Phone Plans

TracFone Review: a Unique MVNO Working on All Major Networks

Kyle Reyes
March 13, 2023

TracFone is a Verizon-owned MVNO that sells discounted phone plans operating on all three U.S. cellular networks. Now that TracFone phones work on 5G networks, they provide lightning-fast coverage on the fastest network in the area. This phone company is all about customers who value affordable prices over unlimited data. We will cover all of TracFone’s plans, the phones that operate on the network, the good, the bad, and everything in between. 

TracFone At a Glance

TracFone offers a full suite of phenomenal deals that attract customers who want a no-contract plan that’s very affordable while not providing a ton of data. TracFone rents bandwidth on all three major networks and their phones are designed to switch between the networks behind the scenes to ensure you have the fastest data wherever you are. This gives all TracFone’s customers access to high-speed nationwide coverage at a fraction of the usual cost. Their plans come at a variety of price points, and they offer bulk purchases at better rates (up to a year at a time) for customers who know how much talk, text, and data they need. 

What Sets TracFone Apart? 

The unbelievably affordable plans are what sets TracFone apart, and that, coupled with their no-contract plans, make it a compelling MVNO for people who don’t use their phones a lot when out and about. They don’t have any new-customer deals, but TracFone offers an excellent rewards program for its customers, further lowering the overall cost of this service. It is so incredibly affordable. The average monthly phone bill of U.S. citizens is over $125 a month. That’s so much! TracFone’s most expensive plan is a big $30 a month. There are countless ways, as a TracFone customer, to bring your monthly and yearly phone bill way down. 

MVNOs offer excellent, affordable service, and TracFone goes one step further with a phenomenal set of available plans. 

Price of TracFone Plans

The price of TracFone plans varies depending on how much you need. Most phone services have unlimited talk and text as a base and add data on top. TracFone plans have a wide variety, where they have a plan with unlimited talk and text, but they have a dozen plans that offer limited talk and text over one to three months. For instance, they have a $45 three-month plan that gives 750 minutes talk, 1000 texts, and 1500 MB of data. They also have a $200 plan that gives unlimited talk and text and 24 GB of data over the course of an entire year. 

While some plans prepay for a couple of months, none of their mobile plans have a contract attached to them, leaving this as a great try-out option to see if you like the service or not. Users do not often report dropping calls, missing texts, or slow internet speeds, but the ability to start looking for another service whenever you wish is a nice boon to TracFone. 

What Kinds of Plans does TracFone offer?

TracFone offers a wide variety of plans at different price points and different prepaid lengths. The way that their plans work is that, unless you have an unlimited one, you receive an amount of talk, text, and data that lasts for the duration of the plan. One, two, three, and twelve-month plans are available on their website, offering lots of different plans at different price points. The way TracFone works allows customers to add on texts and minutes whenever they need it. This lets you start low with a super-cheap plan and add on whatever you need at fair price points. The add-ons are more expensive than regular plans, but since so many of them are just minutes and texts they remain well-priced overall. 

What Network does TracFone Use?

TracFone runs on every major network. Sounds pretty good, yeah? Believe it. TracFone rents bandwidth from every network so TracFone’s coverage is nationwide and their phones are configured to jump from network to network so their plans always run on the fastest network. 

Can You Bring Your Own Cell Phone?

Yes! If your device is compatible and unlocked you can activate it with one of their SIM cards, pick a plan, and you are good to go! 

TracFone: Pros & Cons

It is vital to understand the pros and cons of a carrier before making the switch. We like TracFone a lot, but it is not the right carrier for everyone. When looking at a Tracfone review, keep this in mind as some of the pros and cons of switching to TracFone. 

👍 What We Liked

  • No contract. With a TracFone plan, you can cancel whenever you want without paying any extra fees. This makes it a great choice if you want to try out TracFoneand see if it is right for you.
  • Loyalty Rewards. TracFone customers receive rewards points every time they spend money on their plans. These rewards give you a free refill every now and again, whenever your rewards points are enough to cover the cost of the plan! 
  • Variety of plans. With so many plans, TracFone makes it easy to switch to a bigger or smaller plan if you need more or less talk, text, and data. As you spend more time at TracFone you will have a better idea of how much you use your phone. With that knowledge, you can find the perfect plan and start spending the right amount each month. 
  • International calling. For only $10 a month, you get an international calling card, opening up countless countries for cheap calls all over the world. You can call stress-free, knowing that you won’t get hit with an extra expensive phone bill for doing so.
  • Uses 4G LTE and 5G Networks. TracFone runs on every major 4G LTE and 5G network, providing fast data speeds anywhere in the country. 

