Ultra Mobile is a T-Mobile mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that has been around since 2012. The brand offers competitive prices for their monthly plans targeting foreign-born users in the United States who utilize international calling and messaging services to stay connected to their loved ones around the world. The plans do not charge extra for international texting and provide various low cost and free global calling solutions. Ultra runs on the principle of offering mobile freedom, more destinations, customization, convenience, affordability, broad coverage, and excellent customer service.
Ultra Mobile employs GSM technology with GPRS, Edge and HSPA+ data support on the 1900 MHz band. Its LTE service utilizes bands 4, 12 and 2 with 4 being the primary LTE band. The brand offers various monthly-prepaid plans in the form of multi-month plans and a family plan. The family plan is known as Ultra Flex Family and facilitates unlimited global calls and text, unlimited calls to 10 countries and 250 MB worth of shareable LTE per line. Pricing of the Ultra Flex Family plan is as follows: $22 for a single line, $35 for a pair of lines, $45 for three, and $50 for four lines. For any number of lines exceeding four, the price is $12.50 for each line.
Customers who pay three months in advance receive incentives from Ultra Mobile. For instance, $19 plan customers get unlimited stifled data once 100 MB of high-speed data gets used up. $29 plan customers receive twice the high-speed data, 4 GB of 3G and 4 GB of 4G data rather than the usual 2 GB of 3G and 2 GB of 4G. $39 plan users receive speeds such as those of the previously mentioned but with 6 GB of 3G and 6 GB of 4G data rather than the usual 3GB of 3G and 3 GB of 4G. $49 plan customers receive the services of the fourth for free.
Ultra Mobile also has an Ultra Flex multi-month plan, which comprises unlimited local calls, unlimited text across the globe, unlimited calls to 10 countries and 250 MB rollover 4G LTE data each month. The plan costs $22 for a month, $35 for a couple of months, $45 for three months and $50 for four months. For any time exceeding four months, the prices are $12.50 per month.
Taxes and Fees
Ultra Mobile includes government taxes and fees: Federal Universal Service Fund, sales, and use taxes, on all the transactions completed using a debit or debit card. The amounts of these figures vary depending on a user’s location. Ultra adds $1 on a monthly basis per line to all plans apart from the Ultra Flex Family and Ultra Flex plans.
Some online PIN sellers, like Callingmart, have also added this cost to the price of Ultra refills. Local dealers are required by law to include E911 fees and additional sales taxes that vary depending on the state or city in which they operate. Ultra Mobile gathers the California MTS fee from California residents’ online purchases.
Ultra Mobile has a $19 plan that comes with 100 MB of high-speed data. The data is shut down after the allocated amount of data is used up. The rest of the higher plans starting from $29 comprise various amounts of LTE data followed by an allotted amount of data at 3G speeds (around 512 Kbps). After the assigned quantities of LTE and 3G data are used up, data is still available for the rest of the month although at reduced rates of 128 Kbps or less. Additional high-speed data packages, known as UpData, can be added to a current plan at $5 for 500 MB, $10 for 1 GB, or $20 for 2 GB. The additional data expires at the same time that the current plan expires.
Voice Over LTE and Tethering
Ultra Mobile facilitates Voice over LTE (VoLTE) though this feature is limited to phones that support the technology. With VoLTE, users experience faster call connections as well as better quality voice calls than traditional cellular audio. When it comes to tethering for Wi-Fi hotspot usage, Ultra Mobile’s terms of service prohibit hotspot usage.
All the plans offered by Ultra include unlimited calling to 60 countries around the world at no additional cost. Calls to the extra numbers not covered with a plan are subjected to pay per minute rates. Ultra Mobile calculates these rates using the monthly international call credit of $1.25 that is included with all plans. Users who run out of credit can top it up by loading a minimum of $2.50 money into their online Ultra Wallet, and these funds do not expire. However, the free call credit that comes with the plans expires when the plan terminates. Regarding international messaging, Ultra Mobile has no extra charge and unlimited messaging comes in all plans.
Ultra Mobile provides roaming SMS and voice services in more than 100 countries around the world. Calls cost 6 cents per minute in Mexico and Canada and 25 cents per minute in other parts of the world. Outbound text messages cost 2 cents each from Mexico and Canada and 5 cents each elsewhere. Incoming text messages are free if they originate from covered countries. However, Ultra does not offer data roaming, but it plans to provide a one-time international roaming credit worth between $5 and $15. The international roaming credit does not expire, and a user can buy more in increments of $5.
Shortcodes and Coverage
Unlike other T-Mobile MVNOs, Ultra Mobile supports SMS between four to six digit shortcodes similar to those used by banks and information services. Ultra Mobile utilizes T-Mobile’s native network that is comparable regarding size to the Sprint network although much smaller than Verizon and AT&T networks. Ultra lacks off-network roaming and coverage is available in most cities, large towns and along most interstates but is absent in most rural and resort areas.
Devices and SIMs
Ultra sells phone devices online while dealers also distribute the devices, or customers can use the ‘bring your own device’ principle (BYOD). Ultra Mobile formally supports BYOD and customers can utilize any unlocked GSM or T-Mobile USA devices that support the 1900 MHz LTE band. SIMs are free upon purchase of a plan from Ultra Mobile’s site. Micro and standard SIMs are available on the site as well as on eBay and Amazon for just 1 cent with free shipping.
Users can activate the service online or by calling 888-777-0446 free of charge. For users with other operator numbers, there is an option port the numbers to Ultra Mobile. The online activation form provides the porting option. Users require a passcode and an account number from the other operator before switching to Ultra Mobile.
Users can load their Ultra Mobile phones through a pin, debit or credit card by calling 222 or 888-850-5977 if they are using another phone. Ultra Mobile dealers can also top up customers phones and accept debit or credit card or cash. Users can also set up an auto pay mechanism after creating an account on services.ultra.me. The account also facilitates balance checking, adding money to the Ultra Wallet, debit or credit card topping up, and switching plans. Callingmart.com and other online retailers offer pin codes or cards at a discount.
Plans automatically renew after 30 days. If users lack sufficient funds to renew their services, the services are suspended. The users then have an additional 30 days to renew the services lest they lose their phone numbers.
Users can check their available data and minutes or cash balance, switch plans, add pins and pay using debit or credit card on the Ultra Mobile service portal or through calling 222 from their Ultra Mobile phones or calling 888-850-5977 if they are using a non-Ultra Mobile phone. The users can also keep tabs on their Ultra Wallet balance and expiry dates of their plans for free by sending an SMS to 6700 with the word BALANCE as the message. Users can add PINs to their accounts by sending an SMS reading RECHARGE plus the PIN number to 6700, for example, RECHARGE788676753453453. To check their data balance, users need to send a message with the Data to 6700 to see the amount of data used and the amount remaining.
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