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Thread: Changing carriers with Tracfone

  1. #1
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    Changing carriers with Tracfone

    I currently have an unlocked iPhone 11 with a Tracfone AT&T sim card. I want to switch to a Verizon sim without changing my phone number or losing my balance. I know I can do it by porting out to Google Voice and then back to TF but I assume I would lose my balance and it would cost me $20 at Google Voice.

    Any way to do it just with TF itself? Online or chat? I have an old unused TF Verizon sim card that I assume is still good. Searching online I found posts from a few years ago that said it could be done but that it would take a couple of days to become effective. What happens during those couple of days?

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Coxner View Post
    I currently have an unlocked iPhone 11 with a Tracfone AT&T sim card. I want to switch to a Verizon sim without changing my phone number or losing my balance. I know I can do it by porting out to Google Voice and then back to TF but I assume I would lose my balance and it would cost me $20 at Google Voice.

    Any way to do it just with TF itself? Online or chat? I have an old unused TF Verizon sim card that I assume is still good. Searching online I found posts from a few years ago that said it could be done but that it would take a couple of days to become effective. What happens during those couple of days?

    Thanks.
    It can be done within TF. Depending on how old the VW sim is, you may want to get a new one as VVM and VoLTE might be an issue. Using an iPhone with TF/Verizon sim can cause issues with APN as well. That said, just activate the VW sim using the IMEI from the iPhone and do a Transfer from existing phone number. The old sim should continue to work until the transfer is complete. As usual, it is recommended to use Chat and get a transcript that includes current balances and service date.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cv91913 View Post
    It can be done within TF. Depending on how old the VW sim is, you may want to get a new one as VVM and VoLTE might be an issue. Using an iPhone with TF/Verizon sim can cause issues with APN as well. That said, just activate the VW sim using the IMEI from the iPhone and do a Transfer from existing phone number. The old sim should continue to work until the transfer is complete. As usual, it is recommended to use Chat and get a transcript that includes current balances and service date.
    Thanks! Appreciate the detailed explanation.

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    This transaction will require careful oversight. It is generally not smooth sailing when Tracfone changes your service over to a different carrier. The balances tend to get corrupted in the translation unless the Chat agent pays attention. You should always ask for an official balance before anything else happens. Then the Chat agent has a reference point. Especially lately, Tracfone has been flakey and less trustworthy. I don't mean to be an alarmist, but it's best to be careful when handing off your account between carriers. They may not have the best communication, and Tracfone does not have the best technology for handling things. Also take a couple of screenshots of your balances before you start. Also homemade copies of the Chat transcript if you can.

    I'm sure others will disagree with me, but I have had my share of mess-ups.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    This transaction will require careful oversight. It is generally not smooth sailing when Tracfone changes your service over to a different carrier. The balances tend to get corrupted in the translation unless the Chat agent pays attention. You should always ask for an official balance before anything else happens. Then the Chat agent has a reference point. Especially lately, Tracfone has been flakey and less trustworthy. I don't mean to be an alarmist, but it's best to be careful when handing off your account between carriers. They may not have the best communication, and Tracfone does not have the best technology for handling things. Also take a couple of screenshots of your balances before you start. Also homemade copies of the Chat transcript if you can.

    I'm sure others will disagree with me, but I have had my share of mess-ups.
    Appreciate the advice. Actually, I'm doing it so that I can take advantage of the new $15 AT&T Prepaid deal. You can't port a TF AT&T phone number to AT&T Prepaid. So I need to first get the number on to Verizon and can then port it to AT&T. That means I'm not too concerned about the possible loss of my balance. I'm more concerned that the transfer to VZ goes through ok.

    Or, maybe I should wait a few days. TMo and AT&T are both now offering very attractive $15 prepaid deals. Maybe VZ will react and offer a similar one. If so, I don't have to transfer my TF AT&T and could just port directly to VZ prepaid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Coxner View Post
    Appreciate the advice. Actually, I'm doing it so that I can take advantage of the new $15 AT&T Prepaid deal. You can't port a TF AT&T phone number to AT&T Prepaid. So I need to first get the number on to Verizon and can then port it to AT&T. That means I'm not too concerned about the possible loss of my balance. I'm more concerned that the transfer to VZ goes through ok.
    If you are going to eventually port your number to AT&T Prepaid, you will loose the TF balances anyway unless quickly reactivating with a new number. How did you find out you could not port to AT&T from TF/AT&T?

