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Thread: Can you activate a Tracfone with only the PIN purchased at Walmart?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by loboheeler View Post
    Internet access is the problem here.
    It's over the phone. Call, select activate, speak/punch in numbers asked, and done. No human interaction.
    800-867-7183, I just tested. 1 for English, 1 for TF, 2 for activation, 2 for new service. Switches to automated system (new voice) and asks for serial number from red card. I stopped there, but should ask for zip code (to assign number) and airtime PIN.

    It has been an option for years. I used it to activate my old Nokia phone. Back then you didn't need airtime PIN as you got 10 minutes free (to test and setup voicemail) then could add airtime directly on the phone.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ST Dog View Post
    It's over the phone. Call, select activate, speak/punch in numbers asked, and done. No human interaction. 800-867-7183, I just tested.
    Can you call that number from a brand-new phone with no time units at all?

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    Can you call that number from a brand-new phone with no time units at all?
    Well, no.

    But the same phone you would use to call and talk to a CSR will work. The point was you don't have to talk to a CSR and fight the language barrier.

    See what I quoted from bobdevul earlier.

  4. #19
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    Maybe the op can activate the phone and make sure it's working properly before he hands it off to the client.

    Then all the client has to do is refill as needed using the process as described above.
    Last edited by frankelstein; 03-27-2020 at 01:29 PM.

  5. #20
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    Well, I had a sneaking suspicion that I would encounter obstacles. I put the TF SIM card in my TW phone, went online to activate, added the $15 plan that I purchased at Walmart ... but I can't make calls. Curiously, at no point online was I prompted for the SIM card #. Only the IMEI and the PIN for the plan. I assume that this is because all Tracfones come with a SIM card and the IMEI is somehow tied to that SIM card.

    I chatted with a TF agent online who told me that it is not a compatible SIM card. It is, of course because it has the Tracfone logo on it. But you can't tell that to an online agent.

    So I sent a message through eBay to the seller seeing if somehow they can activate the SIM card in this phone and hopefully they can.

    Despite what other HoFoers have posted here, not all América Móvil SIM cards are compatible with América Móvil phones. I'll call customer service and see if they can do anything and report back.
    My smartphone is a lot smarter than I am.

  6. #21
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    The airtime went onto the SIM that is officially attached to the IMEI. It doesn't matter what other SIM is currently in the phone. If you want to use the new SIM, you will have to officially attach it to the IMEI and bump the other one off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    Well, I had a sneaking suspicion that I would encounter obstacles. I put the TF SIM card in my TW phone, went online to activate, added the $15 plan that I purchased at Walmart ... but I can't make calls. Curiously, at no point online was I prompted for the SIM card #. Only the IMEI and the PIN for the plan. I assume that this is because all Tracfones come with a SIM card and the IMEI is somehow tied to that SIM card.
    Yep, you should not have put that TF SIM card in any other phone to activate. The factory supplied SIM is tied to the phone's IMEI. Does the TW phone still work with it's own SIM card, or was it not activated at all?

  8. #23
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    I got an understanding customer service representative on my second chat who was in fact able to activate the SIM card in this handset. He had to send me unlock codes for the handset which, I guess, disconnects the IMEI from the TW SIM card or vice-versa. But they worked and the phone is now able to be given to my client. Yes, I was able to purchase the plan PIN with cash, to answer my own question, so he will be able to refill at any number of locations.

    I'm sure Carlos has a good reason why the IMEI is tied to the SIM card, but to me it's crazy. Fortunately I was able to get around this restriction with a helpful CSR and my own perseverance. The only reason I bought a Total Wireless phone in the first place is because I saw it on Amazon for $9.99 and I have some Amazon gift card credit. So the phone and shipping came to less than ten bucks. TW doesn't have a cheap plan like Tracfone's $15/month 500/500/500 plan. Otherwise I would have purchased a genuine Tracfone and avoided this headache.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    The only reason I bought a Total Wireless phone in the first place is because I saw it on Amazon for $9.99 and I have some Amazon gift card credit. So the phone and shipping came to less than ten bucks. TW doesn't have a cheap plan like Tracfone's $15/month 500/500/500 plan. Otherwise I would have purchased a genuine Tracfone and avoided this headache.
    It was not clear in the beginning that this was a TW branded phone. Should not have needed a TF SIM card to activate. The automated activation system used to ask you if you wanted to re-brand to TF.

  10. #25
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    As lobo indicated you (OP) didn't need another sim. You could have just activated it with the TW sim that came in it without even a mention of rebranding unless you someday want it unlocked. Wham bam done. Check the TW sim logo; it probably says TF on it.
    Movil sims ARE Movil sims as mentioned as long it's the same network (ie vzw), but it's been also mentioned you can't instead stick in a BYOP sim initially on these locked phones that come with a sim, which I assume was the TF sim you used. However after it's activated you can swap in an active BYOP sim from another phone if you want and vice versa to your hearts content. Just remember which sim came from where if you plan to sell in the future.
    There is zero/nada difference between a sim that comes in a phone and a BYOP sim other then sometimes the initial activation tie you ran into. And that's why the CSR in chat that made the BYOP sim work was able to get around the imei tie in.
    All based on my experience.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpz1 View Post
    As lobo indicated you (OP) didn't need another sim. You could have just activated it with the TW sim that came in it without even a mention of rebranding unless you someday want it unlocked. Wham bam done.
    Thanks for the clarification. I incorrectly assumed that if I used that TW SIM card that I would be limited to the TW plan options. This will definitely make the process much smoother in the future.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    I purchased a Tracfone MyFlip for a homeless client.
    Why not get him/her signed up with SafeLink? Once approved the Safelink service can be put on that phone.
    Personal: Sprint Apple iPhone 6s (A1688) on Sprint Post Paid SERO Premium SWAC Plus running iOS 13.4.1 with Sprint 41.0 and PRL 55072 and modem firmware 7.51.01 and SIM card version 63.09a
    Work: Verizon LG G2

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    I purchased a Tracfone MyFlip for a homeless client.
    So no, you purchased a TW phone.

    As to why the SIM and IMEI are tied, in this case it's a Verizon issue (TW is Verizon only) coupled with how the TF companies handle their branded devices.

    Short version is they link the IMEI & SIM so you only need to enter one at activation. And when you entered the IMEI they activated the included SIM (not the BYOP SIM).

    I suspect had you switched the SIM back it (the one they activated) would have worked.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Relztrah View Post
    Thanks for the clarification. I incorrectly assumed that if I used that TW SIM card that I would be limited to the TW plan options. This will definitely make the process much smoother in the future.
    It becomes branded to match the brand of airtime you use to activate it.
    Also, the IMEI told them it was a branded (TW) phone in which you were trying to use a BYOP SIM.
    They will not allow a BYOP SIM in a branded phone. You have to know how to slip it by them.
    As ST Dog mentioned, the TW SIM was actually being activated on your first activation attempt. You could have saved a lot of time and effort if you had put it in the phone for it to receive the activation cell signal.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracfancier View Post
    It becomes branded to match the brand of airtime you use to activate it.
    Thanks for letting me know this which would indeed have saved me the time and effort. So there's no need to contact customer service to have it rebranded. And I am assuming that this is also the case with a PagePlus, correct?

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