Tracfone (the service)

Taken from the Twigby thread

It is kind of hard to factor the actual rate since usage month to month varies and you have to factor in roll over. I picked up a phone and service bundle w 1350 min/txt/MB for $98 to my door and I can flip the phone for at least $30 so ~$70 1350/1350/1350/365 and I just add service time as needed.
Working out well for the wife because she uses a pretty even amount of min/txt/MB a month and our usage is about the same so that should wok out for me as well, the kid is a little harder to manage because he does not use many minutes. If you talk a lot all the time TF is not for you.

You really have to look at the big picture to try an estimate your costs and you are always rolling over units so there is never a hard set number you can look at, some months it may be $16 month and other $8 or less.
Truly the best place to ask questions about the service is in the TF forum on Howard Forums or on Turk Forums.

Note: TracFone Wireless, Inc is the American subsidiary of America Movil which consists of
NET10 Wireless
Straight Talk
Total Wireless
Telcel América
Page Plus Cellular
GoSmart Mobile
Walmart Family Mobile
SafeLink Wireless

I am basing this discussion on Tracfone the service and not the all encompassing Tracfone corporation.

Does it just come with a sim that you can swap to another phone or is there still some convoluted process to switch service between phones?

Seems like a decent deal if you need about 100 mins/talk/mb a month. However there are several competitors that may be better...

-Redpocket has a nice $10 a month plan (or $99 a year) with 500 minutes/500texts/100mb a month. You can use it on any network. So that might be better if you tend to go over with the talk/texts rather than data.

-Similarly TPO (tmobile) has a $10 a month plan with 500/500/250mb. Taxes are extra though.

-Then there is speedtalk which is about to cover all networks next month (apparently). It has a $5 a month plan that gives you up to 250 of whatever in any combination a month so you could have 100 minutes, 50 texts and 100mb for instance. Or $9 for 250/250/250 a month of everything ($99 a year if you prepay). Those are very competitive too especially if the pricing stays the same for the other networks (currently tmobile only).

There are lots of good options if you want sprint but I know you don't! Tello, Twigby, cellnuvo etc.

I am on Twigby and I also have a Tello paygo account. IMO Sprint sucks, especially their data coverage. You can get 30 down and 2 blocks away you get .5 down. I don't need a lot of data, but when I do I want reasonable speeds. Both AT&T and VZW through TF have proven to me to be consistent all the time.

IMO Sprint is best if you are in a large metro area with over lapping tower coverage, but I don't want to debate Sprint service here , please open a thread to debate their service.

Cell Nuvo would be my last choice and certainly never for a primary line. Listening to ads in the Ring Back is one thing, sitting around watching or listening to ads all the time is quite another, but I don't want to debate Cell Nuvo either, please save that for the Cell Nuvo threads.

All of those options posted above are use it or lose it or paygo and pay go really starts to add up the more you use. The way I see it TF is more of a hybrid paygo.
Just as a rough example, even if TF cost double of those plan services and I only used half of units allotted on those services, with TF everything I don't use is retained so over time I can lower the amount of unit needed any given month or quarter depending on the days of service needed to maintain service.
This is where I believe you can benefit by using TF if you are low to moderate user.

Is TF perfect, no, but IMO neither are use it or lose it service providers.

No disrespect intended, but this post is a good example of someone not standing back and looking at how TF works with the various airtime options you have to manage the service using roll over.

Hmm you certainly misinterpreted my post a little. For one I specifically mentioned that I knew you did not want Sprint so was leaving it out of the discussion. I even left out sprint for TPO. I dislike sprint too and if I was not getting it free I would not pay for it.

Anyway I get your point about rollover. I just don't see it as being that valuable. Each person can decide what is right for them. I was really posting for the benefit of all rather than just your particular situation. To really benefit you would probably need large swings in your yearly use so you can bank in one year and use in another. Tracfone are smart - they make sure you pay at least $80 a year to keep service running (unless I am missing something). So no matter how much you rollover you will have to pay at least $80 a year. If you consistently use less than the allotment each year then although that will rollover chances are you will never use it. But yes it is a nice feature if you somehow manage a way to make full use of it.

I just think if you get considerably more from a non-rollover plan then you should also consider those. Less worry about running out of anything. Eg pay $100 for a year of speedtalk giving you 250/250/250 a month may well be better than paying $80 for 1350 of each for a year from tracfone especially if your usage is fairly uniform. If you have a particularly high year then you may find yourself using all your roll over and more and ending up paying extra.

