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Red Pocket buyer's guide: Plans, phones, and more

It's not the largest carrier, but it does offer all of the major networks. Learn about Red Pocket's plans and switch today.
By
September 20, 2020
Red Pocket Mobile stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

You may not find your perfect plan on America’s largest carriers, but that doesn’t mean you have to kiss their networks goodbye. More and more MVNOs are striking agreements with all of the top operators, and that means flexibility for you. Take Red Pocket, for example. It may be a small carrier, but it offers access to any of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint’s networks all at the same price. If you’re thinking about switching, here are the best Red Pocket plans.

Red Pocket is an independently owned carrier, and it’s very proud of that fact. You won’t find another carrier pulling the strings, just Red Pocket trying to optimize its service. As an MVNO, you won’t find any postpaid plans, but you’ve got a decent selection of phones to choose from. We’ll walk you through all of your top options as well as a few of the best alternatives for service. Ready to paint the town red? Let’s go.

Red Pocket at a glance

The carrier is proud of its status as an independent American carrier, and it’s even more proud of its Better Business Bureau standing. Red is not only BBB accredited, but it also carries an A-minus rating. Possibly the most impressive part is the four-star average customer review — most carriers hover around one-star by comparison. It’s fielded 98 customer complaints, which is also remarkably low as compared to the competition.

One of the best features of Red Pocket Mobile — as we’ve briefly mentioned — is its connection to all of the major US carriers. It offers slightly different coverage with each carrier though, so you’ll have to check the maps here to find out what coverage is available near you.

Red Pocket Prepaid plans

Many carriers keep it simple with just three or maybe four plans. Red Pocket isn’t one of them — it offers six distinct plans with six tiers of data ranging from 500MB up to unlimited. Check out our handy table below before you go digging into each individual plan:

500MB Plan1GB Plan3GB Plan8GB Plan20GB PlanUnlimited PlanFamily Plan
Cost
500MB Plan
$10 per month
1GB Plan
$15 per month
3GB Plan
$20 per month
8GB Plan
$30 per month
20GB Plan
$40 per month
Unlimited Plan
$60 per month
Family Plan
$30 per month for line one
$20 per month for all additional lines
Talk and Text
500MB Plan
500 minutes of talk
500 texts
1GB Plan
1,000 minutes of talk
Unlimited texts
3GB Plan
Unlimited
8GB Plan
Unlimited
20GB Plan
Unlimited
Unlimited Plan
Unlimited
Family Plan
Unlimited
Data
500MB Plan
500MB 4G LTE
1GB Plan
1GB 4G LTE
3GB Plan
3GB 4G LTE
Unlimited 2G speeds afterwards
8GB Plan
8GB 4G LTE
Unlimited 2G speeds afterwards
20GB Plan
20GB 4G LTE
Unlimited 2G speeds afterwards
Unlimited Plan
Unlimited 4G LTE
Family Plan
3GB 4G LTE or 8GB 4G LTE
Hotspot
500MB Plan
Available up to data cap
1GB Plan
Available up to data cap
3GB Plan
Available up to data cap
8GB Plan
Available up to data cap
20GB Plan
Available up to data cap
Unlimited Plan
Available
Family Plan
Available up to data cap
International
500MB Plan
Free calls to 80 countries
1GB Plan
Free calls to 80 countries
3GB Plan
Free calls to 80 countries
8GB Plan
Free calls to 80 countries
20GB Plan
Free calls to 80 countries
Unlimited Plan
Free calls to 80 countries
Family Plan
Free calls to 80 countries
Extras
500MB Plan
Free SIM and shipping
1GB Plan
Free SIM and shipping
3GB Plan
Free SIM and shipping
8GB Plan
Free SIM and shipping
20GB Plan
Free SIM and shipping
Unlimited Plan
Free SIM and shipping
Family Plan
Free SIM and shipping

500MB plan

Although a number of the plans limit one feature or another, this basic option is the only one to cap your talk, text, and data. You’ll pay just $10 per line per month and you can make the most of your 500MB of 4G LTE data. There are no unlimited 2G speeds thereafter, so when it’s gone it’s gone. Along with the small pool of data, you’ll have 500 minutes of talk and 500 texts to keep you connected.

Best for:

  • Users who want to save some money and don’t really use their phones often.

