Can a Tracfone be activated if there is no coverage?

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3 months 2 weeks ago #42337 by peterquinn
Is it possible to activate a Verizon Tracfone if there is no Verizon coverage in an area?

I hope the answer is "yes" because I ordered the $30 HSN Moto E5 Tracfone (Verizon model) and apparently there is no Verizon coverage in this area. I don't care if I can't use the service, but I do want to activate the phone (so that I can keep the sim in it for 12 months, after which hopefully Tracfone will unlock it, and then I will have an unlocked phone with all the bands that can be used on any carrier).

So as you can tell, I'm going to great lengths to get a cheap all-carrier phone, but it all hinges on being able to activate the phone in the first place. With no coverage, how can activation be accomplished? Ideally without traveling to an area with coverage, obviously! Thanks for any tips, suggestions, advice, insights!

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3 months 2 weeks ago #42338 by Chosen
Not sure about the activation part, but I do know that just keeping the sim in the phone for 12 months doesn't unlock it. Paying Tracfone for 12 months in a row of service is what unlocks it.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #42340 by KentE
Wow, a bunch of interesting, and complicated, questions involved in your plan, peterquinn.

Will it activate? Maybe. Did you do the zip code verification at HSN before purchase? I believe it will activate if the zip code was verified, even if service is poor.
Data points, but not completely applicable: A sprint phone "activation' depends on the server side thinking it's activated, whether the phone will provision locally or not. I don't know if this is true on the Verizon Network.
If you get a zip code failure on an activation attempt, perhaps you could activate in a different zip code? (but see "I don't know" above....)

In general, Tracfone will send a SIM for another carrier on request if you tell them you have poor service (and the phone is capable). If the Moto model # ends in DL, it's capable of Verizon, AT&T, & T-Mobile networks on Tracfone. But....you have a complication with an unactivated bundle. I've read others say that the bundled time and minutes is tied to the SIM instead of the ESN. So don't try this within having Customer Service confirm that it will work & keeping a record of that chat conversation to document. (Absolutely do not use a BYOP SIM Kit to do this, as that will kill your chances of unlocking.)

I believe that if you get it to activate on Verizon, you could request the network-change SIM without jeopardizing the eventual unlock, so that you could get some use out of the plan. But again, the knowledge-base of Tracfone unlocking is minimal, and mostly anecdotal, so YMMV.

The real Tracfone experts hang out at
turkforums.jcink.net/index.php?act=idx
and
www.howardforums.com/forumdisplay.php/330-Tracfone-Net10

It might be smart to ask there.

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3 months 2 weeks ago - 3 months 2 weeks ago #42341 by mmfacemm
I'd sell it on ebay for $70-80 and keep searching for that unlocked phone of your dreams. You'd probably net $55-65 after fees and shipping which gets you closer to an unlocked phone. Waiting a year in the off chance tracfone does their job and unlocks it is a plan filled with potential disappointments.

I suspect you'd need to show use for tracfone to unlock it so you might need to take it out anyway to find reception periodically. I wouldn't just put it in a drawer for a year.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #42343 by KentE

Chosen wrote: Not sure about the activation part, but I do know that just keeping the sim in the phone for 12 months doesn't unlock it. Paying Tracfone for 12 months in a row of service is what unlocks it.


I believe the HSN Moto deal peterquinn is referring to came with a year of service and allotments, so he should be covered there.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #42344 by peterquinn

Chosen wrote: Not sure about the activation part, but I do know that just keeping the sim in the phone for 12 months doesn't unlock it. Paying Tracfone for 12 months in a row of service is what unlocks it.


No worries there - the $30 includes 1 year of service and 1500 t,t,mb.

Would have been perfect if this area had Verizon!
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3 months 2 weeks ago - 3 months 2 weeks ago #42345 by mmfacemm
You could pick up a byod sim kit and have them move you over your plan to tmobile or ATT. Make sure you confirm your allotments and take a record before they do anything though.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #42346 by KentE

mmfacemm wrote: You could pick up a byod sim kit and have them move you over your plan to tmobile or ATT. Make sure you confirm your allotments and take a record before they do anything though.


I think peterquinn needs to avoid using a BYOD SIM Kit-- if he does that, the phone will never become unlockable. (because as far as Tracfone is concerned, BYOD SIMs are intended to be used with customer-supplied, already unlocked, devices: and the ESN won't be registered to count towards the 12 months of use, since the BYOD GSM SIMs only register the SIM, not the device.)

Having Tracfone provide a replacement SIM, and tie the replacement SIM to the ESN, should keep the usage counting towards unlocking. The catch remains that I don't know if this can be done before activation-- but I'm certain I wouldn't try it before activation without confirmation from CS. After activation, it should not be a problem.
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3 months 2 weeks ago #42347 by mmfacemm
Yes you are right about the unlocking - the byod sim would probably mess with that. But if he wanted to use tracfone on another network and forget about unlocking then it is easy enough to switch over to another network with tracfone. Tracfone have decent plans.

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3 months 2 weeks ago #42348 by peterquinn
Yes, I have been burned by transferring to a byod sim before - Tracfone refused to unlock my Verizon Luna after 12 months because I had transferred service to a byod AT&T sim.

Given that my ambitious plan is to get an unlocked, all-carrier phone at the end of 12 months, I am going to stick with Verizon -- after the phone hopefully gets activated, that is!

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