What You Need to Know


Tracfone is one of the largest prepaid mobile service providers in the United States. Thanks to partnerships with major retailers, gas stations and other mobile providers, finding Tracfone time cards and devices is easy nearly anywhere in the US. Offering coverage on all four major US networks, they also offer unrivaled coverage--even amongst postpaid carriers.

Tracfone offers both prepaid bundles and PAYG plans. Prepaid bundles range between $15 per month and $125 per year. All PAYG top offs are good for 90 days and range between $19.99 and $79.99.

If you need a phone, this carrier has a great roster of options ranging from the latest flagships to basic, budget-friendly phones. They also offer phone financing if you prefer to avoid upfront costs. Want to bring your phone to Tracfone? They support most unlocked GSM phones--including those from Sprint, Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile.

What’s Good?

  • Great coverage options
  • Long-term cards are ideal for occasional use
  • No contracts for service
  • No early termination fees
  • Bring Your Own Device support
  • Easy access to retail locations

What’s Bad?

  • Phone financing includes fees and interest depending on the model chosen
  • Low data caps on monthly bundles
  • Confusing array of plan options

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Notable Features

  • In-Store Access: If you’re looking to avoid the costs of major carriers, you’re often left without a way to walk into a store to pick up devices, accessories or phone time. As one of the oldest prepaid carriers in the US, there’s a good chance you can find a retail location selling Tracfone devices or time cards within a few minutes of wherever you area.
  • Bring Your Own Device: Until just a few years ago, using Tracfone meant dealing with locked phones and budget devices. Today, you can use Tracfone with most unlocked smartphones by swapping in a Tracfone SIM.
  • Good Device Selection: Many prepaid providers leave you choosing between a list of phones you’ve never heard of. Tracfone offers popular flagships along with an assortment of budget-friendly options to ensure a perfect phone for your needs.

Awards and Recognitions

As Tracfone doesn’t manage any of its own networks, it tends be overlooked by the typical mobile ratings and awards groups. However, online forums and reviews for the service are positive--particularly for those looking for low prices or prepaid options for emergency or casual use.

They currently have an A+ rating and accreditation through the Better Business Bureau with 4337 complaints closed in the last 3 years.

How’s the Network Coverage and Speed?

Offering an accurate summary of coverage or speed with this carrier is difficult. This is because they use the networks of all 4 major carriers. Depending on your device and region, you might even bounce between a few networks.

We recommend checking the summaries for the individual carriers to get an idea of what speeds to expect. You can use the links below!

For more information about coverage and networks in your area, be sure to check out their Coverage Map.

Do They Charge Roaming Fees?

Thanks to the ability to use the networks of every major carrier in the U.S. roaming isn’t a concern with this carrier for calls from the U.S.

However, international roaming is not possible with Tracfone. If you’re using an unlocked phone, you should be able to swap in a prepaid SIM from a carrier at your destination or pick up a travel SIM before your trip.

What About Long Distance Fees?

All Tracfone plans include calling to any number in the U.S.

If you need to place calls to another country, you’ll find a few options available:

  • Tracfone International Long Distance: Using a special number, you can call more than 100 global destinations for the same price as a local call. The feature is included with all plans. For more information, consult their Basic International FAQ.
  • $10 Global Calling Card: These cards carry over from month to month and provide affordable rates to popular destinations around the world. Rates start at $0.01 per minute. You can add as many cards as you need to your line of service each month.

For more information on international long distance options, consult their International Calling page.

Can I Tether My Phone?

No, you cannot tether on Tracfone plans.

The Terms and Conditions state:

“Devices capable only of using data are strictly prohibited and Your use of any such device is grounds for immediate termination of Service without a refund.”

Can I Rollover Unused Data?

The expiration date on data added to your account depends on the top-off used. Monthly value plans and bundles do not include data rollover. However, long-term top off cards allow you to roll over unused data for up to 12 months.

What Add-ons or Bundles are Available?

As Tracfone uses top-off cards to add features and services to your account, there are not add-ons or bundles available.

Can I Bring My Own Device?

Yes! The carrier supports unlocked GSM and CDMA phones. You will need an activation kit--available both in-store and online.

For more information on bringing your own device--or to start the process online--refer to their Bring Your Own Phone page.

Do They Charge an Early Termination Fee?

No! You can leave the service at any time by not renewing your monthly card or by cancelling your auto-refill.

If you financed your device, you should contact the financing company prior to cancelling to check for any fees they might charge.

Can I Port My Number To or From Tracfone?

Yes! They follow all Wireless Number Portability requirements. If they have coverage in the area you’re transferring from and the account you wish to transfer your number from is active and in good standing, you should have no problems.

They recommend starting the process through their Porting Tool.

