TracFone Wireless manufactures TracFones, a unit of the Mexican telecommunications company America Mobil. They are sold at common stores such as OfficeMax, Target, Office Depot, Wal-Mart, and are also available at other electronic outlets across the country. TracFones are designed for the prepaid cellular market, which has an estimated 10 million consumers and a turnover of approximately $ 6 billion a year. Most people think that prepaid mobile phones are expensive if they are to be used as a normal mobile phone.
The truth is that all TracFones of the GSM model are “flat rate” (that is, no charge for roaming). Depending on the phone, a TracFone will often have better text message rates than T-Mo. By paying everything upfront at a specific rate, you know exactly where you are. Any new TracFone you buy these days will be a single rate phone, because the older standard rate phones on sale are already new. Long distance calling plans are also available if you make frequent international calls, but depending on the plan, you will also be charged for domestic long distance calls that would normally be free with normal TracFone service.
TracFone does not have its own network and only uses well established carriers such as Verizon, Alltel, Cingular, Suncom, AT&T, etc. Many phone companies around the world resell the services of other phone companies. They buy circuits from the incumbent operator at a wholesale rate and resell them at a retail rate to people like you and me. For example, you may have heard of PAETEC Communications or US LEC. Both companies only own switches there, they don’t own any networks, so they resell the BellSouth (AT&T) network or the Verizon network. Bell South and Verizon and similarly Cingular, Verizon Wireless, AllTel, T-Mobile have their own wholesales departments serving companies like TracFone. Also, on the other hand, all those companies buy wholesale from each other to complete the network. It is a common practice among telephone companies.
TracFones is ideal for people who do not want a contract or who only use their phones for emergencies. They are also great if you don’t use the phone much. You get 10 cents per minute if you get the double min card and then a 400 min card for $ 80. TracFones is a good alternative to a regular cell phone if you don’t use many minutes each month or if you have bad credit and can’t get a contract with a standard cell phone company.
I don’t know who these folks are who say that TracFones are “cheap” and don’t have good service, but as someone who has used them since they came out, I can say without fear of a credible contradiction that they are as good as any other phone. I would say that if used correctly as a casual cell phone user, Tracfones are almost always cheaper than paying for a plan on a regular phone.