👎 What We Didn’t Like

  • No unlimited data plan. Eight GBs is the most TracFone offers with one of their plans, so if you need more than that you’ll have to add on more and that is not a good idea with TracFone. 
  • Strange Pricing. Adding 2 GB to a plan is one hundred dollars. Weird, right? There’s no real way to add on a bit of data if you need it. 
  • Low phone selection. While TracFone has a selection of phones in its store, they do not have the greatest phone selection. If you are a new customer, we recommend bringing your own phone along as part of the plan. Their store does not have any of the newer phone models, but if you are using TracFone you may be happy with an older and cheaper phone model!
  • No family plans. There are no multi-line savings from TracFone. Their plans are great on their own, but there’s no incentive to start a multi-line plan to see some extra savings. 
  • Data deprioritization. It is not a surprise, but your data will slow whenever there is a high strain on the bandwidth in your area. There is no guarantee that it will happen, especially as networks get stronger and stronger, but it is always possible. 

TracFone Services & Features

TracFone offers a surprising variety of services and features with their phone plans, the best of which is their rewards program! Rewards programs are surprisingly uncommon among cell phone carriers, and TracFone’s is pretty simple. As you use their service you accumulate rewards points that are used to purchase plans. In short, all users get a free month of service every now and again. Outside of that their plans do not come with a wide variety of extras, but the low cost of each makes up for the lack of bells and whistles that often accompany the highest tier of major wireless network plans. 

TracFone Plans & Pricing

TracFone has 21 plans at a variety of price points. We will show all of them here with a bit of analysis at the end. This is where the weird pricing comes into play. Each of these plans comes at their “auto-refill” price point, as we recommend enrolling in that for some easy savings. Understanding each of TracFone’s phone plans is the first step to figuring out whether or not this company is right for you. Following are the prices of all of TracFone’s plans. The columns represent price, plan duration, talk, text, and data. 

  • $25, one month, unlimited talk and text, 4 GB data
  • $20, one month, unlimited talk and text, 3 GB data
  • $15, one month, unlimited talk and text, 2 GB data
  • $10, one month, unlimited talk and text, no data
  • $35, one month, unlimited talk and text, 8 GB data, Hotspot Capability, and smart ID
  • $15, one month, 500 minutes, 500 texts, 500 MB data
  • $35, two months, 750 minutes, 1000 texts, 1 GB data
  • $25, two months, 500 minutes, 1000 texts, 500 MB data
  • $50, three months, 750 minutes, 1500 texts, 2 GB data
  • $45, three months, 750 minutes, 1000 texts, 1.5 GB data
  • $200, one year, unlimited talk and text, 24 GB data
  • $125, one year, 1500 minutes, 1500 texts, 1.5 GB data
  • $100, one year, 400 minutes 
  • $70, three months, 450 minutes
  • $35, three months, 200 minutes
  • $25, three months, 120 minutes
  • $20, three months, 60 minutes
  • $10, one month, 30 minutes
  • $200, one year, 1500 minutes
  • $160, one year, 1000 minutes
  • $100, one year, 2 GB data

Okay, that was a lot. The tremendous quantity of plans they offer is more than enough to overwhelm the layperson. There are a lot of plans, and there are a lot of plans that don’t seem to be anywhere near worthwhile, even compared to other plans that TracFone offers. For instance, their $200 yearly plan of just minutes offers less than the $200 unlimited talk and text plan. 

Years ago, limited talk and text plans were much more common, and some of the plans may be holdovers from that time. Our favorite plans are their $15 plan with unlimited talk and text and 2 GB data as well as their $20 three-month plan that gives 60 minutes of talk. That opens up the possibility for you to add on texts as you see fit, and save some serious money if you don’t use your phone that much! 

TracFone Phone Selection 

TracFone has a fair phone selection, but you can also bring your own phone along. If you do want to purchase a phone directly from TracFone when you switch or if it's time to upgrade you can oftentimes get a great deal on a new device and work toward your rewards. They have a great selection of smartphones and basic phones, many of which are under $100, making it a fantastic option for people who don’t need the latest and greatest device for day-to-day use. 

