$49 Discount on a Tracfone Annual Smartphone Plan Card ($125 Reg)

With the expiration of my Tracfone service coming up in two weeks, I needed to shop for a new smartphone-only annual plan that normally sells for $125. This card includes 1500 minutes/ 1500 texts / 1.5 GB data plus 1 year of service. I found a deal on eBay and ended up paying $75.99 (instead of $125) for the same, plus an extra 300 minutes/ 300 texts / 0.3 GB data bonus to boot. That’s a discount of $49 or 39% and I got more than what I expected!

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What I Needed

I wanted to get a Tracfone annual plan because the service period lasted the longest – one full year. If, for that year, I still needed more minutes for calling, I would add on another pay as you go card with more minutes. However, by buying an annual plan card, it gave me peace of mind to know that my service and phone number will not expire for at least a year. It also saves me time in having to shop for cards a few times during the year and key in the long pin codes to activate them.

Why eBay

I proceeded to eBay to look. Why eBay? I’ve always found prices to be competitive (you can compare amongst sellers) and the process easy. There have also been times when the cost was a few dollars more than card’s face value, but for the convenience and sometimes lack of sales tax, I’m OK with it. A lot of them do the part of adding on the minutes/text/data credits for you, which appealed to me. All I needed was to purchase and leave the eBay seller my phone number. And then presto, the minutes will be added to my phone. No need to scratch and activate a physical card.

There are numerous other options for purchasing Tracfone cards, such as going through their website or app or going to a grocery store. All roads lead to Rome. Choose what works best for you. Anyway, my story continues …

Found a Great Discount

This time round, I stumbled upon awesome an eBay deal for a Tracfone annual card. The seller was advertising a price of $75.99 for the $125 annual card. They also had another listing for $71.99 for the $99 annual card. You get 1200 minutes/ 1200 texts / 1.2 GB data for that card if your phone has Triple Minutes for Life. The $75.99 price for a $125 annual plan made the most sense to me, as it offered more minutes/text/data that I forsee myself needing for the year ahead.

On a per minute/ per text or per MB basis, this is the lowest I’ve paid ever for my Tracfone minute. A total or 1800 minutes (after 300 minutes bonus) for $75.99 worked out to 4.2 cents per minute/ text/ MB. This is better than any smartphone-only plan or triple minutes for life deal.

Skepticism

However, I was skeptical. What if the seller is a scam? Then I looked at the feedback for their account. They have been an eBay seller for 4 years, and they have a 99.9% positive rating. I found tons of recent positive feedback on purchases of the same Tracfone annual card I was eyeing! I concluded that the risk was low. And if they somehow were not able to deliver, I felt that I will still be able to ask eBay for a refund.

So I proceeded to make a quick eBay purchase.

It Worked!

I purchased this on a late Saturday evening. It took 2 days before the order was fulfilled on Monday. On top of the 1500 minutes, there was an extra 300 minutes added. Total 1800 minutes/ 1800 text/ 1.8 GB data added. Bingo!

Based on this experience, I would buy from the seller again if I needed a refill. I would recommend this to my friends to help them save some money. The main downside is that the seller says it takes up to 3 days to fulfill an order. If you need your refill urgently, there are other sellers who will probably do this quicker. If I needed to get some quick minutes, I would just buy a cheaper card at the store as a stop-gap measure, but I would probably get this offer to buffer up my balance. I’m going to need those minutes sooner or later.

I doubt this offer will stay open much longer. I don’t think they any seller is going to have an unlimited supply of cheap minutes. I’m just glad the seller delivered this round.

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Purchase Tips

If you do purchase, make sure to add your phone number to your order so the seller can credit you the minutes, text and data. In my case, I had forgotten to add my phone number during the purchase. I then sent them a message with my Tracfone number right after.

Also, I did not receive any SMS when the minutes were added. I only found out later by messaging the seller and then checking my Tracfone smartphone app. So give it a day or two, and then check your balance through the Tracfone app or however you normally do it.

Hope this helps. If this also worked for you or if you have any comments, let us know below.

Check out phones and plans on the official Tracfone website.