Anyway tracfone certainly are someone to consider.

Again, you really do not understand how TF works and the many options you have to manage your needs.

The Speed Talk example is just to narrow in scope as a comparison. I know that In my experience with T-Mobile native it is not any better than Sprint and certainly a non starter with me, so that would not even be an option.
As with any service you have to sit down a look at your actual usage per month to determine if TF is a good fit. I think many would be surprised at what heir actual usage is.

For low to moderate use the TF Verizon side is hard to beat and I would say the same for AT&T.

I will have to reevaluate the service after I have spent at least 3 months with TF to see if it is still the way to go for 3 primary lines.

Then do enlighten me please

Again, there are a myriad of options to use to manage your needs based on your usage and it takes a little initiative to figure it out for oneself.

I can't do that for you.

Okay thanks for your help

Like I said earlier in last month before my time runs out I buy 10 dollar 1gb and when u are checking out it gives you the option to extend service for a year for 50. So 60 with no tax. I already have a lot of minutes text over 5 years from rollover . Plus it's Verizon I get great phone service out in the woods where sprint is spotty.

I am not trying to be an ass, you truly have to look at your average monthly usage, consider your highs, then look at what TF has to offer and see what you can come up with to manage your service.
You may or may not be good fit.

What is your and your family members individual usage per month on average?

That is definitely another way to add service time, especially if you are carrying a large balance in air time.

The accounts I have been managing never carry a large balance and I have always felt like I was throwing good money after bad purchasing the 1 year service add on like you mention.

I prefer to purchase a bundle on HSN and transfer service to that bundle and then back to a BYOD SIM.
For instance, you can pick up a LG Sunset for $70 and using Visa Check Out get $20 off, so $50 + tax and ~$7 shipping for 1200 x 3 w/365 sounds like a better alternative and you might be able to flip the phone for a few bucks.
If using VZW you do not need a new SIM, but with AT&T or T-Mobile you need a new SIM, but you usually can find those BYOP kits for only a $1.

Also TF has changed their website so you have to add air time to get the year service add on to show up, it won't show up if you just add a text or data only card. You can add a airtime card and a text/data only card and then delete the air tine from your cart, but you pay a bit more in taxes doing that. That loop hole will probably go away when they fix all the bugs in their new website or hopefully they fix it to include the text/data only cards.

Wow they changed the site. OK it's now 64.11 for a year and the 1gb. I have like 5000 minutes and text . Really never use the phone much since ring I have freedom pop, cell Nuevo freeee on two other phones. So just using Verizon or att is great for spotty areas for 64 isnt bad. But used to do HSN qvc. Sweet deals for decent phones now.

To be honest I just don't find it straightforward enough. Double minutes, triple minutes, smartphone plans, non-smartphone plans. 400 minutes gets you 1200mins/1200texts and 1.2gb?? Extra year plans, service tied to your phone, special hsn deals that look decent but require you to jump through hoops if you do not want the phone. I'll leave you guys to it.

I was actually being serious when I was thanking you. (lol I know it sounded a bit sarcastic). It was something I needed to take a closer look at but it all just seems too messy to appeal to me.

Tracfone is confusing but go with one of HSN - $20 visa like tut said and u can get 1350 minutes text 1.35 gb. Make sure it says for a year.

Like CellNuvo is straight forward chasing ads all the time? :wink:

It really is not all that complicated once you dive in and it can be a no brainer if you just choose a smart phone or pay as you go plan(card) on auto fill that comes close to your needs. If you find you are accumulating too much or need additional you adjust the plan down or up to fit your needs.

So if I buy the sunset with airtime card u can transfer over the minutes etc directly to my samsung smartphone ? Or would u put the card on the sunset first then move it to my samsung? I thought tracfone didn't allow that but i did last year after I had a phone I bought from tracfone and moved the minutes etc over to my Samsung after 8 months

Things have changed a little. HSN/QVC no longer provide you a PIN so you can't just apply the airtime and service days to the old phone, you have to activate the phone that comes with the bundle to get the air time.
What you can do is initiate a number transfer to the new phone and activate at the same time so the units/days on the old phone and new phone are combined.
In my opinion this is best done through chat, but some say to use the website. What is most important is to contact Chat and make sure to get Chat to verify and document( get a ticket #) your current units and date of service on the old phone in case that falls into black hole!

After the transfer to the new phone you need to then transfer all that back to your old phone/SIM. With GSM you will need a new BYOP SIM.

Here is a LINK to thread discussing this process in detail.

OK ty