A Tracfone Review: From a User
A number of years ago, I made the switch from Verizon to Net10. This cut my cell phone bill from $60/month to $30/month for two phones. Net10 was great, and when combined with the Ooma VOIP system, I was able to cut my cell minutes down to under 100/month because I typically used my phone for a quick check-ins, emergency situations, and texting (today, I use a lot more data).
With my minutes so low, I eventually stumbled across Tracfone and was able to cut my phone bills even lower, and wanted to give a Tracfone review so that you all may benefit if the plan fits your mobile phone usage behavior. I have subsequently switched to Xfinity Mobile (see my Xfinity Mobile Review for more info.) as it offered one of the cheapest data plans out there, but think that Tracfone is still a great option for many users. Not sure if Tracfone is right for you? This Tracfone review should help guide you.
Tracfone is Now Owned by Verizon
Net10 is a sister brand to and is joined by Page Plus, SafeLink, Straight Talk, SIMPLE Mobile, Telcel, Total Wireless, and others. All were owned by
Tracfone (and many other brands that rolled up to Tracfone, including Net10, Page Plus, SafeLink, Straight Talk, SIMPLE Mobile, Telcel, Total Wireless) is now owned by Verizon Wireless, after a purchase from América Móvil in 2021. A Tracfone site says that customers can keep their Tracfone family of brands plans until at least November of 2024.
You can also stay on a plan that TracFone offered prior to being acquired by Verizon until at least November 23, 2024.
Net10 is clearly going to be shut down with customers transitioned to SIMPLE Mobile (see my Net10 Review for more info.), but I don’t see any indication that the Tracfone brand will be shut down. All of these brands that were purchased by Verizon are MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), meaning they don’t own their own network, but instead lease bandwidth from Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. In Tracfone’s case, new activations use Verizon’s network. Depending on your phone and which network you choose, that will determine the network you are running on with Tracfone.
Tracfone is actually the largest prepaid cell phone service provider in the U.S., with roughly 21 million subscribers. Let’s start by taking a look at Tracfone’s plan options.
Tracfone has some odd plans, to be perfectly frank. They are all prepaid (no contracts) and allow for flexibility based on your mobile phone usage habits. What differs with Tracfone is how long some of the plans last. Instead of 1 month, there are plans that last 60, 90, even 365 days. The 365 day plans are typically cheaper, per month, than the 30, 60, or 90 day plans.
For your money, the best value is going to come from the following 2 plans:
For those who use basic flip phones for talk, text, and occasionally data:
$125 for 365 days: 1,500 minutes of talk, 1,500 textx, 1.5 GB of data. If you run out of minutes or texts, you can refill additional talk/text.
For those who use smart phones for talk, text, and data:
$199 for 365 days: unlimited talk, text, and 24 GB of data. If you run out of data, you can “add-on” 2 GB for $20 each.
Tracfone Network Performance
For new activations, since it is now owned by Verizon, Tracfone uses Verizon’s network (on CDMA phones). Verizon is consistently rated as the best network.
Tracfone Customer Service
I’ve only had to have one encounter with Tracfone customer service (when my wife’s phone was stolen), as the phone service quality and setup have been flawless. The online help center is pretty well built out if you run into problems. Unlike the large mobile customers, Tracfone and Net10 don’t have local stores to get service in. I’m sure this is a contributing factor to why they are able to offer such inexpensive service.
Tracfone Phone Selection
Tracfone has a pretty good phone selection. There are a variety of smart phones, including Android phones from LG, Motorola, and Samsung, as well as Apple iPhones. Additionally, if you want a basic flip phone, Tracfone still has them.
Tracfone also has the ability to bring your own device (BYOD).
- No post-paid contracts that lock you in long-term.
- Flexible plans catered to customer use behavior.
- Good phone selection.
- If you buy a talk/text plan with little data and then want to use a lot of data, you probably will need to add a new plan.
- Not the best plans if you use your phone as a hotspot for a lot of data.
Check out my list of current recommended mobile plans on my money saving products page.
Final Thoughts on Tracfone
Tracfone offers some nice flexibility with their choice of phones, network to run on, and a wide variety of service plans that can be catered to your personal usage habits. If you want unlimited data to burn through, Tracfone probably isn’t the right choice for now. Right now, Tracfone is offering sales on many models.