 

Best Cell Phone Plans for International Students Studying in the US

International students on college campusHaving a reliable cell phone plan is a great convenience for international students currently staying in the United States. Cell phone plans have decreased in costs since the early 2010s as a result of increased competition and an increase of telecommunications bandwidth.

Today, international students in the US have a lot of options to pick from, and for less than they would have if they were here 5 years ago. With so many options, picking the right plan can get confusing. Company pricing tends to vary due to cell phone and monthly plan options. To help you make an informed decision, here are some of the best plans available for international students like yourself.

Simple Mobile

Simple Mobile is a prepaid no contract provider that offers cell phone plans ranging from $25 to $60 a month. International students can save even further by opting to automatically recharge their account each month. The $25 a month plan includes unlimited calling, texting and 1 GB of high speed data. Once the high speed data is used up, the speed goes into 2G. For higher data caps, they have plans going all the up to truly unlimited for $60. With the proliferation of campus wifi, students can adjust their plan costs to reflect their data needs.

What’s stands out about Simple Prepaid is that their plans include international texting and international calling to a number of countries like Mexico, Canada, China and India. For other countries, customers can access low rates by adding a global calling card.

  • $25 a month for unlimited talk, text and 1 GB of high-speed data
  • Other plan options to suit a variety of budgets and high-speed data needs
  • International texting and calling included in plan (for calling 60 countries)
  • Truly Unlimited high-speed data plan option
  • Reliable service using the T-Mobile network (they have a virtual network agreement)
  • No US credit score needed
  • No contract, stop service or upgrade/downgrade plan anytime
  • Works with unlocked GSM phones

 

FreedomPop

If you are looking for great value, it’s hard to beat FreedomPop. They have a free phone plan that gives 200 talk minutes, 500 text messages and 500 MB of high-speed data each month. In an age where more and more communications are routed through internet apps and wifi is widely available, their free plan is sufficient for a lot of students. However, they have numerous upgrade options as well. Plans go as high as 4 GB per month, and 1.5 cents per MB for paid plan users.

One advantage of FreedomPop for international students is their Global Free 100 plan. This is a free add-on option that gives users 100 free minutes a month to call over 50 countries. There are upgrade plans that allow for more minutes.

If you travel to your home country, your phone can still work through wifi calling as long as you have access to good wifi reception. This gives you an easy way to stay in touch with your friends in the US.

  • Free plan 200 talk minutes, 500 text messages and 500 MB of data
  • Freedom to upgrade to higher level plans
  • Free global plan that allows calls to 50 overseas destinations
  • Wifi calling app – when you are in your home country, make and receive calls and texts just like in the US
  • Good service powered by VoIP and Sprint’s 4G LTE data network (they have a virtual network agreement)
  • No contract
  • Bring your own unlocked phone – GSM SIM card option for unlocked phones (Free 200 MB instead of 500 MB with FreedomPop phone)

 

Tracfone

TracFone offers quality mobile phone services which are highly reliable at an affordable price along with the much-needed flexibility. For students on a budget or those who do not need to use their phones much, this is a welcome option. A smartphone plan costs starts a $15 a month.

TracFone is the largest prepaid mobile service provider in the US with almost 26 million subscribers under its belt. They also operate the Total Wireless service listed above. For newcomers to TracFone, you might be a bit skeptical since its low cost of $15 a month for service appears almost too good to be true. In fact, it is not, as TracFone plans have limits on the calls, text and data usage. It’s economical for customers who do not need unlimited call and text plans.

Many international students on a budget find it worthwhile because they can save more each month. As their communications needs are easily met through campus wifi and communications apps that work through their phone, they can cut down on traditional calling, texting and the use of mobile data.

  • From $15 a month for limited talk, text, data (see price comparison chart)
  • Reliable service using the AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile networks (they have a virtual network agreement)
  • No credit check, very easy to get started (Prepaid Service)
  • No contract, stop service anytime
  • International calls to many countries worldwide at US rates (ie. in many cases, it costs the same to call US or the student’s home country)
  • Bring your own GSM/CDMA phone – use the same phone here and in your home country

 

Total Wireless

Total Wireless provides a 35-dollar monthly mobile phone plan package with unlimited call and text, plus 5GB of high-speed data. It’s perfect for international students with moderate data needs and don’t need a pricier cell phone plan. With this low-cost option offered by Total Wireless, students can enjoy a stable connection and keep in touch with their family and friends.

