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TracFone Prepaid Cell Phone Review

Overview

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 Their phones are also very out of date.

Cheapest Price Per Minute: $0.18
Unlimited Data Available: No
Unlimited Texting Available: No
Shop For Deals on TracFone Plans and Phones
Visit the Official TracFone Website
TracFone Customer Service Number & Contact Info

Lowest Price Per Anytime Minute: $0.18  

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.  Read more about TracFone plans

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  

Contract: None  

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  

Latest News: News about TracFone  

Cheapest Phone Model: $9.99  

Read Full Review: TracFone Review  

Visit Website: Visit TracFone  

Activation Guide: TracFone prepaid activation guide  
Cheapest Price Per Minute: $0.18
Unlimited Data Available: No
Unlimited Texting Available: No
Shop For Deals on TracFone Plans and Phones
Visit the Official TracFone Website
TracFone Customer Service Number & Contact Info
TracFone Reviews
Average Rating by Users:
View other 1210 Reviews

2 stars of 5 based on 1215 reviews

Grandma 8/20/2013
I have samsumg r455c,which is cdma. One of a rare breed,as it uses verizon towers. I had left very few minutes on it as I went to cricket. What a mistake. Phones so cheap they are worthless. Expensive ones I can't begin to afford. I checked out contracted phones. They to are costly to start up,not to mention they range from 110-120 a month for the plan. Even checked out other prepaids. The phones are expensive and almost as expensive for monthly plan. I still had some minutes and plenty of service days on my r455c. I put more minutes on it as it works much better than any other phone I have had. So I won't have internet-which was almost nonexistent with cricket. I can deal with a very minor text glitch-which the message is always sent anyway. I always have full signal bars anywhere I am. The other awesome thing with my r455c is it has TRIPLE minutes!!!

RevT 7/19/2013
Tracfone is awesome, the phone, the price, the cell service anyway. If you have to call a customer service then it's the worse company in the world.
If you can deal with everything either thru the seller - Radio Shack/Walmart/etc. (not tracfone) or via website - activation/help forums then it's a great phone and cell service. The ATT cell towers in my area suck with dropped calls plus I'm sure they are way down on priority. Verizon cell towers are numerous and work very well, using the Tracfone LG505c. Phone # transfer worked well after spending 20 mins online inputing codes to verify and authorize service (yes keep inputing those codes, there are about 10 lines of codes to input, rekey them again if you get an error otherwise you'll have to go the dreaded CSR route)

Phil 5/30/2013
I got this little LG flip phone because I was tired of getting ripped off by the big companies and getting charged $60+ a month for lots of things I never used. I only used my phone to call and text and I love it. Adding minutes online is super easy and setup online was the same way. Not to mention it holds a charge for 3-4 days.

Marcia Estep 3/10/2013
I recently purchased an LG Bar phone from them. I like the phone it has lots of nice features.
The only problem that I have with them is I didn't know that they charge you minutes just for setting up your voice mail. I contacted them and they told me yes that is right but they also charge you for calling 800 numbers as well as people that call you they charge you for the call also.
I was really upset when I found this out, guess I missed that info. Anyway I tried to get the phone unlocked so I could go to another service and the experts couldn't unlock it.
I only put 10 minutes on it to begin with because I was going to add more later come payday. I only had the phone two day when all my minutes were expired to the fact they charged me for setting up the phone mail. I think this a very unfair practice. Guess I am stuck with them for awhile, going to pay the $30 day plan and see how long it is till I run out of minutes with it. They also charge you for how long you are on the internet. I really feel cheated.

Motzya 2/23/2013
Canadians beware - Tracfone no longer allows texting TO OR FROM CANADA, or allows Frequent International Numbers to Canada, as advertised on their website. We have been Canadian snowbirds for 6 years and have used Tracfones for 6 months each year. Six years ago, there was no problem setting up Frequent International Numbers to Canada (up to 10 numbers, which we were allowed to set up ourselves online, which was very easy). No problem with texting either. When we upgraded to a new phone last week, both texting to Canada and Frequent International Numbers to Canada were cut out. They allowed us to keep our original Frequent International Canadian numbers (which took an hour to set up with the "customer service" on the phone), but we cannot change or add new ones. Once my minutes are used up, we will be seeking a new provider. Waste of $65 for my new LG840G phone! What’s the point in having a cell phone if you can’t text! Also, on-line customer service doesn't work - when you send an email, the screen goes blank and never recovers. You always end up having to phone, which uses up valuable minutes, as you wait for them to figure out the problem or put you on hold to a different department. Customer services is horrible!

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Cheapest Price Per Minute: $0.18
Unlimited Data Available: No
Unlimited Texting Available: No
Shop For Deals on TracFone Plans and Phones
Visit the Official TracFone Website
TracFone Customer Service Number & Contact Info