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TracFone Prepaid Cell Phone Plans Review

Overview

Introduced in the early 2000s, TracFone is one of America's first prepaid wireless services. TracFone is a division of America Movil, which is the third largest mobile network operator in the world. In addition to TracFone, America Movil also operates Net10 and Straight Talk in the US.

Pros: The 50-dollar Double Minutes for LIfe card lowers the price of minutes. The One Year Plus Double Minutes card provides further value. Since TracFone uses multiple cellular networks, service works in most areas.

Cons: Without the Double Minutes card, TracFone's per-minute rates rank high compared to competitors. The lack of a set text messaging rate can become confusing.  

Cheapest Price Per Minute: 8.8 cents to 33 cents
Unlimited Data Available: No
Unlimited Texting Available: No
Shop For Deals on TracFone Plans and Phones
Visit the Official TracFone Website

Lowest Price Per Anytime Minute: 8.8 cents to 33 cents  

Plans: Tracfone has a number of pay-as-you-go and monthly plan options. The 30-minute card, which is available online only, costs $9.99; the 60-minute card costs $19.99; the 120-minute card costs $29.99; the 200-minute card costs $39.99; and the 450-minute card costs $79.99. There are also a number of one-year and double minutes pay-as-you-go plans, which can be added onto any pay-as-you-go account. The Double Minutes card, which doubles the minutes on all future purchases, costs $19.99. The 1 Year + Double Minutes card, which provides 800 minutes and doubles all future purchases, costs $119.99. The 400-minute one-year card costs $99.99; the 1000-minute one-year card costs $159.99; and the 1500-minute one-year card costs $199.99. There are also three individual monthly plans. These minutes carry over month-to-month. The 50-minute plan costs $9.99; the 125-minute plan costs $19.99; and the 200-minute plan costs $29.99. There is also a family value plan, which provides 50 minutes for the first line. It costs $9.99 per month. Each additional line comes with 40 minutes and costs $5.99 per month. Value plan members can add bundles of 50 or 100 minutes to their plans.  Read more about TracFone plans

Customer Service: Customer service is available on the web or through a toll-free number.  

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.  

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 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.  

Text Messaging Available: Yes  

Roaming Charges: There are no roaming charges for customers using a GSM phone. Non GSM phone users are charged double per minute rates (double the units) for roaming calls.  

Shop Phones and Plans: Shop for TracFone  

Text Messaging Charge For Incoming: Depends on card denomination  

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 that users can buy cheaply. They offer a number of these on their website, and none is more than 50 dollars. There are also some higher end phones available at retail outlets, but even those are a few years old. That allows Tracfone to offer cheap handsets to its customers. The G at the end of some handset models denotes GSM network coverage (AT&T and T-Mobile), while a C denotes CDMA (Verizon and Sprint).  

Standard Calling Features: Voicemail, caller ID, call waiting  

Some Available Cell Models: LG501C (shown) LG420G Samsung T245G Motorola W376g Kyocera K126C  

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: 8.8 cents to 33 cents
Unlimited Data Available: No
Unlimited Texting Available: No
Shop For Deals on TracFone Plans and Phones
Visit the Official TracFone Website
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: 8.8 cents to 33 cents
Unlimited Data Available: No
Unlimited Texting Available: No
Shop For Deals on TracFone Plans and Phones
Visit the Official TracFone Website