ATT vs T-Mobile SIM cards

by Haufen von Hundedrek
(Maryville TN, USA)

I bought the $20 refurb kit. First phone came in limping, dead the next day. Never could get it to fully activate. Sent it back.

Replacement arrived. Long story short, Tracfone supv Jacqueline finally got it to work. Sort of. She determined that my LG 420g came equipped with a T-Mobile SIM chip.

We live in a part of E TN served both by CDMA and GSM carriers. For some reason, Tracfone only sells GSM phones here despite far better performance with CDMA/Verizon Tracfones.

I was able to buy an earlier CDMA unit from Tracfone only by lying and claiming that I needed to use it in Beulah ND, zip 58523 where there is no GSM service, only CDMA/Verizon.

My wife has a LG600 GSM/ATT Tracfone purchased so that she could have a cam. I wanted a Tracfone with both cam and net access. Although the situation has just changed, at the time the only such phones were GSM.

We live on a hilltop just outside town. Right now, the CDMA/Verizon phone shows five bars, the GSM/ATT phone four bars, and the new GSM/T-Mobile phone oscillates between one bar and no signal. Street level coverage maps from the three carriers' websites explains why.

Jacqueline is sending me a replacement SIM chip that will allow me to access ATT instead of T-Mobile. Three hours on the phone to finally reach her (supervisor) and solve the problem.

Tracfone uses a variety of carriers. Other lesson is to find out which carrier your new Tracfone will be using before you buy.

Consumer Reports looked at cell carriers and concluded that Verizon was best and ATT the pits most places. Now that Tracfone has a new CDMA/Verizon phone with cam and web access, the decision is simple.

Albeit, the LG 420g appears to be a nice phone.


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Feb 22, 2011
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Update
by: Hundedrek

My opinion is that Tracfone is great but their "customer service" is the absolute pits.
The replacement phone they sent me died the next day and I sent it back.
The promised SIM chip never arrived nor did the promised accessory kit.
I did get credit for what I paid for the original phone but Tracfone stiffed me for the $US5 I paid to send it back to them. Shame!
I will continue to stay with Tracfone but only because the alternatives are far worse.

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