iPhone 7(+) What is your experience buying iPhones from Total Wireless?

AMSOS

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2010
179
9
A friend told me about Total Wireless, a service provider I have never heard of before. He said they use the Verizon network and are pretty good.

There is also a deal going on -

https://shop.totalwireless.com/shop/en/totalwireless/phones/tw-iphone-7-32gb

This seems a little too good - the iPhone 7 for only $299? The plans are also fairly cheap.

My questions -

1- As you can see they are also selling a lot of really cheap refurbished iPhones along with these new ones. Could it be that even the new ones are not so new?

What has been your experience of buying new phones from Total Wireless?

2- Should one expect good coverage and service from this provider?

3- Where else can I find deals on the iPhone 7 and 8? I have no issues leaving my Cricket prepaid number.

Thanks!
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
30,773
31,003
A friend told me about Total Wireless, a service provider I have never heard of before. He said they use the Verizon network and are pretty good.

There is also a deal going on -

https://shop.totalwireless.com/shop/en/totalwireless/phones/tw-iphone-7-32gb

This seems a little too good - the iPhone 7 for only $299? The plans are also fairly cheap.

My questions -

1- As you can see they are also selling a lot of really cheap refurbished iPhones along with these new ones. Could it be that even the new ones are not so new?

What has been your experience of buying new phones from Total Wireless?

2- Should one expect good coverage and service from this provider?

3- Where else can I find deals on the iPhone 7 and 8? I have no issues leaving my Cricket prepaid number.

Thanks!
Total Wireless seems to be more negative than positive from past readings. But does it really matter? It seems that you should be the one making the judgment what you find ‘to be a good deal or not’.
 

msp3

macrumors 6502
May 9, 2015
252
95
"Total Wireless" is a TracFone brand. TracFone is a Mexican telecom owned by at times the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim, that feeds off corporate welfare stealing from the US taxpayer. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TracFone_Wireless

Along with it's other brands, TracFone owns no network but is a MVNO of every network in the US. If you ever have the misfortune of interacting with them, it's the worst experience you can possibly imagine. Outsourced idiots who don't know or care what they're doing paid peanuts. They will make unlocking the phone a nightmare despite CTIA standards, so don't expect to take it anywhere else. Your service will correspond to whichever network a particular TracFone brand is a MVNO of, but always de-prioritized as these are excess capacity sales outlets for carriers. As is the norm for TracFone, also expect extremely scummy dealers often also operating as "phone shops" that do repairs with fake and non-genuine parts charging near Apple prices, flipping stolen goods with access to illicit unlocking and blacklist removal, and generally dishonest sales practices.

You get exactly what you pay for in this market... Cricket is at least a legit MVNO wholly owned by ATT as their excess capacity outlet with clear rules that work most of the time
 
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AMSOS

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2010
179
9
They will make unlocking the phone a nightmare despite CTIA standards, so don't expect to take it anywhere else.
That is actually quite important to me as I am a researcher and need to travel every now and then outside the US to Asia. With my unlocked iPhone I've never had a problem making it work on any country's network.
What exactly are the CTIA standards?
As is the norm for TracFone, also expect extremely scummy dealers often also operating as "phone shops" that do repairs with fake and non-genuine parts charging near Apple prices, flipping stolen goods with access to illicit unlocking and blacklist removal, and generally dishonest sales practices.
That bad? Does this mean that there is good reason to doubt the provenance of iPhones being sold as new?
[doublepost=1553178002][/doublepost]
Google has reviews, both good and bad. Over all they seem to be OK.
Can you suggest other such mobile providers that you know offer good service?
I am seeing $100 off on the iPhone 8 on Boost mobile and Virgin Mobile and am keen to go for one of those. After seeing comments here I am not keen on Total Wireless.
I think at $499 iPhone 8 as the last small screen touch ID phone is a reasonable deal!
 

aKansasKid

macrumors regular
Apr 27, 2015
184
91
I and relatives have several iPhones purchased new from Total Wireless. All were brand new, 0 or 1 battery cycles. Work great. All these could only be activated on a Tracfone-owned MVNO. Page Plus in my case. They are not unlocked. Reviews about Total Wireless service should not be confused with the iPhones they sell.
 

msp3

macrumors 6502
May 9, 2015
252
95
That is actually quite important to me as I am a researcher and need to travel every now and then outside the US to Asia. With my unlocked iPhone I've never had a problem making it work on any country's network.
What exactly are the CTIA standards?

