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FAQ

TracFone Ordered to Unlock Phones by 2016

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The ability to unlock a phone is absolutely essential for prepaid customers, as it allows for freedom of movement between carriers without having to constantly be forking out more money for a phone. Earlier this year, the unlocking agreements that the carriers all made wit the FCC went into effect, with one major exception: TracFone and its subsidiary companies.

Easily the largest of the prepaid carriers, TracFone’s laughable unlocking policy directly violated the terms of agreements with the FCC and after months of arguing that they were following the law, the FCC and TracFone have finally come to an agreement that, yes, TracFone should allow customers to unlock devices. Just don’t expect it anytime soon. In fact, the FCC has given TracFone until 2016 to completely implement these procedures. Here is the basic timeline outlined in the FCC document:

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Tracfone Claim Deadline Next Week

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In January, the FTC ordered America Movil companies to pay consumers who purchased “unlimited” data plans from 2009 – 2013. Companies that were part of this complaint include Tracfone, StraightTalk, Simple Mobile, Net10 and Telcel America, which were ordered to pay a combined $40 million to effected customers. However, the deadline to file a claim is fast approaching, and I wanted drop a quick reminder.

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Simple Mobile Reduces 10 GB Plan Price

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Simple Mobile, a T-Mobile MVNO owned by wireless conglomerate America Movil, has made some changes to its most expensive plans this week that are sure to make subscribers quite happy. Effective immediately, the top tier Unlimited Nationwide plan and the top tier Unlimited International Plan will now cost $5 less than previously. Other plan details including data and international calling, remain the same.

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Tracfone Companies Add Mexico Calling

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If you live in the United States and you want to call Mexico, then there is no better time than right now. The recent trend in the wireless race has been to add unlimited calling to Mexico landlines and/or mobile numbers to prepaid plans and I’m pleased to announce that several Tracfone companies have finally come around.

The companies that recently got this international upgrade include:

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TracFone’s Laughable Unlocking Policy

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Tracfone is probably the largest prepaid wireless provider in the US, especially when you count the customers of its other companies. But, when the CITA urged wireless carriers to voluntarily create consumer-friendly unlocking policies (which went into effect this week), TracFone kept quiet and said nothing.

Last week, TracFone finally added their own unlocking policies for smartphones purchased through TracFone, Simple Mobile, Straight Talk and Net10 Wireless. But, before you get all excited, the policy isn’t exactly up to par with the other companies. Here’s what the technical legal jargon on the sites says about unlocking:

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Tracfone Ordered to Refund Deceived Customers

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint against Tracfone and its subsidiary brands, including Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile and Telcel America. The complaint alleges that Tracfone failed to disclose throttling and suspension terms to customers of its prepaid unlimited plans from 2009 to at least September 2013 and that customers were frequently deceived about what they were purchasing.

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Simple Mobile Increases Data

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Simple Mobile, a T-Mobile MVNO owned by America Movil (the same company that runs TracFone) has increased the data on several of their plans this week. Currently, all of Simple Mobile’s plans include unlimited talk, throttled data, international text and nationwide text.

Here is what their plan lineup looks like now:

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Simple Mobile Adds Data to Plans

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T-Mobile MVNO Simple Mobile quietly made some small changes to two of their plans this week that is bound to make Simple Mobile customers pretty pleased. Effective immediately, Simple Mobile has doubled the high-speed data cap on their top tiered plans for both the nationwide unlimited plans and their international unlimited plans.

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Simple Mobile Plan Overview

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Simple Mobile is, well, unsurprisingly simple. Originally founded in 2009, Simple Mobile was purchased by Tracfone in 2012 and currently operates as a subsidiary company of Tracfone. They work on T-Mobile’s GSM network. Simple Mobile is a pretty successful company with nearly 2.5 million subscribers since 2009.

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Simple Mobile cuts price of unlimited plan

Not long after Tracfone acquired it, Simple Mobile has cut the price of its flagship unlimited offering. Previously they charged $60 per month for unlimited voice, text messaging (global), and HSPA+ data. Now they’re charging just $50 per month. The change is in effect now. You can pick up a Simple Mobile SIM card and plan at Simple Mobile’s website.

Via Phone Scoop.

