PTel Mobile opened in 2001 as a Sprint MVNO named Platinum Tel. They had pretty good pay as you go deals and a good customer base. In late 2012, they switched to T-Mobile's GSM network and rebranded to PTel. They are known for their excellent unlimited plan options.
Pros: PTel's plan prices are pretty good, and their customer service is fantastic.
Cons: PTel's data options are a little lower than normal for the price and their pay as you go data is a little pricey.
Plans: PTel offers two options for plans. Their unlimited plans range from $20 to $65 and include unlimited talk, text and global SMS. Higher priced plans also include unlimited data, MMS and limited high speed data. Their PayGo option offers $0.05/minute, $0.02/text and $0.10/MB. They have several different top up options which have expiration dates anywhere from 60 days - 1 year..
Read more about PTel plans
Customer Service: PTel's customer service can be reached via a toll-free number, by dialing 611 on your PTel phone, through a web chat on their site or by filling out a web form and emailing them. Read more about PTel's Customer Service here.
Free Nights: only with unlimited plans
Credit Check: None
Free Weekends: only with unlimited plans
Daily Access Fee: No
Payment Options: Minutes can be purchased with a credit or debit card on the website, and auto refill via credit or debit card is available with an active account. Select retail outlets also will sell refill cards and services which can be purchased with cash, credit card or debit card.
Text and Picture Messaging: PTel unlimited plans feature unlimited SMS and global SMS. Some plans also feature unlimited MMS. The PayGo plan offers SMS and MMS, including international SMS, at 2 cents per message.
Data Plans: PTel's unlimited plans offer unlimited low speed data starting at the $25 tier, with additional high speed data added with each consecutive plan, capping at 4GB of high speed for $65. Their PayGo plan offers data for $0.10/MB.
Downloads: PTel offers games, wallpapers, and ringtones for varying fees.
International Calling: Customers can call a number of international destinations for varying rates starting at 1 cent per minute to more than 40 countries. International calls for PayGo customers are charged at the normal per-minute rate plus the international rate. Unlimited plans come with an International Cash Bucket ranging from $2.50 - $10 for international calls. Additional top ups may be purchased. See website for more information.
Text Messaging Available: Yes
Roaming Charges: Roaming is not available, so there are no charges.
Calling Features: Caller ID, 3-way calling, call waiting, and voicemail are available.
Unlimited Text Messaging Plan Available: Yes
Activation Fee: There is no fee to activate your PlatinumTel phone.
Nationwide Long Distance: Long distance calls are included in normal airtime.
Unlimited Plan Available: Yes
411 Calls: Directory assistance is free with the unlimited plans, and 50 cents per call with the PayGo plan
Earliest Minute Expiration: Paygo minutes expire depending on the denomination of your purchase. The $10 card lasts 60 days, the $20 card lasts 90 days, the $30 card lasts 120 days, the $40 card lasts 150 days, the $50 dollar lasts 180 days, and the $100 card lasts a full year. Unused funds roll over to the new expiration date, and are good for one year.
911 Calls: Yes.
Phones: PTEL offers a bring your own device program, which allows users to bring T-Mobile phones or unlocked GSM phones for use with PTEL service. The SIM card costs $4.99. PTEL also offers a number of handsets, including several Android smartphones.
Standard Calling Features: Voicemail, callier ID, call waiting, 3-way calling
Some Available Cell Models: HTC Wildfire S, Alcatel OneTouch, ZTE Concord, Samsung Galaxy S5, LG Nexus 4, Sony Xperia M
I've had PlatinumTel for a year or so now.
The $0.05/minute pay-as-you-go plan is great, I don't use my cell frequently and this fits my needs perfectly. Signal has been solid and no dropped calls.
The only thing I've been unhappy with is the recent switch from CDMA to GSM technology.
I don't keep up with PlatinumTel's blog and whatnot, so it was with some surprise when around August 15th of this year I got some texts warning me of the impending change, and that I needed to switch before the 20th or lose service.
As it turned out, I lost service anyway; I submitted a port request for my phone, and although the request was confirmed as being in progress, my CDMA phone was disabled and I was without cell service for about a week.
Unfortunately at the same time I decided to try porting my wife's phone from her Verizon plan, and it took about a week to get hers straightened out as well.
Their customer service was clearly overwhelmed. I called and waited on hold for hours with no answer, connected with their infrequently available chat and got no response. Fortunately their support forum is patrolled by their folks and I made contact with one of their reps who was able to nudge the processes along.
Finally now we both have functional cell phones, the only hitch (which I'm still waiting to hear back from them on) is that for outgoing local calls we need to dial the area code plus the number, never had to do this previously with PlatinumTel.
I'm happy in the end, but the post mortem for PlatinumTel as far as I'm concerned is 1) give customers FAR MORE advanced notice prior to such a change, and 2) consider hiring on temporary staff or just more staff period in anticipation of crazy high call volume in the wake of the change and inevitable difficulties as many of their customers experienced.
I use a Platinumtel phone for rare calls/texts. It's not my main phone. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for stands true with Platinumtel, too. God forbid you should ever need to get in touch with their representatives. Over the years I've done business with them I'm almost NEVER able to get through to an agent via phone or their "chat service." And when I have gotten in touch with someone, usually because I'm off that day and can devote an hour or more to listening to their elevator-music and various insipid, inapplicable (to me) suggestions while waiting and waiting and waiting to speak with a rep.
My phone also spits out frequent loud beeps, often hijacking my calling sessions to require me to attend to some notification agents have told me (years ago--that's the last time I actually spoke with a rep) I cannot remove from the device.
Now there are so many alternatives in my area (just the last year), I'll be looking for a more responsive company to do business with. My time is worth more to me than the few dollars I'm saving with Ptel. When I need help I'd like to find it. Why offer multiple ways for a consumer to contact you if you won't answer any of them?
Check Your Balance
If you are a PTel customer and transitioning beware that your current balance is likely to be "lost". If you don't say something, you'll start at $0 when you top off if you are reactivating a plan after it going dead because the text didn't make it to your CDMA phone. Call customer service (after a very extensive wait) and they'll recover your balance, but only if you ask. Probably not intentional, but a side affect of cutting corners with service. I imagine the owner of PTel buys used coffee grounds from nearby businesses to offer his employees and then gets upset with the "ungrateful" workers when they complain about his "awesome perk".
i've been a ptel customer for about 2 yrs. they've decided to switch from cdma to gsm network this summer. ptel customer service is outstanding. they even gave me promotion codes for free phones & sim cards. i'm frugal & ptel suits my needs. i chose realpay go plan & all i have to pay is $10 for every 3 mos. no company in usa beats that! also, sim card is only $5. i left a 5 stars a few yrs ago, & i'm leaving it again. they certainly deserve it!
5 STARS *****
Ptel is a great company.
I have no idea why people are complaining about Ptel's service. I have had nothing but positive experiences with their staff. The automated phone system might be a little slow, yes, but that's the case for most companies anyways. Both times I called I spoke with a live person. Also, their Facebook page is a great way to talk with a representative. They are more than happy to private message you.
AS for service/coverage, I have had no complaints about either their CDMA (Sprint) or GSM (T-Mobile) networks. Again, they are a MVNO, so any signal problems are the fault of Sprint or T-Mobile, not Ptel.
Lastly, Ptel was very helpful making the transition from CDMA to GSM. They gave me a promo code for $40 off and a free SIM card. Their selection might not be the widest, but they have plenty of phones for all types of people, from premium smartphones to super basic ones. Of course the price will be higher; those are UNLOCKED phones