December 26, 2019

Tracfone Closing 3G CDMA Network- (Now Extended to end of 2020)

List of VoLTE Compatible Phones - Network Closure End of 2020

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Tracfone Closing CDMA Cell Network 2020
Starting a early in 2019, some Tracfone users received messages from Tracfone that their CDMA devices won't work with Tracfone by the end of 2019. For a CDMA phone to work it must have VoLTE enabled in order to make calls.

What does this mean for you and why is it happening? We've got those answers for you plus additional information on phones that are VoLTE capable.

UPDATE: Verizon has decided to push back the closure until the end of 2020, thus allowing Tracfone users to also have a little more time before they will need to upgrade phones. We will continue to update with more information soon.

Tracfone has also confirmed that they are pushing back the date until the end of 2020 when users will need to have VoLTE compatible devices to send and receive calls.

Why is Tracfone Shutting Down 3G and 2G CDMA Networks?
Many users are asking why Tracfone is shutting down their network and forcing them to get a new phone.

The answer is, Tracfone uses Verizon's networks, and Verizon is shutting down their 2G and 3G networks which will affect any Tracfone CDMA devices using these networks.

Verizon has been planning this closure for several years and planning accordingly by including VoLTE with the phones they sell. But Tracfone doesn't seem to have planned it out so well, with only some of their more recent phone offerings including VolTE so some users will have to get a new phone to maintain service coverage.

Why do you need a new phone to get service? The answer is VoLTE capability.

What is VoLTE and Why Do I Need It?
The term VoLTE simply stands for Voice over LTE (with 4G LTE meaning 4th Generation Long Term Evolution) which means phone calls use the LTE data networks rather than the older voice networks.

In the past (and with many of Tracfone's CDMA phones), smartphones would use the LTE networks for data, while using the 2G or 3G networks for voice calls.  Only phones that are VoLTE capable can make voice calls on the 4G LTE network. Thus, with Verizon closing 2G and 3G networks, only VoLTE capable phones will be able to make calls.

Some may be asking why Verizon needs to close their 2G and 3G networks? The reasoning is that they will be able to repurpose these bands for higher speed 4G LTE and possibly 5G in the future.

Do I Need to Upgrade my Tracfone CDMA Smartphone?
If you received a message from Tracfone that your phone is not compatible after 2019, then you will likely need to buy a new phone.

Check out the Latest Tracfone Smartphones available.

However, in some cases it seems that the VoLTE capability can be 'turned on' for an account/SIM card. Information is still difficult to nail down, and how or why this works is also a bit murky, but some users have reported several different methods for getting VoLTE on their phone.

This only is working on somewhat newer phones, like the Samsung Galaxy J3 Sky, Sky Pro, and Luna among others. It may be worth trying before going out to buy a new phone.

To try and enable VoLTE turn off your phone, remove the SIM card and remove the battery (if possible) and wait for 20 minutes. Then reinstall the battery and SIM, and turn the phone on. To check if the phone has VoLTE, make a call and look in the top bar to see if the phone switches from 4G LTE coverage to 4G or 3G. If the phone switches out of 4G LTE, it is not using VoLTE.

Additionally, some users reported transferring service from a non VoLTE enabled device to a VoLTE capable device, and then transferring back and keeping the VoLTE. Activating a new SIM card in your phone may also turn on VoLTE.

Tracfone didn't activate VoLTE on the phones they were selling until more recently, but many are capable, they just need to be activated.

So what phones are VoLTE capable?

List of VoLTE Capable Phones from Tracfone

The phones listed below are compatible with VoLTE according to Tracfone. This list is not complete, and we will continue to add to it as we learn more. A number of older smartphones may be compatible, but

Tracfone Moto G6
Tracfone Moto G6 on Amazon
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Crown
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 Orbit
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Sky Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
  • Samsung Galaxy A10e
  • Motorola Moto G6
  • Motorola Moto E5
  • LG Fiesta 2
  • LG Stylo 4
  • LG Stylo 3
  • LG Premier Pro
  • LG Rebel 4
  • LG Rebel 3
  • LG Rebel 2
  • LG Journey
  • LG Solo LTE
  • Alcatel TCL LX
  • Alcatel TCL A1
  • Alcatel MyFlip
  • ZTE Blade T2
  • ZTE Z233
  • iPhone 6 or newer

What About Unlocked Phones?
For unlocked devices, almost all recently released phones are VoLTE compatible. Here is a list of compatible phones that is from 2017 but includes which older devices (such as the iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy S5) have VoLTE.

