Pros Pre-paid 9 cents per minute. Easy to re-charge minutes. No contracts. No surprises. Good alternative for low volume users like under 300 minutes per month. If you used 300 minutes it would 27 bucks per month without any extra charges.
Cons Not a good deal for high volume users or big minute users.
Summary I don't have a need to make alot of cell calls but I wanted to have one for when I am driving or away and needed to make or receive a call. After checking out all the carriers I found Tracfone to be the best deal for me and my cell needs. There is no muss and no fuss. I checked out all the other carriers like Verizon, Unicel, AT&T etc and even with their most basic plans I was stuck with a 1 or 2 year contract and more minutes than I would use which would factor in to my cost per minute.
So after doing my research I decided that Tracfone would be the best deal for me. I will only use it for 60-120 minutes per month so a 400 minute plan does me no good and is a waste of money if you factor in the plan price vs minutes used. For example a Verizon plan Basic gives you 400 anytime minutes for a total of 50 bucks per month including taxes etc. But you get free nights and weekends which I really don't need.
So I went to Walmart and for $17.88 I got a Tracfone LG200c flip phone which came with an AC charger, a car cigarette lighter charger, a leather phone case and a headset for hands free use. The phone also was DMFL or Double Minutes For Life so when I buy say 120 minutes for 29.95 I get 240 minutes. Also if you pay attention there are Bonus Codes which can add a free 60 minutes. So for 17.88 plus 29.95 I got the LG200c and 330 minutes without any contracts or monthly fees and the minutes will rollover. With DMFL my airtime is about 9 cents per minute. It also can text which i don't use.
For my first month I used about 60 minutes and my monthly cost was $5.40 for the month. If next month it costs me 20 bucks...no big deal.
For me this is such a good deal I am thinking of having my landline disconnected since I spend $32 per month or $384 per year. I am guessing my Tracfone will cost me about $120 per year total at the very most.
I have encountered zero problems in my first month of use.
Pros There are none
Cons too many to say
Summary TracFone has the worst customer service I've ever seen in my life. Don't waste your money! I've tried for the last 18 days to start up my service. I've had no luck. The company has given me 4 different numbers, in the wrong area codes. They have sent me another SIM card, that is not compatible in my area. They said that they would send me a second SIM card, LAST WEEK, I called today and I was told that the SIM card was canceled. I am absolutely aggravated and I feel extremely ripped off! I gave them money, so that I could have a cell phone. They did not come through with service. They love to give you the run around and put you on hold, repeatedly, for 2-3 minutes at a time. They love to say, I need to update my supervisor. They also love to tell you that they will call you back in 24-48 hours and (not) surprisingly the don't call you back. When they ask me what I want, I tell them get the service to work or give me back my money. They say we are not allowed to give back your money. So, you can see how I would feel RIPPED OFF! They also like to put you on hold, forever, and then wonder why you are so upset. PLEASE be warned, this is the absolute worst customer service that I've ever run in to in my life.
Pros My recepiton is great and I'm paying only about $8.00 mth for service. With "double minutes" and promo codes, I'm getting 1000 minutes/year for $100.00 If the phone is lost, I'm out $30, not $200 for a replacement phone! BEST DEAL FOR THE $$$.
Cons Tracfone isn't for someone (like my wife) who spends hours on the phone every day chatting (for her, I have AT&T for $40/mth). Photos from the camera phone must be sent in text messages to web sites to print, no USB into the computer.
