Forum Thread

Which version of iPhone 6s has the most prepaid carrier flexiblity?

desiindc 130 29 September 15, 2015 at 08:37 PM
I am thinking of getting an iPhone 6s and using it in one of the prepaid carriers. Top on the list are Page Plus or T-Mobile prepaid since they offer bare-minimum pay by the minute plans.

Where would recommend that I buy the phone to have maximum prepaid carrier flexibility? If it is at apple.com, then which model would you recommend? At the website, I see the option to pay for full price for the four major carriers only: TM, S, VZW, ATT

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#2
Quote from desiindc View Post :
I am thinking of getting an iPhone 6s and using it in one of the prepaid carriers. Top on the list are Page Plus or T-Mobile prepaid since they offer bare-minimum pay by the minute plans.

Where would recommend that I buy the phone to have maximum prepaid carrier flexibility? If it is at apple.com, then which model would you recommend? At the website, I see the option to pay for full price for the four major carriers only: TM, S, VZW, ATT
If you choose Sprint or Verizon you're generally stuck with that carrier you usually can't switch between them and you can't switch to a GSM carrier. While the run the same type of network, they sometimes use different frequencies and software on the phone can prevent you from switching. With the iPhone 6s you generally can switch between sprint and verizon.

An unlocked t-mobile or att phone can generally function on any gsm network, but there's a good chance you may not be able to get LTE or HSPA+. AT&T & T-Mobile use different LTE frequencies (bands) and T-mobile uses the 1700MHz and 2100MHz bands for HSPA+. So to get LTE, you have to choose between AT&T & T-mobile

The iPhone 6s is more robust in this regard that most, supporting many bands/frequencies.

Prepaid Carriers:
Page Plus = Verizon's network
TracFone = Choice of: Verizon (may also use sprint*) -OR- AT&T (may also use t-mobile*) *varies by location and device, CDMA devices won't use GSM networks and vice versa
Ting = Choice of Sprint -OR- T-mobile
StraightTalk, Verizon/Sprint -OR- AT&T/T-Mobile may depend on device/sim
Cricket == AT&T, owned by AT&T


A smart phone without cellular data can be quite irritating! You need data to sync your calendar, look at maps, browse the web, etc.
-PagePlus' pay as you go plans lack meaningful data options (I'm not sure, but them may charge you my the kilobyte)! $30/mo gets you 1500min and 1GB of data.
-TracFone "Android smartphones" get tipple minutes for life, probably applies to iPhones but idk; support is poor. You get 3 separate "buckets" for talk, text, and data. With TMFL, $200 in aritime gets you 1 year of service, 4500 min, 4500 sms, and 4.5GB of data; $100 in airtime gets you 1200min/sms/1.2gb 1yr of service
-T-Mobile has a bare bones option that gets you 30min/month for $3
-Ting pay for what you use via a sliding scale, reasonable if your usage is moderate to low.
-Cricket is better supported than many of the other options. With auto pay, $35/mo gets you unlimited talk/sms and 2.5GB of high speed data

There are lots of options that include data around the $30+/-10 / month price point. Including: Cricket, StraightTalk, AirVoice, PureTalk, Total, Good2Go, T-mobile. Generally I think TracFone's options are a bit more appealing than PagePlus, both are owned by the same parent company.


A big part of the decision is which carrier has the best coverage in the areas you want to use the phone. In many areas Sprint is hard to recommend. Verizon and AT&T both usually have pretty good coverage that's better than T-Mobile's.

