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josephf

join:2009-04-26
Reviews:
·VoicePulse

1 edit

LycaMobile: New Lowest Cost Number Parking Service

In about February or March of this year Lycamobile, which is Europe's largest MVNO, began offering service in the U.S. over the T-Mobile USA network. They offer pay-as-you-go rates of 2 cents a minute for voice calling (4 cents for text [incoming is free] and 6 cents per MB data), which is the lowest cost pay-as-you-go calling rates in the U.S.

Most relevant to this forum is that unlike any other U.S. prepaid wireless service, Lycamobile does not have any expiration dates on the funds you deposit or on your service with them. Furthermore, your service remains active so long you use the service at least once every 120 days. That means one one-minute phone call or text keeps the account alive and in service even if you add no new funds.

Essentially this allows them to be a low cost number parking service. They charge no fee to port a number to them. They do have some startup hiccups in their porting abilities, but once a number is successfully ported to them you are good.

The SIM cards are free. You'll need an unlocked GSM phone to activate. Their minimum deposit is $10. After that you need to make one call every four months at a cost of 2 cents. Effectively, your annual cost for this service can be as low as 6 cents a year that will come out of your initial $10 deposit.

It doesn't get much cheaper than that.


cb14

join:2013-02-04
Miami Beach, FL
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·localphone.com
·callwithus
·Google Voice
·Callcentric
·AT&T U-Verse
·magicjack.com
Interesting. The UK reviews indicate that there are some gotchas with this provider. They do not show any coverage map, obviously if it is TMO only with no roaming it will be limited. CS is in India. What puzzles me why would TMO allow an MVNO so dramatically undercut it's own pre paid rates.

PX Eliezer
Premium
join:2013-03-10
Outland
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Optimum Voice
·callwithus
·Callcentric

1 recommendation

said by cb14:

Interesting. The UK reviews indicate that there are some gotchas with this provider.

I was happy to see the headline, but then saw awful Australian reviews---24 reviews, I think 22 are bad---worse than that recent Will Smith sci-fi western (I think it was called "After Earp").
»www.productreview.com.au/p/lycamobile.html

Although many of those reviews were from first-timers, not all are, and they seem pretty consistent.

Of course, the mobile service in Australia has nothing to do with leasing T-Mobile service in the US, but what remains in common is [customer service or the lack thereof] because that seems to be in India.

SCADAGeo

join:2012-11-08
N California
kudos:2
reply to josephf
It's currently offered for some states, not all, and be aware that some people have mentioned that funds have disappeared from their account (possibly by background data usage).

FWIW - I ordered a free SIM two weeks ago, and hopefully, it will arrive soon...

Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
reply to josephf
The prepaid cell phone stores started selling Lyca Mobile sometime ago around my neck of the woods; $29 for "unlimited" everything.

I didn't bother looking into it though

Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Future Nine Corp..
·T-Mobile US
·Optimum Online
reply to josephf
Meh... They don't really undercut T-Mobile at all...

Their monthly plans are in line with what other TMo MVNO's are offering except for the $19 and $29 plans, which is OK for dumb phone customers.

josephf

join:2009-04-26
Who else give unlimited voice/text for $19 or unlimited voice/text/data for $29? The other carriers are priced higher.

Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Future Nine Corp..
·T-Mobile US
·Optimum Online
The $19 deal is very good; $29 deal only includes 100 MB of 4G data after which they probably throttle to EDGE.

I ordered the free SIM from them and I intend to activate the $29 package to see what it throttles down to after 100 MB. I suspect it will throttle down to 200 Kbps like Simple Mobile does for their $40 plan; or worst like Solavei down to 128 Kbps.

I'm curious to see what they offer since nobody knows what will happen with Google Voice next year.

josephf

join:2009-04-26
Do you happen to know whether Lycamobile roams to AT&T for voice calls when T-Mobile towers are unavailable? (I'm assuming for data it surely does not roam.)

Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Doubt it. Different radio frequencies between T-Mo and AT&T for data and voice, at least in my neck of the woods.


fukitol
Solon for President
Premium
join:2001-06-11
PonziWorld
I have T-Mo, and my phone roams onto AT&T in areas that T-Mo doesn't serve. My phone has a radio that can use both carriers' frequencies, though.

Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
True that. My T-Mo phone doesn't listen on AT&T's HSDPA bands but it does listen in on GSM.

