PROS / MetroPCS closely matches the network performance of its parent company, making this cell phone carrier a compelling option for prepaid customers looking to save money.
CONS / Albeit improved, its device selection isn't as expansive as other carriers.
VERDICT / MetroPCS offers an appealing unlimited plan, phenomenal prices and thanks to the T-Mobile network, some of the fastest 4G LTE speeds in the country.
It may not be the best cell phone carrier around, but MetroPCS is nevertheless a solid and capable company. Its plans combine the quality of a big carrier with the affordability of a prepaid provider. It boasts a rightfully glowing customer service reputation, decent coverage and – since it operates on T-Mobile's network – the fastest 4G LTE speeds in the country.
MetroPCS beat out Verizon for average upload speed in our sister site's search for the fastest wireless network. And the cell phone service provider even finished slightly ahead of T-Mobile for average download speed during some tests. With an overall average download speed of 22.1 Mbps, we are confident in recommending MetroPCS. It has the best cell phone service for a prepaid provider.
Its cell phone plans compare well with what's offered at major providers. For $30, you can get unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data, after which your data speeds will be throttled down. For $40 you get the same plan, but with 3GB of data. And for $50, you can get unlimited high-speed data. You'll be able to listen to as much music, watch as much streaming video and download as many apps as you please. Your speeds may slow if you use more than 30GB of data, which is unlikely. If you want an 8GB mobile hotspot and prefer videos to be streamed in full-HD instead of 480p, you can pay an additional $10 each month on top of the unlimited plan.
MetroPCS offers family plans that take $5 or $10 off the price of monthly service for each phone depending on how much data you need. Family members can choose their own plans from the $30 to $60 options, so if only one of you needs unlimited data, only one of you need pay for it. For a family of four, signing up for a shared plan with 12 GB of data would cut $40 from your combined bill every month, making your monthly cost $140.
When we last evaluated MetroPCS, we criticized the carrier's narrow selection of devices. We are glad to say not only has T-Mobile improved MetroPCS' network after its acquisition, but it has expanded the amount of smartphones MetroPCS carries. Although the range isn't as wide as other cell phone companies, you can still get a Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S7, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone SE. We hope MetroPCS continues to offer newer phones, since most of its other smartphones are low-tier devices between $50 and $200.
Without phone subsidizing or payment plans, you'll have to pay the full price for phones up front, no matter how expensive they are. You can, however, buy a new SIM card for just $10, which allows you to bring your existing phone over to MetroPCS and avoid that large startup cost.
Be sure to check that your phone is compatible using the eligibility tool on its website; some devices, like the iPhone, may or may not work depending on your previous provider. Kudos goes to MetroPCS for not having any activation fees. Both Boost and Virgin Mobile charge an additional $10 if you bring your own device.
When it comes to prepaid cellular service that can compete with the major carriers, MetroPCS has some of the best cell phone plans around. Its network, while good, still doesn't offer the best call quality or cell phone coverage, but it's fast. If you're looking for a simple, no-contract phone plan, and can find and afford the phone you want on its sales site (or have your own that's compatible), MetroPCS won't disappoint.