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kfeusse

Tracfone....I am SO angry

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I bought a new phone, went on tracfone bought a SIM card.  Phone and card came today...put the 2 together...doesn't work.  Called tracfone and found out that this phone won't work in my area...  I need a verizon phone...and I was under the understanding that this unlocked phone would work with verizon, at&t sprint and t-moble.  

 

but for some reason, I still really don't understand, this phone won't work in my area.

 

we are leaving in a couple days for DC and i was really hoping for a better working phone...now it looks like that wont' happen.

 

I am SO frustrated!!!  I have wasted so much time on this...and now it's for nothing.

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That's a bummer!  If you live in a rural area like we do, Verizon and, more recently, AT&T, are about the only ones that work.  I believe a few years back Verizon and AT&T worked out an arrangement where they share towers.  Sprint and T-Mobile do not work well here at all.  Actually, randomly the cheap $10.00 Tracfones that don't require you to install a SIM card through a phone plan like Verizon, etc., work too.  You must have a different kind of Tracfone, or maybe they have changed.

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Did you run the phone's code number (under the about tab under general in my iphone.) through the index on the Tracfone website? Or call them to verifiy usability?

 

We are in the process of setting up an old phone to use as a home phone and several people suggested that we to do this.

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yes, I actually did that.  I chatted with a rep and told them exactly what phone I was buying...my zipcode...the whole bit...and they told me what SIM card I needed....and now I find out that the phone I bought won't ever work in our area.  So I have to return the phone....and now I have nothing better for our trip.  My current phone is not working well at all...and I really was looking forward to having a new phone.

 

but now it's too late...being Thursday....we are leaving on Sunday...and I live no where close to any store that might even be able to help me.

 

I am so frustrated.

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I bought a new phone, went on tracfone bought a SIM card. Phone and card came today...put the 2 together...doesn't work. Called tracfone and found out that this phone won't work in my area... I need a verizon phone...and I was under the understanding that this unlocked phone would work with verizon, at&t sprint and t-moble.

 

but for some reason, I still really don't understand, this phone won't work in my area.

 

we are leaving in a couple days for DC and i was really hoping for a better working phone...now it looks like that wont' happen.

 

I am SO frustrated!!! I have wasted so much time on this...and now it's for nothing.

Get a virgin mobile phone. No contract and unlimited services for cheap. Works all across the country. They are backed by Sprint.

 

Sent from my LGLS755 using Tapatalk

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I am in shock, because I am the one who suggested the Moto G5 Plus to you... I cannot imagine what cell technology Tracfone is using, where you live.  Either it is GSM, on a weird GSM band (those exist, but are rare), or they are using CDMA in your area.  You could put that Moto G5 Plus on just about any GSM carrier in North or South America and it would work perfectly. I am sure it would work here in Cali, Colombia or in Orlando, Florida or almost everywhere in the USA and Latin America.

 

Question: What happens if you buy a phone that works on Tracfone in your area and then you go to Orlando or DC or Las Vegas? Will it work in other places, in addition to where you live?

 

You would have the same issue, WITH ANY NORMAL GSM phone, if that one will not work on Tracfone where you live.

 

I am sad and in shock.  

 

Would you consider switching carriers? I would be furious. I would select the phone first and then the carrier. As you know, if we needed a new phone and had the $, that is the model we would buy. 

 

I am extremely sorry and I hope that you and your family enjoy your trip to DC. I apologize for the inconvenience and I share your disappointment. This is not the outcome we were hoping for.

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Get a virgin mobile phone. No contract and unlimited services for cheap. Works all across the country. They are backed by Sprint.

 

Sent from my LGLS755 using Tapatalk

 

We are on Virgin Mobile Colombia. Here they run on the Movistar network, which is GSM, We have been with them since the end of January 2016 and are very happy with them. 

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We have 3 providers here in Colombia that have their own infrastructures (Claro, Movistar and Tigo), plus I don't know how many MVNO's (Mobile Virtual Network Operators, like VIrgin Mobile Colombia).  I could put a SIM card for any of them into that phone and it would work perfectly.

