Home - , , , , - TracFone Revamps Smartphone-Only Airtime Lineup, Slashes Add-On Data Price to 1¢ Per MB

TracFone Revamps Smartphone-Only Airtime Lineup, Slashes Add-On Data Price to 1¢ Per MB

TracFone has made significant changes to the prepaid airtime cards it sells online. The biggest change is with the data-only cards for TracFone branded smartphones and Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) devices. TracFone has discontinued the $15 750 MB, $30 2 GB and $50 4 GB refills and replaced them with a single $10 1GB card. This is significant because it reduces the price of data to just 1¢/MB compared with between 2¢ and 1.25¢/MB with the old refills. 1¢/MB is a great price for pay as you go data, most other PayGo operators like Selectel, Airvoice and H2O charge between five and 10 cents per MB.

At this time the TracFone website is the only place the $10 data refill is available but I expect it will eventually replace the old $15, $30 and $50 topups sold at stores and by online airtime vendors like CallingMart.

Another change is a complete revamping of TracFone's  "Smartphone and BYOP Only Plans" that are only sold on the TracFone website. TracFone has discontinued the following Smartphone and BYOP refills:

  • $35/90 days - 500 minutes, 1000 SMS, 400 MB
  • $50/90 days - 1000 minutes, 2000 SMS, 500 MB
  • $75/90 days - 2000 minutes, 3000 SMS, 1 GB
  • $90/90 days - 3000 minutes, 3000 SMS, 1.5 GB
and replaced them with these:

  • $15/30 days - 200 minutes, 500 SMS, 200 MB
  • $25/60 days - 500 minutes, 1000 SMS, 500 MB
  • $35/60 days - 750 minutes, 1000 SMS, 1 GB
  • $125/365 days - 1500 minutes, 1500 SMS, 1500 MB
The elimination of the $75 2000 minute and $90 3000 minute options makes the new Smartphone-only lineup a lot less attractive to customers who use lots of voice minutes. I don't think the Smartphone-only refills were very popular. I suspect the latest changes, which increase the price per minute at the high end and reduce the included days of service at low end, will make them even less appealing.

TracFone has also discontinued its Double Minute For Life (DMFL) cards which convert Single Minute feature phones to Double Minutes. I don't think anyone will miss the DMFL cards as TracFone hasn't sold a Single Minute phone in several years. Also discontinued are two high value minute cards that were only sold online. Gone are the:

  • $159.99/365 days 1000 minute card
  • $199.99/365 days 1500 minutes.
Confused? Here's a complete listing of all TracFone refills currently available:

Pay As You Go Minute Cards
Price Validity Minutes
$9.99* 30 days 30
$19.99 90 days 60
$29.99 90 days 120
$39.99 90 days 200
$79.99 90 days 450
$99.99 365 days 400
Monthly Value Plans*
Price Minutes
$9.99 50
$19.99 125
$29.99 200

Family Value Plan*
Price Minutes
First Phone$9.99 50
Add'l Phones $5.99 40
* Value plans are only available online at tracfone.com. Value plan members can purchase minute bundles (50 minutes for $10 or 100 minutes for $20) if they run out  before the month ends.

The Minute cards and Value plans above can be used with all TracFones and BYOP devices. The included minutes are doubled on Double Minutes For Life feature phones and tripled on Triple Minute for Life ones. On Smartphones and BYOP they "triple-triple" giving triple their face value of talk, text and data,.  For example, a 60 minute card provides 180 minutes, 180 texts and 180 MBs of data on a smartphone or BYOP.

The Smartphone and BYOP only cards listed below only work on TracFone smartphones and BYOP devices. They provide the amount of minutes, texts and data listed below and do not double or triple.

Smartphone/BYOP Only Cards
Cost Minutes SMS Data Days Of Service
$5* *none 1000 none none
$10 none none 1 GB none
$15* 200 500 200 MB 30
$25* 500 1000 500 MB 60
$35* 750 1000 1 GB 60
$125* 1500 1500 1500 MB 365
* currently only available online at tracfone.com.

