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Thread: Which carrier for Tracfone?

  1. #1
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    Which carrier for Tracfone?

    I know that Tracfone uses different carriers depending on where you
    are located at that moment and depending on in what zip code you
    activate your phone from, and that different phone models use
    different carriers, as well as GSM, CDMA, or TDMA. But I do not
    understand how you KNOW which carrier Tracfone uses for a particular
    zip code, and how do you know what a particular phone model uses(GSM,
    CDMA, or TDMA) for that particular zip code? I hope this doesn't
    sound confusing? I am pretty sure we are able to get most of the
    major carriers (Verizon, Sprint, Alltel, At&T). My zip code is 17233.
    My husband and I have Nokia 5180 that begin with 717-377 numbers, and
    my son has a Nokia 1221 that begins with 717-860 numbers. I would
    like to upgrade to a Motorola v60I. But how do I actually know what I
    would be getting? Everyone else that I have been reading about seems
    to know what their phone uses (GSM, CDMA, or TDMA)) and which carrier
    they are activated with.
    Thanks! Denise

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tisdls
    I know that Tracfone uses different carriers depending on where you
    are located at that moment and depending on in what zip code you
    activate your phone from, and that different phone models use
    different carriers, as well as GSM, CDMA, or TDMA. But I do not
    understand how you KNOW which carrier Tracfone uses for a particular
    zip code, and how do you know what a particular phone model uses(GSM,
    CDMA, or TDMA) for that particular zip code? I hope this doesn't
    sound confusing? I am pretty sure we are able to get most of the
    major carriers (Verizon, Sprint, Alltel, At&T). My zip code is 17233.
    My husband and I have Nokia 5180 that begin with 717-377 numbers, and
    my son has a Nokia 1221 that begins with 717-860 numbers. I would
    like to upgrade to a Motorola v60I. But how do I actually know what I
    would be getting? Everyone else that I have been reading about seems
    to know what their phone uses (GSM, CDMA, or TDMA)) and which carrier
    they are activated with.
    Thanks! Denise
    A Nokia 1221 is a TDMA phone. Click on this url for further info. (very usefull website called Phonescoop)
    http://www.phonescoop.com/phones/phone.php?p=149 Also check this site, http://www.simplefreedom.net/SimpleFreedom/Home.htm Looks like they may have good coverage in Mc Connellsburg. SF is much easier to understand the rates. Can be purchased at Walmart, Nokia 6015, CDMA for About $38.86 and that includes some free minutes. PS, here is another one which would work good in your neck of the woods. $10 for a used Nokia 5165 and that comes with some free minutes. This is a TDMA phone also. http://www.gobeyondwireless.com/ PS again, the Moto V60I is a CDMA (per phonescoop)
    Last edited by HATMAN; 12-12-2005 at 04:53 PM.
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  3. #3
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    The 5180 appears to be running on Verizon (CDMA) and the 1221 appears to be running on AT&T TDMA.
    npa-nxx State Company OCN Ratecenter CLLI
    717-377 PA CELLCO PARTNERSHIP DBA VERIZON WIRELESS - PA 6392 CHAMBERSBG CHBGPAXCYMD
    717-860 PA BLUE LICENSES HOLDING, LLC 6010 CHAMBERSBG SHIPPAAHCM1
    edit: The 5180 is running on VZW, I made an error typing in the exchange.
    Last edited by dot_null; 12-12-2005 at 06:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dot_null
    The 5180 appears to be running on Sprint (CDMA) and the 1221 appears to be running on AT&T TDMA.
    So, which of the two existing phones work the best? That is the answer to whether you go CDMA or TDMA...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dot_null
    The 5180 appears to be running on Sprint (CDMA) and the 1221 appears to be running on AT&T TDMA.
    TracFone does not have any agreements with SPCS to provide service. Looks like it might be a local carrier, SPCS phones come up as Sprint Spectrum usually when doing an exchange search.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by IsLand_BoY
    TracFone does not have any agreements with SPCS to provide service. Looks like it might be a local carrier, SPCS phones come up as Sprint Spectrum usually when doing an exchange search.
    oops, I made an error typing in the exchange when doing an exchange search. VZW is providing service to the 5180.
    Last edited by dot_null; 12-12-2005 at 06:08 PM.