 

Question to the OP: Can you find out what technology and frequency tracfone is using where you live?  eg: GSM or CDMA?  If GSM which Band(s)? If CDMA, which band or frequency?

 

If you must stay on tracfone, I think the only way to (hopefully) prevent another disaster is to bite the bullet and buy a phone directly from tracfone.

 

DO NOT BUY ANOTHER NORMAL GSM PHONE. IT WILL NOT WORK ON TRACFONE WHERE YOU LIVE EITHER!

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We just left Virgin Mobile and changed to Boost (both use sprint network). I was mad at Virgin Mobile since on their web site it says $5 off montlhly fee with autopay which they have not done for us. I call and they say it is only for iphone which is not specified anywhere on their site. This sort of discount is given by other carriers and I pointed that out and the supervisor says well "we are not them. We are Virgin Mobile." They acknowledged their web site is incorrect and did not give a hoot.

 

Well Boost offers a family family which saves us on taxes since you only pay one tax instead of 3 times as much tax as you do with 3 of us without family plan. The coverage seems great for us on the East coast so far.

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That's a bummer!  If you live in a rural area like we do, Verizon and, more recently, AT&T, are about the only ones that work.  I believe a few years back Verizon and AT&T worked out an arrangement where they share towers.  Sprint and T-Mobile do not work well here at all.  Actually, randomly the cheap $10.00 Tracfones that don't require you to install a SIM card through a phone plan like Verizon, etc., work too.  You must have a different kind of Tracfone, or maybe they have changed.

 

If it does not have a SIM card, that is a phone that uses CDMA technology and that phone (phone number, etc.) must be programmed, in the office of the provider, by one of their employees. 

 

There are still 2 or 3 providers in the USA who use CDMA technology. CDMA is best, if one is in a weak signal area. That, IMO, is THE ONLY advantage to CDMA.

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My wife and I are extremely angry at tracfone, because the OP wrote in this thread that she did call them, before she ordered the phone I suggested. Below is what it shows for tracfone, on Wikipedia.  I don't know how accurate that is or when that web page was updated.  So, they are using different technologies (CDMA and GSM) according to this.  If the coverage where the OP lives is GSM, they have one of the more recent GSM bands on it, which are not commonly used.  If it is CDMA, that would require a phone that is configured in the office of the provider, to set up the phone number and other data, so it will work on their network.

 

In either case, I wonder if the OP buys a phone directly from tracfone that will (hopefully) work where she lives, if it will work, if she goes somewhere like DC or Orlando or Las Vegas, or any other place where they have the normal GSM bands?

 

OT: I looked at USMobile for when we make our next trip to the USA. I like their Cafeteria type plans.  https://www.usmobile.com/

 

TracFone AT&TT-MobileU.S. Cellular (feature phones only), Verizon CDMA, GSM, UMTS, & LTE Yes No Owned by TracFone Wireless

https://www.tracfone.com/activation/compatiblesim/UNLOCK

 

Do you have an AT&T or T-Mobile-compatible SIM card from TracFone?

 

NO. I NEED TO PURCHASE ONE

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What if you take it on your trip and try to set it up there? Tracfpne uses Verizon towers in some places and AT&T in others. DD's phone worked fine when she was in Reno, where Tracfone uses Verizon. I don't know if she was actually connected through Verizon or still through AT&T, though. Maybe if you set it up on it's network, it would work at home, too?

Edited by dmmetler
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I am not sure how accurate or up-to-date this coverage map of Nebraska is:

 

http://www.deadcellzones.com/nebraska.html#.WQI8mGnyupo

 

Looks like mostly Verizon and  AT&T, in the rural areas, and also some Sprint. In the big cities, some T-Mobile.

 

There is a link at the top for TracFone.

 

I am beginning to believe that the only way the OP has a good shot at staying on TracFone is to buy a phone directly from them. 

 

 

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The below is for Colombia, but it would be about the same for GSM coverage, in most places in North America or South America. 

http://www.gsma.com/latinamerica/gsma-la-operators

 

COLOMBIA TIGO 1900 COLOMBIA Comcel 850/1900/3G 850 COLOMBIA Movistar 850/1900

 

 

Notice the commonality, The 850 GSM band is used 2 operators and the 1900 GSM band is used by all 3 operators. Those 2 GSM bands are very heavily used in the USA. Those are the most common GSM bands in North and South America.

