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543 Comments

  1. Randy Brook | | Reply

    Hi, Bob, here’s a question about international calling from a Tracfone. I hope I am posting correctly so this doesn’t appear as a new reply to our discussion of APN problems.

    I travel a lot, as came up in my APN postings. So I have a lot of foreign friends I call from the US. Until around two years ago, I could do it without extra charge on my Tracfone. That is, I would use the same number of TF minutes for international as for US calls. Either I would dial an 800 number first, or I could program in 10 international quick dial numbers. That deal is still on the website. http://extras.tracfone.com/en/ild

    Around two years ago, plus or minus a few months, Free Basic International just stopped working. You can see lots of complaints on the TF website. The answer is always: Please see a message in your private inbox.

    The private message is to call or chat. I’ve done both, several times. They always refused even to admit that there is such a thing as free international calling. Instead, they insist you have to pay for a “Global Calling Card.”

    It is not a big extra cost. It adds a few cents to the basic per minute cost to many countries. But it is annoying that Tracfone continues to offer Free Basic International that is actually not available at all.

  2. Randy Brook | | Reply

    There is an important change in how iPhones using iOS11 handle Tracfone/Verizon APN profiles installed from Tracfone. They are now locked, even if you have an iPhone purchased new from an Apple store. The profile does not appear any more in Settings. If you try to install a different profile, you get a message saying there is already a profile installed.

    This affects anyone who has an iPhone using Tracfone/Verizon who wants to switch to a foreign SIM when traveling. They will get voice and SMS, but no data or MMS. I learned this the hard way, starting last November on a trip to France.

    There is no easy solution. According to Apple store techs in Paris familiar with the problem, the only workaround is a full reinitialize. This will remove the profile. (A network reset will not.) But you cannot use an iTunes backup to restore because it will restore the problem profile as well. So you re-setup your phone from scratch. When you return to the US, the only site I know that will reinstall a profile that will be visible and later removeable is iphone.flexserve.net

    There is a way to backup and restore, but it is a bit complicated. (No jailbreak involved.) You use iBackupBot to create a backup. They you edit the backup to remove the hidden profile. (There is no way to remove the hidden profile directly from the phone.) Then you restore the profile-free backup. I just got this to work today. I also verified that a profile later installed using the flexserve site is indeed removable.

    For a lot more discussion, see https://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1905936-BYOP-iPhone-Verizon-APN-cannot-be-removed-for-foreign-SIM-cellular-data?p=16979096&posted=1#post16979096

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Randy,
      Thank you for this! I had observed this myself but I did not have an explanation. The behavior I have seen is a little different though. My I tried to install the APN profiles initially, they fail. I forget the error message though. After that, there is no profile visible in settings but trying to install any profile after that says a profile is already installed.
      Thank you for the link and for again for sharing this. I have to read up more about this.
      And make sure I clean out these profiles from my iPhones. 🙂

      • Randy Brook | | Reply

        It occurred to me that if it is Tracfone causing the problem and not Verizon, it might be violating at least the spirit of its consent agreement with the FCC. It agreed to unlock phones on request and pay compensation to purchasers of locked phones. https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/tracfone-phone-unlocking-program

        Technically, the agreement doesn’t apply to phones not purchased from Tracfone. But what is happening is even worse. I will see what the FCC and Tracfone have to say when I complain to the FCC here: tracfoneunlocking@fcc.gov Unfortunately, in this new climate of non-enforcement of regulations and years of staff cuts at the FCC, I don’t have much hope there.

        • Randy Brook | | Reply

          Here is the complaint I just sent to the FCC. The automated FCC reply just says TF has 60 days to respond and say whether this falls within the settlement. As I noted, technically TF could just blow off my complaint as ineligible. Then I will have to file a new complaint with the FCC, again with little hope of any meaningful follow-up. It would take a lot of complaints to get this even looked at.

          ——— sent to FCC:
          Subject: Tracfone now partially locking iPhones purchased directly from Apple stores

          I have an iPhone SE I purchased directly from Apple. I use it on the Tracfone/Verizon network via their BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) program. I am not on any contract or plan. I buy minutes as needed.

          I travel frequently, using foreign SIM cards when I do. Until some time last year, I could simply delete the APN Profile that Tracfone/Verizon automatically installed on my iPhone. This would allow full foreign carrier use.

          Since some time last year, the Tracfone/Verizon profile became hidden and could no longer be uninstalled. The result is that when I travel and insert a foreign SIM card, I cannot get any cellular data or send MMS messages. Many others have reported this problem online, although few understand the cause.