ChuckIL9

join:2005-11-07
Peoria, IL

1 edit
reply to josephf
There is no domestic voice or data roaming with LycaMobile. Well, except that while on the natively supported T-mobile network the phone always indicates that it is roaming. If you lose the T-mobile signal, you pick up an at&t tower, but the phone will only make emergency calls. Supposedly you can roam in international locations, but I haven't been out of the US to try it.

josephf

join:2009-04-26
Is your Lycamobile data HSPA+ speeds or EDGE? What kind of bandwidth are you seeing?

ChuckIL9

join:2005-11-07
Peoria, IL
I'm in a pretty terrible location for T-mobile data. Edge was actually faster than HSPA when I ran speed tests around the city. I was unimpressed enough that my Lyca phone is now sitting in my camper full time, in case I forget my real phone. You need some data from someone in a better T-mobile area. There are a couple threads on howard forums that you might want to read.

PX Eliezer
Premium
join:2013-03-10
Outland
kudos:6
reply to josephf
Are the rates of $ 19 and $ 29 valid for the long haul?

There seems to be a lot of chatter that they were introductory and poised to be increased by $ 10 each.

josephf

join:2009-04-26
It's been those rates ever since Lycamobile has been offering service. There was chatter they would expire April 30th, but they are unchanged after that date. The $10 discount wording seems to simply be a marketing technique.


cb14

join:2013-02-04
Miami Beach, FL
reply to fukitol
You probably have a post paid plan. Only very few providers offer any significant off network roaming on pre paid plans. Verizon does, at a price.
At this point of time my impression of Lycamobile is so bad that I am not going to bother.

rblizz

join:2001-12-16
North Richland Hills, TX
Reviews:
·Callcentric
said by cb14:

At this point of time my impression of Lycamobile is so bad that I am not going to bother.

It is what it is. I ordered some SIM cards, put one in unlocked Motorola flip phone (and now one in an unlocked Blackberry I picked up for $3) and bought $10 "Recharges" (Pay as you go). We live in the DFW area and T-Mobile coverage is very good here -- so LycaMobile is strong for voice and texting. Clear voice (clearer than Sprint here) and fast texting (no delay as with Sprint). I don't have the service books to try the data on the BlackBerry. The Motorola is just a flip phone, so I can't report on data yet. We took a trip to Idaho and tried out both phones. Worked well in Boise and just about anywhere along the freeway (except a few spots out in the middle of nowhere). LycaMobile was dead in some areas but, surprisingly, overall it had better coverage than the Sprint phone (with roaming). (We also had one Page Plus phone (Verizon) -- I've got a big family -- which was good almost everywhere.) But I was surprised when LycaMobile was getting service on top of a mountain in Utah -- where Sprint wouldn't even roam. Though the long stretch of Highway 287 in Texas was pretty much a wash for LycaMobile -- Sprint is strong there now (without roaming) -- a few years ago there was no service for them either.

If LycaMobile's Pay As You Go and monthly rates stay the same (or rise only slightly) I would strongly recommend the service for those in strong T-Mobile coverage areas -- at least for voice and texting. By all reports their data isn't their strong suit. Cheap, unlocked GSM phones are available everywhere -- older BlackBerries are easy to unlock (just go to FreeMyBlackberry.com). So it doesn't cost much to try out LycaMobile.


cb14

join:2013-02-04
Miami Beach, FL
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·localphone.com
·callwithus
·Google Voice
·Callcentric
·AT&T U-Verse
·magicjack.com
I already have TMO ( and prepaid Verizon for the gaps) so I would only consider it for a visiting family member if i get some better feedback down the road. But their CS seems to be atrocious so to get back to the original post, I would not use it for parking of a valuable number.
BTW Pactel is not Verizon any more. It is Tracfone now but it will take some time before they mess it up.
It's not unusual to get signal on the top of a mountain, I got signal and Could make a call on the top of a mountain in AZ back in 1993 with tens of miles around no coverage.

josephf

join:2009-04-26
Reviews:
·VoicePulse
reply to rblizz
said by rblizz:

Cheap, unlocked GSM phones are available everywhere

Where are unlocked GSM phones available cheaply?