 

There are places (I think Brazil and Israel and possibly South Korea, among others) where they use a different GSM band and that would require a GSM phone that includes that GSM band. There are probably some places in the USA where a provider had to go to a strange GSM band, to avoid interference, or for some other reason.

 

In the case of the OP I now  think she may need to stay with a  phone purchased directly from  tracfone to be able to use their network. Or, find out exactly which GSM band is used where she lives, assuming it is GSM, and then hunt for a phone that includes that GSM band. And then, fingers-crossed, hope that it works on tracfone.  The safest way to go now seems to be to bite the bullet and buy a phone directly from tracfone that they think/hope will work where she lives. Sad story...

 

We could take any of the 5 GSM phones in our house today to Nebraska and with the correct SIM card, I am sure they would work in the larger cities (Omaha and Lincoln) but I am not sure if they would work in the rural areas. If the rural areas are still on CDMA, they would not work on those networks. 

Edited by Lanny

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On this Motorola USA web page for the phone the OP bought, among the "full specifications", they show the below, for the bands in the phone. As it says, it varies by country...

.

https://www.motorola.com/us/products/moto-g-plus#unlocked

 

bands (by model)

Moto G Plus - XT1687
CDMA (850, 850+,1900 MHz)
GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz)
4G LTE (B1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 38, 41, 66)

Band coverage varies by model, country, and carrier.

 

OP: Posasibly call Motorola Tech Support on their toll-free phone number (assuming it is toll-free) and tell them where you live and what tracfone is telling you and ask them if they think it should work on tracfone, where you live. 

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I called Verizon because that is what tracfone was telling me that my phone needs to work off of.

 

The lady I spoke to said, the very nature of an unlocked phone is that it is unlocked....not connected to any one particular service plan and that there is no reason whatsoever why this phone shouldn't work in our area.  All we need is a Verizon SIM card.   She checked on her computer...she said this phone works with Verizon (which is what I thought too).

 

So, I just went to a town 8 miles away (to take my daughter to work) and picked up a tracfone SIM card that says it works with the 2 largest and most dependable networks ...but it doesn't say which 2, so I have NO idea if it will work or not.  

 

I hope I figure this out...will anybody agree with the Verizon lady that any unlocked phone can become a phone that I can use...if I find the right SIM card?  

 

If so, then I will continue to keep working on this.  

 

thanks.

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Do you have an AT&T or T-Mobile-compatible SIM card from TracFone?

 

NO. I NEED TO PURCHASE ONE

 

This is what we were told when we switched to TracFone Total Wireless.  We had been using Tmobile, and were told our Tmobile phones were not compatible.  From our research it seems that Tmobile and ATT will switch out, and Verizon/Sprint will switch out.  TracFone Total Wireless is a Verizon network program, and thus would not work with Tmobile.

 

I researched buying a phone elsewhere to get it cheaper, but honestly there were just too many stories of that not working correctly.  We decided to just get the phones when we signed up at Walmart.

 

That said, we love our program.  It involved purchasing new phones, but there were lots to choose from, both nicer and basic.  We are paying $85 for three lines and 12G shared data.  We are rural and had horrible coverage on Tmobile.  Verizon has great coverage but was super expensive.  TracFone Total Wireless gave us Verizon coverage at a decent price.

 

And yes, the phones have worked all over. We've been to Texas and California.  The phones are fine on the whole Verizon network.

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OP: If you cannot get it to work with the TracFone SIM card you bought today, do you have a Verizon SIM card?  If it works with a Verizon SIM card, and TracFone says it works off a Verizon tower, then it should work with the TracFone SIM card in it too, and IMO if it does not work, that is a Tech Support issue for TracFone to resolve for you.

 

That you had called TracFone and they told you that it would work, before ordering the phone, makes my wife and me really mad...  Either it should work, or the TracFone Customer Support people have no clue about what they are talking about.

 

That model is hot off the press, with outstanding Specs for the Price, and I hope you can get it to work on TracFone, and then be content that you are on TracFone and that you have a wonderful phone.

