Yes, that epic company from 1996 is still alive and kicking. What used to be a carrier alternative for those with incredibly bad credit or those that just wanted to hide in a cave, is now one of the largest telecoms in the world. While you may not see much of the TracFone branding around, except at the Quicky Mart, the controlling company, America Movil, is one of the largest cellular carriers in the world today. All said, the global wireless membership of America Movil’s many MVNO’s is over 250 million subscribers.
The TracFone brand is one that scooped up many of their competitors over the last few years. Their brothers in cellular battle now include the TracFone brand, Net10 Wireless, Safelink Wireless, Straight Talk, Telcel America, Simple Mobile and Page Plus Cellular. We’ve seen plenty of plans from many of those carriers, but how does TracFone stack up in the market today?
Starting off, you can choose a monthly value plan or a pay by the minute option. The pay by the minute options start at $9.99 for 30 minutes and go up to $199.99 for 1500 minutes. Many of their phones for purchase include a double or triple minutes per life deal, which brings you up to 90 minutes for $10 or 4500 minutes for $200. The best deal looks to be the 400 minute plan (good for 365 days) and the double minutes deal. This gives you a total of 2400 minutes for just $120. That works out to just under $.05 a minute and keeps that phone active for a full year. It also gives you an average of 200 minutes a month to use, while allowing the balance to be rolled over when you renew each year. This is a savings of $120 over plans like Red Pocket Mobile’s $19.99 a month plan with 250 minutes.
Mobile web can be added to your TracFone plan as well in small to medium chunks for a slightly above market price. For $10, users can gain 300MB of data for basic browsing on their devices. This is the perfect add on for checking emails and some social networking. For $20, you can snag 750MB and for $50, you get a full 2GB of data. Now, before panic sets in, remember, 2GB of data at $50 and $10 a month for TracFone voice service puts the monthly cost at $60 a month. If you can keep that data in check and use more WiFi, you can walk away with a full smartphone plan for under $20 a month on TracFone. Even better than that is if you can keep that data usage down to about 200MB a month and purchase the 2GB plan with that $120 in minutes. That would be a cell bill of only $14.16 per month with TracFone.
TracFone appears to have a solid foothold in the pay as you go market, mainly by offering those rollover minutes and data plans that people like, along with offering long term refills that last a full year for emergency phones. For under $60 you can have your choice of any of the TracFone handsets being offered in their lineup. Again, TracFone isn’t going to be the plan of choice for those with a new iPhone 6 or HTC One M8, but if you need a good reliable form of communication in a device with huge battery life, TracFone could be a solid choice for you.