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Roaming Coverage Removed From TracFone Coverage Maps

A Howard Forums member discovered that TracFone's coverage maps for basic non-smartphone devices no longer show any off-network roaming.

TracFone feature phones have always included extensive off-network voice and text roaming. The Verizon based CDMA phones roamed on Sprint, US Cellular and dozens of regional CDMA operators like Cellcom, C-Spire and Shentel. AT&T based GSM phones roamed on T-Mobile and regional GSM operators like Viaero and the excellently named Bug Tussle Wireless. T-Mobile based GSM phones roamed on AT&T and GSM regional operators. For customers who needed the widest possible coverage, I've long recommended  a CDMA based TracFone feature phone. There's still more rural CDMA coverage than GSM, although GSM is catching up, hence the CDMA recommendation.

To see the GSM map changes go to TracFone's coverage page, enter  zip code 89501 (Reno, NV) and pick a feature phone with a model name ending in "G", like TFALA206G. Zoom out four steps and follow I-80 toward the North-East. Notice that service stops around Lovelock, NV. TracFone AT&T based feature phones used to roam on T-Mobile on I-80 east of Lovelock. Now TracFone's maps show no coverage in this area.

TracFone AT&T GSM Map Showing Nissing Roaming
TracFone GSM (AT&T) Map Missing  No Longer Shows Roaming in Lovelock, NV

To see the CDMA map changes, enter zip code 54612 (Tamarack, WI) and choose  feature phone with a model ending in "C" like TFALA394C.  Zoom out four steps and pan north-east to see the white no coverage area around Oconto Falls just north of Green Bay. That's an area with Sprint and Cellcom coverage that TracFone should be able to roam on.

TracFone CDMA (Verizon) Map
TracFone CDMA Map No Longer Shows Roaming in Oconto Falls, WI

The Howard Forums user who discovered the map changes says that his TracFone CDMA feature phone still roams on Sprint. That suggests that either roaming still works as before and only the maps changed or that existing users' roaming is grandfathered, but new customers will not be able to roam. Or, as the HoFo member suggests, maybe TracFone changed the maps to discourage prospective customers who are likely to roam from choosing a TracFone feature phone. Roaming undoubtedly costs TracFone more so they do have an incentive to discontinue roaming or discourage roaming customers.

It any readers recently activated a feature phone, please leave a comment tell us if you have roaming or not.

Source: Howard Forums

25 comments:

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  1. I'm glad I'll never know what service is like with Trashfone

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    1. I had a horrible experience with them back in 2009. I'll never go back.

      Delete
  2. lol @ "Trash fone." *sigh*

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  3. Tracfone can be good in some light use cases but overall it's a crap outfit with low end phones that lag and customer service is crap. but it appears there are a lot of changes in the works with all companies. some seem to make me think it's about the money. they want more and will do whatever it takes to get more which is bad for consumers. I'm watching all news to see where it is all really going. seems to me we will be heading back to less for us and more for them. they've had enough of the giving more for less.

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    1. I agree, seems prices are going up or service is going down or both. The fact that both T-mobile and Sprint introduce neutered unlimited plans simultaneously is telling.

      Delete
    2. Tracfone actually lowered some prices and started offering better deals on minutes.

      They also have $1 sims at Best Buy, allowing you to bring whatever cheap unlocked phone you want.

      Even their phones are less expensive for what you get, as anyone who's seen the dreaded $40 Sunrise can attest to.

      And to top it all off, their CS is great if you're not a complete dumbass.

      TF is really whatever you make of it, so long as you're open-minded and flexible.

      Delete
    3. "And to top it all off, their CS is great if you're not a complete dumbass"

      This is a slap in the face of people who have had nothing but issues with TF glitchy systems and horrendous CS. I'm surprised your comment got passed Dennis. He's censored others for way less than that.

      Delete
  4. They did make a purchase, so they gotta cut back somewhere i guess;) they just bought family mobile

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    1. Has a TracFone purchase of Family Mobile been confirmed? I know it's been rumored but as far as I know it has not happened.

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  5. The device may very well continue to roam until its PRL is updated. One would have to pull a current PRL and compare it to the old to be sure.

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  6. Now they have something in common with RP. I suppose you don't need to roam outside of the trailer park.

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    1. "Now they have something in common with RP."

      And with most other MVNOs.

      Try again.

      Delete
  7. Long time TF user and never had roaming capabilities on TF feature phones that used AT&T, never had T-Mobile. I only enjoyed roaming on TF CDMA(vzw)feature phone. I have since switched to BYOD smart phone so I no longer have a VZW CDMA feature phone account to test.