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    OK. Here's the secret to finding what service your Tracfone is on:

    1. Go to the coverage area of the Tracfone site, type in your zip and select your phone.
    2. Right-click the coverage map image and click properties (varies with browser). Note the last five numbers before the "." on the image filename.
    3. Go to www.mountainwireless.com/sid.htm and search for that number (and just that number, not as part of another number). On the same line will be the carrier the phone is with.

    Hope this helps...
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    Thanks for all the help. I know that, technically, it doesn't matter which carrier the phone uses because it is supposed to search for the best signal at any given moment. But there are a couple different reasons I would like to know these things. For one thing, I would like to keep my same phone number. I had originally thought it may be a Verizon number just because I know someone else who has a phone with Verizon and his number is 717-377. Another thing, my son's 717-860 phone doesn't sound as good as my older 5180. It sounds as though he's talking though a tunnel (does that make sense). I'm not sure if it's the phone itself or the carrier. I am trying to avoid this in my search of a new phone. I also read that TDMA may not be used in the near future. Also, my mother bought and activated a Nolia 1221 a year ago, and the phone has always been roaming, even in her own home. She doesn't care, because she says she doesn't use it that much. And, I am just plain curious how everyone I've read about just seems to know what they have (GSM, CDMA, or TDMA) and who the carrier is. Between my 5180 and my son's 1221, I think mine gets a better signal most of the time, and it definately sounds better. But, like I said, I'm not sure what is causing his to not sound so great. Has anyone else ever noticed a phone that sounds like I described? OH, one more thing, the Tracfone website only seems to offer the Motorola v60i (TDMA) as an AT&T number, does that mean I can't buy a Motorola v60i (CDMA) and activate it as a Verizon number?
    Thanks Again! I really appreciate the help.
    Last edited by tisdls; 12-13-2005 at 07:49 AM.

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    I hear you about bad signal and junk like that. TDMA IS going to get phased out, but if you have a TDMA carrier that has a bona fide better signal than the CDMA or GSM carrier in the region that Tracfone is on (happens here, super Five Star Wireless on Tracfone TDMA, though they have CDMA too, and junky PCS-band Verizon on CDMA) you'd naturally want a TDMA phone. If VZW CDMA is better in your area, simply hop on over to Wal-Mart and get a Nokia 2126 and activate it in your area. It will work with VZW.

    As far as "searching for the best signal at any given moment" the answer is no sir. All Tracfones are programmed at activation (though the programming can be changed with number changed and possibly IRDB or PRL updates, though the latter doesn't do too much) for a specific carrier, and operates off of that carrier just like a "Plan Phone" would, of course preferring that carrier's towers and generally charging roaming if you're not on them (there are exceptions). Furthermore, what Tracfones call local may be very limited compared to a nationwide plan; on Verizon it is common that only a particular region is charged at one unit per minute, and even that on only VZW's network, though of course VZW's own tower footprint is nationwide.

    In short: your Tracfone doesn't necessarily give you the best signal in the area you're in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iansltx
    OK. Here's the secret to finding what service your Tracfone is on:

    1. Go to the coverage area of the Tracfone site, type in your zip and select your phone.
    2. Right-click the coverage map image and click properties (varies with browser). Note the last five numbers before the "." on the image filename.
    3. Go to www.mountainwireless.com/sid.htm and search for that number (and just that number, not as part of another number). On the same line will be the carrier the phone is with.

    Hope this helps...
    Wow, that's awesome! Thanks!!

    I'm guessing when I find that the TDMA Nokia 1221 shows a AMPS/CDMA carrier in a particular zip-code area, that means it would be analog-only coverage, correct?

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    In my area, they use either US Cellular (CDMA, TDMA, AMPS), Verizon Wireless (CDMA, AMPS) or Edge Wireless (Cingular Affiliate, GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS and TDMA).

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