Total Wireless Review, My Personal Experience

Total Wireless Logo

By Last Updated: Nov 4, 2017

Overview

Total Wireless is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or MVNO that operates on the Verizon network.  MVNO's are typically small companies that don't have their own wireless network, but rather buy minutes, texts and data at wholesale prices from major networks that they then turn and resell to you the consumer.

(Disclosure:  I was not paid or asked to do this review, however, when applicable, affiliate links are used within the post).

Total Wireless has been in service for nearly 2 years and it is actually a TracFone owned brand.

Plans

Single Line And Family Plans

All plans include unlimited talk and text.  Mobile hotspot is not allowed.

30% Off Phone Bundles w/ promo code TW30OFF at TotalWireless.com Valid 11/1- 11/30

Plan Name And Features
Price
Total Wireless Logo

Total Wireless T&T

Plan Features

Supports BYOD

  $25
Total Wireless Logo

Total Wireless 2.5GB

Plan Features
  • Price is average price over 2 months.
  • To get this plan, subscribers must first purchase Total Wireless’s $25 unlimited talk and text plan, and then purchase a $10 – 5 GB data add on card.
  • Autopay billing must also be enabled for the $25 plan.
  • Any unused data in your account carries over from month to month without expiration.
  $28.75
Total Wireless Logo

Total Wireless 5GB

Plan Features
  • Price is with autopay billing enabled. $35 without.
  • BYOD is supported.
  • Additional data can be purchased with unlimited carryover priced at $10 for 5 GB
  $33.25
Total Wireless Logo

Total Wireless 2 Lines Family Plan

Plan Features
  • Price is with autopay billing enabled.  Without autopay billing enabled the price is $60.
  • Bonus: If you are running low on data, you can add 5 GB of bonus data with lifetime carryover for just $10.
  $57
Total Wireless Logo

Total Wireless Up To 3 Lines Family

Plan Features
  • Price is with autopay billing enabled.  Without autopay billing enabled the price is $85. Up to 3 devices allowed with this plan.
  • Bonus:  If you are running low on data, you can add 5 GB of bonus data with lifetime carryover for just $10.
  $80.75
Total Wireless Logo

Total Wireless Family Plan For Up To 4 Lines

Plan Features
  • Price is with autopay billing enabled.  Without autopay billing enabled the price is $100. Up to 4 devices allowed with this plan.
  • Bonus:  If you are running low on data, you can add 5 GB of bonus data with lifetime carryover for just $10.
  $95

30% Off Phone Bundles w/ promo code TW30OFF at TotalWireless.com Valid 11/1- 11/30

Add On Features

A data add on card is available to add to any plan at any time priced at just $10 for 5 GB of data.  The nice thing about the data add on card is that any unused data leftover on the card will carryover month to month for as long as you keep your service active.

International calling is only available via the purchase of a $10 add on card.  Total Wireless charges different rates depending on where you call.  Rates start at 2.5¢ per minute for calls to Mexico.  International texting is not supported at this time.

My Experience With And Review Of Total Wireless

Total Wireless Plan Purchase
Purchasing A Cell Phone Plan With Total Wireless

I recently purchased an unlocked Motorola G 4 Plus that I activated on Total Wireless for a period of 30 days. I purchased a SIM card kit from Walmart (also available from Amazon and Total Wireless), and bought the $35 plan that includes 5 GB of data with unlimited talk and text directly from the Total Wireless website.

Total Wireless gives an autopay discount of $2.80, and I enabled it at signup and to my surprise I was able to purchase the first month of service with the discount. Unfortunately, taxes and fees were not included with the price.  In my area taxes and fees amounted to $3.48 making the actual price I paid for service $36.68. At the time of this review, this Total Wireless plan was the cheapest Verizon MVNO to offer unlimited talk and text with at least 5 GB of data.

