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729 Comments

  1. Tosha | | Reply

    I have straight talk service I just was given a verizon zte phone can I use my service on the Verizon phone

  2. Samuel Zapata | | Reply

    Hello, I’ve been searching for a Sim Card without any monthly plan or data plan, just to recieve calls and use WhatsApp etc…

    Do you know any carrier or company that sells the sim card without any plan?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      it doesn’t really work that way. For most carriers, you need to pay for active service. You can sign up for some services like Google Voice of Text Now. You’ll get a phone number. But you’ll need to use them with Wi-Fi and won’t have coverage on cellular. Often those phone numbers are “Voip” numbers and cannot be used to sign up for iMessage or maybe wave What’s App (I don’t use it).
      You won’t need a SM card for these. You can sign up for Tracfone, or Tello or some other carriers for maybe $5 to $10 per month average. You’ll get a “real” mobile number capable of sending and receiving text messages.

  3. stephanie cole | | Reply

    how can i switch my number to my new phone

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Depending on your phone and carrier you may be able to just move the SIM card or you can visit your carriers website and activate the phone. Choose the option to transfer your current number and they should figure out the rest. You may need a new SIM card

  4. Kim Leibbrand | | Reply

    Hi Bob,

    Where we live we have essentially zero cellular service. We have used Sprint’s wifi calling for years with no problems. Starting in March it started being very problematic. Pictures would’t download. Texting wouldn’t work. I can call my phone from the landline when I can’t find it, and it won’t ring. The icon for wifi calling comes and goes.

    I have called Sprint a myriad of times. I saw on Sprint’s web page that they changed wifi calling to prefer a cellular network if available. I looked for it, but now everything is switched over to T-Mobile. I know I didn’t dream it up, because one of the support people I spoke with confimed this. Maybe it sees we have one bar and is preferring that. I was hoping there was a work around like turning off mobile networks while we were at home. I finally spoke with a Geneava at Sprint who broke the news that wifi calling was broken, and there was no workaround.

    Now I am looking at a budget phones (we have s9s) and budget network providers. I liked the LG Reflect. I called LG, and they said it did support wifi calling. I got it home, and it is not an option. Like the previous question, do I really have to bring phones home and then see if the sim supports wifi calling? And how on earth do I know what carrier to go with (this Reflect is a Straight Talk phone)?

    Or can we keep our phones and go to a budget service that supports wifi calling? We don’t use them enough for what we’re paying Sprint ($40 per line).

    Thank you very much for any insight,

    Kim

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Kim,
      Try this. Put your phone in Airplane mode and then turn on Wi-Fi. Check to see that Wi-Fi Calling is on. Try calling your phone. Text a friend and ask them to send you a text, then a picture, if you use group texts, text your group and ask people to reply. Let me know the results.

      Paying $80+ per month in a lot if you live in an area with no service. I’ve had reasonably goo luck with Wi-Fi calling on less expensive prepaid wireless service. Unfortunately, Straight Talk, and the other Tracfone brands, have erratic support for Wi-Fi calling.

      And I’ll add that from 2018 to 2019 both my wife and I used Sprint postpaid service (it was free for a year!), I turned off Wi-Fi calling as my calls always dropped if I walked out of the range of Wi-Fi in my yard.

      Try the steps above. Let me know. Ideally, the best bet would be to find a prepaid wireless service with good Wi-Fi calling and to be able to use your current S9 phones with it.

      • Kim Leibbrand | | Reply

        Hi Bob,

        I turned on Airplane mode, then wifi and wifi calling. Calls and texts go through, but not pictures. However, in this configuration, if I call my phone from my landline, it goes through. That is an improvement.

        I will look for a prepaid wireless service with good wifi that works with our phones. I think you are correct on your advice. I wish I knew where to begin.

        Thank you very much for your time!

        Kim

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Kim,
          Picture messages are not supposed to work over Wi-Fi calling, only the cellular network. If it worked in the past they may have been getting delivered over the cell network.

          When you are ready to switch to prepaid, come back and leave a comment.
          The first thing you want to decide, is which major network has the best coverage in the places you use your phone AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint. If you can figure that out, then choosing a prepaid service is much easier. Ask your family, friends, neighbors, or co workers what they are using and if they have good coverage.

          • Kim Leibbrand | |

            Will do!

  5. Julia | | Reply

    Hi Bob, Thank you for sharing your amazingly helpful knowledge. I’m just wondering if my experience is common or not. Last year, I signed on with Consumer Cellular and bought an iphone 7 from them. I was so happy to find a reasonably priced option!! But I had this problem where I wouldn’t get my voicemails when I was connected to wifi (in other words at home). They would suddenly populate when I was out and about, sometimes days after they were originated. I finally learned that if someone called, I could turn off my wifi connection on my phone and usually within 30 minutes I would get the voicemail. Sometimes texts were also delayed, but it was most consistent with voicemails. I spent 20-30 hours easy over several months with Applecare, Consumer Cellular, and GeekSquad trying to resolve this to no avail.