          I tried to get Tracfone to unlock my phone but could not find any who would even admit it was a Tracfone problem. Multiple tech support people, and their “supervisors,” either knew nothing or said it had to be an Apple problem.

          This seems to me even worse than Tracfone selling locked phones. They are now partially locking previously unlocked phones that the consumers purchased elsewhere.

          I request that the FCC demand Tracfone cease hiding and locking their APN profiles on iPhones.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Hi Randy,
          I’m not convinced that tracfone is intentionally doing this. I have no evidence either way yet, but it strikes me as more of a unintentional consequence. I’ve been writing about straight talk & tracfone for a while it reminds me of the issue they had with iPhone support of group texts and MMS picture messages. There are several variables here including Tracfone, Verizon, Apple, iOS updates, carrier bundles, and APN profiles. I noticed a similar problem to the one you are having as part of reviewing Total Wireless (a tracfone brand that uses the Verizon network).

          I suspect iOS has changed the way it is handing the the APN profiles, and perhaps the defaults as to how they are processed. The fact the profiles from iphone.flexserve.net can be installed and removed but the profiles from http://www.unlockit.co.nz/unlockit/ cannot be removed and the fact that the iphone.flexserve.net profiles appear to be updated with additional fields almost makes it seems that some default processing has changed.

          The APN profiles themselves have a pretty limited ability to configure your phone. The carrier bundles have far more control and can no longer be used altered and installed. I’m going to have to reset one of my iPhones and see if I can reproduce your results. In my case with Total Wireless the APN profile never installed correctly initially. (and not with a profile already installed error)

          I know you were talking about your issue and use a foreign SIM. Did you by any chance try it with a domestic SIM (att maybe). The behavior I see on my iPhone 6s is I cannot install an APN profile because it says one is already installed. But I’ve tried a Verizon, Straight Talk ATT, and Project Fi SIM in my phone and when I insert them my data works fine. That is the invisible APN profile isn’t overriding the APN from the carrier bundle. (which in the past would).

          I may have not clearly explained this here. My wife is waiting on me. I still want to continue to discuss this with you though. I’ll do some experiments this weekend.

          • Randy Brook | |

            I agree that it is hard to tell whether the change in profile handling was intentional or who caused it. I do know that Verizon recently announced it would start locking the phones its sells this spring, Even if it did not intentionally cause the problem we’re discussing, it may have no incentive to fix it.

            I do not have an ATT sim card at home to test. I possibly could borrow one, but I expect whomever I asked would get a bit nervous if I said why.

            Here is another wrinkle. On another website, I got a reply from someone who thought that the problem might be different depending on when I got my Tracfone cdma sim. He said he had a problem somewhat similar but it went away when he got a new sim card last year. There was still a hidden profile, but it did not affect his getting foreign cellular data.

            According to this person, the older sim cards will show Verizon as the carrier next to the signal strength bars on the iPhone screen at the top left. His shows TFW. I know mine says Verizon. And I know from experience that changing a Tracfone sim, especially when not changing your physical phone, is fraught with peril

            Some TF tech support people will say flat out that you cannot do it if your phone has not changed. One said she could do it but would have to change my phone number. Once you find someone to do it, the voice activation can take a couple of days. Data can take longer.

            One tip: Whenever talking to Tracfone, try to get to the BYOP support people, On average, they are more knowledgeable and speak better English than the front line support people.

          • Bob Thompson | |

            I don’t know if it is related to the SIM cards or not, but yes some people see TFW in the status bar now as opposed to Verizon. The people with TFW are getting a TFW carrier bundle loaded that automatically sets the APN. The people that see Verizon should have a Verizon or generic “Carrier” bundle loaded which sets the APN incorrectly and that is why the APN profile is needed. In the past, it seems as though the Verizon APN did work for Tracfone customers and then at some point they got their own APN. I remember getting many people coming to the site that then needed to install the APN profile. If I recall correctly, some people that had visual voicemail working at the time, had problems with VVM too.

            Are you getting VVM? and could you tell me your iOS version and what carrier bundle you have in Settings > General

          • Randy Brook | |

            As long as I have cellular data (in the US), I have VVM. Back a year ago, I had been able to delete the Profile when I got to France. When I got back to the US, at first no data and no VVM. Once the Tracfone/Verizon profile was installed, or maybe after a day or two, data and VVM returned.

            I arrived in France last month using 11.2.6. Since then, Apple pushed out 11.3. This did not change the hidden status of the profile in my SE. Although I have been experimenting on that phone a bit, including swapping in the French sim card, on a daily basis I am using a 5s with that French sim card.