    The Trend is towards smart phones and I believe the maps were changed for those customers and do not take in consideration those using the feature phones. Smart Phones never enjoyed Roaming capabilities on either VZW or AT&T.

    To the Tracfone trolls above, the BYOP program blows your "crap" about low end devices out of the window.
    TF customer service has improved by leaps and bounds over the last year, especially if you use Chat support.

    I think Ring Plus has taken over the #1 spot for the worst customer service in the cell service provider industry!

    The per unit costs are not the greatest, but for low to moderate use you have to factor in the the fact all units roll over indefinitely, which allows you to adjust up or down whether it is every 30, 60 or 90 days or however you manage the account. I'll let a auto top up ride for several months and then check the account balances and adjust from there. I have 3 phones on TF and I am usually adjusting down because of the roll over. Occasionally I will add a Text or Data only card to supplement and account.

    For two devices it is costing about $16 a month and the other one is of such limited use it is hard to calculate the costs, but so far $30 a year.

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    1. As far as I can tell, the cheapest yearly cost is $50 added onto an airtime purchase.

      How'd you get it down to $30?

      Delete
    2. How many times has TF stolen your data and did you ever get it back?

      Delete
    3. Funny story.

      Tracfone stole all my service today and I spent hours trying to get it back.

      One rep said he couldn't refill my balances manually, which was a load of crap.

      Another rep told me to restart my phone to collect pending minutes. I did it just to knock it off the list of excuses.

      Another rep offered to refill my service, then said it was too much. He also claimed it'd cost about five times as much to get that amount of service, and refused to budge when I corrected him.

      He eventually gave me a courtesy 1k in each bucket and claimed it was correct, according to inaccurate and totally not made up records that magically turned during the conversation.

      Another rep tried to pull the restart trick until I called him out on it, then it was the sudden onset of a 20 minute system outage.

      Another rep claimed that it was a 24 hour system outage, and that the system wouldn't be up until tomorrow night.

      After a certain point, I actually wanted to hear their whole playbook of excuses.

      That, and I had nothing better to do while snacking, checking prepaid news and looking into some alternatives.

      But hey, at least I got to join the stolen service club, right alongside every other former TF customer.

      Delete
  8. I guess both Ding+ and TrashFone fans are chiming in...nice!

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    1. I noticed you didn't mention the carrier you're using right now.

      It must be worse than both TF and RP if you're too ashamed to say.

      Delete
    2. AT&T post paid...and why would I have to mention? Im not promoting anyone..

      Delete
    3. Thought so.

      Postpaid haters gonna hate on prepaid, all while leaving out the fact that they're tossing rocks down from Mount Costsalot.

      Delete
    4. "Postpaid haters gonna hate on prepaid"
      Not so, There are great companies out there like Selectel, Consumer Cellular, PureTalk USA etc that are great unlike the two are defending so desperately. Read their reviews and the amount of customer complaints and let the facts determine who is the "hater"...

      Delete
    5. "tossing rocks down from Mount Costsalot"
      Oh and before you go on speaking your nonsense, I don't pay a penny for my service. My company pays for it but if I had to pay for it, it would be prepaid and any but the two companies you are defending.

      Delete
  9. This doesn't surprise me as I noticed they dropped roaming coverage on their Page Plus maps a few weeks back as well. They're clearly cutting corners to do another stealth rate hike like they did by separating out and charging telecom fees separate from their prepaid base package prices a couple years back.

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  10. Has Anybody found tracfone $5 text and $10 for 1 gb data cards in any store or are they only available by giving tracfone your credit card number?

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    1. TF doesn't need your credit card.

      They can just wipe out your balances and tell you to buy more PINs.

      And even though you're supposed to be saving time and money, it winds up costing you more just to replenish lost service after spending hours upon hours dealing with snide, passive aggressive customer service reps who refuse to credit your loss.

      Oh, and you'll have to replace your phone too.

      You'll be chucking it at a wall in frustration when they give you just a few hundred minutes today to compensate for the ~10k in each bucket they lost yesterday.

      The point is, buying those cards elsewhere won't solve the problem.

      The only way to deal with Tracfone is by not using Tracfone at all, so you might as well buy 3 to 6 month Mint plans instead until something better comes along.

      It might cost more, but if you're gonna get locked into 90 days of service then it might as well be with a company that isn't an industry leader in ripping off customers.

      Heck, that's what I plan to do after exhausting my T-mo refills.

      $40/mo for 5GB ain't ideal, but at least you'll sleep easy knowing it won't magically disappear up Big Slim's shithole of a carrier.

      Delete
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