How Well Does TracFone Actually Work?

Call & Text Performance

TracFone’s call and text performance is fantastic. They have full access to nationwide networks and very few users report having any trouble with calls dropping or texts failing to be sent or received anywhere in the country. 

Data Speeds

Visible’s data speeds are excellent. With the exception of when users have deprioritized data, their speeds are some of the fastest in the country. 

TracFone vs. Competitors

TracFone vs. Verizon

Verizon is the clear winner when it comes to data speeds and plan add-ons, but their plans come at a serious premium. Their plans all run significantly higher prices. If you are willing to weather periods of low-data speeds due to high-volume use, TracFone is the big winner. One major plus of using Verizon, however, is that they have unlimited plans. If you use a significant amount of data on a normal day, TracFone’s plans will not cover your data use. In that case, Verizon is the big winner. 

TracFone vs. Visible Wireless

Visible uses Verizon’s network and its chief difference from TracFone is they only offer two unlimited plans (a basic and a premium).They come with unlimited high-speed data and are priced competitively with other unlimited MVNO plans while much cheaper than Verizon’s options. If you know you want an unlimited plan, Visible Wireless has the edge, but if you are interested in the ability to switch to low-data plans then TracFone is the way to go. 

TracFone vs. Spectrum Mobile

Spectrum Mobile also runs on Verizon’s network, but they come with one big catch. Only Spectrum Internet users have access to their mobile coverage. That being said, their mobile and internet bundle is a fantastic deal, and if you have Spectrum Internet we recommend switching to Spectrum Mobile as well. Their unlimited plan is competitively priced and lets you get a big discount on your internet service as well. Unfortunately, Spectrum Internet is only offered in a few spots in this country, and if you don’t live in one of those spots, well, TracFone is the way to go! 

TracFone Customer Service

TracFone has excellent customer support and their chat is available at all times on their website

What Customers Have to Say About TracFone

“I am not a person like you see walking down the road staring at my cell phone. I use a cell phone very little so I don't need one of those $1000 cell phones. I have been using Tracfone for 12 years now and it is just what I need. They have never failed me and I plan on using them for a long time.” - Gene. (via Consumer Affairs)

“This is a reseller of AT&T service so it's very good service. BUT... When you switch or update your cell phone you start over. They say they carry over your minutes but it NEVER works out that way. Your data resets to ZERO. So you have to start over and if you have bought a yearly plan then you just have to buy it again. But it still is the cheapest yearly plan I have found.” - Michael. (via Consumer Affairs)

“Both my wife and I have used them for many years. I'm able to roll over unused minutes and sometimes my wife does have to buy more data, but their pricing on a one-year plan for people who don't spend their entire life on phones is extremely affordable with a one-year plan. We average less than $10/month for each line.” - William. (via Consumer Affairs)

TracFone FAQ

What is my phone’s IMEI number?

Your IMEI number is a string of 15 digits that identifies your wireless device. It is important when you are interested in bringing your phone to a new carrier like TracFone because, with that number, you are able to check if your phone is eligible for a switch and whether or not it will work on TracFone’s network. 

How do I decide what plan is right for me?

TracFone customers have the ability to switch their plan from the available options at any time, so if you choose the wrong plan in the beginning, it is easy to switch after that! If you aren’t sure how much data you need, we recommend starting with one of the monthly unlimited talk and text plans and watching your phone usage over a month or two. From there, you should have a much better idea about how much data you need and can decide on the right plan from there. 

Does TracFone have shared or family plans?

TracFone does not have shared or family plans. They do allow multi-line plans to pick and choose plans based on each line. If you use a lot of data but another line in your plan does not, you can each have your own plan that matches your data usage, saving money on your phone bill. 

TLDR; TracFone is an Affordable MVNO Perfect for Low-Data Users

TracFone is a great choice if you want to switch to an MVNO and know that you don’t use a lot of mobile data each month. You have great coverage on Verizon’s network but don’t have access to much data. 

Kyle Reyes
Kyles Reyes is a journalist from Pittsburgh, PA that specializes in the wireless industry, phone plan comparisons & advice.
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