 

To answer your question: If you have a phone that works on the GSM bands the Verizon tower has, and TracFone is providing that GSM band to you, in your plan, I do not see why an Unlocked GSM phone would not work.  

 

The phone you bought is not only UNLOCKED, it is UNBRANDED. It was never configured for any particular carrier.  That's like the 5 phones we bought here in the superstore. It has nothing that is specific to a particular provider. It is totally Generic.

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FInally I think I understand how this works.  However, nobody on tracfone ever once told me this.

 

FIRST I need to go to store that sells tracfones.  Then I need to buy something called an activation kit (they do not sell those on the tracfone site).  THEN I can activate my phone. 

 

what a total run away....and I am exhausted...but at least thrilled that my new phone can be made to work....I hope.  now I just have to figure out where to buy the activation kit.

 

sigh!....thank you all for everything you have helped me with....

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what I was told is that the activation kit comes with 4 SIM cards...one for each major carrier.  Please do not tell me that isn't right.   All I got in the mail from tracfone was one little SIM card...and a bunch of instructions.

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I have my fingers crossed and will include this in my prayers..  The end goal is for you to be able to use that wonderful phone and to use it on TracFone. Please keep us posted!

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OP when you go to a store (Wal-Mart or a supermarket or whatever) ask them if they know if the SIM card(s) they sell for TracFone work in your local area, on Verizon. They probably sell a lot of SIM cards and have a good idea about which ones work and which ones do not work in your area.

 

Apparently tracfone is really complicated, because they have service from 4 different providers.  I think the tracfone web site could have given better guidance about this, when clicking on "I have an unlocked phone" about which SIM card to buy. I don't think they offered a choice of 4 carriers at that step. I think it was 1 or possibly 2 carriers.  

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This is what we were told when we switched to TracFone Total Wireless.  <snip>

 

I told my wife awhile ago, "TracFone is really complicated. Depending on where you live, they use 4 different providers".  Now, I see that there is another company (or division) called Total Wireless.  The Wikipedia blurb says "Total Wireless is a Mobile Virtual Network operator (MVNO) that uses Verizon's CDMA network."

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what I was told is that the activation kit comes with 4 SIM cards...one for each major carrier.  Please do not tell me that isn't right.   All I got in the mail from tracfone was one little SIM card...and a bunch of instructions.

My activation kit came with multiple SIM cards. I bought the kit at Best Buy.

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I googled tracfone+verizon SIM and  this URL for Amazon is the first result in the Google SERPs.

https://www.amazon.com/Tracfone-Verizon-LTE-Activation-Card/dp/B00YINOF5Q

  

Tracfone Verizon 3G/ 4G LTE Activation SIM Card Kit - Standard/Micro/Nano

 

 
Price: $4.42
 
 
In Stock.

I do not think, from the time I spent on the tracfone web site, that it was intuitively obvious, or, obvious at all, that was the SIM card the OP should have purchased and that's why she ended up with a tracfone SIM card that doesn't work on the Verizon tower near where she lives. I do not understand why the tracfone people she spoke with did not tell her that this is the tracfone SIM card she needs to buy.

 

Hopefully, she can buy one of these tracfone Verizon SIM cards, , near where she lives and get her new phone up and running, before she begins her trip to DC.

 

ETA: I just read the first Review, written by "Wayfinder", on that Amazon URL.  I do not expect a SIM card to have Minutes on it, when I buy it, so that would not bother me, but the other comments were quite interesting.   It is apparent that getting a phone working on tracfone can be problematic, but that with some patience, on the part of the customer and tracfone Customer Service or Tech Support people, it is workable.  Once the tracfone users are up and running, from the comments on WTM they seem to be happy campers.

 

ETA #2: Looking at the image of that SIM card on that Amazon URL, it says "for use with CDMA LTE compatible devices" .  The item is shown on Amazon as 

"Tracfone Verizon 3G/ 4G LTE Activation SIM Card Kit - Standard/Micro/Nano" which would make me assume it is the tracfone SIM one needs for a GSM phone. I try not to assume, and the OP needs to get her new phone working on tracfone ASAP.  

Edited by Lanny

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