            If by a “carrier bundle” you mean the full contents of the relevant .ipcc file, I’m not sure how to view it safely under Windows. If you just mean the carrier showing in General, About, it is Verizon 32.0. As as far back as I can remember while using Tracfone over Verizon, this entry was always Verizon followed by a (version?) number. Right now there is nothing showing in Settings, About for network, since TF/Verizon makes no connection outside of the US.

            Just for laughs at what happens in a country with real competition: I pay 20€/month for that French sim card. It gives me unlimited voice (international calling included) and SMS. Also virtually unlimited 4G LTE data and MMS. In addition, I can use it on the same terms in over 100 countries when I travel, for calling within the country or back to France. As far as I know, the company can still make a good profit. If all you need is limited (still international) calling and data, it is 2€ per month.

  3. Brandon | | Reply

    Hey Bob, I know you are always posting about cellphone deals and I have one for you. Walmart Family Mobile has a deal of activate your 1st line line at regular price and you get any additional lines (up to 4 additional) for $24.88 each independent of LTE data cap. You can get two truly unlimited lines for $75 plus taxes or mix and match based upon your needs. I would assume of course the 1st line has to be greater than or of equal price to the 2nd line. I just noticed it today, not sure how long the promotion will last or is for new customers only.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thanks Brandon! Do you use Walmart Family Mobile? I may do a video about this

  4. Ora | | Reply

    can it work with an iPhone 7 or an iPhone 8?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Ora,
      I don’t know what you mean by “it”…

  5. Bonnie Lee | | Reply

    I just got finished watching your youtube video about using a smartphone overseas and I’m a bit confused. i will be traveling in the UK and Italy, mostly, as well as on a cruise. I had watched another video about using a sim card from another country and he was showing how to change the APN setting and completely lost me. If I install a sim card from the UK will the APN setting automatically change and if not how do I change it, and then change it back when I return to the states? Also, how do I find out if my phone is locked or unlocked, or does it matter?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    I have an iphone 7, and my carrier is Verizon.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Your iPhone 7 is unlocked. All Verizon iPhones are. Depending on the wireless carrier / international SIM you use your phone might set the APN automatically or you will need to do it yourself. It’s not that hard. Tap Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Network. There are several values you’ll need to enter. When you sign up for a carrier, you’ll get the APN values you need to enter. If you buy a SIM from a retailer, they might set it up for you.

      Note that is the US, the APN settings on the iPhone when you use AT&T or Verizon are automatically set up and then the option to change them in settings is hidden so if you look for the options on your phone now, you won’t see them.

      When you return to the United States and put your Verizon SIM back in your iPhone it will automatically set the APN back. How long will you be travelling for? Another option would be to sign up for a T-Mobile plan that supports international use for a month and use that while overseas. The data, texts, and calling would be included in the monthly fee.

      • Randy Brook | | Reply

        Please refer to my comment sent a couple of minutes ago. At least with a Tracfone running on the Verizon network, an iPhone will be semi-locked. The profile will be hidden. This will prevent removal and getting foreign cellular data.

  6. Phillip Plante | | Reply

    Hello, I just bought the BYOP 3-in1 sim kit with straight talk and they said that wifi calling is not supported with this chip kit and that I should buy one of their phones online. I know my phone does support it as it did when it was on AT&T which was my original carrier. Any help as wot how I can get this working again?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I am using a BYOP ATT SIM with my BYOP iPhone X on Straight Talk and it works for me. See Does Wi-Fi Calling Work With Straight Talk Wireless?. I don’t know what phone you are using. Did they tell you which of their phones will work with Wi-Fi calling and which towers they use? I assume you are using their AT&T SIM and wifi calling isn’t working? What type of phone are you using? Have you tried to force your phone to use wi-fi calling like I show in my video?

  7. Wanda Ballow | | Reply

    I have a LG with straight talk. Sis gave me an iphone 4, was compatible, changed over. Iphone 4 does not update to version 8 that I need to update apps. I want to go back to my LG. What is the best way to do that?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      You should be able to just transfer your service back to the old phone. Try it. you may need to order a new SIM card if the LG uses one though.

  8. Joshua Saldana | | Reply

    What is the cheapest 4 line unlimited data family plan either on ATT, Verizon, or T-Mobile.

    THANKS,
    Joshua Saldana

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Off the top of my head, I think MetroPCS has four lines for $100 with “unlimited” data. Check their fine print for what they mean by unlimited.

  9. Susan Davis | | Reply

    Do you know if 800.876.5753 x3324 and ST.CorpResolutionTeam@straighttalk.com are still valid contacts to reach Straight Talk Executive Resolution? Or is there a better way to reach them?

