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Don’t expect to pay $19 per month with Voyager Mobile

When Voyager Mobile announced that it would offer unlimited talk and text for $19 per month, I was skeptical. I’d seen too many offers along these lines — too good to be true — end up not working. Voyager finally did launch last week, and their offers were unchanged. You can get unlimited talk and text for $19 per month, and add data for $39 per month. Yet you will not pay those amounts to Voyager. A tipster recently pointed us to Voyager’s fees page, which outlines a whole host of additional charges you’ll see each month.

Prepaid users are in many ways exempt from E911 surcharges that appear on postpaid customer bills. But Voyager is charging that fee on monthly bills. The fee varies by state. Then there’s the Universal Service Fund, which goes to services such as SafeLink and Assurance Wireless, which provide free service to low-income individuals. There can be a state charge, too. And don’t forget your state’s telecommunications tax.

On top of that, there is $4.00 in flat fees: $2.50 for the Regulatory Recovery Fee and $1.50 for the Infrastructure Technology Fee. Essentially, you’re going to pay all the fees associated with a postpaid wireless account. From my experience, that can cost you up to $10 per month more. Even if, for some reason, you don’t have to pay the first round of fees, you’re already paying $23 for talk and text and $43 for data. While those are still good deals, they all the sudden don’t seem quite as unbelievable as previously.

The lesson, as always: read the fine print before signing up for anything.