If you need more data, you can buy additional data card for $10 each. These carryover without a fixed deadline, until such a time when you decide to no longer continue with their services. There are also different phone payment plan packages to help customers spread out their payments within the year.

  • $35 a month for unlimited talk, text and 5 GB of high-speed data
  • Option to add 3 GB of high-speed data @ $10 (will carryover until you stop service)
  • Reliable service using the Verizon network (they have a virtual network agreement)
  • No credit check, very easy to get started (Prepaid Service)
  • No contract, stop service anytime
  • Global calling card for $10, call internationally for low cost
  • Bring your own CDMA phone – use the same phone here and in your home country

 

Verizon

In the US, Verizon is the leading network which many cell phone owners use. When it comes to quality performance, it provides the best wireless network in all six regions according to research firm JD Power. Some of the advantages include: mobile hotspot and video streaming without additional fees. A Verizon plan typically includes unlimited talk and text, unlimited or limited data, video streaming, mobile hotspot tethering, Mexico and Canada service (premium plans).

Students can either choose the U unlimited plan or other more inexpensive options such as S for 2GB, M for 4GB, and L for 8GB cell phone plan. They also have prepaid plans that cost $40 a month, with unlimited talk, text and 3 GB of high speed data. Depending on the features that you need, you will have to pay a monthly fee of from $35 to $80 per line – plus taxes and other fees.

  • Plans range from $35 to $80 a month. All include unlimited talk and text.
  • Verizon is considered by many to be the best network.
  • No credit check if you go prepaid.
  • All Verizon Plans are no contract plans. However, if you are making monthly payments on the phone you buy through them, that is a separate two-year contract plan that needs to be paid off over time.
  • International calls at low rates with international calling plan.
  • Bring your own CDMA phone – use the same phone here and in your home country

 

StraightTalk

Another great option is StraightTalk since it offers a variety of plans, but without the need for contracts. The available plans include $35 with 2GB data and unlimited call and text nationwide, $45 with 8GB data and unlimited call and text nationwide, $55 with 12GB data and unlimited call and text nationwide, $60 with 8GB data and unlimited call and text worldwide, $30 with 100MB data and unlimited texts, $10 with international calling cards, and the extended plan with 8GB data and unlimited call and text nationwide.

You can use this plan with your own phone, under their bring your own phone program.

 

Republic Wireless

Republic Wireless offers cellphone plans that are fairly affordable for a student on a budget. The plans costs between $15 and $90 every month. The package would include unlimited call, text, and mobile data. A pretty basic, but this is all a student really needs to always stay connected. The phone units for each plan starts at $179, however this is only available for Android phones. No contracts are needed when choosing a Republic Wireless cell phone plan.

T-Mobile Prepaid

With Simply Prepaid by T-Mobile Prepaid, students can enjoy up to 10 GB of LTE within a limited period for only $50 per month. For 4 GB of LTE, you will pay $45 per month. Another option is the $55 monthly fee with 6 GB of LTE. Offers include unlimited call and text, fastest network, phone options, and choice to keep your phone number. Stateside international calls cost $15 per month while the unlimited call to Mexico and Canada costs $5 per month.

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TracFone Ends Triple Minutes For Life, New Smartphone Plans Offer Improved Value

If you are a TracFone user, chances are you have heard about their Triple Minutes for Life (TMFL) feature. Basically, you buy a TracFone smartphone featuring this, and you can get triple credit. In other words, you buy a TracFone with 60 minutes, you will get 180 minutes of talk time, 180 text messages and 180 MB of data. This has been an incredible deal for anyone who wants a phone at an inexpensive cost.

How I Saved $49 on a Tracfone Annual Smartphone Plan Card ($125 Reg)

Fortunately TracFone’s newer smartphone-only plans will continue on that value-providing proposition. You can check our Triple Minutes vs. Smartphone-Only Plan comparison chart here. These smartphone plans will work for both Android and iPhone users. To learn more about TracFone, check out our full review.

