TracFone Wireless is one of the largest prepaid carriers in the nation, owning a number of subsidiaries including Straight Talk and Net10. However, while TracFone Wireless owns a few subsidiaries, it is still competing with dozens of MVNOs, like Consumer Cellular, Republic Wireless, Total Wireless, and more. Unfortunately, the competition, alongside the websites that are causing information overload, can cause confusion for consumers.
However, we've done the hard work for you and compiled the details from the TracFone cell phone plans, creating a guide that is hopefully much easier for you to digest. Inside this guide, you'll find information not only on the available TracFone cell phone plans, including airtime cards, family plans, and more, but also the available CDMA and GSM phone selection, the coverage area, the customer service, the SIM card information, and more.
Finally, we'll direct you to our cell phone plan comparison tool, to help you determine whether or not TracFone Wireless's no-contract plans are right for you.
In This Guide
Compare TracFone Wireless Plans
TracFone's prepaid cell phone plans are incredibly flexible. You can select among a variety of no-contract plans, including the individual value plans or family value plans. Some prepay plans even come with the ability to add a minutes bundle.
Unfortunately, while TracFone's own Straight Talk service bears unlimited minutes, TracFone focuses more on limited. So if you're looking for unlimited talk time and text message, you may want to turn your attention elsewhere.
Monthly Value Plans
TracFone's individual value plans range from 50 minutes to 200 minutes, for a rather steep price. These plans include nationwide coverage and a carryover function.
You'll be able to add airtime or minutes in the following ways:
- Buy airtime (or airtime cards) from the phone
- Add a TracFone card online
- Add airtime directly from your phone
To keep your plan from resetting once the limit is up, you need to simply add more minutes, which will automatically initiate a new cycle.
There is an auto-refill option too. With auto-refill, you'll receive up to 10 percent off. There is one other set of prepay phone plans that you can choose from: pay-as-you-go.
Pay as You Go
Pay-as-you-go phone plans are exactly as they sound: you pay as you go. These are the main plans that you'll want to look at. The basic phone plans range from 60 minutes for 30 service days to 3000 minutes for 365 service days.
As far as smartphone pay-as-you-go plans go, your selection ranges from the monthly plan that includes 200 minutes, 500 texts, and 200MB of data to the yearly plan that includes 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, and 1.5GB of data. Furthermore, with the smartphone plans (and a compatible device), you'll be able to now experience 4G LTE speeds. With these LTE speeds, you'll be zooming through your browser.
There are no longer BYOP prepay plans, as you can choose the pay-as-you-go phone plans or the individual monthly plans when you bring your own prepay phone. Overall, don't expect unlimited plans or even unlimited talk to be available at TracFone Wireless. You're better off selecting an unlimited plan from any other carrier that offers such.
And if you're interested in international calling and texting plans, TracFone has them too.
For instance, you can purchase a $10 global calling card, which lets you call thousands of destinations around the world including mobiles. However, you will have to pay a per-minute rate.
There is also a basic international plan, which allows you to make phone calls to hundreds of international destinations for the same price as a local call. Some destinations include Mexico, Canada, China, Colombia, and India.
Then there is International Neighbors, which helps eliminate long distance charges. Your friends and family in Mexico can make international calls your TracFone phone number in your zip code free of charge. However, you can only request up to three local Mexican telephone numbers.
Related: You can compare TracFone's BYOP plans to the competition here.
I'm not finished exploring all the options TracFone has to offer. There are quite a lot of individual plans, but there are fewer family plans, which is a little different compared to the family plans among the big four networks.
With the TracFone value family plan, you'll automatically receive minutes for every TracFone in your home each month. The family value plan is easy to enroll in: the first phone will be the most expensive and carry 50 minutes of airtime. Any additional phone will be a little less and will include 40 minutes of airtime.
Looking for an unlimited plan? As mentioned earlier, TracFone doesn't have unlimited plans. You're better off with selecting a cell phone service the carries unlimited data plans, like Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.
Oh, and if you're looking for a major carrier with affordability, you're better off with choosing the T-Mobile unlimited plan, the Sprint network unlimited plan, or the cheaper version of AT&T unlimited.
What Phones Can You Get on TracFone?
With TracFone, you can either shop for phones with the intent to place them on a payment plan or pay for the phone in full. However, you need to first input your zip code before you can choose from the available offerings.
Tracfone's phones aren't exactly varied, and TracFone doesn't seem to carry the latest offerings (though you can nab the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Apple iPhone SE), but the phones offered seem to be of decent quality.
TracFone, however, shines a spotlight on the Bring Your Own Smartphone feature; in other words, the bring your own phone program is as extravagant, if not more so, compared to the major networks' bring your own phone programs.
You'll be able to keep your favorite smartphone, including a Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone device, as well as your phone number and network. TracFone supports AT&T-compatible, T-Mobile-compatible, Verizon-compatible, and GSM phones (unlocked).
Is cell phone insurance worth it? Whether you want phone insurance is up to you, but you should know that like Straight Talk, TracFone offers Easy Exchange and Easy Exchange Plus for added protection. Here are the details of each plan:
- Easy Exchange - This plan protects your phone in the event of an electrical failure, mechanical failure, and comes with an annual pre-pay option.
- Easy Exchange PLUS - This plan provides coverage in case your phone suffers from an electrical failure, mechanical failure, accidental damage from handling, and liquid damage. There is an annual pre-pay option, as well as a monthly payment option available.
How to Activate Your Phone
Activating your TracFone is a simple process. All you need to do to activate the phone is to go to the TracFone website and select the activate tab. You can also activate your TracFone phone by calling customer service.
If you are in need of a TracFone SIM card, which contains your subscriber profile (you can learn more about the SIM card here), then you can purchase a SIM card from TracFone's store, or via an official retailer such as Wal-Mart, Amazon, or Bestbuy.
Compare: Find a cheap Tracfone Wireless SIM Card
Deals, Promotions & Discounts
TracFone offers special deals in the form of airtime offers. Sometimes with a promo code, you'll be able to nab bonus minutes or a special discount on an order.
You can also save on phones, though the savings aren't quite as extravagant.
The cell phone service also has a refer-a-friend program, which allows you to save on your airtime minutes.
With TracFone, customers are able to use the major carrier networks of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile networks. This means that customers will be receiving not only the prepaid service of TracFone, but also the quality networks brought to you by the four major providers. You should review TracFone Wireless' coverage map to ensure that Tracfone covers your area.
Related: Net10 uses the major networks for service just like TracFone, but offers radically different plans. Compare them now.
TracFone's customer service is not the greatest, at least when it comes to phone service. Some people have complained that they would not receive a new phone or updated minutes within the provided time.
Not only that but reaching a representative can take awhile via phone. Chat Support is supposedly more helpful.
If you have a minor issue that could be easily solved, then you can view the support topics provided by TracFone or take part in the support forum.
Not only that, but you can always connect with the service via Facebook or e-mail.
How to Change Your APN Settings
TracFone is an incredibly flexible service but at the cost of limited minutes. There is no unlimited option, even for text and minutes. Furthermore, the options can be a little on the pricey side.
If you're not an avid phone user, you may want to consider TracFone. However, if you're looking for more flexibility, you're better off with other providers such as Republic Wireless, Consumer Cellular, Total Wireless, and more.
Remember, when choosing a cheap cell phone plan, it's always best to compare deals from multiple low-cost carriers.