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Thread: tracfone newbie - need help

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    tracfone newbie - need help

    I'm looking into Tracfone because my usage is low and I get good coverage on Verizon. So I have been looking into the Tracfone (Verizon) phone+airtime deals that I see on prepaidphonenews. Have never had Tracfone before so am a total newbie. Some questions -

    - So for this (doesn't let me post links - Galaxy Luna with triple minutes) phone what would I do if I run out of the 1,200 minutes/text/data before the end of the year?

    - If I run out, can I add a 'service add-on' of 1gb for $10 like it's listed on tracfone's page? I plan to use hangouts for text and minutes after the minutes/texts run out. can't post link where it lists the 1gb on tracfone page

    - Why does that 1gb add-on for $10 say "no service days"? When does the 1gb expire?

    - Any other gotchas I need to be aware of? Tracfone seems quite hated, from what I've read, so am quite worried what I may be getting into.

    Thanks everyone!

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    With tracfone smartphones (and BYOP) you essentially have 4 separate balances:
    • minutes
    • texts
    • data
    • days of service

    None of the first three (often called "buckets") expire, as long as your days of service don't run out.

    So, if one or more of your three "buckets" runs out, you can add any "card" or "plan" that tracfone sells to replenish it. Since you said you plan to use hangouts (only the data bucket), the 1GB data card makes most sense (except possibly when some special offers are available). Then to keep your service days current, you can add 13 months of service for $60+tax ($10 60 minute / 30 day card + $50 1year add-on). Alternatively, you can often buy another phone with bundled minutes that may be a better deal. Note that whenever you add service of any type, everything is truly added to your existing balance (you don't lose anything by adding before you run out).

    As for gotchas, it's good to be prepared for the possibility that any transaction (even simple adding of airtime) may get botched - so do them when you have some slack time, and before absolutely necessary. Sometimes their systems are just down - and sometimes they mess random things up. I regularly record all my balances in case TF loses them somehow, and definitely record them with a screenshot before any transaction. I always use chat for customer service when possible (and often go years between needing to contact them).

    If you're someone with no tolerance for such things, or someone who needs a lot of technical support, you may not like tracfone. But for many of us it's a good enough deal to live with those shortcomings.

    Other than that, it's helpful to watch this forum for known problems and for good (sometimes unbelievably great) deals.

    Welcome - and best of luck.

  3. #3
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    You need to become familiar with this site. Here you will find answers to your questions and advice to avoid problems.
    Tracfone CSR are known for supplying confusion and guesses at a possible fix.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jettable View Post
    ...- Any other gotchas I need to be aware of? Tracfone seems quite hated, from what I've read, so am quite worried what I may be getting into.
    Some or all of the newer Tracfone smartphones can only use the "Smartphone Only" service cards/plans. Someone here may know if the HSN Luna is one of those. It probably is. So take a look at the "Smartphone Only" cards/plans to see if they meet your cost and service needs.

    https://www.hsn.com/products/samsung...xtdata/8572138

    The cost of Tracfone service can be good to excellent for low usage. If your usage is $25 or more a month there are other MVNOs that are better deals.

    Data with Tracfone on Verizon may be throttled to 5 Mbps. They have stopped doing that in some or all places. 5 Mbps is still plenty to do what needs to be done with mobile data.

    There is no roaming on other carriers with Tracfone smartphones. There are a few odd areas of the country where Verizon uses roaming partners extensively.

    I have had Tracfone service since 2002. It works well. The only times I have had a problem was when I switched phones. One time they lost my phone number and I had to spend a lot of time on the phone with them to get the correct number of units transferred to the new phone.

    Their customer service, especially on the phone, can be atrocious. Online chat is generally much better. You will probably never have to contact them.

  5. #5
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    If you run out of data, text or minutes you can add at any time any or all of the 3. Tye only thing that you can't let run out is the service end date.

    You don't need to buy a new phone. You can use your current Verizon phone.

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    Thank you guys. That is very useful information. Very useful to know how tracfone works - very clear information! Makes me so much more confident/comfortable about tracfone.

    You wrote - There is no roaming on other carriers with Tracfone smartphones. There are a few odd areas of the country where Verizon uses roaming partners extensively.

    Hmm, what areas are those? Verizon works well here, but I have to travel. Is there a roaming map I can look at?

    And question - how can I make sure that the phone+airtime bundle that I buy from HSN will run on Verizon and not on one of the other carriers?

    Thanks in advance.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jettable View Post
    Verizon works well here, but I have to travel. Is there a roaming map I can look at?
    Go HERE and click on Expand Interactive Map. You can zoom in or search by city/zip code. The dark red areas have native Verizon coverage. Be aware that the map is not very exact when zoomed down to street level.

    how can I make sure that the phone+airtime bundle that I buy from HSN will run on Verizon and not on one of the other carriers?
    Read the detailed description of the phone bundle (click on MORE or something like that). Make sure it says the phone uses CDMA technology (Verizon) and not GSM technology (AT&T and T-Mobile).