That bad? Does this mean that there is good reason to doubt the provenance of iPhones being sold as new?
[doublepost=1553178002][/doublepost]
Can you suggest other such mobile providers that you know offer good service?
I am seeing $100 off on the iPhone 8 on Boost mobile and Virgin Mobile and am keen to go for one of those. After seeing comments here I am not keen on Total Wireless.
I think at $499 iPhone 8 as the last small screen touch ID phone is a reasonable deal!
CTIA is the trade group of all carriers and MVNOs of the US telecom industry. They established unlocking standards for postpaid and prepaid service inside the US (in this sense unlocking is entirely voluntary, instead of being compelled say by the FCC). How well each carrier/MVNO follows these standards is another matter, and of course MVNOs are typically bad with TracFone being one of the worst. The cause being, TracFone ironically has long had their phones bought up en mass by resellers and shipped back to Mexico where they are illicitly unlocked and sold at market value.

If it says new, even TracFone iPhones are new. Apple supplies any carrier/MVNO and will lock to the carrier as is their contractual obligation until they are requested by the carrier/MVNO to change the state of unlock in its database. The trouble isn't with the iPhone, but rather how hard the carrier/MVNO will make it for you to get them to send Apple the request.

Virgin Mobile and Boost (in the US) are MVNOs wholly owned by Sprint analogous to how Cricket is a prepaid brand of ATT. Like Cricket, no unlock until continuous paid service for a year (CTIA unlock standard for prepaid). There's a reason why prepaid places subsidize iPhones so much and Android phones are even cheaper or free entirely.

If you can afford a normal carrier, get a $250 or $200 Target gift card with iPhone 8 when you switch to ATT or Sprint/Verizon. I shop at Target often enough I consider it cash and it's like getting an iPhone 8 for $350-$400 with the discount up front and no silly bill credits that effectively act as reverse 2-year contracts. https://slickdeals.net/f/12869788-target-up-to-250-target-gift-card-on-iphone-8
 

AMSOS

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2010
179
9
Virgin Mobile and Boost (in the US) are MVNOs wholly owned by Sprint analogous to how Cricket is a prepaid brand of ATT. Like Cricket, no unlock until continuous paid service for a year (CTIA unlock standard for prepaid). There's a reason why prepaid places subsidize iPhones so much and Android phones are even cheaper or free entirely.

If you can afford a normal carrier, get a $250 or $200 Target gift card with iPhone 8 when you switch to ATT or Sprint/Verizon. I shop at Target often enough I consider it cash and it's like getting an iPhone 8 for $350-$400 with the discount up front and no silly bill credits that effectively act as reverse 2-year contracts. https://slickdeals.net/f/12869788-target-up-to-250-target-gift-card-on-iphone-8
Thanks for this detailed reply! I was under the impression that Cricket will unlock your phone after 6 months, so I need to check that.
Now, I am considering Boost and Virgin that have good deals on the phones and plans to match. But I have to say I'll need to look at the offer from Target now that you've been nice enough to share it :)
 

msp3

macrumors 6502
May 9, 2015
252
95
Thanks for this detailed reply! I was under the impression that Cricket will unlock your phone after 6 months, so I need to check that.
Now, I am considering Boost and Virgin that have good deals on the phones and plans to match. But I have to say I'll need to look at the offer from Target now that you've been nice enough to share it :)
While 1 year continuous paid service is the standard for prepaid/MVNOs, carriers can choose to do better on their own. I do believe Cricket and MetroPCS (T-Mobile wholly owned prepaid brand) will unlock at 6-months.