To complete the process, you will need:

  • The phone number you wish to transfer
  • The account number the phone number is on
  • The name of the account holder
  • The billing address on the account
  • The PIN or security password on the account

According to their site, the process can take anywhere from a few hours to 30 days depending on the carrier.

Will They Unlock My Phone?

Yes! For current or former customers, unlocking is free. Non-former customers might pay a small fee.

General requirements include:

  • The phone you wish to unlock must be active on the network for 12 months prior to unlocking and maintained service throughout those 12 months.
  • The phone must not be reported lost or stolen

For additional details on unlocking requirements and the process involved, check their Terms and Conditions.

You cannot unlock many Tracfone phones released before 2015. If you cannot unlock your Tracfone, they will allow you to trade in your phone toward the purchase of a new Tracfone phone or provide the trade in value as a refund.


For additional questions about pricing, features and coverage, be sure to check our Tracfone Q&A Forum. It’s filled with questions and answers from people like you looking to get the most out of their mobile service!

If you spot any errors or missing information, please let us know! It's appreciated and will help make this page better for everyone.


Voice network: CDMA, GSM
Data network: 1xRTT, EV-DO

TracFone Wireless Customer Service

Mailing Address:
TracFone Wireless, Inc., Executive Resolution Department, 9700 N.W. 112th Avenue, Miami, FL 33178

Telephone:
800-867-7183

Helpful Links

Official Website, Facebook, Twitter, Coverage Maps, Manage Your Account

Review Sources

TracFone Wireless Question?

Visit the TracFone Wireless Q&A Forum to get answers, ask a question or help others.


I rate TracFone Wireless:

Help inform others by sharing your experience with TracFone Wireless

Reviews (4.8/10 Avg. rating)


Reviews.com

No unlimited plans

from Reviews.com
Perfect for individuals and families on a budget, TracFone has some of the best pay-as-you-go plans in the industry. However, the absence of an unlimited plan may be a problem for frequent cell phone users... Full review
The Wirecutter

For a temporary supplement to your existing service

from The Wirecutter
If you don’t need the great coverage of AT&T or Verizon all the time and have an unlocked phone, swapping in an AT&T/Verizon SIM only when you need it is a good workaround... Full review
handymanalex

Cheap no-contract plan and good coverage

I had issues with activation. The minutes and time purchase process was confusing. But once I got through the initial learning curve, I have all the voice and text services I need in the three states I frequent. Their technical support is poor.

<p>I had issues with activation. The minutes and time purchase process was confusing. But once I got through the initial learning curve, I have all the voice and text services I need in the three states I frequent. Their technical support is poor. <br></p>

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Good Service all the time

Have had Tracfone for several years, and have had very minor issues. When I did their customer support was awesome, talked to me in my language (cel phone for dummies) and helped me with making my phone(s) work better.

Have had Tracfone for several years, and have had very minor issues. When I did their customer support was awesome, talked to me in my language (cel phone for dummies) and helped me with making my phone(s) work better.

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Horrible coverage

I bought this as a Tracfone because I was moving to the middle of nowhere where the only service I have seen work is my mom's Tracfone. However, this phone does not work in the same places her $15 older model phone does. When asked about it at a Walmart (where I purchased mine for $40) we were tol... More

I bought this as a Tracfone because I was moving to the middle of nowhere where the only service I have seen work is my mom's Tracfone. However, this phone does not work in the same places her $15 older model phone does. When asked about it at a Walmart (where I purchased mine for $40) we were told that the newer phone models do not work as well as the older ones. Would have been nice to know that before spending the extra money for this model of phone! I am disappointed in both the phone and the service itself.

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Friendly Neighbour Numbers

Most travelers from Canada into the U. S. will choose TracFone for the convenience of being able to call anywhere in the U.S. & Can without L.D. charges. HOWEVER they really give a client the run around in trying to obtain as they advertise "a Canadian number for your friends & family. If they gi... More

Most travelers from Canada into the U. S. will choose TracFone for the convenience of being able to call anywhere in the U.S. & Can without L.D. charges. HOWEVER they really give a client the run around in trying to obtain as they advertise "a Canadian number for your friends & family. If they give you a number which is toll free from Canada " for friends & family" as they advertise...THEY DO NOT TELL YOU UNLESS YOU HAVE HIGH MONTHLY USE THEY WILL DISCONNECT & they do not tell you they have disconnected your number. When you try to have your "friends & family" number connected they will give you a million excuses every time you phone - like "oh sorry they are no lines available" every operator you speak with has the same pat answerr - just like they are reading from a script..... Solution....TracFone...re-activate a customers number &TELL YOUR CUSTOMERS...with Can & Mexican numbers they must use it (& tell them how often) or it will be disconnected.

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