    Finally, I had to solve the problem. So, I transferred to AT&T prepaid. Some problem, Next day, I signed on to regular AT&T $100/month version of service and magically the problem was solved.

    I’m wondering if this is a common glitch with prepaid phone service.

    I’d love to hear your insights and word on the street.

    Thanks so much!!!

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I’ve recently used mint mobile, Verizon prepaid, visible, Att prepaid and cricket. I have had no problems with voicemail or texting. Some of the tracfone brands only have regular voicemail. On occasion I hear of some one not getting voicemail notifications. In years past mms picture messages and group texts were problematic. The carriers had issues, the iPhone didn’t support those carriers, and getting the correct settings for Android phones was tricky.

      Some phone services can get confused when connected to WiFi opposed to the cell network. The phone knows it’s connected to the internet but what it is looking for is only available on the cellular network not the open internet

      • Julia | | Reply

        Interesting! Thank you!!

        I was worried that there was some penalty to users of low cost phone services (either by design or by lowering the priority on maintaining functionality).

        I’m glad to hear that most people don’t have this problem. Maybe I’ll try again with another one of these services you mention.

        Thank you so much for your helpful insights!!

        Truly!

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Prepaid and postpaid wireless service are not exactly the same but most people don’t notice the differences. For example, most prepaid wireless service do not support international roaming. In your case, support was a problem. For years, my company paid for my phone. When I had to start paying for it I was shocked by the bill. All those years ago, I switched, had a couple issues so I wrote about it on the web, and 8 years later I writing and reviewing the services.

          I’m currently paying $15 for my service, it meets my needs.

          If you ever decide to try prepaid wireless again, come back and we can discuss it. I’m working on some tutorials on what to consider when switching.

          • Julia | |

            Fantastic!! I definitely will!

            It’s just horrible paying those high fees.

            Thank you!!

  6. Nancy Fenno | | Reply

    Can I bring my iPad (5th gen) from AT&t to Tracphone?

  7. Dave miran | | Reply

    I think my wife may have a parental control on my phone I have straight talk I need help to get it off my phone I have a LG rebel 4

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I’n not aware of any Straight Talk or LG specific parental control features. She may have installed an app.

  8. John | | Reply

    Hi Bob, I currently have Tracfone’s $15/month BYOP smartphone plan using the Verizon network and am happy with the service. However, I’m about to try Mint Mobile’s $15/month plan to see if it is worth using T-mobile towers to get the extra 2.5 GB per month.

    Question: If I decide to go back to Tracfone, will I need a new sim kit, or can I just go through the activation process again with my old Tracfone sim?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi John,
      I’m currently working on my Mint Mobile review, it’s totally awesome. Highly recommended. So far, I published this Mint Mobile $25 12GB Data Unlimited Talk & Text Oct 2019.

      Check out the Cricket and AT&T prepaid plans for $15 if the AT&T network is an option for you. There are videos on my YouTube channel.

      I’ve never tried activating an old SIM again. It should work. If not a new SIM kit is only a buck if you order it online.

      • John | | Reply

        Thanks for the quick reply. The freedom of prepaid is an amazing thing. Also, great work on your YouTube channel. Super helpful!

  9. James | | Reply

    Hello and good day.

    My father has an old LG L41C Tracfone in which he has been accumulating minutes/data over several years by purchasing/redeeming one year cards. He has been receiving messages that this phone will stop working at the end of 2020.

    I have an unlocked Verizon Iphone 7 Plus phone and I bought the $1 dollar Tracfone sim card. We called Tracfone, and gave them the IMEI number on the Iphone 7Plus but they said that the phone isn’t compatible with Tracfone network. Is this true? What are our options then on transferring the phone number and service to another phone? Should we just buy a Tracfone from their website so that we know it will work on their network? Thanks

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      That iPhone 7 will work with a Tracfone BYOP AT&T or T-Mobile SIM. You can transfer his service to either. Obviously that iPhone is compatible with the Verizon network, but for some reason when Tracfone checks the MEID its coming back as not eligible. Unfortunately, the don’t say why. If I were you, I’d try checking both the MEID and the IMEI on tracfone.com again to see if it comes back as eligible. See https://www.tracfone.com/activation/byopcollectesn/VZW

      The best deal on a new iPhone is unlocked iPhone SE 2020 from Apple for $399. That will last hime for a long time. I can going to upgrade my mother to one too. She is using the original SE. All the iPhone’s Tracfone sells use the Verizon towers. I have a deals page here Tracfone Latest Deals and Promo Codes forJune 2020 so check that out if you decide to go that route. Their selection of iPhone is a little limited though. Good luck.

      When he switches to a smartphone, we will keep his balance but may lose the triple minutes option and the $50 one year of service days. Consider loading up before transferring to a new phone.

  10. anthony pollard | | Reply

    my internet is moving so slow when i get a connection and my data is gone i just activated my plan last monday

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I don’t know what phone or wireless service you use. Check your account online to see if it shows how much data they think you used. In my experience, sometimes Android phones use up data in. the background and you need to adjust the settings.

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