1GB plan

The next level of available service effectively doubles your coverage for just $5 more per month. Instead of 500MB, you’ll have 1GB of 4G LTE data to work with. Red Pocket will also offer you 1,000 minutes of talk — which means you’ll have about 17 hours to spend on the phone. If you prefer to text, this plan is the first to offer an unlimited heap that’s good for all of the gifs and emojis you could ask for.

Best for:

  • Big-time texters who don’t need much data and are alright with talk limits.

3GB plan

Just $20 per month is all it takes for a plan that technically offers unlimited service. You can talk and text as much as you want, and your first 3GB of data is available at 4G LTE speeds. After that, you’ll drop to 2G speeds but at least they’ll never run out on you. This plan is not available with T-Mobile’s network, so choose carefully when you’re on the signup page.

Best for:

  • Subscribers who can keep their high-speed data low and don’t need T-Mobile’s network.

8GB plan

Once you make the jump to $30 per month, you’ll be treated to almost three times the amount of 4G LTE data. Talk and text are still the same, as is the 2G data backup, but now you’re getting to a data cap that you can probably stay below without much trouble. It’s also not available with T-Mobile.

Best for:

  • Moderate data users who want unlimited talk and text without T-Mobile’s coverage.

20GB plan

This is your last limited-data option, though 20GB is a pretty generous limit. However, users on Verizon’s and T-Mobile’s networks will only get 10GB LTE instead at the same price. There doesn’t seem to be an explanation for the difference, though it’s certainly a good reason to stick with either AT&T or the carrier formerly known as Sprint.

Best for: 

  • High data users who plan to stick with either AT&T or Sprint.

Unlimited plan

If you’re ready to splurge on your coverage, Red Pocket has a completely unlimited option for $60 per line per month. It’s once again not an option for T-Mobile users, but it’s a fair price for unlimited talk, text, and data. You won’t find many differences otherwise, so the deciding factor is pretty much how much data you want to use each month.

Best for:

  • Subscribers who don’t want to worry about any limits when it comes to mobile phone service.

Family plan

If you’ve decided that you want to get your entire family in on the fun, Red Pocket offers an excellent family plan that costs $30 per line for the first 30 days and $20 thereafter. You’ll get unlimited talk and text, and either 3GB or 8GB of high-speed 4G LTE data — depending on which network you choose. It doesn’t even look like you need to set your entire family on the same network either, everyone can stick with the carrier they know and love.

Best for: 

  • Families who want to completely customize their carriers and can use 8GB of high-speed data each.

Global and domestic data-only options

Red Pocket’s prepaid plans cover all of the basics pretty well, but there’s not much mention of international access outside of calling. Luckily, the plucky little MVNO has other options to round out your support options. Here are your best bets if you’re planning to go abroad, or just need some data:

Explorer Data PlanJetsetter Data PlanDomestic Data Plan
Cost
Explorer Data Plan
$9 per month
Jetsetter Data Plan
$15 per month
Domestic Data Plan
$10 per month
$25 per month
$40 per month
Data
Explorer Data Plan
1GB at flat rate
$8 for each additional in 50 countries
Jetsetter Data Plan
1GB at flat rate
$14 for each additional in 150 countries
Domestic Data Plan
1GB
5GB
20GB
Extras
Explorer Data Plan
Rollover data
Free SIM and shipping
Jetsetter Data Plan
Rollover data
Free SIM and shipping
Domestic Data Plan
Hotspot device available
Powered by AT&T

Explorer plan

Red Pocket offers two tiers of international data access, with the Explorer plan covering 50 worldwide destinations for $9 per month. You’ll get 1GB of data included in your monthly rate and each additional Gig will run you an extra $8. Whatever data you don’t use will roll over to the next month, but you’ll lose the data you save up if you deactivate the account for any reason.

Jetsetter plan

The Jetsetter plan is a bit more inclusive and covers 150 countries around the world for $15 per month. Each extra Gig is more expensive too, costing $14 apiece. There are no other major differences between the two plans, you’re essentially just paying for the increased flexibility.

Data-only plan

Red Pocket’s final plan offers a pool of data and nothing else. You can choose from 1GB, 5GB, or 20GB of high-speed LTE that’s powered by the AT&T network. Each data-only plan includes the same free SIM and shipping option and you’ll never pay more than $40 for access.