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The Triple Minutes for Life (TMFL) feature plan has been phased out since 4/1/2017 for all new phone packages introduced afterwards, in favor of moving customers to their smartphone-only plan. If you currently have a TracFone smartphone with the TMFL feature, you can continue to get triple minute credits when new airtime cards are added to that same phone.

In general, their new prepaid smartphone-only plans offer a really good deal for customers. The main disadvantage is that the minimum monthly spend is now a $2 – $3 more a month. It’s probably unavoidable, with the rising costs of everything else. The smartphone-only plan’s minimum spend now works out to $10.42 a month before sales tax. It’s a great alternative to typical $40 a month unlimited plans if you aren’t using the phone as much.

What’s great is that these smartphone-only plans offer a lower cost on average when you break it down by per minute, text and MB of data. They also more accurately reflect the usage habits of smartphone users – allocating more airtime for texting and data vs. talking. Below is a comparison of the pros and cons.

Comparison Chart of Tracfone Smartphone-Only Plans vs Triple Minutes for Life (TMFL) Plans

Cost Service Days Cost Per Month Minutes Text MB Talk Time (Cents Per min) Text (Cents Per Text) Data (Cents Per MB)
TracFone Smartphone-Only Cards            
$15 30 15 200 500 500 7.5 3.0 7.5
$25 60 12.5 500 1000 500 5.0 2.5 5.0
$45 90 15 750 1000 1500 6.0 4.5 3.0
$125 365 10.42 1500 1500 1500 8.3 8.3 8.3
Old TracFone Airtime Cards – All Minutes/Text/ Data credit Tripled            
$20 90 6.67 180 180 180 11.1 11.1 11.1
$40 90 13.33 600 600 600 6.7 6.7 6.7
$100 365 8.33 1200 1200 1200 8.3 8.3 8.3

Minutes/Text/MB listed are the total airtime provided with each plan purchase, eg. $15 plan provides a total of 200 minutes, 500 texts and 200 MB of data.
$125 Annual Plan offers the lowest average monthly cost ($10.42) and longest active period (365 days). For low volume users who want the least hassle, this plan makes the most sense.
Unused talk/text/data credit carryover as long as phone service remains active.
Need more data? $10 for 1 GB – add as you need. Unused data credits carryover.
How to get started? If you are currently a Tracfone smartphone user, you can get started on these plans by purchasing and activating their smartphone-only plan cards. If you are not yet a Tracfone customer, you can get started by purchasing and activating a TracFone smartphone through their website here. Alternatively, you can buy a compatible unlocked phone from Amazon or eBay and insert a TracFone SIM card into the phone (see Tracfone bring your own phone post).

Tracfone smartphone only plans Disclosure: This site receives referral compensation for purchases. Learn More

Related Blog Post: How I Saved $49 on a Tracfone Annual Smartphone Plan Card ($125 Reg)

TracFone Per-Minute/Text/MB Spend Has Lowered

New $45 card for 90 days service with 750 min, 1000 texts and 1500 MB
New cost per minute: 6 cents/ minute, 4.5 cents/text, 3 cents/MB
New monthly cost $15 per month.
vs.
Old $40 card for 90 days service with 600 min, 600 texts and 600 MB (usage credits tripled)
Old cost per minute: 6.7 cents/ minute, 6.7 cents/text 6.7 cents/MB
Old monthly cost $13.33 per month

TracFone Per-Month Minimum Spend Has Increased

New $125 for an annual card with 1500 min, 1500 texts and 1500 MB vs.
Old $100 for an annual card with 1200 min, 1200 texts and 1200 MB (usage credits tripled)
Monthly cost increases from $8.33 per month to $10.42 per month.

Average talk time per minute remains the same for annual plan. For all other plans, per minute/text/MB cost has decreased using new smartphone only plan (see example above).

TracFone’s Smartphone-Only Plan More Accurately Reflects Current Talk, Text and Data Usage Habits

TracFone’s smartphone-only plans come with varying amounts of talk, text and data usage, unlike its traditional cards that standardizes the volume in each bucket. For example, it’s $15/month plan provides for 200 minutes of talk time, but 500 text messages. More and more users find themselves using text more often than making or receiving calls. Do you talk more or text more?