    I have been without a phone since last Thursday evening with no resolution in sight. I bought a Straight Talk prepaid IPhone 6 online and requested to have my phone number ported from Page Plus. Page Plus shut off my old IPhone 4 late last Wednesday and when I called the Straight Talk Porting Dept the following morning, they first said the porting was still in process and the phone number had not been released by Page Plus. Then they said they had to manually process the request because their automation failed. Then they said the SIM they sent with the new phone was bad and they would have to mail me a replacement SIM that would take 3-5 business days via USPS (as of today, it still has not shipped). Straight Talk contacted Page Plus and got my old phone working and promised me it would not be taken down again until I received my replacement SIM and completed the number transfer. However, a few hours later that same day, my old Page Plus phone went dead again. I called Page Plus and they said there was some type of reactivation transfer pending on my old phone and I needed to wait until it finished and dial *22890 to program the phone. I tried this for over 4 hours and finally at 10pm Page Plus said that my phone number was no longer active at Page Plus and there was nothing they could do to assist me. (In fact, my whole account has now disappeared and I still had several weeks of service remaining on it.)

    I’ve called Straight Talk porting numerous times. On Friday a tech said that their system shows the ticket for my port in request was reprocessed after my service was cut off. The issue has been escalated to one of their higher departments since after processing the port in request again, a pending transacation occurred and they said that it could take 24 to 72 hours to resolve.

    In checking again on Saturday with Straight Talk, one tech tells me that once I get the replacement SIM, my number is waiting at Straight Talk and will port to the new phone. However, a very rude Porting Supervisor advised me my phone number was no longer active, there was nothing they could do to get it back and I would just need to get a new phone number.

    I’ve had this number for 15 years and use it for business. I still have no idea of the status of my phone number I requested to be ported nor when I will ever receive the replacement SIM. Both the old phone and new phone are dead. I had to go and buy another phone just to have phone service. I have never had so many problems porting a phone number nor had such terrible customer service.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Susan,
      Those are the best contacts I have, but I haven’t used them in a while. Over the years I have been running this site, I’ve talked to hundreds of people and I’ve heard maybe of maybe a dozen or so stories of number ports that have gone wrong. And in a smaller number of cases of people losing their number permanently.

      I once lost my number transferring my number from one wireless SIM to another. At the time, the first support rep, I spoke with told me my number was lost and there was nothing they could do. I called 800.876.5753 x3324 and I they recovered my number pretty quickly. If your Straight Talk port is still in progress then I would think you’d still have a chance to recover your number. While I do not know for sure, I’d say as long as your number has not been reassigned to another account there still must be the chance to recover it. Both Straight Talk and Page Plus are owned by tracfone, and there internal systems are very similar. I’m pretty sure that many of the tracfone brands in fact use the same customer service and support.

      For now your best option is to follow through on the port after you get your new SIM and continue to insist on getting your number back. I’d still believe it is possible. My best advice is to remain calm and polite and simply keep insisting that you want your number back. You may simply need to talk to another person. Remember I was told my number was gone, and only later told but another tech. “Oh, I see what happened…” and they fixed it. (In my case, I was trying their different networks or towers for some articles I was writing..)

      The biggest issue for you now is getting that SIM card. And they really should have overnighted one to you, that is a bad practice on their part. It might be possible to buy a SIM from Walmart and use that. Unfortunately you’d need to buy a full BYOP kit with a plan. You might also be able to use a Total Wireless SIM card (also tracfone) those are only 99 cents are target and best buy. (I am assuming your Straight talk SIM card was the white and red SIM card labled for the CDMA or Verizon network…). Ordering a BYOP SIM from Straight Talk for 0.99 cents might ship overnight too.

      The tracfone brands offer a lot of value for the money. Customer Service and technical support however are not their strength when they have problems like this. One of the challenges is that Straight Talk doesn’t offer support at retail locations like prepaid options from AT&T, Verizon, and even Metro PCS.

      Once your issue is resolved either way, you’ll be faced with the decision whether to stay with Straight Talk or move to another wireless carrier which may cost more money per month.

      I wish I could offer you more help. I do not have any direct contacts at Straight Talk. I would like to ask they when you get a chance to let me know what happens after you get your SIM and whether you get your number back. In addition to my own experience, I rely on feedback from readers like you to let others know what to expect.

  10. William Sampler | | Reply

    I’m a current Straight Talk Wireless customer and I have an iPhone on the Verizon network. I’m moving to Android and purchasing an unlocked GSM Google Pixel 2. What are the steps I need to take to move my service and keep my existing phone number to the new Google phone?