Total Wireless Dashboard
A peak at the Total Wireless dashboard used to manage your account

Data Speeds And Consumption

Total Wireless Speed Test Results
Total Wireless Speed Test Results

Verizon MVNO's are known to have their speeds limited to roughly 5 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload. This is essentially what I experienced while testing Total Wireless.  (Updated 8/28/17 TracFone owned Verizon MVNO's no longer have LTE speed restrictions.   With Total Wireless, in many areas you may now get download and upload speeds that are 10x higher than what was initially tested in this review.)

During my testing period, I ran 20 different internet speed tests at different times of the day and different days of the week. Speeds were pretty consistent regardless of the time of day or day of the week that they were run.  I averaged download speeds of 5.17 Mbps, 2.03 Mbps upload and a ping time of 92.9 ms.

With real world use, I did not perceive any difference in website page load times compared to my main wireless plan on the T-Mobile network, where I use a LeEco Le Pro 3 as my main device.  I found that I was able to stream YouTube videos at 1080p without any stuttering or issues.  Using Netflix I also experienced no issues with the Netflix app set to stream on high, which the app says consumes about 1 GB of data per hour.

I watched about 20-30 minutes of streaming video on each platform with no issues or complaints.

I also listened to several hours of streaming audio via Amazon Prime Music, as well as Tune In radio. I was able to stream audio with no issue using either app and was perfectly satisfied with the service.

Data consumption during the review was 3 GB.

Voice Calls and Text Messaging

Admittedly, I am not big on speaking on the phone so my talk time was rather limited.  I logged about 60 minutes of phone calls spread out over a combination of 10 incoming and outgoing calls.  I had 0 dropped calls and had a signal everywhere I went, which was a nice change compared to my T-Mobile daily driver where for about 40 minutes a day I'm in a building with no signal. My location still does not have T-Mobile band 12 support, but I digress.

Phone calls were clear but I did hear a small amount of background static.  The small amount of static was confirmed to be caused by the phone itself, because I heard the same sound while placing a call over Wi-Fi using Google Hangouts.

During the test period I sent and received roughly 800 text messages and dozens of MMS picture messages. All text messages were sent and received successfully, however, a few MMS picture messages sent to a Cricket Wireless number got lost in space and never delivered.  I believe this issue to be due to how Cricket/AT&T and Verizon handle MMS messages but not the fault of Total Wireless. I believe this because the same issue occurred on occasion when MMS picture messages were sent to the Cricket number from a phone on a Verizon post paid plan. The culprit here is likely due to the picture messages being sent are slightly larger in size than what AT&T/Cricket can accept.

Tethering

Total Wireless Tethering
Total Wireless Does Not Officially Support Tethering

I was able to successfully tether my phone to my PC and watch YouTube and Netflix as well as browse the internet. The test I conducted lasted about 20 minutes. I did not have any issues or notice things loading slower compared to my main cable network which gets download speeds of roughly 20 Mbps.

Tethering is not officially supported by Total Wireless, so if you are going to try it yourself, you are using at your own risk. Total Wireless may choose to send you a warning not to Tether or to disable your account if they find your are abusing their network.

Customer Support

Some say customer support is the bane of any TracFone owned brands existence.  A search on the internet and you'll likely find quite a few loud voices complaining about customer support issues.

During my time with the provider I did not have any need to contact customer support for any issues.  I did however contact them several times both through their online chat service and over the phone to test wait times one may have if they do in fact need to contact customer support.

Chat Wait Times

I initiated a chat with Total Wireless on 6 different days using different time points.  The average time it took to get my chat answered was just 2 minutes, and this includes initiating a chat just 2 days after the Christmas holiday when one may expect customer support to be more heavily taxed during the holiday season with people activating their brand new devices.  On one of the post Christmas chats, the chat service told me that they were "experiencing a high volume of chat at this time and to please try again later."  I elected to wait, and reached a customer support representative just 6 minutes later.

