Surprises of the TracFone SIM Card.
(Syracuse, NY USA)
So my TracFone came with a SIM card. What a great feature! Now I can store all my contacts on it, so when I upgrade to a new phone I won't have to re-key all my contacts...I'll just swap the two SIM cards.
Not so fast, Buckaroo! Your TracFone is full of surprises.
Surprise No. 1:
You would think that a SIM from one TracFone would be "compatible" in another, but it is not. The SIM card serial number and the phone serial number are tied together. They don't tell you this anywhere. You find out when you buy a new phone and try to use the old SIM in the new phone and get "Unregistered SIM" on the new phone screen. So you call Tech Support, who will then tell you the good news...they cannot be swapped. Why does it work this way? "Because that's the way The System is set up."
Update: Net10 and Straight Talk Sim Cards
Note you can now get NET10 and Straight Talk SIM Cards
that work with unlocked phones, but you have to use them with their unlimited plans. The info from Terry about Tracfone below is still valid as far as I know.
If you already have a phone, you can activate it on these plans with the appropriate SIM card:
- Red Pocket
- Simple Mobile
Yes, I will have to re-key in all 300 names on the contact list in my old phone. It was a time to purge some numbers, anyway.Surprise No. 2:
If you deactivate a phone you have to get a new SIM card from TracFone if you want to put it back in service.
True example: I got a new LG600g and transfered my number and minutes from my Motorola W370 to it. This "deactivates" the W370, which was expected. After spending about an hour setting up my new phone I find I don't like the way it does some things and decide I want to return it to Target. So I went back on line and transfer everything back. I get all the way to the end when the screen says I have to call the 800 number and get a new SIM. That's right, they deactivate the SIM electronically even if it is the one that came with the phone. I called the number and they confirm that is what happens, and there is no way they can re-activate it electronically...I have to be mailed one. When I receive it I have to call them back to have them walk me thru activating it. This cannot be done on line. Why does TracFone do this? "Because that's the way The System is set up."
So my scenario is that I need a new SIM for the W370 to transfer stuff off the LG 600g and back to the W370. Then I will exchange the LG for a Motorola W376, and transfer everything to it, again deactivating the W370...and its SIM. If I like the W376 and keep it I will then need to call the 800 number and and have them send me another new SIM for the W370 because my wife wants it. If I don't like the W376 I will still need another SIM for the W370 so I can again have a cell phone...unless I decide to switch to Verizon.