    Thank You

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      William.
      First you’ll need to decide if you want to use that Pixel 2 with Straight Talk’s AT&T (GSM) or Verizon (CDMA) network. Choose the network that has the best coverage in your area. If you want to use their Verizon network, you’ll have to check the phone’s serial number to make sure it is eligible for use on their Verizon network.
      Checking If Your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S Is Compatible With Straight Talk’s Verizon Network

      You’ll need a nano SIM for the network you want to use. You can order one online for $1. Transferring your service is like activating a new phone. When you tell them you want to transfer your number, they will see you are currently with straight talk and you can transfer your number an service balance. I go into the steps in this article, and I think there is a video. It’s at least a year old so the steps on the straighttalk.com may have changed. see Transferring Your Existing Straight Talk Service to a New Straight Talk Phone or SIM

  11. Mark | | Reply

    Hi Bob,

    Hope this finds you well. I wanted to reach out and thank you for posting about SIMPLE Mobile’s plans and features on Smartphone Matters. We are interested in sharing one of your videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UihXQ90iQSE) on SIMPLE Mobile’s social channels. Thanks again for posting your insight on the brand, and we look forward to hearing back from you.

    Best,
    SIMPLE Mobile Team

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Mark,
      Sure. I assume you are just reaching out as a courtesy before sharing the link on TY, Facebook, Twitter, etc. That is acceptable. Could you let me know where you plan to share it?

  12. Regena Rayburn | | Reply

    I’m using a tracfone iphone se..having connection trouble.It connects and works fine at home but not away from home.I don’t know if it is the way I set it up or if it’s the phone itself.Please help..

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I am not sure what you mean by “connection trouble”. Do you mean you are unable to make and receive calls, send and receive text messages, etc. Or do you mean you are unable to use cellular data to connect to the internet. Does your phone display the message “Could not activate cellular data network. You are not subscribed to a cellular data service?

      • Regena Rayburn | | Reply

        No..I can make and receive calls..just can’t connect.I use Lyft and Uber a lot.I can call them from home without difficulty..but when I try to call to return home it won’t connect..it just keeps”loading”..that’s all it says.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Do other apps work? For example the web browser, or your email. Do you know what color card your SIM was attached to? White and red, blue, grey, pink? You may need to install a profile but we nned to figure out which towers your phone uses. att or verizon? if you don’t know.
          visit https://www.tracfone.com/contactus
          Click do you need help? Click to chat now. Then ask support. say
          Hi my phone number is XXX XXX-XXXX. Can you tell me if my phone uses the AT&T or Verizon towers?

          Let me know

        • Regena Rayburn | | Reply

          I called Tracfone to find out which carrier I’m using.She told me my problem is I’m out of data.So I’ve added 2 GB.I’m going to the store this afternoon and I’ll try it out.If this works it’ll be the first time in the 11 years I’ve been using Tracfone that they have solved a problem on the first call…and she spoke English.Thanks for steering me in the right direction.I’ll let you know if it works.

          • Bob Thompson | |

            OK. Good. I didn’t realize your data ever worked before. Hope the problem is solved

  13. Darlene Harrington | | Reply

    Hi, My question is …I have an iPhone 4 and just got my granddaughter iPhone 5s. Will my sims card from my 4 work in the iPhone 5s? Thank you.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      No. Your SIM is too big. The iPhone 4 uses a micro SIM the iPhone 5s uses a nano SIM. You need to transfer your service to a new SIM. You can keep your phone number and service balance when you transfer.

  14. Paul Whiting | | Reply

    sorry… the rest of that recorded message was something like “your number is not active”, etc.

  15. Paul Whiting | | Reply

    I’m trying to activate my iPhone 5s for the Tracfone network. When I try to make a phone call I get a recorded message saying “welcome to Verizon Wireless”, and so on.

    I called Tracfone for help and I was told my sim card wouldn’t work because it was a BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) sim card. But, I told them, I did bring my own phone, an Apple iPhone 5s. They said no, you have a Tracfone. True in a sense, in an earlier help session the help person said I needed to get my iPhone rebranded as a Tracfone. And the new help person said the BYOP feature does not work on Tracfones! But I maintained it’s still an Apple iPhone, behind the brand. Now, they are going to snail mail me a new sim card, which they said would work.

