I had a contract service for over ten years that I was reluctant to switch from because of the excellent customer service and network reliability. However, as contract fees have risen, prepaid mobile has evolved greatly from a convenience store, disposable phone service to an options-rich alternative to pricey, escalating contract plans, especially if you are a smartphone and/or heavy data user. Kroger gives multiple incentives for supermarket customers and fuel points fans to consider their i-wireless service, which is carried on the Sprint network. I’ve been using Kroger i-wireless since August 2012, and have no regrets.
However, if you’re someone who needs a lot of hand-holding, this might be an initially frustrating route. You will not have the in-store, personal assistance that is available through other mobile carriers. The phone customer service is friendly and helpful – but after a considerable wait time of ten or more minutes (I personally recommend waiting, though, over the call-back option). E-mail help is responsive and helpful, but may take around a day for someone to get back to you.
Activating the phone and adding value to it is easy once you get activated. I recommend having a second line available (home, work or mobile) while you’re transitioning from any carrier to another so you have a backup communication line.
Need an added incentive to drop your contract plan? During the celebration-rich month of June (May 28, 2013 – June 23, 2013), Kroger is granting four times the fuel points for gift card purchases. For example, if you purchase a $50 i-wireless card, 200 fuel points will be added to your account.
Flexible, all-included plans
People are dropping their contract plans by the hordes to take advantage of the cost savings available with prepaid mobile service. Many mobile users have found their contract costs are less about the base monthly price that they chose, and more about the myriad of fees added to the bill – especially when data and WiFi access is added to the mix. Kroger’s i-wireless plan options are all-inclusive (see the site for more details), and allow you to purchase the plan that fits your needs for that month.
Keep your mobile number
Like most major prepaid mobile vendors, Kroger i-wireless allows you to switch your mobile number from your current provider to i-wireless. While you can activate your phone with a number and make the switch
later, I recommend that you switch at the same time you activate. If you wait, there can be a few days’ delay to change the number – which might mean a few days’ communication gap for incoming/outgoing calls on your number.
Affordable smartphone pricing
Have you been itching to get a smartphone but have been put off by the costs, even with your contract provider’s trade-in/upgrade options? Kroger i-wireless features phones from top manufacturers like Samsung, Kyocera and LG. Reconditioned Android phones currently start at around $39 and more basic phones are available for $19. Phones can be purchased online (with free shipping), or in-store. Please note that for either, you’ll need to set the phone up on your own – but it’s quite easy. Check out the devices currently available from Kroger i-wireless.
Family plans available
Most prepaid options are 1:1 – one phone/number, one plan. Kroger’s i-wireless service offers pricing tiers by the number of phones participating in the plan (up to five), then with several usage options within each tier. Learn more about Kroger i-wireless plans.
Flexible, secure WiFi access
A compelling reason for upgrading to a smartphone is secure WiFi access through your mobile device. Through contract plans, this can mean a painful commitment to pricey additional fee that stays part of your contract (unless you cancel it). Through Kroger i-wireless, with a push of a button (in your account information), you can easily opt into your own Mobile Hotspot for $10, which is good for a 30-day window. The amount and pricing of data is determined by what is available in the monthly plan you chose, and you can add additional increments. Decide when you need it, and how much you need. Check Mobile Hotspot details for device compatibility. If you’re interested in broadband access, you can purchase a USB broadband card (in lieu of a phone), and again you can select from what you need by timeframe (daily, weekly and monthly) and data volume.
Fuel your car with your phone
You can conveniently load your phone using a credit card via online account, and through the phone by dialing in or using the i-wireless app. But if you purchase an i-wireless gift card at Kroger stores, you’ll also bump up your Kroger fuel points! Gift card values are always added, dollar-for-point, to fuel points, but Kroger regularly runs promotions that multiply this value. During these bonus point promotions (or any time), you can purchase cards to use in later months, but remember the fuel points value will count only for that month’s accrual. And it gets even better: shopping at Kroger will in turn boost your talk time. See the Kroger i-wireless site for details. A Kroger loyalty card is required to participate in the fuel points program; see the Customer Service desk for restrictions regarding gift cards and Kroger’s fuel points program.