    A complaint about the T-Mobile $15 plan is there is a hard data cap. AT&T throttles it way down like most other plans. The "Limited time only" in both plans bothers me for ongoing price stability.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by loboheeler View Post
    If you are going to eventually port your number to AT&T Prepaid, you will loose the TF balances anyway unless quickly reactivating with a new number. How did you find out you could not port to AT&T from TF/AT&T?

    A complaint about the T-Mobile $15 plan is there is a hard data cap. AT&T throttles it way down like most other plans. The "Limited time only" in both plans bothers me for ongoing price stability.
    There's a page on AT&T Prepaid where you can check your phone number to see if it can be ported. When it said I couldn't port my TF AT&T I did some research and discovered that it's a known issue. I have 2 other phones. One is TF Verizon and that one can be ported. The other is H2O AT&T and it can't be ported.

    No guarantees but I read the "limited time only" meaning you can only sign up for it for a limited time, not that the price is necessarily limited in time. TMo is promising no price increase on their $15 plan for 5 years. Given that AT&T may be responding to the TMo challenge, I would think they will also keep it at $15 unless millions of people sign up for it and they lose money on it. You *can* port your number from AT&T Postpaid to this plan and a lot of people are doing that on Slickdeals. That does cost AT&T money.

    AT&T is also slightly better than TMo in that you can rollover data (to a max of 4GB), which you can't do on TMo. Although the biggest advantage is as you noted, AT&T allowing unlimited 128kbps after you burn your high speed. You won't be watching Netflix at 128kbps but you can check your mail, send texts and do a reasonable amount of web surfing at that speed. It's better than nothing. :-)

    You can check whether your number can be ported here: https://www.att.com/wireless/switch-and-save/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Coxner View Post
    I want to switch to a Verizon sim without changing my phone number or losing my balance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Coxner View Post
    That means I'm not too concerned about the possible loss of my balance.
    Well, which is it?

    If you don't care about your TF balance, then you can simply buy a $1 BYOP SIM kit and transfer your # to the VZW SIM by yourself. It may take a few hours to complete the transfer between carriers, and you will likely lose your text message balance in the process (seems to be happening a lot lately when switching between TF carriers).

    If you do care about your TF balance, then you'll want to be more diligent with the process. Making the switch through TF chat and getting your balance from them prior to the transfer is the best way to go. You'd probably still want to buy that $1 BYOP SIM kit to accomplish that.

    While you often can reuse old VZW SIM cards, if the one you have was from a TF branded phone it may not work in the unlocked iPhone.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/283230124002

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    The grass is not always greener on the other side.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tracfoner69 View Post
    Well, which is it?

    If you don't care about your TF balance, then you can simply buy a $1 BYOP SIM kit and transfer your # to the VZW SIM by yourself. It may take a few hours to complete the transfer between carriers, and you will likely lose your text message balance in the process (seems to be happening a lot lately when switching between TF carriers).

    If you do care about your TF balance, then you'll want to be more diligent with the process. Making the switch through TF chat and getting your balance from them prior to the transfer is the best way to go. You'd probably still want to buy that $1 BYOP SIM kit to accomplish that.

    While you often can reuse old VZW SIM cards, if the one you have was from a TF branded phone it may not work in the unlocked iPhone.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/283230124002
    I didn't make it very clear about the balance. I didn't want to lose the balance while going from TF AT&T to VZ in case I changed my mind about moving to AT&T Prepaid afterwards. I do still want to switch to TF VZ regardless. After the switch, if I do move to AT&T Prepaid then I obviously know the balance disappears. I may wait a few days to see if VZ reacts to the TMo and AT&T $15 deals and offers a similar one.

    I have an unused TF VZ sim card. When I check the TF site for new customers it shows the card is still valid.

    Thanks for the advice.

  11. #11
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    If you do decide to port the phone number to AT&T prepaid, then do as loboheeler suggested. Reactivate the Tracfone SIM with a new phone number to keep your balance going.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    If you do decide to port the phone number to AT&T prepaid, then do as loboheeler suggested. Reactivate the Tracfone SIM with a new phone number to keep your balance going.
    Good idea! I hadn't thought of that.

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    The grass is not always greener on the other side.
    Check that your sunglasses do not have green lenses.

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