    Does this make sense? I think I’ve relayed here an accurate summary of the issue.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hey Paul,
      Wait to the new SIM card arrives and try that hopefully they will get it working. Ask them to credit you your missed service days too. This can and does happen with phones using their Verizon network. If you activated a Tracfone ATT or T-Mobile SIM it would have just worked. Sounds like they marked the MEID of your phone as being sold from Tracfone and don’t want to let you use it with the BYOP SIM. The first level support people operate from scripts and send a new SIM is usually the first step. If they can’t get it working with the new SIM consider using their ATT network if that is an option for you or you’ll need to get in touch with their executive support. Let me know what happens.

      • Paul Whiting | | Reply

        Thanks for the quick reply, Bob. Well actually the first SIM card I used was the Tracfone ATT SIM card. (The phone is pre-owned. and was described as being an AT&T phone. That’s why I tried that SIM first.) So just now I went back to that card but the screen showed the message “no service” which is what I got earlier. The T-Mobile card got me to a page with a few German words! Somehow I got past those but then it wanted me to log in with my Apple ID and password but I kept getting the message that those were incorrect. Tried several times, I’m sure I entered those correctly.

        The first level people I got didn’t say they’d send a new SIM card, their supervisor said that! Strange. So, let’s hope for the new SIM card, should arrive in a couple of days.

        I sure appreciate your help – stay tuned!

        Paul

      • Paul Whiting | | Reply

        Bob,

        Well, good news. The SIM card they sent worked! Whew, what an ordeal!

        Paul

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Paul,
          That is great news. And thanks for the follow up.

  16. CB | | Reply

    How can I keep my Canadian phone number when I activate a tracfone SIM card as it asks for my present carrier which is Fido. When information is requested, asks for carrier and zip code(Canadian postal code) which it won’t allow to insert. Help. I have an iPhone.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      As far as I know you can’t transfer your canadian phone number to tracfone. Is there a specific reason you expected this to work? I don’t think you’d be able to transfer a Canadian phone number to any US based carrier, prepaid or postpaid. Do you know what Google voice is? if it works in Canada you may be able to transfer your number there, then get a new phone number with tracfone and have it foward your calls…

      BTW.. are you expecting to dial Canadian numbers using tracfone?

  17. Shelia templeton | | Reply

    At the bottom of the list of fields there is another field named bearer and one named mobile virtual network operator what do I put there

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      you shouldn’t need to change those. Are you having a problem?

  18. Shelia templeton | | Reply

    At the bottom of the list that I filled in is another field named…bearer and another one named mobile virtual network operator what does that mean?

  19. Lara | | Reply

    I have a iphone 5s and i have straight tallk and i am getting ready to buy a iphone 7 . can i keep the same phone number ?

  20. KE | | Reply

    Addendum to my previous comment questions: about I’d also like to know if carrier updates would be the methodology used by WiFi and cellular service providers to put into effect limits, throttling of network speeds etc to support the rescinding of the old net neutrality standards.

  21. KE | | Reply

    Hi, I’ve tried researching specifically how the current FCC’s rescinding of the previous Obama Era Net Neutrality rules -which under those principles forbade internet service providers from intentionally blocking or slowing down or charging money for specific websites and online content – will now affect my mobile phone’s performance, speed, access etc and have only found some previously documented real examples of what ISP’s and cellular service providers in both WIFI mode and cellular mode tried to get away with in the past:
    “AT&T was….. caught limiting access to FaceTime, so only those users who paid for AT&T’s new shared data plans could access the application.[12] In July 2017, Verizon Wireless was accused of throttling after users noticed that videos played on Netflix and YouTube were slower than usual ….”
    So I expect most ISP’s and cellular service companies will go back to these sorts of shenanigans, but my real question is, are you aware of any requirement for these companies to notify their wiFi & cellular service customers in new terms and conditions documentation of what changes to expect ? Actually It would be very helpful if there could be a chart that identifies by provider changes to access and or limits to access, speeds etc based on what plan you have purchased. I’m a TFW user on an ATT sim and have gone blind deciphering the T’s & C’s. I’m really worried that my ‘LINE’ app that allows me to have a FREE FaceTime like phone call with my friend from Japan will get turned off by TFW or ATT. Any news out their that you can share ?

  22. Lisa | | Reply

    Hi Bob, I just got a Samsung Galaxy S5 (new to me). I had an old LG E970. I transferred my sim card from my LG to my new Galaxy S5 – we use straight talk as our carrier. Now, unfortunately, I can sporadically get pictures from some of my contacts but not all. And, it’s hit or miss sending them out – more miss, it seems. I spent about an hour on the phone with straight talk and know that my APN settings are correct. I just don’t know why I can’t send or receive mulit media texts. I can send regular texts no problem. I was getting pictures from someone with an Iphone – (verizon network) but that seems to come and go. I’m not able to get pictures from someone with an android using sprint, I believe. Help! Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks so much

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Lisa,
      Which Straight Talk network are you using? Which APN? and what version of Android is on your phone?

