Whether you are looking for a monthly plan or to pay-as-you-go, TracFone has something for just about everyone. That includes callers looking to stay in touch with those around the world as international calls to around 80 countries are billed at the same rate as domestic calls. Customer service rates a little above most other prepaid carriers, especially pay-as-you-go carriers, but better deals can often be found elsewhere.
Lots of options. TracFone tries to provide a plan for every type of user and every budget. It largely succeeds, though you can sometimes do better still in terms of rates with other carriers. The cheapest plan for standard phone users comes in at just under $10 for 30 minutes of talk time (good for 30 days), with options up to $200 for 1,500 minutes that remain valid for one year and can be rolled over if your account is topped up. You can add data and text to these plans, or smartphone users can opt for plans that include data, text and calling minutes, starting at around $10, good for 30 days of service and 50 minutes of talk time, 40 texts, and 50 MB of data. For those who need more than that, the plans run up to 450 minutes of talk, 450 MB of data and 450 texts for just under $80. Android phone users that opt for the smartphone plans get their data rates tripled, and that's valid whether or not you buy the phone from TracFone or bring your own compatible device to the service. TracFone is an especially attractive option for those who frequently place international calls, as they don't cost any extra -- as long as the country you are calling is on TracFone's list (which numbers over 80 countries) and the call is to a landline rather than a cell phone (though cell phone calls are included for a handful of the most popular calling destinations, including Mexico, Canada, India, Russia and more).
Nationwide coverage. TracFone is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that buys network access at wholesale from three of the four national carriers (AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile) and resells it to provide service. As such, it has a vast national network that reaches most areas of the U.S., though performance in specific locales can vary. Which network provides service for you will depend on the phone you buy or bring to with you when you sign up.
Decent survey results. While other carriers finish higher, TracFone does reasonably well in customer satisfaction surveys. In one large survey, TracFone finishes second among prepaid cell phone providers, and does best among pay-as-you-go carriers. TracFone finishes slightly above average in users' opinions of the purchasing experience in one J.D. Power and Associates survey, but below average in another survey that assesses customer care.
TracFone is included in this ConsumerReports.org survey on user satisfaction with prepaid cellphone carriers. The survey includes feedback from over 63,000 readers, though that also includes those who rate their traditional (postpaid) cell phone provider.
Review: Cell Phones and Services, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, September 2014
2. J.D. Power & Associates
TracFone earns good, but not great, feedback in this J.D. Power and Associates' survey of customer care offered by prepaid cell phone plans. It finishes below average among providers, but beats out other carriers (Straight Talk and Net10) owned by the same parent company.
Review: Overall Satisfaction with Wireless Customer Care Service Is Lower among Customers with Device Payment Plans, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, July 30, 2015
3. J.D. Power and Associates
TracFone does much better in this survey that measures satisfaction with the buying experience. TracFone scores above the industry average, earning a three circle rating (out of five).
Review: Wireless Carrier Sales Reps Play Key Role Delivering a Satisfying Purchase Experience to Tablet and Smartphone Shoppers, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, Feb. 19, 2015
TracFone finishes toward the back of the pack in PCMag.com's Readers' Choice poll. However, its score puts it in a pack with carriers such as Virgin Mobile and Boost, and ahead of nationwide traditional carriers such as AT&T and Sprint.
Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2015: Smartphones and Mobile Carriers, Ben Gottesman, March 19, 2015
Dennis Bournique includes TracFone among the providers with the best deals for those who also use data. Most praise is reserved for Android users that take advantage of the triple billing promotion on smartphone plans as that includes three times the normal allotment of data, minutes and texts, however it's only recommended for light users of data, text and voice, and for users with phones that run on either AT&T or Verizon.
Review: Updated: The Best US Prepaid Phone Plans For Data Users, Dennis Bournique, July 29, 2015
This subforum at HowardForums.com is dedicated to all things TracFone (as well as discussions regarding sister brand, Net10). Praise, pans, reviews, questions and answers can be found in the many discussion threads.
Review: TracFone/Net10, Contributors to HowardForums.com, As of September 2015