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Anyone Use a Tracphone?
Old 01-03-2008, 07:28 AM   #1
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Anyone Use a Tracphone?

I resisted the urge for a cell phone during my working years but will be starting to travel more after my retirement a few months ago. I'd like to get a cell phone mainly for road emergencies and to check in briefly with family and friends while on the road. As far as I can tell, the Tracphone seems to fit the bill without a lot of expense? Even with two college degrees, I have trouble sorting through the fine print of cell phone offers and was wondering if anyone has used the Tracphone plan or if there might be something better out there? Thanks!
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:07 AM   #2
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I've got a cellphone from T-Mobile. No monthly charges, I pay $100 for a thousand minutes a year. It seems to fill my needs.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:11 AM   #3
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I've had a TracPhone for 5 years. I have never had a problem with it.
The phone it self is dated. Not one of those fancy thin things everyone has now.
I use it for the exact same thing you are talking about. When I am out of town to call home, and in case of an emergency.
I spend about $90 a year for a yearly re-activation fee and minutes.
The biggest complaint I have about the thing is the tedious process of re-activating/adding minutes to the phone on-line . You have to enter a lot of numbers in that process.
I tried the process over the phone, and was confronted with a person I could barely understand, and the process was not any easier.
On scale from 1-10, I would give it a 7.
Hope this helps.

Rob
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:14 AM   #4
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Don't know too much about Tracphone--I know of some who use it with no problems--but compare it to the prepay plans at AT&T, Alltel, Verizon, etc. Most of those have some initial cost for the phone and setup (under $100?) then if you prepay $100 you get 12 months before you have to pay again unless you use up your minutes before then. For your usage, you shouldn't use up the minutes and they do carry over. $100/yr seems to be the standard lowest rate I've seen. This is a lot better than the $35-$40/month regular plans for low cell phone users like us.

I took Alltel because they have the best coverage in my immediate area, but most elsewhere else that I've checked out so far they suck. In Austin, TX, or at BWI airport, I had to dial my number, then it tells me I have to reenter it and press #. I guess it's because I've roamed out of their network but I'd never had that happen with Cingular/AT&T. It's a huge pain because you have to memorize the number your calling to hit those numbers because once you start typing them you can't see the number you just called. I may not stay with them after I've used up this year.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:19 AM   #5
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My wife uses TracFone, and has for about 2 yrs now. She doesn't use her phone nearly as much as I use mine so TracFone works fine for her. 60 minutes time will last her about 2 months, and costs $21.79 including tax. I go online to their web site and spend about 5 minutes adding time when she needs it and that's it. The time's instantly added and she's good to go till next time. I bought the phone at Walmart and she's had no problems with it either. For a person who doesn't spend large amounts of time on the phone, I reccommend TracFone. I'm currently using AT&T but I need a new phone and they don't come cheap without a new plan. The plan I'm on isn't offered anymore and they want to up-price me to a new plan. No way I'm doing that, I don't normally use all the minutes I have now unless out of town. So...I may go to TracFone as well in the future. That way I only pay for what I use. Biggest down-side is that in addition to air-time, your actual "service time" is also on a ticking clock and subject to run out. So, you can simply buy 60 minutes of talk time and sit on it for a year. If you did that, your talk time would remain intact but your "service time" would expire. So either way you go, it's calculated to keep you coming back & updating & spending some $$. Still, I believe for a lower usage individual, who's mostly going to be using the phone in their contract area(outside area burns 2x minutes per minute of talk time) TracFone is a good and probably lest costly option.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robls View Post
The biggest complaint I have about the thing is the tedious process of re-activating/adding minutes to the phone on-line . You have to enter a lot of numbers in that process.
I tried the process over the phone, and was confronted with a person I could barely understand, and the process was not any easier.
On scale from 1-10, I would give it a 7.

Rob

I find the process of adding time to the TracFone a whole lot easier now than it used to be. They seem to have shortened the process a great deal. I don't have endless numbers to add in anymore. Maybe it has to do with the age of your phone? My wife changed phones a year back (forgot to mention that in the other post) and maybe the newer technology in the newer phone somehow eliminates the need to do all that entering. Still have a few codes to enter, but not like the original phone. I stand by my 5 minute estimate, maybe even less.

Marty
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by martyb View Post
For a person who doesn't spend large amounts of time on the phone, I reccommend TracFone.
TracFone sounds great, and I probably should have gone for it (but didn't). I have really had a hard time getting used to the concept of cell phones and actually using mine. I probably don't use even 200 minutes a year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by martyb View Post
I'm currently using AT&T but I need a new phone and they don't come cheap without a new plan. The plan I'm on isn't offered anymore and they want to up-price me to a new plan. No way I'm doing that, I don't normally use all the minutes I have now unless out of town.
Verizon was better about that and when I had to get a new phone recently, they extended my old plan which they haven't offered for years. So, that saves me $10/month compared with their cheapest present plan, and I got $50 off my new Motorola W385 (which I love), for extending. Just had to give Verizon a good word, even though I'd probably be better off with TracFone.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:58 AM   #8
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My Dad uses Tracfone and we just added his annual activation and minutes last week.

The initial purchase was about $100 for the phone and 450 minutes. The reactivation was $99 with another 400 minutes and his previous minutes rolled over since we activated within a day of his year running out.