here's apple's breakdown of models and bands/carriers they support: http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/
this list doesn't cover all pre-paid carriers.
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Last edited by jkee September 16, 2015 at 03:00 PM
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#3
Quote from jkee View Post :
A smart phone without cellular data can be quite irritating! You need data to sync your calendar, look at maps, browse the web, etc.
-PagePlus' pay as you go plans lack meaningful data options (I'm not sure, but them may charge you my the kilobyte)! $30/mo gets you 1500min and 1GB of data.
-TracFone "Android smartphones" get tipple minutes for life, probably applies to iPhones but idk; support is poor. You get 3 separate "buckets" for talk, text, and data. With TMFL, $200 in aritime gets you 1 year of service, 4500 min, 4500 sms, and 4.5GB of data; $100 in airtime gets you 1200min/sms/1.2gb
-T-Mobile has a bare bones option that gets you 30min/month for $3
-Ting pay for what you use via a sliding scale, reasonable if your usage is moderate to low.
-Cricket is better supported than many of the other options. With auto pay, $35/mo gets you unlimited talk/sms and 2.5GB of high speed data
Thanks for the detailed info. I have used a smartphone without cellular data for a while and it works out okay for me. For the most part I am fine living with WiFi when available. I am really looking for an excellent camera that also has an mp3 player/offline GPS and can occasionally make phone calls. I think I will choose between iPhone 6s, Moto X Pure, or Nexus 5x (TBR).

From the Apple LTE link, it seems like the Model A1688 (for Plus) covers Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Seems to be the better bet than Model A1633.

Anyway, I just noticed that PagePlus only allow 3G devices to be activated on it's pay-as-you-go plan. So that is out. That leaves T-Mobile and Ting for the bare bones plans. The T-Mobile version from Apple store seems best bet for an iPhone giving me the option to use either plans.
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#4
Quote from desiindc View Post :
Thanks for the detailed info. I have used a smartphone without cellular data for a while and it works out okay for me. For the most part I am fine living with WiFi when available. I am really looking for an excellent camera that also has an mp3 player/offline GPS and can occasionally make phone calls. I think I will choose between iPhone 6s, Moto X Pure, or Nexus 5x (TBR).

From the Apple LTE link, it seems like the Model A1688 (for Plus) covers Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Seems to be the better bet than Model A1633.

Anyway, I just noticed that PagePlus only allow 3G devices to be activated on it's pay-as-you-go plan. So that is out. That leaves T-Mobile and Ting for the bare bones plans. The T-Mobile version from Apple store seems best bet for an iPhone giving me the option to use either plans.
The iPhone has a longer list of supported LTE bands than most of it's competition. If you look closely, the LTE bands are actually the same for both models. What differs are the 3G and 2G bands and technologies (GSM vs CDMA). The good news is over time as VoLTE rolls out the lines between these models may blur. Regarding phone models, the Nexus 6 is on sale for $350 at amazon in advance of the new model.

I believe you can use an LTE phone on a PagePlus pay as you go plan, the phone will just only get 3G service. This may change as VoLTE rolls out.

You're decision process should be something like this:
1. Decide which carrier's network has adequate service in all locations you use your phone. Talk to friends / neighbors, if necessary pickup a cheap prepaid phone and test it return within return policy. In most areas AT&T and Verizon have better coverage than T-Mobile and Sprint, so evaluate this carefully.
2. Pick a prepaid carrier that uses this network
3. Pick a phone that will work with 1 & 2

Currently TracFone is actually one of the strongest options (with TFML) and even if you don'y use it often, you will appreciate having the option of cellular data. TracFone is actually fairly competitive with PagePlus. It's also worth noting that prepaid plans often don't roam onto competing networks as easily as postpaid phones so don't count on roaming onto AT&T with T-mobile or VZW with Sprint. Just because the phone should be capable of switching between verizon and sprint, it doesn't necessarily mean the carriers will let you. Personally I'd buy either the AT&T or Verizon model if you decide on the iPhone.

You have to be a little careful, with some carriers even without data in your plan you could be paying a high rate per MB or KB.
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Last edited by jkee September 16, 2015 at 03:11 PM
#5
Quote from desiindc View Post :
I am thinking of getting an iPhone 6s and using it in one of the prepaid carriers. Top on the list are Page Plus or T-Mobile prepaid since they offer bare-minimum pay by the minute plans.

Where would recommend that I buy the phone to have maximum prepaid carrier flexibility? If it is at apple.com, then which model would you recommend? At the website, I see the option to pay for full price for the four major carriers only: TM, S, VZW, ATT
VZW - I have it and I'm enjoying it's full benefit.
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