Unused TracFone minutes, texts and data roll over indefinitely provided the account is not allowed to lapse by running out of service days.

TracFone operates as an AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon MVNO offering a different of phones for each of the three networks. BYOP is available on AT&T or Verizon.

Update 6/6/2016: TracFone today cut the price of the 1000 text card from $10 to $5 and instituted a 5-10% auto-refill discount program. To receive the auto pay discount customers need to enroll a credit or debit card on the TracFone site and select a Pay As You Go card or a Smartphone/BYOP card that includes minutes, texts and data card as their "Plan".  Customers who select a Pay As You Go card get a 10% discount, customers who choose a Smartphone/BYOP card get a 5% discount. There is no discount on the text-only and data-only cards.

Source: TracFone

43 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. With all the competition, I'm surprised to see these less attractive plans. Yes, $10/1 GB is good, but for anyone who uses the phone to talk, they are seeing a 55% increase (It now costs $560 per year to equal the voice minutes which cost $360 yesterday).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm actually ecstatic that at least one provider now actually cater to people who wants reasonable data rate without needing unlimited, or even 100 minutes per month. This is like Christmas in June for those people.

      Also, if you're 'use the phone to talk', and willing to spend $360/year for minutes, i.e. $30/month, Tracfone BYOP is a terrible place for you to begin with. There are dozens of plans out there from various MVNOs with $20-$30/month with unlimited minutes/txt, most of those even have some data included.

      Delete
    2. You can still buy the original TF cards if you are not necessarily a heavy texter or data user. Too bad smartphones eliminated the promo minutes that were available.

      Delete
    3. While smartphone/BYOP owners can't use promo codes, they do get triple value into triple buckets on a smartphone. Can't have it all :) .

      Delete
  2. I assume the $125/365 plan is for 1500 mB not gB. Also I just received a t-mobile byod sim but it was only accessible for purchase when I used a Microsoft browser on their site??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it should have said 1500 MB and now it does. Thanks for pointing out the error.

      Delete
  3. You're more than welcome. Thank you for all of your effort.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just switched my grandmother over from Page Plus pay-as-you-go because the $200/365 day card was a competitive per-minute rate (valuing texts and MBs at $0). Hmm. Fortunately she has a Big Easy and an HSN smartphone bundle to start with. With the $200/365 day card gone, it is surely now that getting HSN bundles on-sale with Visa Checkout discount is the way to go for refills.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I already have a Tracfone smartphone, how am I able to buy and add the HSN bundle minutes onto my current Tracfone? I though that wasn't possible anymore. Thanks in advance for tips on how to do it.

      Delete
    2. It was possible ~2 weeks ago when I did it, but with the CS agent I set my expectations of the balance transfer before getting it activated, and then the agent ended up having to do the transfer manually. Have things changed since then?

      Delete
    3. The REALLY important thing to do is NOT activate the device you receive. What you should do is process an UPGRADE from your old device to the new device. By doing this, you will keep the benefits on your current device and stack into reserve the benefit attached to the new device. You can then check your balances and are sure. Anything that is missing will be given back to you when you contact TF & explain.

      Hope this helps! :)

      Delete
  5. With rollover, it's still a good deal for people who don't need "unlimited" voice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THAT's a good deal??? wirelessservices.us dealers have one year plan (365 days) that has 2000 minutes and 2000 SMS for only $75. I don't get the fanfare about these indicated plans.

      Delete
    2. Is any data included with the $75 plan? What network does it use?

      Delete
  6. Dennis, while there is no data allotted for "internet" use on this plan, there is enough for MMS. The plans are on the VZW Postpaid network. I invite you to visit wirelessservices.us and click on the "more info" link to see all the plans available dealers have for this unique MVNO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've got the wrong crowd thinking we don't already know of what MVNO you speak of. I already have a Selectel dealer, thanks.