The traditional TracFone airtime cards were introduced in an era before texting and data use over a cell phone. Then prices lowered, and to address that, the Double Minutes For Life came about. Prices lowered further, and with the rise of smartphones, the Triple Minutes For Life. All these are based on a multiple of the underlying talk time (eg. 60 minutes gave rise to 60 texts and 60 MB etc). The new smartphone monthly plan allocates varying talk, text and data instead.

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Just Need a Regular Non-Smartphone? Double Minutes Still Applies

Many people have no need for a smartphone or for the many different applications available. All they are interested in doing is making a telephone call. They have little to no interest in text messages, data plans, games and the like. Rare for certain, but there are some people like this still in the world.

If you don’t need a smartphone, you can still get on a similar deal with the double minutes.

What does this mean for the TracFone user who is interested in the triple minutes plan? You may still be in luck because of independent sellers who have stores on eBay and Amazon may have cards with triple minutes available for users of the TracFone.

The phase out of the Triple Minutes for Life (TMFL) feature system is a forgone conclusion. However, new or current users have much to look forward to with TracFone’s new Smartphone-only plans.

If you are not yet a Tracfone customer and want to get started, check out our TracFone Review for guidance or get started on TracFone’s Official Website.

Tracfone PhonesDeal Alert: Use Promo Code TF30OFF for 30% OFF Phone + Plan Purchases! Ends Nov 30.

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Limitation: We make every effort to share the most accurate information on this site but we cannot provide any warranties on this content. Things change with time as well. Please always do your own verification to make sure.
 
 

TracFone Smartphone Only Plans From $15

Updated 11/7/2017TracFone’s new smartphone only plans set them apart from the competition in terms of pricing and value. These prepaid cell phone plans present additional plan options to consumers. Those are still available! However, depending on your usage needs, these new TracFone plans could be even more cost-effective. We will do a comparison of these various plans choice here in this article, so you can pick the best one for your needs.

Tracfone smartphone only plans Disclosure: This site receives referral compensation for purchases. Learn More

Note: All TracFone plans are meant for users who do not use their phones for talking much, or if you are on the phone a lot, use it mainly with wifi. You can see the plan allowance below. If you need to use your cell phone a lot (over an hour of voice each week), you may want to compare this with Simple Mobile and StraightTalk plans.

Unlimited plan users can also check out the $35 unlimited talk and text plan with 5 GB of data (at the time of this writing) by Total Wireless. Total Wireless is a subsidiary of TracFone.

TracFone’s Smartphone Plans Compared

Cost Service Days Cost Per Month Min Text MB Talk Time (Cents Per min) Text (Cents Per Text) Data (Cents Per MB)
$15 30 $15.00 200 500 200 7.5 3.0 7.5
$20 30 $20.00 300 500 1000 6.7 4.0 2.0
$25 60 $12.50 500 1000 500 5.0 2.5 5.0
$35 60 $17.50 750 1000 1000 4.7 3.5 3.5
$45 90 $15.00 750 1000 1500 6.0 4.5 3.0
$50 90 $16.67 750 1500 2000 6.7 3.3 2.5
$125 365 $10.42 1500 1500 1500 8.3 8.3 8.3

Minutes/Text/MB listed are the total airtime provided with each plan purchase, eg. $15 plan provides a total of 200 minutes, 500 texts and 200 MB of data.
Unused talk/text/data credit carryover as long as phone service remains active.
Need more data? $10 for 1 MB – add as you need. Unused data credits carryover.

 
Related: How I Saved $49 on a Tracfone Annual Smartphone Plan Card ($125 Reg)

$125 Every 365 days (~$10.42/Month)
Recommended for lowest average monthly cost and longest service period (less hassle).

  • 1500 Minutes
  • 1500 Texts
  • 1500 MB

Notes: This is a great one-year value plan. If you don’t need that many cell phone minutes, and can get by with wifi for a majority of your communications needs, this is a powerful option. It works out to be about $10 a month. You get some decent talk time, plus text messaging and data for that. Most cell phone companies charge $30/ month and above for a smartphone plan.

On a per unit usage (eg. per minute) basis, this may not be the cheapest, but the annual plan will stay active longer.

The Annual Plan is works best for people using the bare minimum. If you expect to be using more than the bare minimum, the $25 or $35 plan would be more cost-effective (better cost per minute/GB). Your total cost will also be higher to reflect the higher number of minutes and data GB.