Phone Call Wait Times

I placed 5 different calls to customer support and the longest wait time that I experienced was 6 minutes and 45 seconds.  Two of my other calls were answered by a customer support representative instantly, while another call took 2 minutes.  When my calls weren't being answered instantly I was given the option to either wait or have Total Wireless call me back within 3-5 minutes.  Since I did not have any issues to discuss with customer support, I disconnected the call once answered.  To my surprise, I found that when I hung up the phone, a real person from customer service called me back instantly and left me a voicemail notifying me that my call was disconnected and that I could call back to discuss my issues.  The fact that I got called back right away after a disconnection is appreciated and likely will be appreciated by anyone who has ever had a phone call dropped during a support issue only to find that they have to call support back and start all over as if the call never happened in the first place.

Porting In/Out

Porting in was not tested as this was a new line of service with a new number.

Porting out required me to call Total Wireless to ask them to release my number.  The call to the company was answered instantly by a real person, however, since it was a port out, I was transferred to another department which took 30 minutes to be answered at 8 PM in the evening on a week night.  I had to call Total Wireless to ask them to release my number because I gave the wrong account number to my new provider.

If you end up needing to port out from Total Wireless or are porting out from any other carrier, I suggest you initiate your port out several days before your plan expires to avoid losing your number.  Porting out to another carrier from Total Wireless requires you to give that carrier your phones IMEI number, which is what is used as your Total Wireless account number.  Your account pin number for porting out by default is 0000 unless you set it to something different.

Ratings

(Updated 8/29/17 - the rating was updated to reflect the changes in download and upload speeds provided by the network)

8.3 / 10 Overall Rating
Pros
Cheap data
Good bang for your buck
Good network coverage
Cons
Although a good experience for me, customer support does not have a good reputation
Account Dashboard Ease Of Use7
Download Speeds10
Upload Speeds10
Customer Support Help7
Customer Support Response Speed7
Network Coverage9

Recommendation

My experience with Total Wireless was a good one, and based on that I would have no problem recommending the service or using the service for myself, although since I use a lot of data, the T-Mobile plan is still a better choice for me.

A majority of those who do choose to signup for service with Total Wireless should find the network and service suitable for their needs, unless of course they are one of the unlucky ones who have a need to contact customer support with a serious issue.

 

See also:   |  Total Wireless news and deals

|  Configure your phone to work on the Total Wireless network with the correct Total Wireless APN settings.

30% Off Phone Bundles w/ promo code TW30OFF at TotalWireless.com Valid 11/1- 11/30

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67 Comments on "Total Wireless Review, My Personal Experience"

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DP
Guest
Total wireless has ripped me off for over $150.00. I tried to return a cell phone that I had ordered along with a calling plan card. The package was unopened and was definitely delivered back to them. I followed their instructions to the letter. I have called back at least 6 times and have been given a different excuse about why I did not see my refund every time. I have written them a letter. IN all cases, once they have your money you can kiss it goodbye. I believe that this company is grossly dishonest and I would not… Read more »
Augie
Guest

Just got off with customer support………
I can’t remember if this is SOP, but the CSR wanted to know my primary Zip Code because they do not have roaming capabilities and could not guarantee service, or quality of service, if I go to another “(e)state”!!
REALLY??
I thought they were on “AMERICA’S LARGEST AND MOST RELIABLE 4G LTE NETWORK”
Wouldn’t that mean that as long as I was in that network’s coverage I would get the same service (reception)?
Apparently not!
Without that guarantee I’ll stick with what I have. GGGRRRRR

frank
Guest
Bought a T W ZTE flip phone do not need a Smart phone just need simple voice and text. $ 25.00 per month pre pay is great. coverage is good even in the middle of sams whole sale. I currently have a T-Mobile unlimited plan. But testing out T W for my wife, she is on pay as you go $0.10 per minute, She was not a heave phone user, but se would like to have more minutes available. So testing out this service for 60 days, so far so good. My port her number or just keep the new… Read more »
Jean
Guest

2nd month with Total W and mostly pleased with the service including the recent increase in data allowance (4 line family plan now shares 25 GB). Sometimes a text message is momentarily delayed in sending but other than that no issues that would have me consider returning to the big “V” at more than double the rate.

