Few carriers are doing cell phone service the way that Red Pocket is doing it. From international-calling-made-easy to network selection, our Red Pocket Mobile review will walk you through how one MVNO carrier is standing out from the rest – for both good and bad reasons.
While Red Pocket does have an annual contract option, it is still a prepaid, no-contract carrier. For this review, our Trickut team consulted customer reviews, industry comparisons, as well as Red Pocket Mobile’s website.
Let’s get started.
An overview: Red Pocket Mobile review
Over the past fifteen years, Red Pocket Mobile has changed drastically. Customer support used to be dismal, and now customer service chat and phone support are much improved.
An American company, the founders created the carrier primarily as a Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) provider. Only recently, Red Pocket began offering a limited supply of new smartphones for sale.
In spite of some truly terrible customer complaints over the years, Red Pocket continues to grow and be a favorite among certain customer groups. Here are a few reasons why.
One of the most popular uses for Red Pocket has been for calling home to countries outside the United States. International students or vacationers to the U.S. can obtain SIM kits for their smartphones and enjoy calls to any of the over 70 countries that Red Pocket supports.
Red Pocket Mobile customers can make calls to most of Europe, along with Mexico, China, Israel, Canada, Australia, and more. If one’s home country is not on “the list,” customers can purchase ILD add-on credits (see below).
Still, Red Pocket’s primary customer base consists of residents in the continental United States. If you are looking for a carrier that allows you to call overseas for no additional charge, Red Pocket should be one of your top picks.
If your plan gives you unlimited call minutes, you can use those minutes for calls within and without the U.S., so long as that country is among the list of 70+ around the world. Only those countries not available on “the list” require an additional charge to your account.
Network selection: GSMT, GSMA, CDMAV, or CDMAS
By signing on with Red Pocket Mobile, you have four SIM card options, each connecting you to the network of your choice.
- GSMT: T-Mobile network
- GSMA: AT&T network
- CDMAV/CDMA: Verizon network
- CDMAS: Sprint
Whichever provider you pick is the network to which Red Pocket connects your phone. Need to switch? No problem.
If customers choose, they can contact customer support and swap out one SIM card for the SIM card for another network. This flexibility ensures that you get the best network in your area according to your preferences.
Many choose the same network from the primary carrier they left when switching to Red Pocket. Typically, this makes the transition smoother – the only real change in service being the much lower monthly MVNO rate.
Red Pocket Mobile is doing things differently – patience is a virtue
Red Pocket is not your everyday prepaid, no-contract carrier. As such, some new customers report technical issues, along with inexplicable increases/decreases in data speeds in the first few days after sign-up.
Nevertheless, Red Pocket has a strong base of happy customers, and all of them appear to be customers that are patient with the transition process. Unfortunately, in this day and age, with literally scores of carriers to choose from, few people want such a rocky start to their service.
Without getting too technical, Red Pocket technicians are working to reduce throttling and increase service quality for their customers. As such, the company tinkers with and upgrades service bandwidth regularly.
All in all, if you favor Red Pocket Mobile savings (particularly in their annual plans), international calling, and the option to choose among CDMAV/CDMAS/GSMT/GSMA, don’t be surprised if you experience a few hiccups during service transition.
Red Pocket Mobile pros and cons
- Free international calling to over 70 countries
- Choice of carrier (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint)
- More considerable savings with annual plans
- No activation fees
- Free SIM kit with a plan purchase
- Customer service is still improving
- Pervasive technical issues for some during carrier setup
- Data plans less generous for non-AT&T/Sprint network users
How much does Red Pocket Mobile cost?
On LTE plans for 7 GB or less, Red Pocket is one of the most cost-effective MVNO prepaid carriers. You can select from monthly or annual plans, and you have the option to refill portions of your plan as you go.
For 500 minutes, texts, and MB of LTE, plans start at $10/month.
Unlimited talk and text – along with 3 GB of LTE for GSMA/CDMAS (AT&T/Sprint networks) – plans start at $19/month. Red Pocket encourages monthly customers to set up autopay by knocking off $1 from the regular price of $20/month.
A full unlimited plan is $60/month for GSMA customers on autopay.