Btw, are you sure Lycamobile doesn't roam?

real_goose

join:2001-04-13
Apollo Beach, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
·callwithus
·voip.ms
said by josephf:

Where are unlocked GSM phones available cheaply?

A search on Amazon for unlocked GSM cell phone has 10,210 items with 118 $10-$25 and 684 $25-$50. For example the quad band Blu T172 costs less than $30 and gets high ratings.

josephf

join:2009-04-26
Amazon's search seems buggy as it returns items that do not fall within the search term. This is the case with the search you did. It is including locked phones in the results.

SCADAGeo

join:2012-11-08
N California
kudos:2
said by josephf:

Amazon's search seems buggy as it returns items that do not fall within the search term. This is the case with the search you did. It is including locked phones in the results.

EBay: 7,641 results found for unlocked GSM phones in US.

Includes unlocked, quad-band, watch phone.


cb14

join:2013-02-04
Miami Beach, FL
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·localphone.com
·callwithus
·Google Voice
·Callcentric
·AT&T U-Verse
·magicjack.com
reply to josephf
said by josephf:

Btw, are you sure Lycamobile doesn't roam?

Even T-mobile prepaid has only limited roaming. I very seriously doubt they can roam.

fparker

join:2008-04-28
Scarborough, ON
Reviews:
·voip.ms
said by cb14:

said by josephf:

Btw, are you sure Lycamobile doesn't roam?

Even T-mobile prepaid has only limited roaming. I very seriously doubt they can roam.

I use the T-Mobile $2/day unlimited talk, text, data when I'm in the US for short trips. Several times, we had zero service (in Ojai, CA, Altmar, NY for example). It definitely didn't roam on AT&T. Good thing we brought our Mobilicity SIMs with--those roamed on AT&T in those areas.


cb14

join:2013-02-04
Miami Beach, FL
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·localphone.com
·callwithus
·Google Voice
·Callcentric
·AT&T U-Verse
·magicjack.com
That's what I was saying, however, even post paid T-mobile does not automatically roam on ATT. Only in areas they have a roaming agreement. In our nook of the woods, that's practically nowhere . In other areas, yo can freely roam on ATT ( and a few smaller providers or on GSM overlay of the former Alltel network acquired by Verizon)

Network Guy
Premium
join:2000-08-25
New York
kudos:2
Your phone has a radio that talks on T-Mo's and AT&T's frequencies?

I know mine doesn't, and because of it don't expect it to roam.

rblizz

join:2001-12-16
North Richland Hills, TX
Reviews:
·Callcentric
reply to cb14
said by cb14:

I already have TMO ( and prepaid Verizon for the gaps) so I would only consider it for a visiting family member if i get some better feedback down the road. But their CS seems to be atrocious so to get back to the original post, I would not use it for parking of a valuable number.
BTW Pactel is not Verizon any more. It is Tracfone now but it will take some time before they mess it up.
It's not unusual to get signal on the top of a mountain, I got signal and Could make a call on the top of a mountain in AZ back in 1993 with tens of miles around no coverage.

Don't expect anything good from their customer service ... ever. As I said, they are what they are. I probably wouldn't port my number to them without (at first) trying them out for a few months ... and then waiting to see if this is just an introductory (predatory) price to get a large customer base. But, if you were going to buy a TracFone or some other PAYGO service for an emergency phone or a family member who's needs are just for talk and text (and if they live in a T-Mobile area), you can't hardly beat the price right now.

As for the LycaMobile in the Utah mountains (on Highway 6), it was good all the way through them and into Moab, if I remember right -- not just on top. Apparently T-Mobile, for whatever reason, had cells along that road -- probably mounted beside the Verizon ones. Sprint got intermittent roaming -- Verizon was pretty solid.

rblizz

join:2001-12-16
North Richland Hills, TX
Reviews:
·Callcentric
reply to josephf
said by josephf:

said by rblizz:

Cheap, unlocked GSM phones are available everywhere

Where are unlocked GSM phones available cheaply?

Btw, are you sure Lycamobile doesn't roam?

Pretty sure LycaMobile doesn't roam (almost positive, actually). As for unlocked GSM phones -- just look for GSM BlackBerries on eBay or on CraigsList. You probably won't be able to get the data working, but they are really good phones and have great keyboards for texting. Don't worry if they're not unlocked, you can get that done for free (or for a $3.00 payment if you want expedited service) at www.freemyblackerry.com