      Delete
    2. Tracfone has "feature phone" plans too, although they don't do the best job marketing them in the smartphone and byop era.

      Delete
  7. Sorry, it isn't Selectel. It is an MVNO specifically for dealers who would rather promote their own businesses rather than somebody else's.

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    Replies
    1. More expensive than RingPlus though.

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    2. What is it called, Darrell?

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    3. 1...Every different MVNO has its pros and cons. Yes, Ring Plus has some decent priced plans...The are on Sprint VS Verizon (so if VZW is the choice coverage, then RP is not the way to go) and more importantly...these young guns coming out of the gate giving away the farm...let's see how long they last. Then you have to scramble to move all of your customers again. Additionally, how sweet are those plans when the MVNO attracts your customers aways from you (blatant auto top-up pricing - that's with the company...NOT the dealer). The 2nd question...the name for all intent purposes is simply Wireless Services. The website is www.wirelessservices.us It is for dealers, not customers. And the vagueness of the name is because that is the sole purpose, for the dealer to promote their OWN name. We are simply a tool to enable that.

      Delete
  8. These New Plans have Fail written all over them. Data is better though. Smaller providers like Airvoice and H20 EasyGO are offering more attractive unlimited plans than the Big Tracfone.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This would've been great news months ago.

    Unfortunately, I already joined Cricket.

    And because my Idol 3 is locked for 6 months, I'm not about to spend ~$160 on a new phone and a year of service just to pay another $10 per GB.

    In fact, to get the same amount of data as a Cricket group plan, I'd have to spend $390/yr (rather than $240).

    Heck, Tracfone doesn't even include unlimited TnT on the house.

    Anyway, Tracfone may have unthrottled data speeds, but I don't know anyone who'd want to pay that $100/yr service charge up front when it doesn't even include at least 10GB of data.

    You'd literally be pissing away $90 for nothing, which is the single stupidest aspect of TF.

    Ironically enough, all they'd need to do to stay competitive is add 30 service days to their text and data cards.

    But if they're not including the cost of service now, who knows whether they would still offer those rates without that $100 up front investment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracfone is pay as you go.

      Slim has other brands for the unlimited jibber jabber folks.

      Delete
  10. EyeAmNoLongerInfectedJune 4, 2016 at 3:01 AM

    I am thrilled with the new $10/GB add-on to the $99/year card. Perfect for the disciplined phone user.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank You ,this is the simplest all inclusive page I have seen of Tracfnes offerings....definitely bookmarked!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Tracfone has also changed it's policy for phone upgrades. On June 2nd I attempted to upgrade a horrid LG Optimus Dynamic to a LG Ultimate 2. I went through and after I got to where I was ready to do the transfer a warning message appears that only the phone number and days of service will transfer, and all of my remaining balance would be wiped out. A chat CSR confirmed this, but then told me that the CSR could manually add the lost service buckets back into the upgraded device. So if you are going to attempt this, best to do it where you get a transcript sent. Even then I have done a chat and the transcript was never e-mailed to me. Too bad coz now I'll prolly send back the LG Treasure HSN bundle I bought recently

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    Replies
    1. Would not take this as a policy change as TracFone has been updating their website including activation pages. Probably have unresolved software bugs with the new website software.

      Delete
  13. We know Tracfone didn't ask it's customers if they could increase these plans and i for one didn't want 2G to end yet i am stuck with higher plans to pay for!!!!

    When my plans end i will no longer be doing business with Tracfone! You are no longer the cheapest ride!!!

    Blast these comments to let Tracfone know you disgust with their greediness!!! SHAME ON TRACFONE!!!!


    I have addressed this issue many times in the Comments with dennis's posts. It's time Tracfone reversed their increase or lose more than the 300,000 users you lost last quarter! Tracfone you will see greediness doesn't pay off!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to take a wild guess that Carlos Slim is richer than you, even though he knows nothing (according to you) about running a company.

