SurgePhone New User Setup Experience and Tips

Buying the simcard
I experienced no issues and used Paypal to pay for my simcard ($10).
I used a hotmail email address and I never received the Welcome email.
The screen that appears after you purchase the simcard shows your phone number, the address it showed was truncated but my simcard shipped to my full address.
My simcard arrived pretty quickly via first class mail (3 days). The card is already activated and ready for use.

Setting up my android phone
I used a GSM unlocked phone with band 12 for the best T-mobile service.
I reset the phone to clear all my data and settings.
I created a new google account, which I'll only use for this phone for security reasons.
For this phone, I only entered a few contacts, work related dial in numbers used for conference calls but no personal contacts.
When the simcard arrived I put it into the phone and it worked fine.
Then I downloaded the Moolah Mobile app.
I used the same hotmail address for the Moolah app sign up screen.
I paired my Surgephone simcard with the Moolah app. Simple click of the button.
I had to select a home screen layout for the Moolah app, I picked the Orange one, to get there I had to swipe past the default one.
The Moolah app hasn't displayed any ads yet. I do see a banner bar that says it's a search bar, but it's not functional.
I suppose ads will eventually appear in this search bar.
I'm not trying to collect Moolah points, I'm only interested in the free phone service.

Setting up a SurgePhone account
The process to set up a SurgePhone is straightforward but you have to confirm your email address to sign in.
I originally used the same hotmail account. But emails are being blocked (not going to my trash or junk mail boxes either).
So I had to create a new account with a yahoo email address. The link came right away to confirm my email.
Part of the registration process requires the SurgePhone number to be entered to link your account to your phone.
Once I entered the phone number, I received a confirmation code message on my phone to enter into my Surgephone account.
The SurgePhone account information is very limited. It shows remaining minutes, texts, and data. You can add a credit card if you wish to buy more data / minutes, etc. But I didn't add any credit card information. Odd the account page doesn't even show how many days are left in the month?
It appears I was given 1000 min, 1000 mb, 4000 messages for the month.

Closing Comments:
The SurgePhone service works.
The Moolah app has crashed a few times, especially if I open Mail.
The Moolah app ads are not intrusive at this point.
The SurgePhone account usage details are very limited.
Hotmail email addresses should be avoided, it appears emails from SurgePhone are blocked.
The Moolah app asks if I want to send a text message to all my contacts each time I turn on the phone, so I'm avoiding placing any personal contacts on this phone for the time being.
I'm being cautious with this phone because it's not clear to me what the Moolah app is actually doing.

Excellent post! Thank you!

I'm looking at using surge on an older phone which I will wipe, remove bloat and sign in with a separate account.

It will be a back up phone.

Indeed. Thanks for the write up. Please Keep updated

Seeing the increasing interest in surgephone, perhaps this forum can become the place on the internet to discuss this unique mvno.

Can we set up a dedicated category for surgephone? Maybe we can ask someone from surgephone to register here.

I wonder what happens if you keep the phone on which Surge was set up active on wifi only after having transferred the SIM onto a different phone and using the second phone as an everyday phone. Does Surge have any way of detecting that you did that?

The Moolah app asks if I want to send a text message to all my contacts each time I turn on the phone, so I'm avoiding placing any personal contacts on this phone for the time being.

You can revoke Contact permission from Moolah App. The only two permissions this app ultimately requires is

  • Location. You you block it, you can not open any app on the phone (thanks to Moolah Launcher) and you can not reenable location access unless you pot the pohone into Airplan mode.

  • Usage. It is pure statistical requirements, no private info is accessed by Moolah App.

Most likely your SurgePhone account will be disabled. Based on what I found SurgePhone may detect this situation.

With the 500mb Freedompop plan being discontinued, use freeloaders are looking seriously at Surge. I am sure everybody will be soon be asking if this service is worth trying, or it is just too much an annoyance at this time. So, is this service ready for primetime?

I am thinking maybe because their launcher with ads is required, the user experience would be best for those with the latest and fastest phones on the market?

Anyway, one thing that strikes me as odd as their CEO promoted the desire to have over a half million subscribers to their service within the first year. Yet, they have zero people answering questions in any of their social media accounts or in any forums.

JS writes:
"I am thinking maybe because their launcher with ads is required, the user experience would be best for those with the latest and fastest phones on the market?"

I'm considering porting one of my FreedomPop/Ting/CDMA lines to Surgephone, too. It's always been a 'spare' line, so little risk.

I haven't seen enough reports that specify the phone used. I've seen some reports that say the required launcher is slow and buggy, and it may be that way on even 'latest and fastest'. I am thinking it might be best suited for those who are not dependent on running a number of apps on their phones, so that a slow and buggy launcher is less of an issue.

I doubt that Surgephone is ready for primetime at this point. But neither was my FreedomPop line.

I think the answer would be it's unknown at this time as it's too new and too few reviews/users to state their experience. I can tell you this:

I purchased a SIM for testing and received it July 5. I first tested the SIM in an unlocked Moto X4, seems to work fine although I guess T-Mobile service is so-so where I am.It kept wanting to connect at band 2 and the speed was... not great. I did eventually connect at band 12 and I actually finally got double digit download (10-12Mbps down), but ATT gives me faster speeds (over 20Mbps down). My Moto X4 is my daily driver (all the apps I use are loaded on it), so I moved the SIM to a Verizon Moto E4 that I got when it was on sale and was unlockable. It doesn't have all the T-Mobile bands but does have at least 2/4 and supposedly 12 (though I've never seen it connect to this band).

