Selectel Wireless is a new Verizon MVNO that launched last month. They seem to be targeting the PagePlus customer base with monthly plans that are similar to or slightly better than comparable PagePlus plans.
One advantage that Selectel has over PagePlus is that there's no extra charge for off-network voice and SMS roaming. With PagePlus text roaming is available at no extra cost, but voice roaming is 20¢ or 29¢ per minute depending on plan.
Selectel sells a variety of smartphones and basic phones and is currently running a promotion offering free basic phones to new customers.
In common with PagePlus and other Verizon MVNOs, Selectel can activate clean ESN Verizon phones with the exception of Verizon prepaid phones. LTE phones require flashing to work as do Sprint, US Cellular and other non-Verizon CDMA devices. Selectel charges a $15 activation fee for the free phones and the ones it sells. Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) activation is $30.
Selectel's parent company is a landline phone company and electric power utility operating in Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Washington and New Jersey.
In spite of being part of larger, well established company, the Selectel website is rather uninformative and contradicts itself in several places. There's no online account management yet although it's supposed to be coming soon. Currently you have to contact customer support to find out how many minutes, texts or MBs you have left. It is possible to refill your account online and there's no tax on online refills. Auto-pay is available by calling customer support.
Here are Selectel's plans:
$15 Value Plan
$30 Talk & Text
$40 Unlimited Plan
$50 Data User Plan
For comparison here are PagePlus' comparable plans
$12 The 12
$30 Talk & Text 1200
$39.95 Unlimited Talk & Text
$55 The 55
Currently there is no overage, if you use up your minutes you can't make or receive calls until you restart your plan month. A "Flex Card" to cover overages is supposed to be coming soon with overage rates of 5¢ per minute, message or MB. More plans are supposed to be in the pipeline as well including one with 5GB of data and a $75/year plan with 2000 minutes and 1,500 texts.
Selectel looks promising with competitive rates, BYOD and no extra cost roaming. Once they have a online account management and a way to handle overages they should be a good alternative to PagePlus, particularly if PagePlus support and service deteriorates as a result of their acquisition by America Movil. However, if Selectel is serious about growing their business, they need to get rid of the activation fees. As an unknown in a highly competitive business Selectel needs to make it as painless as possible for potential customers to sample the service.