What to Expect in 2016 with Tracfone and a Look Back at 2015
|What does the Future hold for Tracfone in 2016?|
While TracfoneReviewer is not associated or affiliated with Tracfone in any way, we carefully follow and try to stay up to date on everything going on with Tracfone so that we can share it with our readers and followers on the blog. Below we will give some general opinions and thoughts on what to expect from Tracfone in 2016, but remember that these are just educated guesses based on our experiences. Please share your thoughts and expectations in the comments at the end of this post.
Before we jump into 2016, lets review what Tracfone did in 2015, as it has been a year full with new phones, progression and expansion in service from Tracfone, and various other changes.
Tracfone Year in Review - 2015While plenty has happened with Tracfone in 2015 we want to highlight three particular changes that were greeted with excitement and enthusiasm from consumers. The Three changes were airtime cards for smartphones, expansion of the BYOP program, and new smartphones available from Tracfone.
Data-Only and Text-Only Airtime Cards for Smartphones
When smartphones came to Tracfone in 2013, the airtime added to these phones was changed to split into three categories - Talk, Text and Data. What this meant was that if you ran out of one category, like text messages, you would have to buy more airtime for all three, even if you only need more texts!
A lot of Tracfone users were annoyed that they had an abundance of one or two categories, but were always running low on another category. Thus, when Tracfone released Data-Only Airtime cards and eventually Text-Only cards, many users were very happy to see them.
You can take a look at our post on the Tracfone Data Cards and Text Cards to learn more about them, and if they are a good deal.
Tracfone also released smartphone-only airtime cards that give you specific amounts of Talk time, Texts and Data and do no triple. We Analyzed the New Tracfone Smartphone Airtime Cards and offered our opinion on what ones are the best deal.
4G LTE BYOP for both GSM and CDMA
4G LTE coverage with Tracfone BYOP was probably the most exciting advance Tracfone made in 2015. They opened the door to a host of much more advanced smartphones that could be used with their service and many users took advantage of this and upgraded. Now you can bring an iPhone 6 or a Samsung Galaxy S6 to use with either GSM or CDMA cell service through Tracfone's prepaid service.
LG Sunset with 4G LTE Service
For all of 2014 Tracfone only offered 3G CDMA smartphones for sale and many consumers who didn't have good CDMA coverage were frustrate that they couldn't upgrade to a smartphone. But in 2015 Tracfone released the LG Sunset, which was the second Android phone from Tracfone that uses GSM coverage, and the first with 4G LTE service.
We hope the Sunset will be the first of many more advanced 4G phones coming to Tracfone.
Now that we've looked back at the year, time to see what's in store with Tracfone for 2016!
What to Expect from Tracfone in 2016We believe Tracfone will move in two primary directions for 2016; release more low-end smartphones and continue to promote the BYOP program.
Already we have seen significant advertising and promotions for bringing your own phone to Tracfone. They have done a lot to improve the process, including webpages dedicated to checking your phone's compatibility and activating the device. Tracfone has also released a number of smartphone-only airtime cards, that can be used with either BYOP devices or Tracfone smartphones.
It would appear that Tracfone has found a successful niche for themselves in providing pay-as-you-go service to consumers who don't want contracts or don't need unlimited service. The major carriers like Verizon and AT&T don't really compete with Tracfone because they target very different segments of the cell phone market (heavy users vs light users).
Tracfone has the opportunity to release their own smartphones and we hope they will continue to advance and catch up with the kind of phones you can use on the BYOP program. However, Tracfone will likely only offer devices in the $100-200 range that are a few years old. If consumers want a high-end phone to use with Tracfone, they will have to bring their own.
We do expect Tracfone to continue offering non-smartphones, but don't expect they will be offering any new or updated devices. They released very few, if any, non-android phones in 2015, and that Trend will probably continue. You can still buy plenty of 'dumb' phones from Tracfone, so don't worry about that disappearing anytime soon, it is a strong part of their profitability.
One of the weaknesses that Tracfone faces and needs to fix in 2016 is their somewhat complicated airtime structure. For new users, it can be confusing to know what which airtime is best for them to purchase, and exactly how it will be added to their phone. Right now, Tracfone offers both regular airtime cards that triple when added to a smartphone, and also smartphone-only cards that don't triple. There are airtime plans that give you minutes and 30 days of service every month, and there are auto-renewal options that automatically add a new 90 day airtime card to your phone every 3 months. We will have to wait and see if any changes come, but it is a small barrier for new customers.
Finally, we would recommend our readers continue in the direction that best suits them. So if you prefer the features and speed that a higher-end smartphone can give, then buy your own phone on Amazon, eBay or other retailers and bring it to use with Tracfone. You will have a great device and only be paying a small amount each month for service.
If you prefer a more simple device and less hassle in activating it, then go with a Tracfone branded phone. These won't be disappearing anytime soon.
We also suggest looking into some of the value plans Tracfone offers, or at buying the 1 Year/ 400 Minute Airtime card because these are some of the better deals offered by Tracfone and will help save you money if you're currently buying a 60 Minute Card every 3 months or so.
Tracfone looks like they are growing and pushing their BYOP program and we think they will continue in 2016 as the leaders of pay-as-you-go service.
We hope this post was help and gives you some perspective and ideas on where Tracfone may be heading in the coming months. Please leave a comment below with any questions or thoughts from this post.
If you are still looking for gift ideas, or have a gift card to spend, take a look at our Top 10 List of Tracfone Gift Ideas which includes many fun ideas for Tracfone users.
Thanks for vising and for another great year here at TracfoneReviewer. Happy New Year!