The TraFone Networks are operated by one of the largest wireless
companies in the world, America Movil. They
control 11 different wireless carriers in the US and Puerto Rico, TracFone
being the largest. This
is an overview of each, with links and useful data, listed
alphabetically. The advantage is that with these services you use the
same wireless networks as the major carriers at a lower price. America
Movil is able to negotiate with each carrier separately to offer the
best price. Claro is
America Movil FAQ
NET10 was originally developed to offer a pure 10
cents a minute wireless experience but has evolved to a network that
has a slight benefit toward families. For the
most part, NET10 phones are GSM only and, like TracFone, assigns you a
"Home" network based on your location, your choice of phone, and which
carrier offers them the best roaming rate. They offer both "fixed" and
Unlimited plans and a discount for each additional family share line.
NET10 also offers a "Bring Your Own Phone"
plan that roams nationally on most available GSM networks.
was a variation of T-Mobile's own
Prepaid, conceived before their acquisition of MetroPCS. GoSmart was
acquired by America Movil in 2016 and will slowly begin to
more like America Movil's other prepaids. For now they offer plans that
are slightly different than T-Mobile's "regular" Prepaid plans. They
have a very limited number of
phones available. They do offer a
SIM to bring your own phone. Broadband access is limited to T-Mobile's
3G network which has a smaller footprint and sometimes slower
downloads. They also offer a $25 Talk & Text-only
of our recommended prepaid
services. They use the entire Verizon Wireless network with
off-network Voice and Text roaming available at a reasonable per minute
rate. America Movil acquired Page Plus in 2014. Little has changed
under new ownership, as has been the case
with similar acquisitions, with the exception of added taxes. Page Plus
offers a wide variety of
economical plans including plans with Data. They also allow you to
bring your own CDMA phone.
supplies service to those customers who qualify for LifeLine services,
a government-supported telephone program. Plans are Free or at a very
low cost. They offer basic and smart phones with features
and coverage similar to TracFone. Basic plans
are for Voice and Text only, in some states Free Data may be included, and you can buy additional minutes.
Safelink is only offered in certain states of the US where subsidies
phones are confined to the T-Mobile network and give you lower rates in
return for more restricted network access. The name "Sim-ple"
originated with them being a "SIM-only" service, but now they offer
Mobile-branded phones. You are still invited to bring your own
unlocked or T-Mobile compatible GSM phone and they'll send
you a SIM card to start service. The difference in prices among plans
is based on your data speed or threshold. With the more expensive plans
you get faster service. You are limited to the T-Mobile network, there
no off-network roaming except in Mexico. All plans have Unlimited
Calls and Texts and some level of Data.
offered as an exclusive product to be sold at Wal-Mart, Straight Talk
also offers their phones and service online. They offer single-network
phones which allows a choice of one of the national carriers. They also
offer an even more versatile "Bring Your
Own Phone" plan which allows you to use any AT&T,
T-Mobile or unlocked GSM phone. The big advantage of "Bring Your Own Phone" is
that you will have the total coverage of your chosen "Home" network as
well as additional roaming from America Movil's normal roaming
partners. If you purchase an "Android" phone from Straight Talk, your
coverage will be limited to mostly the Sprint network, however, if the
phone you use for the "Bring Your Own Phone" plan is a GSM Android
phone, you will use any of the available roaming networks, including
all broadband features. Some plans include Unlimited
features including data. Refills can be purchased in 1, 3, 6 and 12
month increments, with the longer expirations selling at a slight
discount, "Auto-Refill" is available. Otherwise,
refills are only available online and at Wal-Mart stores.
Taxes and fees are added which can be as much as 10%. Straight Talk
also offers an economical wireless
substitute for your home
largest wireless service in Mexico and their new "Telcel America"
service gives you a Mexico-calling connection with their "Extended
Nation" plans. There are several plan levels that include Roaming in
Mexico, including Data, with a 7-day plan offered at $20.