If you are interested, check out this blog post: How I Saved $49 on a Tracfone Annual Smartphone Plan Card ($125 Reg)

$15 Every 30 days

  • 200 Minutes
  • 500 Texts
  • 500 MB

Notes: Another good basic smartphone plan. If you don’t use voice much, and rely a lot of wifi, this may be all you need. A $15/month iPhone cell phone bill is unheard of. But why pay more?

$25 Every 60 days (~$12.50/Month)

  • 500 Minutes
  • 1000 Texts
  • 500 MB

Notes: This plan offers even greater value than the $15/30 days one above. By paying for 2 months instead of 1 month each time, you get extra minutes, text and data usage credits. Considering that each month goes by so quickly, the benefit of paying another $10 upfront is well worth it.

 

$35 Every 60 days (~$17.50/Month)

  • 750 Minutes
  • 1000 Texts
  • 1 GB

Notes:For anyone who need more talk time and data, this plan offers tremendous value.

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Other factors to take note of:

Additional 5% Off

Some plans come with an additional 5% discount with auto-refill.

Unused Credits Carryover

All usage credits carryover. If you don’t finish using them pass the expiration date, they carry over to the next active period if you continue to buy airtime for your phone.

Triple Minutes for Life Does NOT Apply

The Triple Minutes for Life benefit will not apply. The airtime credits have been adjusted to provide equal or better value than standard TracFone airtime cards after tripling. These plans are for smartphone users only. Since April 2017, the Triple minutes for Life benefit is no longer offered with new smartphones. The new $15 a month smartphone offers better value. See comparison here.

If you need more minutes/text/data, you can supplement the plan by buying additional plan cards (eg. buy another $15 plan card). You can shop for these at eBay:

Type Of Phones You Can Use TracFone Low Cost Plans With

TracFone plans work with all TracFone smartphones (iPhones and Androids) or you can bring your own phone. TracFone offers shoppers the choice of both Android phones and Apple iPhones. In order to activate a phone, you need to apply a service plan to it (eg. add a $15 card).

TracFone also has a Bring Your Own Phone program that allows users to bring their existing cell phones (either unlocked or previously used on other carrier networks) over to the TracFone network.

TracFone’s Bring Your Own Phone program also accepts unlocked cell phones.

How Does This Compare With Tracfone’s Existing Plans

Most people think of TracFone’s standard airtime cards as offering great value. Originally developed for non-smartphone users, TracFone has been able to offer attractive value to smartphone users by adding Data and Triple Minutes for Life to these cards. However, the Triple Minutes for Life benefit has been phased out and superseded by these Smartphone-Only plans since Apr 2017.

The good news is that TracFone’s new smarpthone plans offer better value. For example, getting a 450 minute card ($79.99), even if that triples to 1350 minutes, you end up paying 5.9 cents per minute or GB of data. In comparison, with the new Smartphone-only $25 plan card, you get 500 minutes, and the per minute price is 5 cents. See comparison chart in this post.

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One exception for buying their regular airtime card is when you rarely use your phone. For that, TracFone’s most basic 60 minutes card could still be the cheapest spend. The card costs $20 card and provide for 90 days of service. This translates into 60 minutes, 60 text messages and 60 MB for a 90 day period. This works out to less than $7 a month (or more accurately, 30 days). With a smartphone only plan, the minimum spend is $15 a month (30 days), but you get a lot more credits to use.

Whichever plan you pick, if you won’t be using the cell phone much, or are using it mainly with wifi, TracFone’s plans cannot be beat. With most prepaid phone companies, the most economical plans for iPhone or Android phone users call for a minimum spend of at least $30 month.

To learn more about Tracfone, check out our full Tracfone Review >

Get Started with TracfoneTracfone Deal: Use Promo Code TF30OFF for 30% Off Phone + Plan Purchases. Free Overnight Shipping. Till 11/30/17. Get Started >
 

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Limitation: We make every effort to share the most accurate information on this site but we cannot provide any warranties on this content. Things change with time as well. Please always do your own verification to make sure.

