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TracFone Prepaid Cell Phone Review
Our Editorial Rating
Introduced in the early 2000s, TracFone is one of America's oldest prepaid wireless services. TracFone is a division of América Móvil, which is the third largest mobile network operator in the world. In addition to TracFone, América Móvil also owns and operates Net10, Straight Talk, SafeLink Wireless, Telcel América, Simple Mobile and Page Plus Cellular.
Pros: Phones are inexpensive, and there are no access fees.
Cons: Customer service is below par, and data is extremely expensive. Their phones are also very out of date.
Detailed Provider Information
Plans: Tracfone has a number of pay-as-you-go and monthly plan options. Their pay as you go cards range from 30 minutes for $10 to 450 minutes for $80. They also offer cards which grant double minutes on all future airtime purchases for $20 and cards that don't expire for one full year. Their monthly plans start at $10 for 50 minutes and range to $30 for 200 minutes. Family plans, additional phone lines and service protection are also available.
Customer Service: As with most larger companies, TracFone has a toll-free customer service number with an auto answer to help with most tasks. Customer service associates can also be reached via live chat on their website, and they have an email form as well.
Free Nights: No
Credit Check: None
Free Weekends: No
Daily Access Fee: No
Payment Options: Tracfone refill cards are available at retailers and convenience stores nationwide. Customers can also buy airtime on the Tracfone website.
Text and Picture Messaging: Text messaging rates vary depending on which phone or service a customer is using, but generally you can send/receive 1 text for each unit purchased. So a card with 60 minutes could send 60 texts.
Data Plans: Tracfone does offer mobile web usage, but the rates are not disclosed.
Downloads: Ringtones available for $1.49 each, other features (such as games, wallpapers) vary by phone.
International Calling: Tracfone offers an international long distance plan that allows customers to call 60 international destinations for the same rate as domestic calls. They also offer a service that provides callers with a local number in a number of countries, which allows for cheaper local calls, short dialing of international numbers and a $10 global plan that allows for cheaper rates to select international locations.
Text Messaging Available: Yes
Roaming Charges: Tracfone does not allow for roaming on any networks, so there are no charges.
Shop Phones and Plans: Shop for TracFone
Text Messaging Charge For Incoming: Yes, if the message is opened
Calling Features: Tracfone offers voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, and 3 way calling with its phone plans.
Unlimited Text Messaging Plan Available: No
Activation Fee: None
Nationwide Long Distance: Long distance calls are charged the same as regular calls.
Unlimited Plan Available: No
411 Calls: Yes, at no extra fee – charged as regular calls.
Earliest Minute Expiration: All of Tracone's one-year plans expire in one year. Monthly plans roll over every month, so customers can retain unused minutes. For the pay-as-you-go cards, the 30-minute card expires in 30 days and the 60, 120, 200, and 450-minute cards expire in 90 days.
911 Calls: Yes.
Phones: Tracfone offers a number of low-end handsets for reasonable prices and most of them are priced below $100. Phones can be purchased online or at various retail stores around the country. Tracfone also allows consumers to bring their own compatible devices. When purchasing a device from Tracfone, the G at the end of some models indicate it uses a GSM network (AT&T and T-Mobile), while a C indicates CDMA network (Verizon and Sprint).
Standard Calling Features: Voicemail, caller ID, call waiting
Some Available Cell Models: LG Ultimate 2, Alcatel Onetouch Pop Icon, LG Optimus Dynamic II, LG 840G
Coverage Map: TracFone Coverage Map
Cheapest Phone Model: $9.99
Average Rating By Users
Most Recent Reviews
Has anyone had any experience with SVC, senior value cell phones? I have an elderly parent who I would like to get in touch with and vice versa in case of an emergency but I am not sure what the service is like.
The statements in the above review have NOT been my experience. If I were a consumer I would stay away from TRACphony. So far they have been unable to transfer my minutes and dates, after several calls and HOURS on the phone with them. I am so done with these phonys!
I’ve had 2 pre-paid TracFones in 2+ years with double minutes for life and just upgraded to another – more advanced model – with TRIPLE minutes for life. I don’t understand WHY people pay such high rates for their phone service. People I know people who have those $40 per month unlimited calling/text messaging and my TracFone out performs them 2 to 1. Aggravated at their carrier’s poor transmission and repeatedly dropping my call I asked them why don’t they get a TracFone so they can experience REAL cell service.
All Tracfone companies are extremely weak. Unfortunately, when you go with prepaid, the company owns you because you give them your money in advance of service. Try T-Mobile Monthly 4G. It works more like a postpaid plan even though you still pay up front for service. Page Plus is second best.
Worst customer service ever. Hold times long, can’t speak English, ‘trying’ to read a script….she finally just hung up on me.
I’ve been with Tracfone for many years, and for what I want it is perfect. I had issues with my phone and they promptly overnighted me a new one. Not only that, but if you dial the Miami corporate number, you won’t get the hold times with the general number (and the folks I spoke to could speak English clearly. My new phone was activated in minutes, and Raphael the customer service rep picked up after 1 minute–and stayed on with me the whole time, from sim card to activation. Great experience, especially for the price.