Ultra Mobile Review

Ultra Mobile
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    Speed: Up to 1,000Mbps
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    Data: 3GB–Unlimited (slowed after 40GB)
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    Internet type: 4G LTE–5G
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    Contract: None (prepaid, pay as you go)

Dave Schafer
Oct 23, 2023
Icon Time To Read5 min read

Ultra Mobile is one of the many low-cost prepaid wireless carriers vying for your money today. Each one promises big things—some even live up to them. Ultra’s big selling point is international connectivity, something that’s generally either going to be really important or not at all. Beyond that, it offers affordable pricing, a wide selection of plans, and coverage on the largest 5G network in the country.

Ultra brings a lot to the table, but is it worth your hard-earned money? How does it compare to other affordable wireless providers? Let’s find out.

What is Ultra Mobile?

Ultra Mobile is a prepaid mobile carrier that offers affordable wireless service. Ultra is what’s known as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, which means it doesn’t own its wireless infrastructure—it rents from a larger provider (in this case, T-Mobile).

Ultra Mobile’s main claim to fame is its international coverage. Nearly every plan includes unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada, along with 90+ other countries, at no additional charge. This can amount to a major cost savings for people with families overseas.

As for data, Ultra Mobile offers 5G and 4G LTE coverage on T-Mobile’s network. This means it’s fast and nearly nationwide. However, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend Ultra as a home internet replacement—you’d be better off with a satellite or 5G home internet plan from a provider like Hughesnet or T-Mobile.

Ultra Mobile plans and pricing

Data and speed
Talk & Text Plan$15.00/mo.Speed: 5G and 4G LTE
Data: 250MB
3GB Plan$19.00/mo.Speed: 5G and 4G LTE
Data: 3GB
5GB Plan$24.00/mo.Speed: 5G and 4G LTE
Data: 5GB
10GB Plan$29.00/mo.Speed: 5G and 4G LTE
Data: 10GB
15GB Plan$39.00/mo.Speed: 5G and 4G LTE
Data: 15GB
Unlimited Plan$49.00/mo.Speed: 5G and 4G LTE
Data: Unlimited (slower speeds after 40GB)

Ultra Mobile offers a number of plans based around different data allotments. The differences from plan to plan are relatively small (except that last one), but this enables you to really fine-tune the amount of data you get—and the price you pay. Of course, since these are monthly prepaid plans, you can always change if you discover a plan not working for you.

The Ultra plans are definitely more expensive than some competitors, but it’s worth noting that they come with a few perks you won’t find everywhere. The biggest advantage with Ultra is that all plans (except the basic Talk & Text Plan) include unlimited talk and text in Mexico and Canada—typically something you have to pay extra for with other providers. Ultra plans also include unlimited talk and text to over 90 international countries, including the U.K., Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, and Japan.

As for the plans themselves, the best value is probably the 10GB option at $29.00 per month, although we’re big fans of unlimited plans as well. This one includes a fairly generous 40GB high-speed data allowance before throttling kicks in—a lot more than cheaper competitors like Boost Mobile.

Ultra Mobile speeds

Since Ultra Mobile uses T-Mobile’s 5G network, you can expect solid 5G and 4G LTE performance. A 5G connection can reach speeds up to 1,000Mbps, while an LTE connection maxes out at 100Mbps. While real-world speeds are likely to be less than these maximums, we’re confident Ultra Mobile will be fast enough for day-to-day usage without a hiccup.

There is a catch, though. During high-traffic periods when the network is under a lot of stress, carriers will sometimes give network priority to their own customers over those of MVNOs like Ultra.

That means that if T-Mobile’s network is under a lot of strain, you may see reduced performance, or deprioritization. It’s not guaranteed to happen, and you may not even notice the difference, but it is a possibility you should be aware of.