Read the full TracFone Wireless Review>>

Tips on Buying an Unlocked Smartphone

Ready to shop for a new smartphone, but you are not quite sure what to choose? Unlocked phones offer consumers greater flexibility and potentially greater savings. This guide presents 6 tips on choosing a good unlocked phone for your needs. Consumers with an unlocked phone can choose what plan or which carrier you prefer their phone to run on, even if they had purchased the mobile phone from another service provider.

1. Look for phones that fit your budget

Since you are not under a contract from a specific provider, you will be purchasing the phone at full price, unless the store where you purchase it from offers a good discount.

Consumers can choose from a wide selection of the latest iOS (iPhones) or Android phones (Samsung Galaxy, LG etc). If you are interested in an iPhone, check out this related article.

2. Look for the features that you need in a phone

Consider the features that you are looking for in a phone. This is one of the major advantages of not being tied to a contract. You can choose if you want a phone just with the basic calling and texting features or if you want a phone with more advanced features.

For example, the BLU R1 HD is popular choice because it runs on Android 6.0, uses a fast 1.3 GHz quad core processor and comes with an 8 MP camera. It also helps that it looks good in design. For additional guidance, check out our guide on choosing a good prepaid Android smartphone.

3. Look for phones that will work with the carriers you are interested in. Consider the features that you need in a plan

More and more prepaid or regular cell phone companies are offering their services to customers who want to bring their own devices into the network. These include both prepaid companies like Tracfone or standard cell phone service companies like Verizon or T-Mobile. They offer what is called a BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) programs.

Consumers are not tied to a contract with these plans. You can choose how many call minutes and SMS text messages you’ll have plus how much data limit you can have for social media, video streaming, browsing the Internet.

4. Read reviews on these phones

Check out reviews about these phones on Amazon and other retailers to see how others like the features on their cell phones, and whether other customers have successfully used their phones with their desired networks.

5. GSM/CDMA network compatibility

Remember that there are two network standards in the U.S. and abroad which are GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access). Not all unlocked phones work on both network standards. In fact, most aren’t. Decide which network would work better for your needs. Some companies like StraightTalk work with both GSM and CDMA networks, and they sell SIM card of start-up packages for unlocked phones that previously worked with AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon.

6. Look for a dual SIM phone

This is most recommended for those who are frequently traveling so that you can put your provider’s SIM in one of the slots and the SIM from the country where you have traveled to in another slot. However, this is not just for jet-setters but also for those who would like to separate personal and business calls and messages. By having two SIM cards, you can manage your personal and your work life better.

Now, you can start shopping around for the unlocked phone that will be best suited for your needs. In 2016, Amazon launched a new Amazon Exclusive Phones program offering Prime customers discounts on unlocked Android phones.

Shop for unlocked phones

Verizon Prepaid Upgrades Data Plan And More

verizon-logo

Verizon, arguably America’s best wireless network, is staying competitive in its prepaid data and calls plans. With several plan options, customers can pick out a cost-effective prepaid services plan to suit their preferences.

All Verizon cell phone plans come with no contracts, but Verizon prepaid plans offer even better value for a lot of individual consumers. This plan upgrade makes Verizon prepaid plans even more attractive.

Disclosure: This site receives referral compensation for purchases by linking to other websites. Learn More

Since May 2016, Verizon has raised the data limits of its monthly prepaid plans. From 1GB, Verizon raised the data limit to 3GB for the $45 monthly plan. Customers must sign-up for Auto-pay to get the full 3 GB, or else it’s 2 GB.

Meanwhile, a 6GB data limit now comes with the $60 monthly plan. Unlimited calls and texts to Mexico and Canada also come with this subscription. These new prepaid plans started as promotional pricing.

Read the full Verizon Prepaid Review

Verizon’s new smartphone prepaid plans include the following details:

6 GB of data that includes 1 GB AutoPay Bonus Data with unlimited texts and calls in the U.S. as well as unlimited texts and calls to Canada and Mexico for $60 per month (prior plan only came with 3 GB);

3 GB of data that includes 1 GB of AutoPay Bonus Data with unlimited texts and calls in the U.S., as well as texts to Canada and Mexico for $45 per month (prior plan only came with 1 GB);

Unlimited texts, calls, and Wi-Fi for just $30 a month.

