H2O Wireless is a prepaid wireless carrier that operates on the AT&T network. The company offers affordable no-contract cell phone plans with unlimited talk, text, and data options. However, H2O Wireless has made some changes lately that have left some customers confused or dissatisfied.
Background on H2O Wireless
H2O Wireless was founded in 2005 as a prepaid brand operated by Locus Telecommunications. The company aimed to provide affordable, no-contract cell phone plans that offered good coverage by using AT&T’s nationwide network.
Some key facts about H2O Wireless:
- Operates as an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) on the AT&T network
- Offers prepaid, no-contract cell phone plans
- Plans start as low as $10/month for basic talk and text
- Data options include unlimited 3G speed and unlimited 4G LTE speed
- Phones must be unlocked and compatible with AT&T bands
- Uses a “pay-as-you-go” model – plans do not renew automatically
H2O differentiated itself by offering affordable rates and flexibility through no contracts. Customers could pay for only what they needed each month. The company built a reputation for providing good coverage and service.
Recent Changes at H2O Wireless
In 2020, H2O Wireless was acquired by XS Financial. Under new management, H2O has made some changes to its offerings that have impacted customers:
- Eliminated multi-month plan options – now only 1-month plans are available
- Raised prices on unlimited plans by $10/month
- Added expiration dates to account balances and data allotments
- Restricted international calling options
- Reduced throttling threshold from 8GB to 5GB on unlimited plans
These changes seem aimed at reducing costs and account sharing. However, they have received backlash from long-time customers who relied on H2O’s flexibility and affordability.
Customer Complaints About Recent Changes
Many H2O Wireless customers have voiced frustrations with the recent changes. Some of the most common complaints include:
- Lack of multi-month plans – Customers could previously buy plans up to 90 days. Now only 1-month options exist, requiring more frequent payments.
- Price hikes – Raising unlimited plans by $10/month increased bills for heavy data users.
- Data throttling at 5GB – Lowering the throttling threshold from 8GB to 5GB means slower data speeds for the rest of the month sooner.
- Account balance expiration – Balances now expire after 90 days of inactivity, resulting in lost money.
- International calling issues – Problems making international calls due to recent policy changes.
These complaints indicate the recent changes have made H2O less flexible and affordable for many customers. The new policies seem to prioritize profits over providing a good value.
Trying to Redeem Accounts and Balances
One of the biggest issues for H2O customers has been trying to redeem unused balances under the new expiration policy. H2O set a 90-day expiration period for account balances.
This means if customers do not add more money or use up their balance within 90 days, the remaining funds are forfeited. Many long-time customers had balances built up that suddenly became at risk of expiring under the new rules.
Customers report having difficulties redeeming these old balances. Trying to contact H2O customer support for help has proven frustrating for most:
- Excessively long wait times on call and chat support
- Support agents unable to assist with expired balances
- Difficulty getting clear answers on policies
- No responses to emails seeking help
The poor customer service has prevented many customers from fixing their account balance issues. They lose money they already paid for service they can no longer use.
For customers unhappy with H2O Wireless’s recent changes, switching to a new carrier is an option. However, this process also has some challenges:
- Need to purchase new unlocked phone if device is locked to H2O/AT&T
- Forfeiting any remaining account balance
- Losing your current phone number if porting not requested
- Researching new carriers and plans takes time and effort
Here are some of the best H2O Wireless alternatives to consider switching to:
Better Alternatives to H2O Wireless
|Tello||No contracts, affordable plans, T-Mobile network, account rollover option|
|Mint Mobile||Multi-month savings, unlimited plans available, uses T-Mobile network|
|Consumer Cellular||AT&T network, AARP member discounts available, excellent customer service reputation|
|Red Pocket||Flexible plan options, affordable prices, uses all major networks|
These alternative carriers offer affordable rates, no contracts, good coverage, and quality customer service – features that made H2O Wireless initially appealing. With some research, finding the right replacement carrier is possible.
H2O Wireless has implemented unpopular policy changes recently like eliminating multi-month discounts, expiring account balances, and raising plan prices. These moves have driven away customers seeking the flexibility and affordability that H2O previously offered.
Many customers struggle to redeem old account balances due to poor customer service when seeking help. And switching carriers involves hassles like getting new phones and porting numbers. But alternatives like Tello, Mint, and Consumer Cellular offer comparable coverage and plans without H2O’s disliked changes.
Overall, H2O Wireless is clearly prioritizing revenues over providing value and a positive experience for customers. For subscribers frustrated with the new policies, researching competitors and ultimately switching carriers is the best way to find a new wireless provider that better meets your needs.