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Thread: TracFone - Choosing the underlying carrier

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    TracFone - Choosing the underlying carrier

    TracFone is somewhat unique among MVNOs in that it allows the consumer to choose which of the major national wireless carriers they wish to utilize. This is typically done by purchasing the correct model phone or SIM card for the carrier of one's choice with TracFone.

    If someone is generally in a major metropolitan area that has excellent coverage by all four major carriers, is there any benefit in choosing any particular underlying network over another?

    Does TracFone include voice or data roaming on any of its networks or plans?

    Also, once you have active service with TracFone, how difficult is it to switch from one network to another within TracFone, and how do they handle an internal number port and handset switch?

    And what are the differences in these regards between the various TracFone sister brands?

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    There are a number of other carriers that allow you to choose your network, like redpocket for example.

    While you may think they all have excellent coverage, prepaid customers often get access to a more limited network with more dead spots. I recently upgraded my dad to a Galaxy Sky bundle, but TF verizon coverage at his house is worse than TF AT&T coverage. The best case scenario is to buy a phone that will work on any use carrier and then switch networks if you aren't happy.

    I also like to look at 3rd party coverage maps like https://opensignal.com as they're a bit more trustworthy than the carriers claims of coverage everywhere but they can't tell prepaid or not.

    Here's the verizon map that show the difference between prepaid and normal 4g:
    https://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/...verage_map.jsp

    In most areas Verizon and AT&T have significantly better coverage than T-Mobile and Sprint especially as you deviate from the shopping malls and highways.

    Generally most prepaid phones have little to no roaming. T-mobile prepaid (not tracfone) will roam on AT&T for voice but you get no data.

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    Tracfone doesn't currently have any phones that Use the sprint network, only AT&T - VERIZON &
    T MOBILE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by josephf View Post
    If someone is generally in a major metropolitan area that has excellent coverage by all four major carriers, is there any benefit in choosing any particular underlying network over another?
    Like noted, it's possible one network might do better than another at places you frequent. I currently live in an area where Verizon typically is rated as having the best coverage. At my work Verizon roams half the time, which might mean no signal on Tracfone with a smartphone or BYOP, and Verizon gets a better signal at my house than AT&T. When I lived in a major city, the coverage was similarly not identical between carriers, especially when indoors.

    Does TracFone include voice or data roaming on any of its networks or plans?
    I did get AT&T voice and text roaming on one trip with a BYOP smartphone, but the area has since become a native AT&T service area. I haven't visited any other AT&T roaming areas, so I'm not sure if it was just an uncommon anomaly or not. Typically people say none of the Tracfone networks have roaming with a smartphone or BYOP, yet I'm not sure how much testing has been done by users, since I didn't find posts by others visiting AT&T roaming areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by josephf View Post
    Does TracFone include voice or data roaming on any of its networks or plans?
    The Tracfone dumbphones can roam.

    Also, once you have active service with TracFone, how difficult is it to switch from one network to another within TracFone, and how do they handle an internal number port and handset switch?
    I think it's possible to use Tracfone support to switch sims and move to another network, but I haven't personally tried it.

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    Coverage is important where you live, and work, and travel. I look at all 3 area's. Ask people with different networks at those

    places to test signal strength / usage. Changing Networks involves obtaining & using that provider's sim card with BYOP, assuming

    the phone will work on different networks. Then, porting your phone #. It's a multistep process. Tracfone "Chat" can do help with this

    process. Read up first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by josephf View Post
    TracFone is somewhat unique among MVNOs in that it allows the consumer to choose which of the major national wireless carriers they wish to utilize. This is typically done by purchasing the correct model phone or SIM card for the carrier of one's choice with TracFone.
    There are others.

    If someone is generally in a major metropolitan area that has excellent coverage by all four major carriers, is there any benefit in choosing any particular underlying network over another?
    Coverage counts everywhere I live, work, travel, and everywhere in between, so that means that T-Mobile is not good for me. You can't do simultaneous voice and data with Verizon on Tracfone because of no VoLTE. I personally don't care.

    Does TracFone include voice or data roaming on any of its networks or plans?
    BYOP dose not have roaming, though some claim there is some in Eastern NM. Tracfone branded dumbphones get some roaming.

