PROS / MetroPCS is the only competitive prepaid provider that offers a plan with truly unlimited 4G LTE data.
CONS / Its device selection is extremely limited, giving you access to a small selection of Android phones, most of which are second- or third-tier devices.
VERDICT / If you're willing to pick yourself a new smartphone from its limited options, MetroPCS offers phenomenal prices and, thanks to the T-Mobile network, the fastest 4G LTE speeds in the country.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Cell Phone Providers here.
It may not be the best cell phone provider around, but MetroPCS is nevertheless a solid and capable company. Its plans combine the quality of a big carrier with the affordability of a prepaid provider. It boasts a rightfully glowing customer service reputation, decent coverage and – since it operates on T-Mobile's network – the fastest 4G LTE speeds in the country. Where MetroPCS falls short is device selection: If you're looking for anything other than a second- or third-tier Android phone, you'll have to look elsewhere.
In the wake of a recent acquisition, MetroPCS is now owned by T-Mobile and operates on T-Mobile's nationwide network. This gives it access to 4G LTE speeds and the larger brand's coveted "truly unlimited" data. Its cell phone plans, consequently, compare well with what's offered at major providers. For $40, you can get unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data, after which your data speeds will be throttled down. For $50 you can get the same plan, but with 3GB of data. And for $60, you can get truly unlimited high-speed data that will never be throttled. You'll be able to listen to as much music, watch as much streaming video and download as many apps as you please.
For families, MetroPCS offers family plans that take $5 off the price of monthly service for each phone. Family members can choose their own plans from the $40, $50 or $60 options, so if only one of you needs unlimited data, only one of you need pay for it. For a family of four, signing up for a shared plan would cut $20 from your combined bill every month. And if you each only need 1GB of data, the company has a special four-line offer for just $100 a month.
As attractive as MetroPCS's plans are, its phone selection is abysmal. Despite its claims of featuring "the hottest phones," it has just one flagship: the Samsung Galaxy S5. Every other phone is an off-brand or low-tier device between $50 and $200.
Without phone subsidizing or payment plans, you'll have to pay the full price for phones up front, no matter how expensive they are. You can, however, buy a new SIM card for just $10, which allows you to bring your existing phone over to MetroPCS and avoid that large startup cost. Be sure to check that your phone is compatible using the eligibility tool on its website; some devices, like the iPhone, may or may not work depending on your previous provider.
When it comes to prepaid cellular service that can compete with the major carriers, MetroPCS has some of the best cell phone plans around. Its weak device selection will disappoint some, and its network, while good, still doesn't offer the best call quality or cell phone coverage. But if you're looking for a simple, no-contract phone plan and can find and afford the phone you want on its sales site, MetroPCS won't disappoint.