Al
Guest

What happens with Total Wireless 4-line 25gb plan if you use more than 25gbs? Are there overage charges, or do they just slow the speed like T-Mobile does?

Joe Paonessa
Guest

It means you have no more data to use. There are no overages and it does not slow down. You can add 5 GB more data at any time for $10 with data rollover if you run out.

Chris
Guest

My Total Wireless roams 50% of the time and I can see the cell tower. I’m tired of rebooting my phone! My Verizon tablet works just fine. For sure you don’t get Verizon bars with this extended service!

Chris
Guest
I’ve been using Total Wireless for 1.5 years because of the price. I use the $35/month 5GB data card. That’s plenty for me. I’m thinking about spending more funds for Verizon however. Everything works just fine on my Nexus6 phone except I’m roaming 50% of the time and I’m 3/4 to 2 miles from the cell tower most of my days. I can normally reboot my phone and I have 4G service but I’m really getting tired of that 3-4 minute reboot several times a week. If not for trees….I could see the tower with ease…..I can go 200 yards… Read more »
Stephen Blakeney
Guest

Total has increased the data on their shared plans from 8 to 15 for the up to 2 line $60 plan, from 12 to 20 for the up to 3 line $85 plan, and for 15 to 25 for the up to 4 line $100 plan.

Sam
Guest

My wife was with PagePlus on her iPhone 4S, but we switched to Total when we could get a NEW iPhone 5S for $150. She has generally been pleased with Total. We had an issue recently where she was not getting LTE service and inability to send and receive text messages, while had no issues on my Verizon iPhone 6S. I have no understanding why our experiences would be different (we were out of town in a more rural area at the time).

Tim
Guest

I brought my Verizon iPhone 5s to totalwireless. Port goes through fine and I can make/receive calls but I never get LTE data. I’m stuck on 3G at around 1.5Mbps no matter where I am, even in the Verizon store next to a bunch of phones showing full LTE. I’ve tried rebooting, resetting the network settings, manually installing the APN profile, making sure LTE is turned on in settings->cellular. Tech support says as long as I’m getting data it’s not heir problem. Oh well back to Verizon I go.

M N
Guest
I had a pretty terrible experience with Total Wireless. We had previous been with Verizon, and since they use the Verizon network, thought it would be fine. But they don’t reliably use the Verizon network– about 50% of the time at our home, my phone would tell me I was roaming and not place the call. Tech support for this issue was terrible, tried 3-4 times to get someone to really look into it. Ended up switching back to Verizon, and that experience was also terrible- they didn’t port my number when requested, and then my service period ended 2… Read more »
Stephen Blakeney
Guest

Recently signed up with Total. Liked it and decided to add my wife”s phone to it so I needed to change to a different plan. I don’t like the fact that if ;you decide to change to a different plan before your present plan ends, you lose the money paid for the original plan. A prorated refund should be issued.

Stephen Blakeney
Guest

Follow up: I pressed the issue and was able to receive a refund. So far so good as far as the service goes. We switched from H2O when they dropped the extra gig of data from the promo. 3gig per month for $30 ea. wasn’t bad but for 2g ii’s pretty mediocre. So now we are paying roughly the same price for 2 lines and are getting twice the data plus the Verizon network.

Jesse
Guest
I have had Total Wireless for over a year. These are some of my issues: Chronic voicemail box issues, telling callers my voicemail is not setup…Voicemail telling callers my number is not receiving calls even though my account is current….Unable to connect with numbers once I have left and returned to the same geographic area…..Text messages being delivered late (anywhere from 2 hours to 7 days late)….Unable to receive delivery reports on texts sent outside of Network….Calls failing to ring into the person I am calling even after a dozen attempts…..Calls failing to ring into my phone until several attempts……On… Read more »
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