    Also, once you have active service with TracFone, how difficult is it to switch from one network to another within TracFone, and how do they handle an internal number port and handset switch?
    You can do it online with a new SIM and a few clicks in your online account. I have done it once and it worked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by october262 View Post
    Tracfone doesn't currently have any phones that Use the sprint network, only AT&T - VERIZON &
    T MOBILE.
    Don't some of the TracFone sister brands offer Sprint?

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    Why would you want to use Sprint

    Quote Originally Posted by josephf View Post
    Don't some of the TracFone sister brands offer Sprint?

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    Quote Originally Posted by alluringreality View Post
    I did get AT&T voice and text roaming on one trip with a BYOP smartphone, but the area has since become a native AT&T service area. I haven't visited any other AT&T roaming areas, so I'm not sure if it was just an uncommon anomaly or not. Typically people say none of the Tracfone networks have roaming with a smartphone or BYOP, yet I'm not sure how much testing has been done by users, since I didn't find posts by others visiting AT&T roaming areas.
    The last sentence in Section 10 of Tracfone Terms & Conditions of Service says "TracFone Smartphones and BYOP phones do not roam". If you did get a case of roaming with your BYOP, it's an anomaly.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by josephf View Post
    Also, once you have active service with TracFone, how difficult is it to switch from one network to another within TracFone, and how do they handle an internal number port and handset switch?
    Quote Originally Posted by alluringreality View Post
    I think it's possible to use Tracfone support to switch sims and move to another network, but I haven't personally tried it.
    Quote Originally Posted by trek83 View Post
    Changing Networks involves obtaining & using that provider's sim card with BYOP, assuming the phone will work on different networks. Then, porting your phone #. It's a multistep process. Tracfone "Chat" can do help with this process. Read up first.
    I transferred from a dumb phone on AT&T to a smart phone (BYOP) on Verizon in one chat session and it was completed during the chat session.

    I confirmed the buckets and service end date before and after. I did have an issue later with not getting the correct amounts of T/T/D which I had to get corrected in another chat session.

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    Quote Originally Posted by josephf View Post
    Don't some of the TracFone sister brands offer Sprint?
    Straight talk does (both phones and
    Byop) and I believe net10 is the same way.

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    Los Angeles

    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    You can do it online with a new SIM and a few clicks in your online account. I have done it once and it worked.
    Would you suggest/is it possible to change from an old [I assume] Verizon phone to an AT&T SIM using 'a few clicks' in the online account? Would you suggest trying that way or chatting.
    Would one have a better chance for success?

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    If the old phone is a smartphone/BYOP, use chat, otherwise you risk losing your entire balance. If it's a TracFone dumb/feature phone, then you can attempt the transfer using the website.

    Quote Originally Posted by rfranzq View Post
    Would you suggest/is it possible to change from an old [I assume] Verizon phone to an AT&T SIM using 'a few clicks' in the online account? Would you suggest trying that way or chatting.
    Would one have a better chance for success?

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    A couple things no one has mentioned.. Tracfone on Verizon will work with visual voicemail (at least on iPhones). Tracfone on AT&T appears to not throttle data speeds, though to be honest I've never ran into a problem with the speed caps on Verizon.

    I believe, but have not confirmed, that Wifi calling will work on Tracfone T-mobile. Could be useful if you are frequently in locations with low/no coverage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    The last sentence in Section 10 of Tracfone Terms & Conditions of Service says "TracFone Smartphones and BYOP phones do not roam". If you did get a case of roaming with your BYOP, it's an anomaly.
    The AT&T BYOP phone was clearly roaming both days, it worked for voice and texts, data didn't work, and the Pure Talk phone in the car was out of service while in the AT&T roaming area. Another possibility is that maybe the terms are simply incorrect on the website, which might mean Tracfone sharing the same coverage as Straight Talk for AT&T BYOP. Currently the maps for both brands seem to show the same coverage. In the past AT&T at Straight Talk has been reported to roam for voice and text, which is also reflected in their terms. I haven't visited any other AT&T roaming areas, yet realistically smartphone and BYOP customers visiting AT&T roaming areas would be necessary to really make an informed guess at why I had voice and text service on BYOP when clearly outside native AT&T coverage.

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