I do his activation and adding of minutes and he only uses it occasionally, so the 400 minutes is plenty for him. $100 for a year of service is pretty cheap in my opinion.
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:15 AM   #9
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I use Virgin Mobile, which shares the Sprint network. $25 for the phone, $15 dollars added automatically every 90 days via credit card, 18 cents per minute. No complaints.
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:19 AM   #10
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I've got a cellphone from T-Mobile. No monthly charges, I pay $100 for a thousand minutes a year. It seems to fill my needs.
Same here. And by the way, if you almost never use the phone but want it for emergencies, if your car breaks down, et cetera...as long as you pay another $10 (for 35 minutes) before the expiration of your existing minutes, they roll over for another year once you've spent $100 in the plan.

So if you're like me and virtually never use the phone, after the initial $100 one-year investment you can keep paying $10 per year to keep the service alive and roll your old minutes over.
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TracFone - works fine
Old 01-03-2008, 10:03 AM   #11
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TracFone - works fine

We've used a TracFone and other than the tedious method of adding minutes, it works well for us. We especially like the coverage and have never had a problem getting a signal (from the north rim on the Grand Canyon, to the volcanoes in Hawaii, to the wilds of NC). I can't say the same thing for a Sprint phone I use for day-to-day calling.

However, the markets are always changing so I would encourage you to do a 1, 3, and 5 year cost analysis for each of the phones you are considering.
Determining the minutes you think you will use will be the key.

Mike Honeycutt
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:48 AM   #12
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If you are going to be traveling the cell phone is great in emergencies but it doesnt come without a big cost for most other applications in the form of roaming charges ,speak to your service provider about this charge before you consider their plan or you may be in for a shock when you're first bill is
$300 to $400 and you only made a few personal calls whilst traveling.
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Old 01-03-2008, 01:31 PM   #13
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jambo101 is correct that you want to be sure to understand if and when you would incur roaming charges. But many (most?) providers and plans today provide for extensive out of area coverage without roaming charges. I'm on Verizon and have been for several years. We've used our phones from coast to coast with no roaming charges.


For us, one of the most useful things about our cell phones is taking care of business and social calls while travelling. For example, we love northern Minnesota and drive up there from Chicago three or four times a year, twelve hours each way. I plan on hours of calls from the car, while DW drives, taking care of various business issues (if we're driving on a weekday) and long overdue social calls to friends and relatives. Coverage is solid all the way, folks frequently don't even know we're using the cell phone, and there are no roaming charges.

But, as jambo101 says, understand your plan so there are no surprises.
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Old 01-03-2008, 03:24 PM   #14
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Check who offers the best coverage in your area, thats if you can read the coverage maps and get a straight story from them.

We use tmobile to-go. I paid about $35 for two phones and a couple of hundred for my wifes RAZR. $100 bought a thousand minutes, good for a year. Putting a $10 refill card on before that year expires rolls those minutes over for another year.

The thousand minutes include LD and all fees.

So for three years use, our cost is about $260 one time for the phones and $330 for the minutes. $16 per month for three phones, we just leave one in each car.

Yep, we're still working on three year old minutes that I've rolled over twice. We tend to have pretty short conversations.
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Old 01-03-2008, 03:49 PM   #15
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Prepaid Cell Phones, Pay as You Go with Virgin Mobile USA - Official Site

I heartily reccomend Virgin Mobile, you can check on their web site if they have service coverage in your area. For $20.00 can get free Oyster phone with $20.00 airtime for 90 days then if you sign up with credit card will deduct $15.00 every 90 days for $60.00 annual cost for 440 minutes total per year at 18 cents per minute. I have never had any issues and have used phone in Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan without any additional charges.

Unused minutes roll over forever as long as you are signed up for the $15 per 90 days. I have been using them for 5 years now and have about $80.00 in my balance
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Old 01-03-2008, 03:53 PM   #16
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Yes, tracfone has worked well for me, and been very cheap.
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:44 PM   #17
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I'm glad roger r asked about Tracfone, I just bought two last Sunday. The older Verizon phone up and died and since we virtually never used it the Tracfone was the cheaper way out for us. I looked at the coverage maps for others and Tracfone has better coverage for us. I just wanted it so my wife has one if the car breaks down, etc. so thought I'll just get one for myself too. There have been times when a 5-minute call would have saved some confusion.

Also, saw a news story that phone booths are on the endangered species list and will be extinct in 5 - 10 years. Too bad for Superman.

Out of the gate I bought the 120-minute cards since we're helping a relative move to DE from MD (partly via U-haul) and it'll be good to have. Otherwise we'll probably just get the 60-minute cards.

Another advantage of the prepaid phones is if it gets lost/stolen you're not out much money and don't have to fight with the phone company over the overseas phone calls.
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Old 01-03-2008, 04:49 PM   #18
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I use Virgin Mobile, which shares the Sprint network. $25 for the phone, $15 dollars added automatically every 90 days via credit card, 18 cents per minute. No complaints.

DW and I both use with good success also. Just upgraded DW's phone for $20 and did all changes on their web site without any problems.
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Old 01-03-2008, 05:14 PM   #19
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Martyb,
I got on ATT Wireless website and set up an online account then clicked on upgrade phone. It checks how long since your last phone upgrade and tells you if you are eligible. Usually 18 months....No pressure to change plans at all and I got a free phone without changing plans though I did have to extend the old plan for 24 months.
Roger R
I have a Tracphone for my mother and have no trouble with it. I add minutes by buying them on the website with credit card and enter very few or no numbers on the phone. The minutes just appear on the phone. If you let it run out or buy a new card you have to go through the number entering torture.

2fer
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Old 01-03-2008, 05:24 PM   #20
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Have used Tracfone for a year for both me and DW. Coverage is great and I got a Motorola flip phone plus minutes for $20. I use mine for w*rk and have been all over the country with no problem. There is no extra roaming charge.
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