Tracfone Wireless Cell Phone Plans Review

Read our in-depth review of Tracfone

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Tracfone Wireless In-Depth Review

Last Updated:
Overall Rating: 3 out of 51 Star2 Star3 Star4 Star5 Star

Pros

  • Large plan selection
  • Widely available in retail stores
  • Unlimited carryover for unused minutes/texts/data
  • Good value for very light users

Cons

  • Outdated service model (selling minutes/texts/data piecemeal)
  • Expensive for moderate to heavy data users
  • Overly complex plan structure

This Miami, FL-based Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) has been providing traditional prepaid, no-contract cell phone plans since 2006. You've probably heard of Tracfone over the years, considering it's one of the largest MVNOs in the United States.

Tracfone has stayed on top of the prepaid cell phone game by providing service on not one - but all four of the major wireless networks. This is especially useful if you bring your own phone to the carrier because virtually all devices are compatible.

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If you need an unlimited data plan you won't find it with Tracfone. What you will find is a wide selection of pay-as-you-go phone plans ranging from basic phone plans to smartphone plans with 2 GB of high-speed data. These are sold in service cycles of 30, 60, 90, and 365 days.

Tracfone gives you a benefit most carriers don't - unlimited rollover of all of your unused talk minutes, text messages, and data. Plus you can buy add-ons like more data, more texts, and international calling.

Ready to learn more? Great - keep reading to find out everything you need to know in our full Tracfone review.

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Tracfone Highlights

  • Operates on AT&T, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon networks
  • Prepaid service - no contract, credit check, or activation fees
  • Bring your own compatible device or a buy a TracFone phone
  • Call hundreds of international locations with your plan minutes, or add other countries with a global calling card
  • Mobile hotspot/tethering is supported
  • Use your plan minutes to call hundreds of international destinations, including Canada, China, and Mexico
  • Add more countries with a global calling card
  • Three local Mexico virtual phone numbers at no charge so friends and family can call you free
  • Customer service by phone or chat 7 days a week from 8am to 11:45pm EST

Tracfone Cell Phone Plans

CarrierMins/TextsDataPrice
TracFone200/500500MB$15
TracFone300/10001GB$20

Tracfone Pricing: Is It Competitive?

While it's a great way to get away from contracts and credit checks, Tracfone's pricing isn't nearly as competitive as MVNOs with larger data buckets and unlimited plans, like Mint Mobile or TextNow.

To give you a better idea of how Tracfone compares with the networks it operates on check out our comparison chart.

Tracfone Coverage

Your cell phone service coverage will depend upon which network you're using. If you bring your own phone you'll be prompted to choose a plan, which will include a Tracfone SIM card at an additional charge of .99.

All four of the wireless networks that Tracfone uses offer nationwide 4G LTE service. Let's take a look at their specific coverage so you can see which one is best for your area.

  • AT&T: The AT&T network holds steady in second place for coverage among the big four, coming in behind Verizon Wireless.. You can use the AT&T coverage map to see if there's a strong signal in your area.
  • T-Mobile: T-Mobile coverage map reflects its strength in metropolitan areas and its struggles in more rural locations. Still, its reliability has been growing.
  • Verizon: The Verizon Wireless coverage map. It's no secret that Verizon offers fantastic coverage all over the country. As long as you don't live in an extremely remote area, this network should work well for you.
  • Sprint: Sprint has labored under a less than stellar reputation for coverage. That doesn't mean it won't work well in your area, though. See the Sprint coverage map to help you decide if this is the network that's right for you.

Tracfone Cell Phone Deals

Tracfone - 500MB Data Plan
Tracfone
Mins:200minutes
Texts:500texts
Data:500 GB4G data
$15per month
Tracfone is powered by:SprintT-MobileAT&TVerizon
Tracfone - 1GB Data Plan
Tracfone
Mins:300minutes
Texts:1000texts
Data:1 GB4G data
$20per month
Tracfone is powered by:SprintT-MobileAT&TVerizon

Tracfone Phone Options

Your device options are flexible with Tracfone:

  1. Bring your own phone. This is super easy and affordable because Tracfone uses all four networks. If you've had service on one of the big four on your current phone, chances are likely that it'll be compatible with this carrier. Plus, you can keep your phone number.
  2. Buy a Tracfone device. They sell a range of new and reconditioned smartphones and basic phones for any budget. You'll have to pay upfront, though, there's no device financing available.
  3. Buy a refurbished phone: When you use our cell phone price comparison engine you'll be able to compare features and prices in a flash on top CDMA and GSM phones from reputable sellers. We've even filtered refurbished Tracfone compatible devices for you.

Regardless of which option you choose for your phone, you'll want to make sure you know how to unlock it. You also may have to make some adjustments in your phone to Tracfone APN settings.

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Key Considerations When Choosing Tracfone

There are some important things to ask yourself before deciding on a Tracfone plan:

  • Does the Tracfone coverage map show service in my area?
  • Do I need unlimited data?
  • Am I okay with having to top up my account every 30-365 days?
  • How many lines do I need?
  • Will I bring my own phone or should I buy one?

Recap

Tracfone is a decent provider for those who need a cheap cell phone plan. You can buy your service one month at a time and change it up as your needs evolve. When it comes to price, though, it all depends on what you need.

Additionally, Tracfone doesn't offer unlimited data - or unlimited talk and text, for that matter. If you tend to consume a lot of data, or if you need a family plan, you'll find better value deals among the best MVNOs.

If you're not sure yet whether Tracfone is right for you, check out the Tracfone customer reviews to get a feel for real people's experiences.

Regardless of your carrier, saving tons - 50% or more - on your smartphone is simple. Compare prices on the best refurbished phone deals.

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Tracfone Wireless Review FAQs

QWhat is a track phone?

A

TracFone is a prepaid cell phone company that does not require a contract. It is owned by America Movil, a Mexican telecommunications conglomerate. TracFone service uses the same network as the big four carriers Sprint, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile as they rent bandwidth from them.

QHow many minutes are left on my TracFone?

A

You can check your TracFone minutes a few different ways

  • Call the airtime balance number *777*1# to get your balance
  • Go the the TracFone website to view your balance
  • Check your balance at the TracFone My Account App

QHow do you reactivate a TracFone?

A
  • At the TracFone website, navigate to "Activate Phone, Add or Buy Airtime" and click
  • Next, click "Activate/Reactivate Phone"
  • Select from options reading "Activate my TracFone with a new number" or "Reactivate my TracFone".
  • From the list of phone models that appears, select your model and click "submit"

QDo TracFone Minutes include texting?

A

TracFone measures both texting and internet access by minutes. Text messages cost 0.3 minutes while sending or receiving a photo message deducts one minute from your balance. At TracFone, each minute you spend on the web with your phone costs half a minute of airtime.

Tracfone Network Specs & Info

Tracfone Network Specs

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Network:AT&T, T-Mobile, Verzion, Sprint
Technology:CDMA & GSM
4G LTE Bands:850/900/1800/1900 MHz
Bring Your Phone:Yes
Keep Your Number:Yes
Contract:No - prepaid
Credit Check:No

Tracfone Company Info

Founded:1996
Headquarters:9700 NW 112th Ave, Miami, FL 33178
Employees:501-1,000
Customer Service:(800) 867-7183
Website:https://www.tracfone.com/
Wikipedia:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TracFone_Wireless
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/TracFoneDeals
Twitter:https://twitter.com/tracfonecalls

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