Home - , - TracFone Offers New $45 and $50 "Smartphone Only" Refills

TracFone Offers New $45 and $50 "Smartphone Only" Refills

TracFone has added two more airtime denominations to its suite of "Smartphone Only" top-ups. The new options, which so far only seem to be available on the TracFone website, are:
  • $45 - which adds 90 days of service, 750 minutes, 1000 texts and 1.5 GB of data.
  • $50 - which adds 90 days of service, 750 minutes, 1500 texts and 2 GB of data.
As I previously reported, TracFone appears to be in the process of eventually requiring new smartphone and BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) customers to only use the smartphone-only top-ups, not the traditional TracFone minute cards. TracFone has not announced this policy change, but at least three recently released phones are labeled with "This phone will only work with Smartphone plans". TracFone support representatives have even told customers that all smartphones and BYOP SIMs activated after April, 2017 would not receive the "triple-triple" benefit when topped up with minutes cards.  (Triple-triple means that three times number of minutes listed on the card are added to each of the phone's minutes, texts and MBs of data buckets.) However the support reps seem to be wrong as multiple users report that they have have gotten triple-triple using minutes cards on phones activated after April 1.

The smartphone-only top-ups have a higher minimum monthly cost of $12.50/month ($10.27/month if you purchase a year's worth of service in advance) compared the traditional minute cards which can cost as little as $6.67/month using $19.99, 90 day 60 minute cards. It looks like TracFone's goal with the policy change is to raise its monthly Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) as well as to encourage users to make a longer commitment to get the best price.

There is a little known way to reduce the minimum monthly cost of the smartphone-only top-us. If you purchase any top-up that includes minutes using the TracFone website, you will be given the option to add 356 days of service for $50. TracFone calls this option "Supersize".  A Supersized $15 top-up yields a monthly cost of $5.42. TracFone doesn't advertise the Supersize option and it's only available online, but for those in the know it can reduce the total cost of TracFone service for some (light) use cases.

The table below shows the cost per minute, text, MB and month of service for each of TracFone's current smartphone-only refills. See our Prepaid Operator Profile: TracFone for a larger table that compares Smartphone-only refills with Minute cards.

Price Mins Cost / Min SMS Cost / SMS Data Cost / MB Days Cost / Month
$5 none NA 1000 0.5¢ none NA none NA
$10 none NA none NA 1 GB 0.98¢ none NA
$15 200 7.5¢ 500 200 MB 7.5¢ 30 $15
$20 * 300 6.7¢ 1000 1 GB 30 $20
$25 * 500 1000 2.5¢ 500 MB 60 $12.50
$35 750 4.7¢ 1000 3.5¢ 1 GB 3.4¢ 60 $17.50
$45 * 750 1000 4.5¢ 1.5 GB 2.9¢ 90 $15
$50 750 6.6¢ 1500 3.3¢ 2.0 GB 2.4¢ 90 $16.67
$125 * 1500 8.3¢ 1500 8.3¢ 1500 MB 8.3¢ 365 $10.27
* Only available at tracfone.com

The new $45 and $50 refills are notable for being TracFone's first smartphone refills that include 90 days of service. However they are not a particularly good value for most users due to their relatively high cost per month, minute and text when compared with other smartphone only-options like the $25 refill.

Source: TracFone via a reader's tip.


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16 comments:

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  1. Yep not a good value.

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    Replies
    1. Do tell us about your good value plan. Maybe we'll be enlightened to switch.

      Delete
  2. who is it that pays so much for so little?

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    Replies
    1. With roll over TF works very well for those who are low to moderate users.

      Unfortunately these new cards are uninspiring.

      TF needs to add 90 days of service cards with more minutes than text or data to complement their already heavy text and data cards.

      Delete
    2. Those of us who are light users are quite happy with our TracFone usage costs. TracFone is definitely not tops for everyone - depending on their usage patterns.

      The above valuation table can be misleading to the casual reader as each "cost/whatever" colum doesn't take into account the cost value of the service provided by the other columns/buckets - only makes sense to value things that way if you use one bucket and the rest will never be used.

      Delete
    3. I don't believe that most TracFone users consume voice, messaging and data at an equal rate. As a result they end up with large balances of the stuff they use less. For example, if a person uses voice the most, they soon wind up with large text and data balances that they will likely never use. The added text and data that they get with every top up is of zero value to them.

      The table is useful for finding top-up or combination of top-ups that provides enough of the element (voice, data or texts) you use the most of at the lowest total cost per month.

      Delete
  3. shove it Carlos Slim[e]

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  4. Thanks for the detailed analysis!

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  5. Tracfone's $15/500mb plan is horrendously bad compared to Mintsim's $20/10GB plan.

    They're just trying to fleece low-information subscribers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mintsim doesn't have a $20/10GB plan. The only way to get that is if you're a new customer, and that price is only good for your first 3 months of service. After that, the price doubles.

      Delete
    2. Not quite.

      It only goes up to $33 (not $40), but you can downgrade to the $25/5GB plan instead.

      For those who don't need that much data, the 2GB plan is $17/mo.

      That comes to $51 total for 6GB spread out over 3 months, which is three times what you get with Tracfone.

      Delete
  6. I am rarely anywhere except for work or home which I have WiFi at. So every 3 months or so I buy a cheap card to make sure I have service days. I'm a light user, so every now and then I pay $5 for 1000 texts. Works great for me, as I can sometimes go 4 months or so without paying anything for my phone, which is better than ANY unlimited plan. Really depends on your usage. However, from these charts it seems that if I DID use my phone more, it would be cheaper to buy several smaller cards

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  7. May & maybe should backfire on tracfone aiming to get more $ per customer if that is the plan as getting too close to cost of others monthly with unlimited!
    Especially if people can get on "family" with reliable others.
    Let's hope that they rethink or someone else gets serious about taking low use customers from them!

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  8. What happens to the plan Tracfone had that included unlimited talk and txt along with 10 gb data? They fleasing the po folk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TracFone has never had any unlimited plans - and most likely never will as they don't target that market.

      Delete
  9. If you buy the $15 refill and $50 supersize extra year, that's $65/13 = $5/month, not $5.42 as stated in the article (which assumed 12 months vs 13). Everything here is before taxes and fees.

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