      Delete
    2. +1. Tracfone is in business to make money. They are not a charity. Businessmen who risk their money to make money offering more choices to people should be admired, not shamed. Without them, everything would cost more and vary less.
      If Tracfone's services don't appeal to people, they can easily take their business elsewhere. Just do it. No flaming required.

      Delete
  14. TracFone has made further changes and cuts:

    https://www.tracfone.com/direct/Purchase?payGo=true&app=TRACFONE&lang=en

    Most smartphone/BYOP refills include a 5 to 10% auto-refill discount and the text refill was reduced by 50% to $5 for 1000 texts :) .

    ReplyDelete
  15. The change from 90-day smartphone plans to 60 days or even 30 days is crap and makes people move on if they are going to bother using a phone to talk . If you don't mind spending the money to buy those $20 cards just to get to use the data and text cards then it might work if you barely use a phone!
    Of course it really defeats the purpose of buying a smartphone by not having unlimited access today as it's really going to limit its use as a smartphone unless mostly wifi usage. .people continue to burn an increasingly larger amount of data!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go for it!

      Delete
    2. While people certainly continue to use more data, I can tell you that the facts show they are not using as much as one thinks. I track my customer's usage monthly and month after month, the numbers show they don't use the full amount of what they purchase. The psychology of wanting unlimited has been a customer norm for several years. It's nothing new. But while they WANT it, they are not using it.

      In may, my 4G customers on my MVNO used the following data amounts:
      $20 plan - given 15MB...actual average used: 10MB
      $30 plan - given 500MB...actual average used: 212MB
      $40 plan - given 1GB...actual average used: 413MB
      $55 plan - given 3GB...actual average used: 1.16GB
      $70 plan - given 5GB...actual average used: 2GB

      These are true numbers and continue to be roughly the same month after month. People just do not use as much as you think. They are educated to use wi-fi (which, think about it, why wouldn't you? Way faster). You gotta stop thinking that just because they tell you it's unlimited, that it's the best, because (1. It's not, you're NOT using it all and (2. Once you hit the average cap and the data gets throttled, how good is it then? Hope I helped shed a little light.

      Delete
  16. We have been loyal tracfone customers for over 10 years. We have recommended tracfone to at least 5 other current customers. We recently encouraged my mother in law to get a tracfone from HSN with the expectation that she could add a $90 plan with the 3000 minutes, 3000 texts, 1.5 GB of data and 90 days of service. However, with that option gone as of early June I called TracFone and spoke with "customer service" who indicated that option must have been some sort of promotion and as such they could not honor it. Anyone have any idea's on what (if any) options might be out there. I would have been happy if they could have done it once as we told her that tracfone could save her money as she was paying $45 a month and needs about 400 minutes a month. However, with the $90 option gone this is no longer the case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mom-in-law should be on the $35- 750 min.-1000 sms-1 GB-60 day plan. Tell her to talk a little less, and it will last the full 60 days. ;-)

      Delete
  17. The 1500 min. smart phone card was $200 plus triple minutes for 4500 minutes came to around .05 cents/minute with taxes for talk. Now the 1500 min. card is $125 with no triple minutes so the cost per minute talk is over .09 cents/minute including taxes. That's a pretty hefty increase.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The $125 smartphone card is not the best deal.
      The lowest cost per minute cards are now the $25 500 minutes 60 days and the $35 750 minutes 750 minutes 60 days smartphone cards. Both are 5¢/minute.

      Delete
  18. Why the cr@p did they get rid of the high-minute cards for dumb phones? Those were one of the best deals? Could they not have kept them and reduced the prices, or something? Now you'd have to buy like 2-3 of the 400/450 minute cards? Why? What is the logic behind this? Are they trying to jack up prices? Half the point of TracFone was that it's "cheap."

    ReplyDelete
  19. The $200 1500 x3 card is back online

    ReplyDelete
  20. For the one year smartphone plan, does your data get throttled when you use your 1.5 gb of data. Or does the data portion just stop until you buy more data?

    ReplyDelete
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