A Tracfone User Review
A number of years ago, I made the switch from Verizon to Net10 (see my Net10 Review for more info.). 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 and Net10 are Owned by America Movil
Net10 is a sister brand to Tracfone and is joined by Page Plus, Straight Talk, SIMPLE Mobile, Telcel, and Total Wireless. All are owned by America Movil, a massive telecom company with over 277 million prepaid subscribers worldwide. All of these brands are 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. 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 very occasionally data:
$99.99 for 365 days: 400 minutes of talk, text, data. If you run out of minutes or texts, you can “add-on” 1,000 texts for $5 and/or 500 minutes for $10.
For those who use smart phones for talk, text, and data:
$199 for 365 days: unlimited talk, text, and 12 GB of data. If you run out of data, you can “add-on” 1 GB for $10 each.
Tracfone Network Performance
As noted, when you use Tracfone, you essentially get the same network coverage as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Running on AT&T’s network, I have never experienced any major coverage issues with Tracfone over the years.
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.
- No contracts.
- Choice of network from the big 3 carriers.
- Flexible plans catered to customer use behavior.
- Good phone selection.
If you burn through a lot of data (e.g. unlimited data), Tracfone currently does not carry an unlimited data plan at the moment, and you’re probably better off elsewhere.
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.