Pros: Net 10 unlimited for $50!
Cons: If you don't buy an unlimited card, you're going to get ripped off
Original "pay as you go review"
I've been a customer of Motorola for cell phones for at least a decade. This weekend I bought an LG Neon and signed up with an AT&T plan after Motorola and Net-10 finally jointly got on my very last nerve.
Net-10 has just raised their prices but in a sneaky way. They lowered the price of their cards from $30 minimum with 60 days of service to $20 for 200 minutes with 30 days of service. Not once in the several years I was their customer did I ever use the service minutes before the card expired so I always had plenty of minutes, but the service got worse and less with each passing year. The phone I purchased from them this last year (not even a year ago actually) was the worst of all. The one feature that consistently worked well was the FM Radio and as that feature was "free" with active service I will miss the free part. My new phone has AT&T radio for $6 a month and has a lot of channels.
When I tried to get accessories for the last Motorola EM 326 phone from Net-10 I found they weren't offering any accessories for it. That made it impossible to buy online content, and since the phone tried to sign onto the net without me asking it to do so and charged me a unit (5 cents) each and every time, it got to be quite annoying. This phone had a problem with the button on the top right which was supposed to connect to the Internet in a certain mode (after you went to the menu and chose the Web feature) There were a couple problems. One, the phone signed onto the web inappropriately (without going to the menu button first but it never really connected to the Internet). Secondly the phone did not work inside of many locations any other cell phone would work from. Third, it was slow to deliver voice mail. It also had a confusing problem where you could make calls and hear the radio but the features like the contacts list and missed calls and even the function to send a text would say "service not available". Yet the FM radio worked anytime, anyplace. But the preset buttons would not accept input. It was necessary to scroll though the dial each time I wanted to change to a new channel.
I spoke to customer service many times before finally giving up on Net-10. There was a problem getting my old phone to get voice messages and I couldn't text with it. Finally when I couldn't add minutes anymore without calling them and being on the phone for at least 45 minutes per attempt, they said I needed to buy a new phone the old one wasn't digital and I couldn't use it anymore. So after listening to their customer service person who sounded suspiciously more like a salesperson I was talked into the EM 326.
The EM (Motorola) 326 certainly sounded good. It supposedly surfs the web and accepts some special SD card no one has. It DOES have a nice FM radio but the preset settings never worked. The most annoying feature was the voice mail. It did not work well, often taking two days for messages to arrive. I could never figure out some of the settings which were not covered in the spare booklet that came with the phone. No one at Net 10 seemed to understand that phone "The best we offer" before I bought it "and not what we are recommending" anymore a few weeks later when I was stuck with it. They never credited back the over 200 units (so about $10 in airtime) for the incessant undesired self connects to the web due to the faulty self-logging button on the front of the phone that seemed miswired or perhaps it is coming from a software problem.
A friend of mine passed away in December and I needed to be available for calls, plus I was looking for work, and evidently a lot of people were unsuccessful in reaching me. An attorney left me an important message on a Monday and the message finally got to me three days later after I'd called and annoyed them. I was Christmas shopping in a crowded store with two cousins who were trying to call me and the neither their attempts to message me or call me ever worked from inside the store.
The call quality was good when the phone worked. The radio worked anyplace though the phone often did not work at all for calling or sending texts. I could never understand how the radio which required the service to be available worked beautifully any place at all yet the ability to make calls sometimes did not work in what were seemingly perfect places to make a call. I really grew to hate that phone. Some features were so anti-intuitive that I could never figure them out. They certainly didn't work as described in the booklet. Text messaging was a challenge since the phone would sometimes assign a different number than the text I was replying to or the number I had entered.
It had one other odd little quirk. I would reset the phone to low ring and vibrate. It would work for a little while and then it would reset itself. Oh one more thing worked consistently - the alarm clock. It was easy to use and dependable.
I originally got Net-10 in 2006 and my four year relationship with them was mostly good right up till this last phone. Standing outside when you need to make a call in New Jersey in December is unpleasant some days. Having people upset with you because it takes 2 or 3 days to get their voice message (and some never came) is not reasonable.
My new AT&T phone (an LG Neon) will cost me no more than the Net 10 phone to purchase or to buy time for so I would no longer recommend Net 10 to anyone and especially not the EM (Motorola) 326 Model phone!
New $50 a month unlimited Net 10 service, it's actually good!
October, 2011 Net 10 offering $50 a month unlimited plan (and a much better set of phone choices as well)
A couple months ago I was standing in Walmart contemplating what I should do about the fact that AT&T's go phone plan offers very poor service options at too high a price for the LG Neon I quit using. You pay $60 for "unlimited service" with them but for your $60 you don't get any real services.
Someone I know told me about her "Straight talk" phone for $45 a month at Walmart. It had web, music, unlimited talk and unlimited text. I went off to Walmart in search of a phone like hers but they didn't have any. What they did have was another Net 10 plan for $50 a month unlimited and what seemed like deja vu based on the earlier review. They had an LG 900 smart phone for $38. Really? Yes.
This is the first decent Net10 phone I've had. The built in FM radio is full of good features. You can listen with or without headphones and the reception quality and the sound quality are both excellent. I'm amazed.
The call quality is good. Sometimes it does drop calls but not too often. It works well enough so I was able to finally ditch my landline phone saving a lot of moeny.
Also unlike any Net10 phone or service of the past, the phone stays charged and you can actually buy a Net10 Unlimited card and put it on the phone a day or two before it expires without calling Net 10 or getting online. This is a whole new Net10. I have heard from others that the other plans they sell that aren't unlimited are still not so hot but no one in their right mind would buy any of the other plans.
I have used the calendar, calculator, still camera, video camera, add on memory slot, email, web search and many other features and they all work as they're supposed to. I can hardly believe it's the same Net10 that I used to genuinely hate.