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America Movil, parent of Tracfone, acquires Simple Mobile

It appears that America Movil’s U.S. operation has just grown. According to a Reuters report, America Movil has acquired Simple Mobile in a deal worth about $100 million. Simple now joins Tracfone, Net10, and Straight Talk as Movil’s U.S. brands. A Barclay’s report notes that with the addition of Simple, America Movil now accounts for about 30 percent of U.S. prepaid subscribers. It’s unclear if this will bring any chances to Simple Mobile. It is an MVNO of the T-Mobile network, but America Movil uses spectrum from all four major carriers with its other brands. We should learn more when the deal closes, which should be in the next few months.

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Simple Mobile introduces two international calling plans

For customers who make frequent calls overseas, Simple Mobile has unveiled two new calling plans. The first costs $10 per month and offers unlimited calls to cities in Mexico, Canada, Dominican Republic, and 49 other countries. This covers only landlines in some cities, while it covers wireless in others — similar plans cover wireless in Canada and landlines elsewhere. Simple Mobile also introduced a $10 pay-as-you-go international plan, which covers more international destinations than the unlimited plan. The cost per minute depends on the country, and is deducted from the $10 balance. Customers are encouraged to visit Simple Mobile’s website and read up on the specifics, as there are many restrictions involved with both plans.

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Simple Mobile introduces $40 unlimited plan

Simple Mobile made a big move last week, introducing three new unlimited talk, text, and web plans, including a $40 plan that is compatible with Android smartphones. They also added two unlimited BlackBerry plans: $50 for basic unlimited, and $60 for HPSA+ speeds, for compatible phones. These plans round out Simple Mobile’s offerings, which already included a $60 unlimited HSPA+ plan and a $25 15-day unlimited talk and text plan. Simple Mobile’s signature is a bring your own device system, whereby customers bring unlocked phones and drop in a Simple Mobile SIM card.
 
In addition, Simple Mobile announced two 4G mobile broadband plans.

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Simple Mobile introduced 15-day unlimited plan

We’ve seen this from a few carriers before, and now it appears that Simple Mobile is hopping on the bandwagon. They already have a few monthly unlimited plans, and now they’re going to add a 15-day unlimited plan. It will cost $25, and it will cover unlimited talk and text — including international.

Additionally, Simple Mobile has added a microSIM-only service. That will help them accommodate newer phones, including the iPhone. The microSIM will cost $12.99. You can check it all out on Simple Mobile’s website.

Via PhoneNews.com.

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Simple Mobile racks up 1.5 million activations

We don’t see many new MVNOs these days, but sometimes one will break through. Simple Mobile broke through in late 2009, and they’ve been gaining plenty of momentum since. Part of their appeal is in their bring your own handset feature, which allows customers to use high-end T-Mobile handsets on its network. As Phil Goldstein of FierceWireless reports, Simple has passed the 1.5 million activation mark, just six months after it crossed the one million line. Simple runs on the T-Mobile network, which has 3.2 million MVNO customers.

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Simple Mobile provides unlimited 2G data option

When it comes to data usage, we’re getting more and more used to seeing caps rather than unlimited plans. This is especially true for MVNOs, which have to pay to rent network space from bigger carriers. Simple Mobile, however, is trying something new. They’re removing the 200MB limit on their $50 plan and making it unlimited. The catch is that it provides that data at 2G, not 3G, speeds. Subscribers who want 3G or 4G data need to pick the $60 plan, which provides unlimited everything (though there have been many complaints about there being unadvertised limits to the services). The best way to use Simple Mobile is to bring an unlocked GSM handset. You can find more information about Simple Mobile’s bring your own handset deal, and the $50 unlimited plan, at Simple Mobile’s website.

Via Phone Scoop.

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Simple Mobile to use T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network?

That’s an image from Simple Mobile’s website. It sure appears as though they’re gearing up for 4G. Since Simple Mobile is an MVNO of T-Mobile, that means T-Mobile’s high-speed, 21Mbps HSPA+ network. To tear down the fancy talk, that’s a really fast data connection. The only issue, as always with Simple Mobile, is getting your hands on an appropriate handset. Only a few of them have HSPA+ capabilities right now, and they’re all expensive off contract. Still, with $60 per month for unlimited everything it might be worth a high up-front investment.

Via FierceWireless.

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