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Thread: First New Phone in 12+ years! Where to start?

  1. #1
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    First New Phone in 12+ years! Where to start?

    Hello all. Hoping the collective minds here can lead to me to a good solution for a prepaid phone. I’m looking for that sweet spot between saving money and spending a little more for value.

    I’ve had a prepaid Tracfone for many, many years. It’s my “spare” phone. I keep it to have a backup phone in the house and I also use it as my placeholder phone number……the one you give when an online form requires a phone number but you don’t want the company to have your “real” phone number. But I don't USE the phone all that much; I probably use 100 minutes a year for talk and text, tops. I’ve been paying $99 per year to extend the life of the many, many minutes on my old phone.

    It’s time for new phone hardware as the current 2G (!) one no longer allows me to receive texts.

    Anyone have suggestions for a new Tracfone package to maximize value for my situation? My needs are as follows:

    ***I don’t care much about the phone itself as long as it has a QWERTY keyboard for texting e.g. not a flip phone. Keyboard can be external buttons like on an old Blackberry, or on screen. I don’t care about whether the phone allows for apps, video, cameras, or any of that jazz…….I have all of that on my main phone. I just need basic talk & text on this one.

    ***Must be able to port the existing Tracfone telephone number to the new phone

    ***I have over 7,000 Tracfone minutes on the current phone that expire 2/10/21. (Yes 7,000 minutes. Told ya I’ve had this phone for a long time!) If the best hardware solution is a new Tracfone, I’d obviously want to easily transfer those minutes to the new phone

    ***Want a pay-as-you-go phone, not something with a monthly bill

    ***Cost/value. COVID killed my industry and money’s pretty tight at the moment. I’d like to accomplish the above goals as cheaply as possible, though if there’s something out there that’s a screaming good value for just a bit more money, I’d nr interested

    The most hassle-free way to get another year of Tracfone service would be to get a new $30 Tracfone from Walmart, transfer my minutes, and buy another $99 year-long minute extender card to get me to February 2022. But hassle free is not always the best way! Suggestions?

  2. #2
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    You didn't say which carrier (on Tracfone) your old phone uses. Most current phones from TF nowadays use Verizon. If that's not an issue, read on. All current TF smartphones can do text using a "virtual" keyboad. Not an issue there.

    If you want to spend as little as possible, search Ebay for "Tracfone 1 year". There are many TF-branded smartphones bundled with 1 year of service and 1200 (or 1500) in each talk, text, data bucket for $50-$60 (cheaper than a $99 card) SOLD BY TRACFONE on Ebay. Buy one of them, activate it WITH A TRANSFER from your old phone. The phone number, days, balance on your old phone will be transferred to the new phone, then the bundled 1 year of service and the bundled units will be added on top of that. Make sure the new phone is activated WITH A TRANSFER from the old phone. Contact a TF rep by phone or Chat (recommended), use that term and the rep will know exactly what to do.

    TF smartphones made by LG, Moto, Samsung are usually good. Avoid Alcatel, BLU; in my opinion they're not as good as the other brands.

    Here's a Moto E6 bundled with 1 year and 1500 in each bucket for $59.99 . The Moto E6 is a decent phone.

    HSN (Home Shopping Network) also sells those bundles, and usually has a $20-OFF coupon for new customers.
    Last edited by hpham; 02-01-2021 at 04:08 PM.

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    I haven't a clue which carrier Tracfone uses; is there a way for me to figure this out? I live in a metro area with good coverage by all carriers, if that matters.

    eBay? Brilliant idea and not one I'd have thought of on my own.

    I'm already glad I didn't just drive to Wal-mart!

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    Also check QVC for bundles.
    https://www.qvc.com/electronics/phon...e%7C0#plModule

    HSN
    https://www.hsn.com/shop/tracfone/10...age=1&view=all

    Tracfone e-Bay store (pay attention to which are the Tracfones)
    https://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_nkw...reless&_sop=15

    What is your current phone model? If it has a SIM card give us the first six numbers.