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    Quote Originally Posted by jettable View Post
    ...You wrote - There is no roaming on other carriers with Tracfone smartphones. There are a few odd areas of the country where Verizon uses roaming partners extensively.

    Hmm, what areas are those? Verizon works well here, but I have to travel. Is there a roaming map I can look at?...
    What hapham said about checking the map.

    In the East they tend to be around the Appalachians - Shentel, Bluegrass Wireless, etc. Most of the state of West Virginia does not have native Verizon.

    Otherwise, Verizon covers pretty much all major and minor metro areas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    Some or all of the newer Tracfone smartphones can only use the "Smartphone Only" service cards/plans. Someone here may know if the HSN Luna is one of those. It probably is.
    So am i understanding this correctly - having a triple-minutes phone like the hsn luna really isn't an advantage because tracfone got rid of triple-minutes for smartphones? Or is having triple minutes still an advantage?

    Also, is the coverage map also good for prepaid mvno tracfone? Seem to have read something about verizon being stepfatherly to mvno and prepaid.

    Thank you in advance, you guys are great!

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    HSN & QVC I believe both have disclaimers in their ads as o whether the phone ONLY uses the new smart cards, which do not triple.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jettable View Post
    So am i understanding this correctly - having a triple-minutes phone like the hsn luna really isn't an advantage because tracfone got rid of triple-minutes for smartphones? Or is having triple minutes still an advantage?
    I do not know if the HSN Luna is triple minutes or not. Triple minutes is cheaper for very low usage like mine. I can get a 13 months of service for $60. It would be $65 for the smartphone only, but it has more service units. It's about a wash between them.

    Triple minute BYOP SIMs and refill cards are still available, but it seems that TF is trying to phase them out.

    Note that there is no way to purchase voice minutes only.

    Also, is the coverage map also good for prepaid mvno tracfone? Seem to have read something about verizon being stepfatherly to mvno and prepaid.
    I'm not understanding the question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jettable View Post
    So am i understanding this correctly - having a triple-minutes phone like the hsn luna really isn't an advantage because tracfone got rid of triple-minutes for smartphones? Or is having triple minutes still an advantage?
    Have a smartphone with triple minute is still an advantage in that you can choose to use either the old "traditional" time cards which get tripled or the new smartphone-only cards which don't triple, whichever fits your usage pattern.

    Also, is the coverage map also good for prepaid mvno tracfone? Seem to have read something about verizon being stepfatherly to mvno and prepaid.
    The AT&T Coverage Map , when set to AT&T Prepaid Service, closely matches the no-roaming coverage areas for TF/AT&T phones. The Verizon Coverage Map doesn't have such setting, so we have to go by the category "4G LTE Coverage" with the assumption that the areas without 4G LTE don't have native Verizon towers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    The Verizon Coverage Map doesn't have such setting, so we have to go by the category "4G LTE Coverage" with the assumption that the areas without 4G LTE don't have native Verizon towers.
    The Verizon map does have the service type option. The hamburger menu in the left of the search box. It is better to use the Prepaid map for clarity of what is roaming. The LTE map shows the roaming areas as "Extended 4G LTE", which is available to Postpaid users. You look for that in the Legend popup on the bottom right of the map.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    Some or all of the newer Tracfone smartphones can only use the "Smartphone Only" service cards/plans. Someone here may know if the HSN Luna is one of those. It probably is. So take a look at the "Smartphone Only" cards/plans to see if they meet your cost and service needs.
    Galaxy Luna is triple minutes. Galaxy Luna Pro is smartphone-only. On HSN the triple minutes models say that, while the smartphone-only models don't say anything.

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    Thanks for the replies. Those help a lot. As I try to wrap my head around this new service, hope you can help with answers to these questions as well -

    - Since the Galaxy Luna is triple minutes, does it mean I can add the "basic phone" airtime cards if I wanted to?

    - So suppose I added the cheapest basic phone airtime card to Galaxy Luna. For $9.99, that card says "30 minutes for talk, text and web". So will 30X3=90 minutes get added? Or is it any combination of 90 minutes or 90 texts or 90mb? I'm confused because it says "for talk text and web".

    - Suppose I add the cheapest smartphone airtime card to Galaxy Luna. For $15, it says 200 minutes, 500 texts, 500mb. With Luna's triple minutes, will this give me 600 minutes plus 1500 texts plus 1500mb?

    - What happens if I add 1gb for $10 to the triple minute Galaxy Luna? Will I get 3gb for $10?

    I guess I am trying to figure out whether I should buy the triple minute Luna instead of the Luna Pro. I originally liked the specs of the Luna Pro better, but the triple-minutes are tempting too! Tracfone is starting to look like a fun adventure, thanks to all you guys's help!

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