As the Moolah app is an unknown I decided I want to have a dedicated phone with no real info to harvest so it's configured with a dummy Gmail account. I installed the Moolah app, paired the SIM to the account and set it as the home screen. I will be honest, the app needs work. It's not really slow, but I wouldn't call the interface a game changer or innovative. It seems slow to accumulate points (here I am 5 days later and I have ~470 points, it looks like it takes 100k points for $10 gift cards) It does show tiny little banner ads on the screen at the top, but I have never seen a lockscreen ad. Sometimes it seems to stop increasing points and I have to do a whole bunch of stuff to try and make it work again, like rebooting the phone, logging out/back in, clearing app data, etc. Might be temporary issues with their site as usually when I try to log back in, I get some Java error until I try again a few hours later. If all that is required is to have the app installed to maintain the free tier, then fine, whatever. However, I wonder if next month they will tell me I need to earn points in the app and then convert it to pay for the free tier as the app does have an option to pay the phone company, but I have no idea how that works (obviously I don't have enough points and usually when I put in the phone number I get some error).

Note that I probably would not recommend this Verizon Moto E4 for this experiment if you want to use it as a main phone. It must be missing something since I try to place a call and it switches to 2G or Edge to make the call and I can't do data at the same time unless it's wi-fi. Did not have that problem on my unlocked Moto X4. You probably want a cheap unlocked phone or GSM phone (since the Verizon Moto E4 was supposed to be used on CDMA it doesn't have all GSM bands)

drysun, your Vzw Moto E4 is probably not VoLTE certified by T-Mobile. I had a similar experience on MINT with a factory unlocked phone that had both band 12, and was VoLTE capable-- but apparently was not certified for T-Mobile VoLTE, so wouldn't work anyway. (It also dropped back to 2G for calling.)

Thanks much for the detailed report!

T-Mobile does have an app that allows you to enter the first part of an IMEI and see whether or not it's VoLTE capable on T-Mobile:
It does not have to be installed on the phone you're planning to use.
There's probably an online check tool. somewhere.

Thanks for the report. Kind of you

Yes, since it is a prepaid Verizon version, I assume it's missing stuff to make it work right on other carriers. The unlocked E4 would probably work fine, but it was one of these deals a while ago where you could pick it up for $30 and then unlock it to use on GSM carriers (I had a Freedompop sim in there before). I used it as my main phone with RedPocket GSMA for somewhere between 6 months to a year when the Moto X4 deal came out (Best Buy, Sprint activation, $50, cancel Sprint, took me a while to get Sprint to clear all charges even though they had the 14 day satisfaction guarantee) and I moved my RedPocket sim to the X4.

No problem, someone has to take the dive. The real question is what happens in August when it's time for the free plan to renew.

Lots of good info. Thanks everybody. Considering a Verizon Prepaid Moto E4 does not work properly, I will forego my idea of paying somebody to remotely unlock my Boost Moto E4 for use with Surge.

Looks like I have no choice but to wait a bit before considering Surge since I now need to purchase another device.

My hope is the Moolah app eventually improves enough so users have a reasonably satisfactory experience with the launcher. Yeah, I am rooting for Surge simply because I hope their business can survive giving users cellular service for no out-of-pocket cost.

It depends on how you plan to use it. I use google voice, so I could just skip the whole cell calls part on the E4 and just use data for google voice for calls, but since I have a main phone and this sim is just to test viability, I probably will only use it for things like google maps while I'm out. If you were planning to port a number to Surge (not even sure I saw an option for that), then it would sound like you want to make calls from your Boost E4 and it's probably like my Verizon E4 and does not have VoLTE support. Mine is very finicky and it seems like at least half the time it has problems trying to switch to 2g/3g to make calls and wants to stay connected to LTE, so it tells me cellular network isn't available.

In my area, T-Mobile still has reliable 2G voice. I could live without simultaneous voice and data easily enough.
drysun's Google Voice solutions offers another workaround. On the 2 phones I tried, LTE data worked fine on T-Mo network even without VoLTE support.

It still might be worth a try if you're comfortable with some mix of those workarounds, and can confirm the necessary components to make it work (T-Mo 2G coverage in your area, and/or bands for T-Mo LTE data).

Just a brief update after 3 weeks of service on a Moto 5G Plus.
I’ll report back when my plan renews. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I don’t get charged $10.

Cell phone service
There’s been no service interruptions. Everything has worked as it should on a T-mobile MVNO.

Website Account Summary Page
The account page still doesn’t indicate when the plan renews but it shows remaining Min, Texts, Data.

Moolah App
There’s been 2 updates. The fake search bar has been replaced by small ads. The Moolah app moves my icons to allow room for the small banner ad. The banner ad changes every minute or two.
Overall phone performance with the Moolah app always running is surprisingly good.
The Moolah app still crashes from time to time, but less with the 2 recent updates.
On start up, the Moolah app always asks if I want to ask my contacts to join Moolah for 10,000 points. Since I have no family / friends / associates in my contact list for this phone, so it doesn’t matter but users need to press “no” each time they start the phone.

Interesting, seems on a real phone. The app seems intrusive.

On a spare who would care.

Are the ads on 24/7?

"I only post/read on nthcircle forum"

Just an update on my experience...the app is slow and buggy. I got a text from surge yesterday saying my plan is about to expire. Add more minutes...I gave them an email and call and they responded

yes you will need to call us on or about that date to renew your plan.

I don't believe it automated at all, so you might have to call in every month to maintain the free plan. I'll find out in a couple of days.

furgus8 , thanks for your initial thorough report, and the update. Please let us know how the renewal works out!

Having to call in to renew seems like a waste of company resources. I understand having to do it online, but at least that's no drain on manpower beyond the initial website setup.