  23. ray | | Reply

    have a Verizon 4g 10″ tablet Samsung. I need internet service. straight talk or something? no Verizon service please.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Ray,
      You’d have to provide the exact model of the tablet so we could see what carriers it is compatible with…

  24. Margaret Sanders | | Reply

    Hi, Bob-
    Straight talk wireless is selling an iphone 8 for 699.00, a really good deal but when I ask if my sim card from my iphone 5 will work in the new iphone 8 they tell me this:

    Christine: It is a CDMA/GSM you must use it as is what you receive from the box if it has a SIM card or not.

    Any ideas or thoughts on this answer? I’m very confused.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Marget,
      I recognize your name, it’s been a while. From your comment back in 2015, I can see that your iPhone 5 was using the Straight Talk AT&T network. When Straight Talk sells you a phone they include a SIM. Usually its for either their ATT or Verizon network. Sometimes they decide which SIM to send you based on your zip code because they decide that network will work well for you. If you want to know which network their iPhone 8 will use, contact them in live chat and ask them which towers it will use in your Zip Code and they will tell you ATT or Verizon.

      In my experience, your AT&T Straight Talk SIM will work in the new iPhone 8 even if they send it with a Verizon SIM. If you had a ST Verizon SIM, you wouldn’t want to just move it. either way transferring the service to a new SIM isn’t hard. You just want to be careful about chaning networks and finding out your coverage isn’t as good.

      now, as for the iPhone 8. $699 is the full retail price. If I were you, I’d buy the iPhone 8 directly from Apple at that price, buy the SIM-free model and just move your SIM in the phone. The Straight Talk phone is probabally locked to straight talk, the Apple phone isn’t locked. see my video Apple Is Selling the SIM-Free and Unlocked iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus Now

      Let me know if you have more questions

      • Margaret Sanders | | Reply

        Hi, Bob-
        Excellent memory. Thank you for your insight and help. I didn’t realize Apple was selling the 8 for the same price. Any thoughts on why the iphone 7 remains so expensive with the introduction of the 8 and the X?

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Apple sells iPhone 7 starting at $549 and iPhone 6s starting at $449. They still consider these phone to be excellent products and they never offer deep discounts on older models. Apple sells refurbished products at a lower price, but the model and inventory is always changing. Most people looking for a lower price on iPhones turn to used and reconditioned iPhones from third party sellers.

  25. CJ | | Reply

    Hi, I have an Iphone on Straight Talk. It’s an SE. I changed my phone number by calling Straight Talk Customer Service and following the keypad instructions. After I hung up, they gave me instructions to restart the phone, wait five minutes and try to make a phone call. It’s been three days and I still get the error message that I do not have service when I try to make a phone call. Any articles on your phone not working once you change your phone number? (It worked fine before this)

  26. A.L. Sexton | | Reply

    Does this SE phone use the verizon network and does it need a sim card or is it a CDMA Phone?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      My Straight Talk iPhone SE came with the ST Verizon SIM. The phone works with my current Straight Talk ATT SIM though. You can use the online chat feature to ask which SIM they will ship the phone with to you for your zipcode.

  27. Wally Bogush | | Reply

    I am looking for any info on Ting. they seem to have a good low usage plan and business model. Is anyone using them ? Opinions?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I haven’t tried ting. They use either the Sprint or T-mobile networks. You’d need to decide if either of those networks work well in your area. Next you’d need to decide what your monthly usage would be. compare that to tracfone’s plans. Keep in mind with tracfone you’d have the option to use the ATT or Verizon network. Let me know what you think you’d use per month. I’m curious too.

  28. Junias Hango | | Reply

    Can I get son settings for tnmobile (Namibia). I have an iPhone 6 want to use LTE. LTE works well on my 4G dongle but doesn’t want to work on my phone.
    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Junias,
      I don’t know the TN Mobile APN settings and I don’t see them on http://www.telecom.na/. My suggestion is to either see if you can find the APN information in the settings on your PC/dongle or use the support link on http://www.telecom.na/ to send the carrier an email and ask for them.

  29. Philippe Maquinay | | Reply

    Hello,

    I live in South America and would like to get an iPhone X on release date and get it shipped to my country. Will it work if a buy the T-mobile version or are there any activation steps that need my presence in the USA.