Coverage in Mexico is mostly on the superior Telcel Mexico network. In
the US, the Telcel America network offers all the same
characteristics of the Straight Talk network, including a "Bring Your Own Phone" plan that
roams nationally on most available GSM networks. Coverage in the US is
based on the T-Mobile network and also includes the US, America Movil
roaming partners. They also offer Spanish language customer
TelCel America Refills
Wireless was created to be sold at Walmart, like Straight
but at different price points, and is limited to the Verizon
Wireless network and not the roaming partners
available on Straight
Talk. You get
Unlimited Talk & Text and a large amount of Data at prices
about $10 less than Straight
Talk. Total is also similar to Page Plus
but without the extra-charge roaming capabilities. Keep
in mind all America Movil products currently add sales
tax which is not added by some competitors. If
you live and travel within Verizon's wireless network, Total Wireless can
be a good
value if you can get a good price fit. Total
Wireless is Also Available Online!
largest Prepaid service in the US and the largest of America Movil's US networks. They
have created a network with nationwide coverage using roaming
agreements with various carriers. You usually do not get a choice of
networks and your service takes on the characteristics of the
network they assign you as to your "Home" network. That choice is based
on your location, your choice of phone, and which carrier offers them
the best roaming rate. However, TracFone does allow you to bring your
own phone to some of their plans. The procedure for using
your own device varies based on the model and network.
created their own brand of wireless using the T-Mobile Network. America
Movil acquired the Walmart Family Mobile service and now operates it
within their TracFone operation. The phones and plans offered are
similar to other America Movil products and will continue to be sold at
Walmart stores and Walmart.com. While the phones should
to use the T-Mobile network, America Movil may make adjustments and
their maps show coverage available on roaming partners. Their
service is competitive with other prepaids and they may
be offered at price points that may better fit your usage.
Family Mobile is Available Online
CLARO PUERTO RICO
like America Movil's other Latin America networks. They own the network
and offer a wide variety of phones, plans, and 'bundles' with their
other communications services. Claro uses the former Verizon Wireless
network in Puerto Rico which has very good coverage. Claro and Verizon
Wireless have interoperating agreements but there are some technology
incompatibilities as Claro slowly offers new services that are
like America Movil's other local networks. "Claro" is Spanish for
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What's Movil?
means 'Mobile' in Spanish and is used in Latin American countries for
Network Will I Use?
Movil does not own a single cell site in the US, their service is based
entirely on roaming agreements with most US carriers. With these
agreements, the America Movil networks can offer service
anywhere in the US where there is cellular service, and local phone
numbers are available in any chosen location.
Keep in mind that America
Movil is able to negotiate with each carrier separately to offer the
best price, sometimes one against another, which may change
the operating network
for some of these Prepaid plans or their roaming partners.
However, with any changes in
network agreements, each America Movil network supports its original
plans and coverage.
their phones, and all of the SIM's, are coded to use one of the major
US wireless networks either exclusively, or as your "Home" network. In
some cases you can either specify the network when you order on their
web site, or
look for one of the network codes on the retail packages using the
It All Prepaid?
All of these networks (except Claro) offer only Prepaid plans with no
contracts. There are several refill options including Auto-Refill. Discount
refills are available online.
Roaming Available Outside the US?
Currently, the only America Movil network that offers roaming is Telcel
America which roams on the Telcel network in Mexico. They
offer an "International neighbors"
feature that gives you a local number in either Mexico or Canada that
can ring your US-based phone for no additional charges other than a
local call in that country.
- Can I Bring My Own Phone?
great feature of some of the American Movil networks is their Bring
Your Own Phone Plans. This has multiple benefits:
can buy a nicer or more advanced phone or wireless device than those
offered by these carriers.
only need to insert the proper SIM card
and you're operating on one of the America Movil networks. You can also
use a phone you already own including some CDMA phones like the Apple
some cases, you can choose your network. If you choose an AT&T
SIM, for example, you will use the entire AT&T network. If you
roam outside of the AT&T footprint, your phone will roam on one
of the GSM networks that has a roaming agreement with America Movil.
This includes most US networks and covers virtually all areas served by
GSM service. Within the AT&T service area, your phone will not
roam onto another network. The same is true for a phone with a T-Mobile
based SIM. Your coverage will be just like that of a T-Mobile phone,
but whenever you travel outside the 'home' network area you will have
coverage on one of America Movil's roaming partners.
is greater than America Movil's single-network phones.