In order to receive the full amount of the new data plan, Verizon subscribers are required to enroll in Verizon AutoPay.

Verizon also offers their basic plans starting from only $30 per month. This plan is bundled with unlimited calls and texts exclusive of a data plan. Subscribers also have the option to choose any combination of 300 voice minutes, multimedia messages or texts that will come with an unlimited mobile web for only $15 per month.

Verizon subscribers can be in control with no fees or annual contract to think about.

According to a Verizon spokesperson, these new prepaid plans keep users in control without having to worry about hidden fees or overages.

Verizon also provides its subscribers with more ways to be in control. With the MyVerizon app, subscribers can customize as much as they want. Changes can be made and money can be added to accounts with this app. Data plans can also be customized through the MyVerizon app.

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Read the full Verizon Prepaid Review

TracFone Bring Your Own Phone Program Explained

iPhone 6 PlusTracfone, the largest carrier for prepaid cell phones in the US, is currently offering a “Bring Your Own Phone Program” (BYOP). Through this program, you no longer have to buy a new phone just to enjoy the services provided TracFone. You can use your existing cell phone and run this through TracFone’s cost-effective cellular plans.

You can also purchase a new Unlocked Phone that can be set-up to work with different phone companies. The BYOP program works for both iPhones and Android models. TracFone’s calls are routed through America’s largest and most reliable networks such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.

What BYOP essentially means is that you “bring” your current phone or unlocked phone to TracFone to obtain TracFone’s services and 4G or 3G capabilities to your phone, allowing your phone to access the internet and make calls and texts based on the kit you choose to obtain. Don’t worry about the hassle, it is actually a quick and simple process, consisting of only 3 steps.

Step 1: Verify your phone’s eligibility to the program.

Eligible phones are AT&T phones, T-Mobile, Verizon, unlocked GSM phones, and some models that are CDMA technology compatible. If you are not sure whether your phone is eligible for the program or not, just visit TracFone’s official website (Top Menu, Click on Shop > Bring Your Own Phone) and click the “Check Compatibility” option.

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Step 2: Choosing the Right SIM

Once you are sure that your phone is qualified for the BYOP program, you can now choose which “kit” or SIM to get, most of them being bundles, offering 4G-3G together with airtime service plans. Take your time in choosing, and make sure to consider your current situation, such as your area coverage, your kind of phone (choose a TracFone BYOP AT&T SIM for an unlocked GSM or AT&T compatible phone; choose a CDMA Compatible BYOP TracFone SIM for LTE models that are CDMA compatible) and of course your budget.

Whichever you choose, however, you are guaranteed not to experience everything you don’t want in your phone service: activation fees, overage fees, cancellation fees, and being tied up to a long contract.

Step 3: Activate Your Phone

Once you have made a choice, simply activate it in your mobile phone, it’s that simple. For CDMA phones, you can click on the “Register CDMA” and then click “Activate CDMA;” the text provided should be more than enough for you to navigate your way. For GSM phones however, you might want to try clicking on “Activate GSM” and then update your ASPN settings. After the installation, you should be able to enjoy all the benefits of the services at your full disposal. If you are having trouble activating it however, you can go to TracFone’s official website (Top Menu, Click on Phones & BYOP > Bring Your Own Phone). You can look up your current problem among the FAQs, which should more or less cover your basic needs in troubleshooting your phone.

Things to Consider Before Going With TracFone

Keep in mind that the Bring Your Own Phone BYOP program is designed to be your prepaid service provider, meaning you would need to pay before you are able to enjoy all of its features.

You will enjoy unlimited carryover on your unused text messages, data, and minutes. However, carryover of airtime credits will only apply for as long as you keep your service active.

If you are interested in an Apple iPhone, check out this Buying an Unlocked iPhone 7 or iPhone 6 article.

About TracFone

Tracfone is a telecommunications company specializing on prepaid wireless services with headquarters located in Miami, Florida. Founded in 1996, it has been growing quite steadily ever since, currently handling multiple brands under its name, such as NET 10 wireless and Straight Talk, to name just a few. It is a subsidiary of “América Móvil”, the largest telecommunications company in Mexico. For more information, read the full TracFone Review.

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