Summary I have owned a Tracfone for 3 years and just purchased one for my elderly mother who wanted a basic cell phone for when she's out. If you don't spend a lot of time on your phone, Tracfone will be less expensive for you than most standard network plans. Most of my calls are short calls (1-5 minutes) and I rarely use more than 60 minutes a month. I don't need to surf the web, watch TV, etc...from my phone, just quick calls or short text messages to friends and co-workers. In my area, Tracfone connects through the AT&T network, so the quality of the signal is great. I've also taken my Tracfone to New York, Las Vegas and even Alaska and had no problems. (If you travel outside the US though, it won't work.) I also love the fact that I can call relatives in Italy for the same cost per minute as calls to friends in the U.S. This is much cheaper than using either my home phone line or my wife's AT&T cell phone. If you have relatives overseas, check if you can call to that country using Tracfone's long distance service. To call an international number, you call a Tracfone 800 number, then enter the international phone number.Where did you buy the phone? Did you get it from a local store or online? Since Tracfone uses different networks in different areas, not all Tracfones work everywhere. If you buy from a local store, you're pretty sure it will work on the local network Tracfone uses in your area.
Buying a Phone: When you buy a new Tracfone, be sure to buy one with "Double minutes" included. This means that, when you buy 400 minutes, you'll get 800 minutes, if you buy 60 minutes, you'll get 120 minutes. My "Double Minutes" Motorola w-376 was only $29.95 for a new phone. A "Double Minutes" card cost $50, so I'm already ahead $20.00 and have a "free" phone. Also, because Tracfone buys their service from the major wireless carriers (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobal, etc...) be sure to buy your phone from a local store or from their website to insure compatability with your local network. BUYER BEWARE IF YOU BUY ON E-BAY!!!
Buying Minutes: I buy my minutes through the Tracfone website. This way, I can usally see if there's any problem before I make the final purchase. Also, I always check if there's some promo for additional free minutes. After purchasing the minutes online, the minutes are transfered to my phone, usually withing 30 seconds. In spite of all the customer service issues I've read about, I believe that, if you're careful when entering the regestration information, you won't have any problem activating the phone.
I want to point out that Tracfone has a pattented "remaining airtime" display on their phones that show you how many minutes you have left on the phone and the expiration date you must renew by every time you turn on the phone. Also, if you renew before the expiration date, any unused minutes are "rolled over" to the new expiration date. Minutes can be transfered to a new phone if you need to do that as well.
The Motorola w-376 phone i purchased also has a camera phone (low res.) and basic internet connection (Tracfone's web site only for news, weather, sports, misc). I later purchased Tracfone's Motorola w-260 for my mother without these extrafeatures. Love both phones!!! Don't expect high tech phones, just good basic phones that work (I personally have avoided the cheap $10.00 phones).
There's lots of complaints about customer service. I have only had to call them once. Tthe service is outsourced overseas (who's isn't), so it can be hard to communicate. But we worked patiently together and solved the problem of transfering minutes from an old Tracfone phone that was stolen onto the new phone.
In sumary: For people who don't spend hours on the phone, Tracfone is a grat value and the phones work great. Buy the "double minutes" includes phones and watch for promos and your cost can be about $.10/minute, $8.00 month. VALUE FOR THE DOLLAR, YOU CAN'T BEAT TRACFONE.
Updated on Mar 16, 2009
Pros No per-day charges, works anywhere, supports text msg
Cons Must change out SIM card whenever you move to new area
Summary I've had a Net10 phone for years. Its easy, its cheap to use and it has great national coverage. I bought one for my son in college and it saved us a tremendous amount of money. Text messaging is enabled by default at 5 cents/message. More than I can say for my wife's ATT contract which requires $10/month for text messages. Net10 is an easy "Yes" buy for anyone but those who have had their cell phone surgically attached to their jaws because they use them so much.
"Very Good Phone"on by Normnunn
Pros The phone is designed to do what a phone should do, receive and send calls. All the bells, birds and whistles are left to he big guys. This is simplicity.
Cons Nothing to complain about and I have been using the TracFone for over a year.
Summary I bought the phone at its basics, that is, three months and 60 minutes. I renew the time three months at a time staying with the basic service plan. If the phone poops out I am only losing a few bucks. So far no problems. After close to fifteen years of paying huge prices and long contracts for cell service I went with TracFone and couldn't be more delighted. I rarely use a cell phone, but it works well in every application I have tried. Sometimes a little noisy, but the expensive ones were no better. Once again, it is a basic phone, send calls and receive calls what else do you need?