If you plan to use the T-Mobile or Verizon network, your available LTE drops by about two thirds.
For example, the $40/month unlimited talk/text plan with 15 GB of GSMA LTE is only 5 GB of LTE for CDMAV and GSMT customers. Similarly, the $60/month fully unlimited plan only gives non-AT&T/Sprint network customers 10 GB of LTE.
For this reason, Red Pocket customers with AT&T and Sprint ready smartphones will enjoy far more LTE than their non-AT&T/Sprint peers.
If you try Red Pocket for a few months and like it, you might want to get a yearly plan for additional savings.
Be sure to read the fine print on which networks offer the advertised LTE amount. For example, the Ultimate Plan includes 5 GB for GSMA, CDMA, and CDMAS networks – virtually to all but the T-Mobile network.
Customers can save between $5 and $10/month by choosing a year-long subscription.
Data add-ons (Red Pocket global data plans)
Though Red Pocket customers can call internationally, purchasing international data is extra. Global data plans start at $9/month for 1 GB of data from Red Pocket’s Explorer 50 Country List.
There is also a list of 150 countries available for the $15/month Jetsetter global data subscription.
Each additional GB of LTE is $8 (Explorer) and $14 (Jetsetter). Any unused data will roll over into the next payment period.
Should you run out of LTE, texts, or minutes on your current plan, you may sign-in to your account and purchase extra of whatever you need.
Red Pocket coverage quality
The Red Pocket website has an interactive coverage map for each network.
Simply select the network you’re most interested in based on the carrier you wish to use. Doing so will display the network coverage map. To find the best network for your area, you should enter your zip code or city and compare it to the other network maps.
Red Pocket Mobile account setup
Getting started with Red Pocket mobile for most is as easy as switching out the SIM card. If you want to keep your phone number, there is a porting process that Red Pocket will walk you through.
Switching to Red Pocket Mobile takes only minutes.
If you plan to use your current smartphone, you can check your phone’s settings to find out which network to use. Here is a recap of the network list:
- GSMT: T-Mobile network
- GSMA: AT&T network
- CDMAV/CDMA: Verizon network
- CDMAS: Sprint
If your phone is new and unlocked, you should be able to use any network you want.
After deciding which network you want/need, choose the plan you want, and then select the appropriate network.
Your SIM kit is entirely free with the purchase of a Red Pocket Mobile plan.
Once you’ve purchased a Red Pocket plan and created an account, you can port your phone number online by visiting GoRedPocket.com/activate. You will want to have your former carrier account number and pin ready to complete your porting request.
The self-guided activation process will ask you if you would like to port your number. Simply follow the directions until the porting process is complete.
Red Pocket customer support
Probably the worst reviews for red pocket resulted from lousy customer support experiences. As it stands, most MVNO carriers are not known for excellent customer service. In this part of our Red Pocket Mobile review, we report that many customers are still a bit more frustrated than are customers of competing MVNO providers.
Early on, Red Pocket’s customer support options were more limited. Today, they have a customer service number (712-775-8777) and live chat.
Frustratingly, Red Pocket customer support is not 24/7; more importantly, the website does not list customer service hours. If you have a problem after hours, you only have the option to leave a short, written message.
Still, Red Pocket’s blog and help center have generous amounts of content. You may find what you need by searching for keywords related to your problem.
Shopping for new phones on RedPocket.com
Even though Red Pocket has traditionally only serviced customers bringing their own devices, customers can now choose to purchase a new iPhone when signing up.
On the Red Pocket store, iPhone 7, 8, X, and 11 versions are for sale. For customers that wish to finance their new phone, they can select a payment plan option through Affirm.
Recap: Red Pocket Mobile review
In conclusion, our Trickut team finds Red Pocket worth your consideration if you want an MVNO provider that merely continues your wireless service on the same network. Additionally, no competitor that we’ve seen makes it easier to call internationally.
Red Pocket Mobile’s prices are a steal for lower LTE amounts and year-long subscriptions. If you’re a heavy data user or someone that likes their CDMA/GSMT network, you may find a better option from another carrier like Mint Mobile or Cricket.