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Thread: Verizon bent on TracFone buy even as Prepaid Brand Loses Subs

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    Verizon bent on TracFone buy even as Prepaid Brand Loses Subs

    https://www.fiercewireless.com/opera...ch-losing-subs

    Verizon remains adamant that its nearly $7 billion acquisition of TracFone will close before the end of the year, yet lawmakers and consumer groups continue to push for conditions on a transaction they deem harmful to consumers.

    This is all happening as the object of Verizon’s desire is losing subscribers. During its second-quarter earnings, TracFone owner América Móvil reported a loss of 549,000 prepaid customers at TracFone, which ended the quarter with 20.3 million subscribers compared with 20.9 million at the end of the first quarter.

    TracFone’s Lifeline brand, called SafeLink, accounted for the majority of the losses, at 378,000. It’s also the brand most at the center of controversy. TracFone’s largest single brand, Straight Talk, reported losses of 106,000 for the quarter........................................... ....................

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    Quote Originally Posted by offthegrid View Post
    During its second-quarter earnings, TracFone owner América Móvil reported a loss of 549,000 prepaid customers at TracFone, which ended the quarter with 20.3 million subscribers compared with 20.9 million at the end of the first quarter.

    TracFone’s Lifeline brand, called SafeLink, accounted for the majority of the losses, at 378,000.
    I don't know if it's still happening, but in the past those losses were caused not by people cancelling Safelink (not many would want to give up free service) but due to "ghost"/duplicate subscribers being weeded out after audits. At many places, there were tents setting up on street corners by unauthorized "agents" signing up people for Safelink to get commission without checking whether or not they were eligible or already had Safelink/Lifeline.

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    Verizon bent on TracFone buy even as Prepaid Brand Loses Subs

    I remember a couple of weeks ago a salesman for enrollment was telling me that I could have maximum of three lines per household. I could of sworn that it's one per household.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Walcott View Post
    I remember a couple of weeks ago a salesman for enrollment was telling me that I could have maximum of three lines per household. I could of sworn that it's one per household.
    Yep, one line per household. Some greedy people signed up with multiple providers (Safeline, Assurance Wireless, etc) and got multiple lines. It used to take a while for the government to cross-check and deactivate the extra lines. Don't know if the government is getting any faster in weeding out the fraudsters.

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    I'd like to see a comprehensive eligibility audit engagement contracted to Deloitte or Ernst & Young, etc.

    Bet over half of the program participants would get their freebie phones that the rest of us have been paying for taken away!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpham View Post
    I don't know if it's still happening, but in the past those losses were caused not by people cancelling Safelink (not many would want to give up free service) but due to "ghost"/duplicate subscribers being weeded out after audits. At many places, there were tents setting up on street corners by unauthorized "agents" signing up people for Safelink to get commission without checking whether or not they were eligible or already had Safelink/Lifeline.
    Yeah, Tracfone-Safelink and Sprint both got substantial fines for keeping ineligible people as active accounts and collecting the Lifeline payment for them. Another criteria of eligibility is that the phone has to be used at least once a month.

    T-Mobile wound up having to pay Sprint's fine after they bought Sprint.

    During the audit that caught Tracfone-Safelink they found that about 40% of Lifeline recipients were suspected to be ineligible across the whole program. Changes to Lifeline auditing were made that was supposed to tighten up on that.

    OTOH, only about 40% of those who are eligible request and receive the Lifeline service.

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    Is there something wrong with the Lifeline handsets or they are on the wrong carriers? I heard that the handsets are trash and maybe people can't use T-Mobile or whatever. Or can't afford to buy a better handset to mask that they are on Lifeline.

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    Do they have to use the provided phone number?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    Is there something wrong with the Lifeline handsets or they are on the wrong carriers? I heard that the handsets are trash and maybe people can't use T-Mobile or whatever. Or can't afford to buy a better handset to mask that they are on Lifeline. Do they have to use the provided phone number?
    I don't know about Safelink (administered by Tracfone). I can only speak about Lifeline service/phone provided by Assurance Wireless/Virgin Mobile (now seems to be owned by T-mo).

    Here's the List of free Assurance Wireless phones . They're all junk. Initially, they gave my daugher a Kyocera Jax which is a dumb phone, when she signed up in 2012. After a few years, they started offering smartphones so she requested a new phone. They sent her an ANS UL40 (you don't get to choose) which is terribly slow, needs several taps on each button before it responses, etc. There are reviews of it on YouTube.

    If you don't like their free phones, you can buy one but only from Assurance, you cannot use a phone bought somewhere else because they won't activate it. They sell a variety of phones from big brands, but at very high prices. In December 2019, I bought for my daughter a Samsung A10e and they charged $200.

    Safelink from Tracfone wasn't available for our location when we applied in 2012, so we went with Assurance. When Safelink became available in Kansas a few years ago and sent us their brochure, I called their C.S. and the rep was dumber than a rock. The application form says that we can switch from another Lifeline provider to Safelink. But when I told the rep that we had Lifeline with Assurance and wanted to switch to Safelink, she was adamant that we could not switch. Since my daughter doesn't use cell service much (she mostly uses her A10e on WiFi to run apps), I decided not to pursue a switch.

    I know you can request a change of number from Assurance, but I don't know about porting in your number from another carrier.

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    That's likely a policy inherited from Virgin Mobile who owned and ran Assurance. Tmobile needs to clean house there, lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    Is there something wrong with the Lifeline handsets or they are on the wrong carriers? I heard that the handsets are trash and maybe people can't use T-Mobile or whatever. Or can't afford to buy a better handset to mask that they are on Lifeline.
    My SafeLink free phone was a very cheap Alcatel, and ran on T-Mobile. Ok at home in town, but worthless just a few miles away. You can change the phone, but not sure about changing carriers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loboheeler View Post
    My SafeLink free phone was a very cheap Alcatel, and ran on T-Mobile. Ok at home in town, but worthless just a few miles away. You can change the phone, but not sure about changing carriers.
    according to this reddit post, you can change carriers - https://www.reddit.com/r/TracFone/co...cfonesafelink/

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    Quote Originally Posted by october262 View Post
    according to this reddit post, you can change carriers - https://www.reddit.com/r/TracFone/co...cfonesafelink/
    It used to be fairly difficult changing carriers on Tracfone. You had to convince them you had no service with the carrier the phone came with. They would also often say the phone was not capable, even if it was a DL model.

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    I have a relative who did BYOD via Safelink on T-Mobile.

    When he got the SIM he just popped it into his unlocked Galaxy S10. He claims it works great! VoLTE and Hotspot work.




    Sent from my iPhone using HoFo
    “The Internet wasn’t meant to be metered in bits and bytes, so it’s insane that wireless companies are still making you buy it this way. The rate plan is dead — it’s a fossil from a time when wireless was metered by every call or text.” John Legere 1/5/2017

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    One of the big advantages of SafeLink over most other Lifeline providers is that they allow BYOD-- and you can use inexpensive Tracfone handsets as an affordable upgrade.
    My Tello referral code is P3BSR5HV, and gets both of us 10 Tello Dollars to pay for a plan.
    https://tello.com/account/register?_referral=P3BSR5HV

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