If Boost/Virgin (Sprint) coverage works for you, why not try Sprint itself for a free year of service? https://www.sprint.com/en/shop/offers/free-unlimited.html Must buy device at full price to BYOD so no phone deals. Boost itself is not free from scummy dealers btw, but you may know that already dealing with Cricket dealers. https://www.facebook.com/7292863341/posts/10156128068013342/ Virgin I do recall is actually sold at Apple Stores with a single plan for all iPhones.
 

AMSOS

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2010
179
9
While 1 year continuous paid service is the standard for prepaid/MVNOs, carriers can choose to do better on their own. I do believe Cricket and MetroPCS (T-Mobile wholly owned prepaid brand) will unlock at 6-months.

If Boost/Virgin (Sprint) coverage works for you, why not try Sprint itself for a free year of service? https://www.sprint.com/en/shop/offers/free-unlimited.html Must buy device at full price to BYOD so no phone deals. Boost itself is not free from scummy dealers btw, but you may know that already dealing with Cricket dealers. https://www.facebook.com/7292863341/posts/10156128068013342/ Virgin I do recall is actually sold at Apple Stores with a single plan for all iPhones.
Thanks! I've had a pretty good experience with Cricket so far and do want to continue with them. Of course, the Sprint offer seems pretty good too, so I'll have to think this through. But the ability to unlock at the earliest is important for me as I need to travel internationally.
And now that you've told me about the deal at Virgin, I'll have to check that too :)
PS- Do you think I am making a mistake by going for the 7 instead of iPhone 8? I don't do any heavy stuff like editing etc. But I do want to use the phone for at least the next 3 years.
Thanks!
 

msp3

macrumors 6502
May 9, 2015
252
95
PS- Do you think I am making a mistake by going for the 7 instead of iPhone 8? I don't do any heavy stuff like editing etc. But I do want to use the phone for at least the next 3 years.
Thanks!
As a previous iPhone 7 owner who would get water into the lightning port unknowingly, stupidly charge it causing oxidization on the metal connectors, I would never buy a non-wireless charging phone again. We charge both my XS and my wife's 8 Plus on a Logitech POWERED wireless charging stand avoiding plugging anything in where possible and are very happy with it. I would go with the 8, but the 7 can be had for as low as $369 from the Apple (legit and genuine) refurbished store when the 32GB model is in stock
 

AMSOS

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 21, 2010
179
9
I would go with the 8, but the 7 can be had for as low as $369 from the Apple (legit and genuine) refurbished store when the 32GB model is in stock
Yes, I see what you mean. Although, I was under the impression that the water proofing works well.
Actually, there's a deal on Cricket where I can get a 7 for $299, since I am already their customer. At that price point, it makes for a compelling buy, especially for someone with my uses.
But, it's also clear that wireless charging is the way to the future, so I will have to think twice before getting the 7.
 

msp3

macrumors 6502
May 9, 2015
252
95
Yes, I see what you mean. Although, I was under the impression that the water proofing works well.
Actually, there's a deal on Cricket where I can get a 7 for $299, since I am already their customer. At that price point, it makes for a compelling buy, especially for someone with my uses.
But, it's also clear that wireless charging is the way to the future, so I will have to think twice before getting the 7.
The waterproofing does work really well, but that's not saying anything about what happens if you plug it into power while wet. I've only had one phone ever to warn about this instead of getting corrosion, a LG G6, which would refuse to charge when its USB-C port was wet.

Another difference between the 7 and 8 is Mobile Suica and if you travel to Japan frequently this makes a big difference. The iPhone 7 has Mobile Suica with low-power transit card mode in Apple Pay if you bought it in Japan, worldwide models got the feature from iPhone 8 onwards. But if you're traveling frequently to Japan anyway you'd want Sprint since it roams free onto its parent company SoftBank at blazing speeds, one of the big three Japanese carriers.