    Thanks in advance

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      the phone should work. Read through the comments here and on the youtube video for more info about the issues ordering the phone online though.

  30. Lori Use | | Reply

    trying to update data settings on my BYOP safelink phone i tried doing it on safelinks website but it doesnt recognize both my phone number or SIM number i activated the phone on October 6th 2017 and data worked up until yesterday morning then it stopped accessing the internet BTW since it was working . i thought they had updated automatically so i didnt bother to update anything but now that its no longer working i will need to update manually my phone is a samsung galaxy s7. can you tell me how to do this manually? went into my phone settings but i cant find where to change the APN settings thanks

  31. Ron Felton | | Reply

    Sorry. Forgot to answer the final questions. I was very happy with T-Mobile’s coverage both where we live in the US and in Mexico (which was included in our plan). This past billing period we only used 52 mb of data in the US but in some months we have used 2 – 2.5 GB. Depends on how long we stay here and WiFi availability.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Nice deal Ron. Simple mobile may be an option for you too. Uses the T-Mobile network and their SIM should also work in Mexico too. Meaning you could check your US number voicemail and return calls from your US number. Does that sound interesting?

  32. Ron Felton | | Reply

    Hi Bob.
    Just flew back to the US last night. Made arrangements in advance to get two new SIMs from Consumer Cellular. Decided to go with a plan that gives me monthly unlimited texts, unlimited minutes and 1GB data (total) for the TWO phones at a monthly rate of $42.75 (with my AARP discount). This is about $70 less than I was paying a month on T-Mobile (It was running about $115.) I am on the T-Mobile network with Consumer Cellular. Today was day one. I can see that when we stay in the U.S. more than a week in a given month we may have to add to the data plan. That won’t happen too often.
    Thanks
    Ron

  33. Mark | | Reply

    I have just switched to T-Mobile 2 weeks ago and not really happy with the coverage area. Is it possible to switch to a straight talk wireless plan that uses the Verizon cell towers? If so what do I need to do in order to do that? Keep in mind I would need two lines not just one
    Thanks

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Mark,
      I’d take a look at Total Wireless.It uses the Verizon network, and like Straight Talk, it is owned by Tracfone. Two Other Options: Verizon Wireless Prepaid and Total Wireless and . Also https://youtu.be/hcM80L1Dja4

      Compare the plans between the total wireless and Straight Talk and decide which better meets your needs. Also if you are planning to Bring Your Own phone to any wireless service that uses the Verizon network you’ll need to make sure your phones are eligible or need to buy new phones. Let me now if you have more questions after you check out the links and videos above.

  34. Ron | | Reply

    My wife and I split time between Mexico and the US. We are now spending the majority of our time south of the border. We have two monthly cell plans for our 2 iPhones – one Mexican and T-Mobile for the US. Since T-Mobile is costing close to $100 month for both of us, we want to switch to a pay-as-you-go plan for US and keep our Mexico monthly that includes unlimited US calls. We still want a US number for the approx. 8-10 weeks a year (split up across the year – about a week or 2 at a time) we are in US. We just swap SIMs when we get to the US. Does the Tracphone 12 month plan sound like the best bet? There can be 2-3 months or so between visits to US. Does that seem to be the best bet? Other ideas?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Ron,
      Did you switch yet? I wanted to do an article or video about your question. Tracfone could work for you. Do you have an idea how much talk, text, and data you need when you are in the US? Do you need unlimited calling? What about data? Would you want this US number to work in Mexico so you can check voice mail and return calls. Are you satifised with T-Mobile coverage in the US? would a service that uses the att, verizon, or sprint network also work for you.

      At close to $100 per month for T-Mobile for two lines, you really do need to find a less expensive option.

      Let me know. Sorry for the delayed reply.

      • Ron Felton | | Reply

        Bob.
        It took a while for me to respond because we were waiting to go to the US and change providers. The quick answer is that I went with Consumer Cellular back in October. That was a mistake. Good service and reasonable plans but not for our use case. After two short trips back to the US, we blew through their lower tier service (2 lines) and were about to blow that one over Thanksgiving (data was the issue). Their high tier is only 5G of data SHARED between the two lines. I cancelled and went with Tracfone. With our lifestyle (75% in Mexico and 25% in US) it makes no sense to be with any monthly provider. Tracfone works. Once I totally understood how it works it was a no brainer. What we don’t use carries over and we just need to maintain the line every 30, 60 or 90 days and just keep going. Much less costly for us.
        Ron

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Ron
          Mke sure to look into the $50 one year of service days to keep your phone active with tracfone. It might be be more economical to keep your accounts active.

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