PROS / Net10's phone selection is excellent, with lease-to-own payment plans and great devices at every price tier.
CONS / Its customer support is the worst we've experienced, with live chat representatives and phone staff that either can't or won't answer basic questions.
VERDICT / Between its excellent phone selection and solid plan diversity, there's a lot to recommend Net10, but its customer support team all but negates that recommendation. The moment you have to call their hotline, you'll wish you'd picked a different carrier.
Net10 is an oddly contrary prepaid cell phone provider. It offers some of the hottest top- and mid-tier devices, and it has an excellent selection of prepaid phone plans. Through its partnerships with all four major carriers, it also has connectivity on virtually every tower in the nation. That being said, the company's monthly and pay-as-you-go plans are more expensive than many other services, and its customer service team is, hands down, the worst we've ever interacted with.
They literally hung up on us. Twice.
We were trying to find out how much it costs to send a text or download data on Net10's pay-as-you-go plans. The plans have you pay up front for a set number of minutes that you can then use over 30, 60, 90 or 180 days – the more minutes you buy, the longer they last. Unfortunately, there's no information on Net10's website detailing how texts and data are handled. When we asked the company's live web chat representative, they disconnected the session; when we called their service hotline, we were put on hold and then hung up on, twice over.
Putting aside its disappointing customer service, Net10 Wireless actually offers some solid no-contract cell phone plans. $40 will buy you unlimited talk, text and 500MB of 4G LTE data, and that goes up to 750MB if you set up automatic payments. $50 buys you a full 3GB of data, with the price reducing to just $45 with auto-pay. There are unlimited international calling plans that start at $65 a month and upgrade plans that let you work towards discounted flagship phones.
Upgrade plans are nothing without phones that are worth buying, and Net10 has plenty of them. At the top of the list sit the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Apple's iPhone 5s, each an excellent phone in its own right. There are also several superb mid-tier phones, including Motorola's brilliant Moto X and Moto G devices. There are refurbished phones if you want to save some extra cash and even devices that are free if you buy a month of service.
Just because a provider's customer service department is poor, doesn't mean the entire company isn't worth your time. Net10 Wireless features a spectacular prepaid smartphone selection and one of the best, most diverse plan lineups among the competition, which is why it features in our top 10. But poor customer service will color your entire outlook on any cellular provider, and we've never experienced support calls as poorly handled as the ones we had with Net10.