Ultra Mobile network

Ultra Mobile uses T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G LTE and 5G networks. That means you’ll get reliable coverage across most of the U.S. Of course, there are some areas where Ultra doesn’t have coverage, so you’ll want to check the Ultra Mobile coverage map to ensure you’ll be able to get service in your area.

If you find that Ultra Mobile isn’t available where you live, or the signal seems weak or unreliable, don’t stress. There are plenty of alternatives. Two of our favorites, Boost Mobile and Visible, use different networks (AT&T and Verizon, respectively), so you may find that one of them suits your needs better.

Ultra Mobile customer service

Ultra Mobile’s customer service setup is pretty standard for an MVNO. There’s a helpful FAQ page where you can choose from top questions or search for yours. Unfortunately, the page doesn’t have in-depth guides or write-ups—the FAQs are just laid out on the page, which means they’re fairly short and lack any helpful images.

Beyond that, there aren't the usual chat and telephone options:

  • A chatbot is available anytime, accessed via the button in the bottom right corner of the Ultra website. This button should appear on every page of the site. You can request a live support person via the chatbot, but they are only available from 6 a.m.–6 p.m. PST.
  • Telephone support is available at 1-888-777-0446 from 6 a.m.–6 p.m. PST. You can also dial 611 from your Ultra Mobile phone to reach phone support.

These options are decent enough. While we always prefer 24/7 tech support, Ultra’s business hours are wide enough to accommodate most users.

Can Ultra Mobile replace your home or RV internet?

In a pinch, Ultra mobile could probably serve as a reasonable backup to home or RV internet, thanks to the hotspot feature. However, limited data and the fact that you’d have to use your phone as a hotspot all the time make it less than ideal.

If you’re after home internet, a better solution would be a 5G home internet plan from T-Mobile or Verizon. These offer the same great speeds and easy setup, but you get unlimited data. You could also consider a satellite service like Hughesnet, Viasat, or Starlink, all of which are available mostly nationwide.

When it comes to a mobile internet solution, however, Ultra may be a much more cost-effective option than some of the on-the-go satellite services on the market. Just make sure you’ll be able to get coverage in any campgrounds or national parks you like to frequent before signing up.

Ultra Mobile vs. the competition

Ultra Mobile faces competition on two fronts: the Big Three U.S. carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) and other MVNOs. Compared to the major carriers, Ultra is much more affordable. The other big perk is that Ultra is a prepaid carrier, so you pay in advance only for what you think you’ll use in a given month.

Compared to other MVNOs, Ultra Mobile is a bit pricey. The unlimited plan, in particular, is more expensive than similar offerings from Boost Mobile, Mint Mobile, or Visible. That said, if you go with Ultra, you do get more high-speed data, along with the international talk and text perks.

As a general rule, we recommend going with Ultra if you frequently need to communicate internationally. If not, we think you’ll probably get a better deal with a different provider.

What’s an MVNO?

A mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, is a type of wireless provider. Rather than building or buying its own towers to provide signal, an MVNO rents bandwidth from other carriers (this is what makes them “virtual”).

This is much more affordable for the MVNO, which then passes the savings on to the customers with lower-priced plans. The larger carriers leasing out bandwidth still get paid, so this is essentially a win-win-win scenario.

FAQ about Ultra Mobile

Is Ultra Mobile owned by T-Mobile?

Yes, Ultra Mobile was recently acquired by T-Mobile (the agreement was finalized in March 2023). Prior to that, Ultra was an independent MVNO that used the T-Mobile network, so the purchase makes some sense. It’s a bit early to tell what, if any, changes may come about as a result of this acquisition.

Is Ultra better than Mint?

Ultra and Mint Mobile are fairly similar. Both use the T-Mobile network, and both offer relatively affordable service, including unlimited plans. Ultra is a bit more expensive, but it comes with better international calling and texting perks, whereas Mint is the more affordable option.

Does Ultra Mobile support 5G?

Yes, Ultra Mobile uses T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G and 4G LTE networks.