The LG Optimus Fuel, also known as the LG L34C, is a new phone that was just recently released for TracFone. This newest offering of TracFone’s Android line appears to be, by most measures, the most capable phone yet offered by TracFone directly. [click to continue…]

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I have three bits of TracFone news, each of which is fairly significant, but maybe not enough to warrant a post on it’s own. So here I’m going to combine the three topics into a single post. Here’s a summary before I get into the details:

Significant TracFone policy change – combining airtime

This is a big one, and I am very disappointed in TracFone on this one. For as long as I’ve been using TracFone, over ten years now, it was possible to “merge” the minutes and airtime from multiple phones into one phone. Perhaps this is best explained with an example:

Assume that today’s date is October 1st. You own two TracFones, as follows:

Phone 1 Phone 2
Minutes Remaining 125.0 200.0
Exp. Date Nov. 15th (45 days remaining) Dec. 1st (61 days remaining)

In this example, the former policy would allow you to call TracFone and ask to transfer the remaining balance from phone 1, with or without transferring that phone number, onto phone 2. This would result in phone 1 being deactivated. Phone 2 would then have a balance of 325 minutes, and a service end date of January 15th (determined by adding the minutes and service days from the two phones).

To me, this always seemed fair, because if I had paid for the airtime on both phones, shouldn’t I be able to combine them if I wanted to? However, TracFone apparently felt that some users were taking advantage of that situation, because now if you want to transfer airtime from one active phone to another, the “recipient phone” will have all previous minutes wiped out.

So continuing from the example above, after transferring, phone 2 would lose its previous balance, and be left with 125 minutes, and an expiration date of November 15th – exactly what phone 1 had prior to the transfer. Further, the phone number from phone 1 would be transferred over to phone 2 as well, regardless of whether the owner wants it transferred.

Whatever the reasoning behind this change, TracFone users must be informed of it or risk losing some very large balances when transferring between phones. Worst of all, TracFone service reps will not warn you of the new policy before making the transfer.

This policy eliminates a lot of flexibility for those of us that liked to try out a new phone for a while before deciding it would become our “main” phone. Further – and I think this is probably the “target” of the new policy change -some people previously took advantage of deals by purchasing a phone that came loaded with a bunch of minutes and airtime, such as from HSN, and then after some time transferring those minutes to a different phone. This strategy no longer works under the new policy.

One last thing worth noting, though – this won’t affect users who upgrade to a new phone, and transfer their old balance at the time of activating the new phone. Here’s a quick summary of how this would work, thanks to HowardForums member tfusr19

1. Transfer service/minutes/phone # from your current Tracfone to the new phone purchased thru this deal.
2. Verify phone works ….. e.g. phone # , service days and minutes all came over from old phone, you can make/receive calls, etc.
3. Add PIN number for 1200minutes / 1-year now at the end. (You could do this as part of step 2, but I’m wanting to make this KISS).

By following these steps, users can add all previous airtime to the new phone, and the new phone will still be eligible to receive any “bundled” minutes such as are offered by HSN.

For more discussion of this topic, check out the forum thread at HowardForums.

Moto G on TracFone BYOP

Moto G Screenshot - TracFone AppBack when TracFone first introduced their Bring Your Own Phone program, I lamented that two of the 3G phone models I would be most interested in putting on TracFone, the iPhone 4s and the Moto G, were not allowed on the BYOP program. Several months after BYOP debuted, TracFone began activating iPhones. However, until recently, I was not aware of any Moto G phones activating successfully on TracFone service.

Now some people have been able to activate the Moto G, as I’ve learned recently thanks to a comment from “Danny” posted to this blog. He was able to successfully activate a Moto G, purchased off eBay, on TracFone’s BYOP service earlier this month. He shared a screen shot (at left) of the TracFone My Account Android app running on his Moto G, displaying the device model number.

It seems the key to making this work is that the Moto G must have been active on Verizon’s own prepaid service for a minimum of six months. At that time, Verizon will release the phone from their list of devices that are prohibited on MVNO’s (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) such as TracFone. Since the Moto G was just announced in the U.S. in December, 2013, those 6-month active phones are just now hitting the secondary market.

At this time, Moto G’s are selling for $70-$90 on eBay. If you want to try this route for yourself, though, be aware of the following caveats:

1. The phone must have previously been on Verizon Prepaid, and active on that service for at least six months.

2. There is now a second generation Moto G that has 4G LTE – this newer version has 4G, and WILL NOT work on TracFone.

If you decide to try activating a Moto G on TracFone, please share your experience in the comment section below this post.


Another step toward 4G service

In a previous post, I commented on some indications that 4G LTE service would be available to prepaid companies that provide access to the Verizon network. At that time, there was speculation that pay-as-you-go company Page Plus would soon announce LTE service. That announcement has been made official, and Page Plus will accept 4G devices beginning in just a few days.

While this doesn’t have any direct bearing on TracFone, Straight Talk, or Net10, it is hopefully a step in the right direction for all MVNO’s that operate on Verizon’s infrastructure. Like I said last time I posted about this topic, I wouldn’t hold my breath over it, but at least there is a glimmer of hope now.

Upcoming info

It looks like TracFone could potentially see some new phones debuting in time for the holiday shopping season, and I’ll soon be doing a post about those possible devices.

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LG Optimus Dynamic II bundle from HSN

I just wanted to give everyone a quick heads-up that the LG Optimus Dynamic II is on sale at HSN right now, bundled with a few other goodies. To find the deal, click here, then search for item “374-624.” I don’t know how long this deal will last, so you might want to check it […]

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Possible Big Change for TracFone

I have recently become aware of some potential developments that might affect TracFone’s BYOP program, or even the phones offered directly by the company. At this point, it seems very speculative, but if it turns out to be true it would mark a huge change for TracFone users, so I have decided to throw in my two cents […]

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Straight Talk Adds Services

Recently I have unintentionally been steering away from Straight Talk and Net10 on this blog, mainly because the addition of TracFone’s smart phone plans has captured my full attention. In the mean time, however, Straight Talk has steadily been adding

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Phone Review: ZTE Valet vs. LG Optimus Dynamic II

One of my most popular recent posts was one where I compared the LG Optimus Dynamic II against the Samsung Galaxy Centura. Those were two of the three most popular TracFone smart phones that TracFone actually released. At that time, I declared the Dynamic II to be the hands-down winner. However, I had not yet […]

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Internet Telephone – Google Voice Changes

This topic is going to be a lot farther off-topic than I usually go, but with good reason. If you have used Google Voice at all, changes in the last few days may have left you without a way to access that service. And even if you haven’t used Google Voice, I’m going to suggest […]

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Alcatel 392G “The Big Easy Flip” Review

I have gotten away recently from reviewing feature phones, due to the excitement over the smart phone options from TracFone. I do have a couple of “plain old phones” to review, though, starting with the the A392g from Alcatel. The a392g was made for TracFone and Straight Talk. At the time of this publication, TracFone’s […]

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TracFone Iphone Arrives

For a LONG time now, I’ve been saying that I thought an iPhone running on TracFone’s pay-as-you-go plan would be great for some people, especially those like me who are near wifi 90% of the time. That day is finally here, with a few caveats.

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Important info: Heartbleed vulnerability on Android devices?

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve heard about the pervasive internet security issue called “Heartbleed.” You might not realize that this vulnerability also likely affects your mobile devices. I am not very good at understanding these issues, but this is a big deal. If you haven’t yet taken the time to […]

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