Which Red Pocket plan is right for you?

Red Pocket Mobile stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Choosing the perfect Red Pocket plan for you and your family comes down to one very simple criteria — usage. The more you plan to use, the larger of a plan it makes sense to purchase. If your family is full of data-hungry streamers, opt for a larger plan. If you think you can get by with mostly wi-fi and 3GB of high-speed LTE, then save some money. It may make the most sense to try the family plan as it takes the best of both worlds. For just $20 per month for most lines, you’ll get 8GB of data and unlimited talk and text which is tough to top.

Red Pocket vs the competition

Cricket Wireless stock photo 1
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Choosing competition for Red Pocket is particularly difficult as you can’t just compare a bunch of MVNOs on one network. Instead, we’ll show you how the carrier’s unlimited plan stacks up against one top option from each of the main carriers. We’ve chosen to highlight Verizon’s Visible, T-Mobile’s Metro, and AT&T’s Cricket Wireless. You can learn even more about each of the carriers in our breakdown of the best prepaid plans in the US. Check out the table below for some quick information on each plan:

Red Pocket UnlimitedMetro by T-MobileCricket WirelessVisible
Cost
Red Pocket Unlimited
$60 per line
Metro by T-Mobile
$60 for one line
$30 for each additional line
Cricket Wireless
$60 per line
Visible
$40 per line
Talk and Text
Red Pocket Unlimited
Unlimited
Metro by T-Mobile
Unlimited
Cricket Wireless
Unlimited
Visible
Unlimited
Data
Red Pocket Unlimited
Unlimited
Metro by T-Mobile
Unlimited
Cricket Wireless
Unlimited
Visible
Unlimited
Hotspot
Red Pocket Unlimited
Available
Metro by T-Mobile
15GB included
Cricket Wireless
15GB included
Visible
Included
International
Red Pocket Unlimited
Free calling to 80 countries
Metro by T-Mobile
Available
Cricket Wireless
Mexico and Canada usage up to 50%
International texting to 37 countries
Visible
Not available
Extras
Red Pocket Unlimited
Free SIM and shipping
Metro by T-Mobile
Amazon Prime membership
Google One membership
Cricket Wireless
None
Visible
None

Metro by T-Mobile

Although Metro is technically a separate carrier, it’s wholly-owned by T-Mobile and acts as an MVNO on the network. That means it can offer its own unique set of plans with varying talk, text, and data at great rates.

The carrier’s unlimited plans each include 100GB of Google One cloud storage, and the $60 plan comes with an Amazon Prime membership. Metro’s plans don’t include international service in the base price, but you can add talk and text to hundreds of countries for a price.

Highlights:

  • 10GB 4G LTE data from $40 per month
  • Hotspot data included on unlimited plans
  • 100GB Google One storage with unlimited plans

Cricket Wireless

Cricket’s most expensive option, the Cricket More plan, offers the best Cricket has to offer along with 15GB of a monthly hotspot. You can text 37 other countries and you can even use your service in Canada or Mexico as long as it’s less than 50% of your overall usage.

Many of the best Cricket features are available as add-ons, so it’s easy to run your bill up by a few bucks. However, that’s really the secret to unlocking Cricket’s full potential. Options include more hotspot, better international access, and extra data on select plans.

Highlights:

  • Customizable service with add-ons
  • 15GB of hotspot included

Visible

Last but not least, we have Verizon’s wholly-owned MVNO, Visible. Unlike the others, there’s just one plan to choose and it offers unlimited talk, text, and data. You can use as much of that data for hotspot as you please, but don’t expect international access. Quite simply, there isn’t any.

One of the best reasons to choose Visible’s service is Party Pay. You can go in with up to three friends, and you’ll each cut your bill down to $25 per month. If one of you pays late it won’t even impact the other partiers.