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    First six numbers of SIM card - 890126

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by katykatkid View Post
    First six numbers of SIM card - 890126
    The first six numbers of the SIM ID determine the carrier: 890126 = T-Mobile, 890141 = AT&T, 891480 = Verizon.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by katykatkid View Post
    First six numbers of SIM card - 890126
    Your posts indicate you have an older model. There are differences in the new phones (smartphones) of which you may be unaware.
    Good that you came here before making troublesome mistakes because you just didn't know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracfancier View Post
    Your posts indicate you have an older model. There are differences in the new phones (smartphones) of which you may be unaware.
    Good that you came here before making troublesome mistakes because you just didn't know.
    By all means, educate me! What do I need to know?
    FWIW, I don't need a Tracfone smartphone. I've got all those capabilities in my iPhone. Just need a basic phone with talk & text to use as a backup.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by katykatkid View Post
    FWIW, I don't need a Tracfone smartphone. I've got all those capabilities in my iPhone. Just need a basic phone with talk & text to use as a backup.
    You indicated that you wanted a phone with a QWERTY keyboard (physical or virtual) for ease of texting. There's no current TF-branded phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard, so the only choice is a smartphone which has a virtual keyboard.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by katykatkid View Post
    By all means, educate me! What do I need to know?
    FWIW, I don't need a Tracfone smartphone. I've got all those capabilities in my iPhone. Just need a basic phone with talk & text to use as a backup.
    You should consider running your plans with us beforehand to head off any mistakes.
    Tracfone does not sell a basic phone any longer. They all use the three separate bucket system for talk, text, and data.

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    Quote Originally Posted by katykatkid View Post
    By all means, educate me! What do I need to know?
    You may or may not get TMFL on a service transfer to a new phone. If not, you can't use the old Basic airtime cards, but only Smartphone cards. There are lots of airtime purchase options now. Your current service is on T-Mobile, and a new TF branded phone will usually be on Verizon.

    There is an option in Checkout "More for your phone" for 365 service days for $50. Not sure if this works on an older phone, but should on a newer Tracfone branded phone. You said more airtime was not needed, so a bundle is maybe overkill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loboheeler View Post
    There is an option in Checkout "More for your phone" for 365 service days for $50. Not sure if this works on an older phone, but should on a newer Tracfone branded phone. You said more airtime was not needed, so a bundle is maybe overkill.
    Tracfone Customer Service has told me that I have to buy a new phone; adding more service time to my existing phone isn't an option.


    This conversation is already going over my head a bit (TMFL?) I'm looking for a new basic airtime phone. Is there some reason why the phone that hpham mentions above (from ebay) wouldn't work?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by loboheeler View Post
    There is an option in Checkout "More for your phone" for 365 service days for $50. You said more airtime was not needed, so a bundle is maybe overkill.
    The OP's phone is expiring soon, on 2/10/21, so service days are needed. Also "the current 2G (!) one no longer allows me to receive texts" and a phone with a QWERTY keyboard (not a flip phone) is desired. Although additonal units are not needed, it'd be hard to find a decent smartphone + $50 1-yr add-on to beat a bundle of $60.

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    Quote Originally Posted by katykatkid View Post
    Tracfone Customer Service has told me that I have to buy a new phone; adding more service time to my existing phone isn't an option.

    This conversation is already going over my head a bit (TMFL?) I'm looking for a new basic airtime phone. Is there some reason why the phone that hpham mentions above (from ebay) wouldn't work?
    I was afraid the older phones might not get all current service options.

    TMFL is Triple Minutes For Life, which triples the face value of of the old Basic airtime cards. They started phasing that out sometime after the Smartphone cards came out. Some of the older Basic phones had DMFL which only doubled the value. Yours maybe? Older basic phones can only use Basic airtime cards, older smartphones can use Basic or Smartphone cards, newer smartphones can only use Smartphone cards.

    Yes, you can just get whatever smartphone suits the need. It will run on Verizon, and have better voice quality if calling someone also using Verizon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    Although additonal units are not needed, it'd be hard to find a decent smartphone + $50 1-yr add-on to beat a bundle of $60.
    I don't think of TF bundles. Have lots of service time, only buy talk and data as needed, and have used only BYOP phones for 4-5 years. Different way of thinking than only using as a backup phone.

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