Best thing we like on Tracfone is their value plan. When we started our month to month value plan. We had over 500 minutes on the phone and did not want to carry more. Now we pay under $7 a month and only buy minute bundles for the amount of minutes we need when we need them.
no offense to Tracfone, but 99% of population means they cover all major metro areas, doesn't mean it will work on the highway stranded somewhere
many prepaid have text included, but text is Not email, or internet, and you can not tether a tracfone to your PC
metro PC's, sprint, other prep aids now offer android smart phone and internet , but it is limited to internet On The Phone, No tethering No wifi hotspot
I use my Android phone a lot for this forum the weather and email
but try it with a friends phone, be sure of what you can do, if it will be suitable for your Wants
most of actually need less than we think we do but we want the whole enchilada when it comes to service, and that means paying more
Options, always have options, and the journey goes much smoother ....
Connected thru Verizon with HotSpot WiFi using a Samsung Galaxy Nexus
Not exactly what you ask for, but worth a really good look is "Consumer Cellular". Their rates are very good and they use the AT&T network. Most important, they actually usually answer their phone with a real person who speaks clear & understandable english.
No contract and they also give a discount to AARP members.
I have been switching our phones to them over the last couple of months. A real pleasure so far.
Remember you are only young once,
but you can be immature forever!
Another TracFone user here. No they don't allow for tethering your TracFone to your PC, but, I've never needed to. If you don't have to have internet for business purposes, I've never been totally without email service at any campground that has WiFi. It may be slow and it may not allow for streaming, but, that isn't why I carry my laptop anyway and if the campground doesn't have WiFi, I'll live until the next one that does. I'm retired IT and it really is a small blessing, at times, when I don't have access
TracFone will work wherever there is a cell phone tower/signal. They are designed to work/attach themselves to any carrier, anywhere. I've been across the US numerous times and have never not had a signal if there was a signal to be had, no matter who the carrier is. I've got an LG501C from them, the latest "upgrade" I've done because I wanted a QWERTY keyboard for texting. It will connect to the web...painfully slow, but, will do it in a pinch. Double minutes for life and I wait for their "sales" and get the one year service plan so that I don't have to worry about it.
I guess it all depends on what you feel you have to have in a mobile phone. We use ours for emergencies (again, if there is any signal at all the TracFone can use it) and keeping in touch with friends, via text, when the mood strikes us. It isn't 4G, it isn't 3G, but it works for what we need. We don't need it for tethering, we don't want to surf with it, we don't use it for route planning; we're low tech, phone for emergencies and CG reservations, text for the occasional lark. TracFone works for us, cheap to buy, cheap to own and very reliable. Minutes are available everywhere or you can even "order" them via the phone itself. Works out to less than $20.00 per month for both of our phones for the 1 year service plans with 800 minutes (doubled to 1600). We don't use anywhere near that and the minutes keep rolling over. I've got just shy of 5000 minutes on my phone right now. I pay less in a year per phone than our friends pay per month for their "smart phones", but, they like all the bells and whistles and put up with the cost.
As mentioned, Net10 is also an option, different plans, but, basically the same service. There are others out there in the "pre-paid" arena, but, I believe those two are the biggest players right now.
Sit down, with pad a paper, and write down what you "need" the phone to do, and then start looking at plans and companies that will give you what you need as there are lots of options out there.
My 2 cents, your mileage may vary...
3 Cats - Coco, J-Lo and Ragamuffin
2011 Keystone Cougar 318SAB
2011 Ram 2500 Longhorn CTD HO
Built in brake controller and exhaust brake
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As many said Tracfone is usually signal great, and customer service is very good....(not excellant only because of overseas call centers.) However, you won't find any 3G or 4G phones for data at Tracfone and you can't use your own phone.
As far as Straight Talk, I believe that is also Tracfone by another name.
Consumer Cellular, and any other brands that use the AT&T network exclusively are probably OK most areas, but in SoCal, AT&T is the worst network for connecting.
Do any of these plans have "Smart Phones" available?
As another poster noted, some plans have "bring you own android device" options. I use Page Plus (verizon network). Bought used (with good esn's) motorola droids from ebay...about $100 each. Activated them on Page Plus. I pay $12.00 for 250 minutes talk time, 250 messages, and get a tiny...tiny 10mb data for the month. I keep network data turned off, but get all android services when connected to wifi. Wife and I are pleased with this. In an emergency, I can turn on network data and search the internet for info.
This method is not for the technically timid, as you will get virtually no technical support for this method. I just waded into the process, and didn't need any technical support. Most android phones that work on verizon will work on page plus by simply resetting the phone and connecting via a phone number via instructions provided by your page plus dealer.
Honestly, it's near impossible for anyone to give you solid information on this topic, without knowing where you will be using the service. Once you get off the beaten path, these regional and pay per use carriers can be terrible. If you boondock a lot, in the middle of nowhere, there is no option that even comes close to Verizon for most locations.
If you stay near metro areas, or close to the Interstate highway system, you will have many more viable options.
IMO, when looking for a phone to use in emergency situations, my first selection criteria is network coverage, then price.
Paul & Sandra
New Bedford, MA
2003 Monaco Executive M43 DS2
TracFone will piggy back on any carrier and defaults to the carrier with the strongest signal at that moment when multiple carriers are available. Depending on where I am, I may be on AT&T or I may be on Verizon or I may be on T-Mobile. There is no "single carrier" restriction on TracFone. When I go to Everett, my phone is on AT&T, but, in Bedford and Altoona, I'm on Verizon.
TracFone's use of all of the major carriers is the biggest reason for my choosing TracFone. Doesn't matter where in the country I am, if there is a cell phone signal, no matter who the provider is, my TracFone will work and it makes carrier changes seamlessly in the background; no user input required, just pick up the phone and dial.