Highlights:

  • One simple plan
  • Party Pay can save you $15 per month

Alternatives that use the same network

Ting MVNO carrier stock photo

This section is a bit of a trick as Red Pocket uses all of the major networks. It’s tough to compare it to MVNOs that rely on a single carrier, so we’ll point you towards a few that follow a similar model. The options you’ll find here either allow you to choose one single network like the Tracfone umbrella, or they actually switch between networks a la Google Fi. Republic Wireless and Ting also follow the same structure, so here’s some information on all of the plans to pick from:

Google FiStraight TalkRepublic WirelessTing
Cost
Google Fi
Starts at $20 for flexible
Starts at $70 for unlimited
Straight Talk
$55 per month
Republic Wireless
Build your own plan starting at $15 per month plus $5 per GB
Ting
$6 for access plus cost per usage
Talk and Text
Google Fi
Unlimited
Straight Talk
Unlimited
Republic Wireless
Unlimited
Ting
Up to $35 for 1,000 minutes
Data
Google Fi
$10 per GB with flexible
Unlimited with unlimited
Straight Talk
Unlimited
Republic Wireless
$5 per GB
Ting
Up to $11 for 4,800 texts
Hotspot
Google Fi
Full-speed hotspot access
Straight Talk
10GB included (not available on AT&T devices)
Republic Wireless
Available
Ting
Up to $20 for 2GB
$10 for each additional GB
International
Google Fi
Free calls to 50 countries
Free data and texts abroad
Straight Talk
Calling cards available
Republic Wireless
Not available
Ting
Free calls to 60 countries
Extras
Google Fi
Google One membership
Straight Talk
None
Republic Wireless
None
Ting
None

Google Fi

Formerly known as Project Fi, Google Fi is the tech giant’s attempt at being an MVNO carrier. It relies on a blend of T-Mobile, US Cellular, and the carrier formerly known as Sprint for nationwide service. You can opt for a Flexible plan or an Unlimited option depending on your needs, and Google Fi will allow you to bring an incredible number of phones along with you.

Highlights:

  • Flexible plans start at just $20 per month or Unlimited plans start at $70
  • Unlimited plans include a Google One membership for all of your cloud storage needs

Straight Talk

As part of the Tracfone umbrella, Straight Talk boasts one of the largest support systems of any MVNO. You can not only choose your network, but you can pick up devices and change plans at most Walmart locations across the US. It offers a variety of plans, but the $55 Ultimate Unlimited option is one of the most flexible. Straight Talk’s top-tier plan also now includes hotspot access so you can stay connected from anywhere.

Highlights:

  • Widespread availability
  • Six plans to choose from and low-cost international calling cards are available

Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless recently revamped its plans, and it works out in your favor. You can still choose the low-cap monthly plans with just a few gigs and unlimited talk and text, or take full advantage of the Build Your Own option that starts at $15 per month. You’ll get unlimited talk and text like the other plans, but you’ll just pay by the data you use at a $5 per GB rate.

Highlights:

  • Flexibility to create your own plan
  • Pay by the year to save even more money

Ting

Ting, like Republic and Google Fi, tries to stay away from the traditional plan format in favor of customizable options. You’ll pay just $6 to connect each line and then pay per usage for your data, talk, and texts. Ting relies on Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint’s networks for coverage, so you shouldn’t have any trouble staying connected nationwide.

Highlights:

  • Low cost per line plus fees for usage
  • Make the most of America’s largest and fastest GSM and CDMA networks

What phones can you use on Red Pocket?

iPhone 11 product shot

MVNOs are rarely known for having long lists of available phones. Red Pocket doesn’t offer very many either, though it does offer access to all of the latest iPhones. You can grab anything from the iPhone 11 family as well as the iPhone SE and XR without any real hoops to jump through.

See also: The best Android phones

If you were hoping to buy an Android device then you’re simply out of luck when it comes to the carrier. On the bright side, it’s very easy to bring a device thanks to the fact that Red Pocket supports all four major carriers. You’ll just have to grab the right SIM card when you sign up. You may want to take a quick look at the band requirements though as they’re the ultimate indicator as to whether your phone will work or not. Check the table below for details:

FrequencyBandNetwork Supported
Frequency
1900MHz
Band
2
25
Network Supported
2G
3G
4G LTE
Frequency
850MHz
Band
5
26
Network Supported
2G
3G
4G LTE
Frequency
800MHz
Band
Unspecified
Network Supported
2G
3G
Frequency
2100MHz
Band
4
Network Supported
3G
4G LTE
Frequency
1700MHz
Band
4
Network Supported
3G
4G LTE
Frequency
2300MHz
Band
30
Network Supported
4G LTE
Frequency
2500MHz
Band
41
Network Supported
4G LTE
Frequency
700MHz
Band
13
17
29
Network Supported
4G LTE