wireless. I was like can I really get back together w/Verizon for this cost, whoa!?! WOW!!! On FI, I start at $20 & pay $10/gig. With the autopay on Total Wireless, I’ll be just a couple bucks over that then do much better on the data paying $10 for 3.5 gigs. I’ve already received the sim card in the mail & the $25 service pin to activate. I scheduled for my Pixel 2XL to be paid off on the next billing cycle. So next month I’m back w/Verizon, sort of, just in time for my next trip in May!! I use a lot of data in the summer as opposed to .1 during most months, therefore am looking forward to the savings PLUS being on the best network! Tada!!

  16. Yesterday, Verizon flipped the on switch for its 5G wireless network in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis. This means global bragging rights. South Korea’s government had expected its three cellular carriers to be the world’s first to sell commercial 5G services…until Verizon launched just over one week ahead of schedule. Verizon’s new network lets users access peak Netflix and Chill™ speeds of up to 1 Gbps, or 10x the typical download speed for today’s LTE connections.

    There’s a catch. For now, only the Motorola Z3 can support Verizon’s new 5G network…and it requires a separate accessory called a “moto mod.” That’ll be the norm until Samsung (and others) introduce a 5G-capable Galaxy S10 with Verizon later this year.

    Looking ahead…Verizon’s activating 5G networks in 30 more markets this year. We’ll have to see how long it takes Total Wireless to run on VZ’s 5G network.

    Apple is expected to go 5G in 2020 at the earliest for iPhone.

    1. I was reading about the initial test they did with the Z3 and the Moto Mod earlier today… pretty impressive. But, in my opinion, 4G is just fine for me on the cell phone. Eventually, it’ll make its way to Total Wireless, but I’m not chomping at the bit for that one.

      However, I do think that 5G will be important in regards to the home Internet market more than anything. This will finally introduce some real competition into the monopolies that cable companies have held for years across the country. This should shake things up and bring the prices down for consumers, which is way overdue.

      — Jim

  17. Update: 25 June 2019: I’ve been with Verizon for 1,000 years or more, so I decided to call Total Wireless and explore their options. The big problem I see is that they *only* use Verizon towers. They do NOT do any roaming. That means if I drive to an area that doesn’t have Verizon towers, there’s *zero* cell coverage. Likewise for Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, and any other non-US place. Add to that no tethering and what appears to be somewhat sub-par customer service (it took me 4 calls to confirm the info above!), I’d say it’s pretty iffy. YMMV. Jim

    1. Thanks for the update, Jim! I will say though that I can’t remember the last time I’ve ever roamed with my phone, but that could just be the areas I’ve been in. I’ll also add that although Total Wireless doesn’t officially support tethering, I’ve needed that functionality a couple of times over the past few months and was able to do it without any issues. That might be because I use an unlocked phone I had bought elsewhere or maybe not, but I can definitely verify that it worked when I needed it.

      Like you said, your mileage may vary (I’m old and had to look that acronym up! 😉 ) but I’ve been using TW for the past two years now and couldn’t be happier. When we move to Panama here shortly, I’ll be switching us to a Panamanian cell service for the time we’re there, but I’ll definitely be switching back to Total Wireless when we come back to the U.S. for our longer visits.

      I hope you find a solution that fits your needs, Jim!

    1. Hi Nicole – I believe that’s something Verizon provides on their carrier-based phones. We’re currently using unlocked phones so we wouldn’t have that with either company. However, I can tell you that I get the same functionality on Total Wireless on my Samsung phone because Samsung has Hiya built right into it.

      The good news is that if you have a phone that doesn’t have it built-in, there are a bunch of great apps out there such as Truecaller and Hiya that do the same thing.

      Hope that helps!

  18. I switched from Sprint to Tello a month ago and love it. Their customer service is great … my emails are answered within an hour or two and my phone calls are answered (by a real person located here in the States) after just a few rings.

    Tello uses the Sprint network, so the call quality is the same … but costs much less. My monthly bill dropped from $37 (Sprint) to under $6 (Tello)! As I mostly work from home, most of my calls and data usage is via wi-fi and Google Voice. As others have said … I SHOULD have switched years ago!

      1. I was alerted to Tello by this guy…
        The only requirement is that your phone must be able to handle CDMA and there is no roaming … but I have never used/needed roaming on my cellphone.
        You can change your plan every month if you wish (via your online dashboard) and Tello also offers family plans. From all the MVNO providers, Tello was the best fit for me.

  19. Update: 25 June 2019: I’ve been with Verizon for 1,000 years or more, so I decided to call Total Wireless and explore their options. The big problem I see is that they *only* use Verizon towers. They do NOT do any roaming. That means if I drive to an area that doesn’t have Verizon towers, there’s *zero* cell coverage. Likewise for Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, and any other non-US place. Add to that no tethering and what appears to be somewhat sub-par customer service (it took me 4 calls to confirm the info above!), I’d say it’s pretty iffy.

    1. Thanks for the update, Hannah. You’re correct that TW doesn’t do roaming so it’s important to know if you’re in an area that has good Verizon coverage (most do). As far as tethering goes, that is now included with almost all their plans – it’s labeled as “Now with Hotspot” on the plans. If it’s not right for you, then it makes sense to go elsewhere, but for most folks (myself included), it’s the same as the big guys but for a fraction of the cost.

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