For those who might want to dig deeper there is a lengthy thread on HowardForums on this topic.

Leave a comment if you have questions, thoughts or additional information. We will continue to update this post as more details emerge.

Join us over on Facebook with a growing community to stay up on all the latest news and information.

If you are new to Tracfone start with our Beginners Guide or take a look at 6 Ways to Check your Tracfone Airtime.

Also don't miss our list of the best Deals, Discounts and Sales on Tracfone devices.

Thanks for visiting!


Anonymous said...

Does this affect a Galaxy Sky that is listed as a 4g phone?

Steve said...

I have a Motorola G6 through TracFone so I know I'll be fine when this change over happens,but I was concerned about the phone my Dad had that I gave him which was my old Galaxy Luna pro,a TracFone also,well I just checked it and found that it has the 4G Volte just like the Motorola G6, so we are both ready! I do feel that TracFone needs to have a updated list of phone's that are equipped with 4G voLte capability and ones that will no longer work on the Verizon network after 12-31-2019, otherwise TracFone will I feel have alot of upset and dissatisfied customers!!

Nancy said...

I have an old Samsung flip phone, 1x CDMA. After entering the phone number, it says I'm fine and no upgrade is needed. Also, logging does not trigger it. Probably should keep checking frequently in case they just haven't got all the information into the system.

Unknown said...

TracFone LG Treasure 4G LTE CDMA Prepaid Smartphone does the network change affect this phone? What needs to be done to get this to be compatible with the end of year 2019 network change.
Thx B

Dano83860 said...

Galaxy J7 Sky Pro is listed in the review as 4g LTE. Phone starts out LTE at the beginning of a call and stays. Think I'm good. Maybe?

educationandcareer said...

Are the Tracphones on the GSM network also going to be affected by this change eventually? Has ATT said anything about VoLTE?

Anonymous said...

My LG Rebel 3 manufactured 12/2017 passed the VoLTE test.
What concerns me is that I live in a rural area that is well within Verizon's 4G LTE
coverage map but reception is marginal because of few towers in this area. I often get only a 2G (1x) or 3G signal. If Verizon closes these networks I will get no signal much of the time, making my mobile phone useless.
Apparently this has been planned for a long time but I am just now hearing about it
six months before it happens.
The FCC should not allow Verizon to close the 2G and 3G networks unless they can ensure
that people in rural areas will receive reliable 4G LTE service.

Anonymous said...

How will calls be charged after the change? Are talk airtime minutes still used or are calls deducted from the data portion and at what rate?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how this effects "mobile data" usage.

For example, I keep my mobile data off most of the time unless I need it away from wifi. Would I still be able to make a volte phone call without mobile data on?

Samsung J7 Crown and J3 Sky

nancy45 said...

I wonder if everyone who needs to upgrade their phone has been notified by now of the change when they check into their account? I logged in to my account a few days ago and didn't see the dreaded notice, so it appears that my phone, an LG Fiesta, will be ok. I hope so because I've been really happy with this phone and would like to keep using it a while longer. There must be a lot of folks out there who have been Tracfone customers for many years who are using older "non smart" phones and don't want to have to upgrade to a smartphone to keep their service. I hope Tracfone has some good options to offer them that will be compatible with the new requirements. I want to thank you again for this great website. I check it often for promo codes info about new phones. It seems new phones are always available to buy from several other sources before Tracfone lists them on their website! Have also recommended it to friends who want to know more about Tracfone.

Anonymous said...

Will airtime minutes still be used for calls or does it decrease the data at some unknown rate per minute?

Anonymous said...

would it be accurate to assume that all i'd have to do to follow this is check my account page? when TF went to 3g a few years ago, i was sent a new flip-phone. will that happen again?

Claire Johnston said...

Tracfone has shut my phone off and this is the first I've heard of any this. No text, no email, no snail mail. I live in a rural area and I don't use the phone much and I certainly wasn't planning on buying a newer one any time soon. I'm fuming because I can't talk to anyone at Tracfone about this in the middle of the night and I'm concerned I'm going to lose my 4800 minutes, 3500 texts and 4GB of data. I also have service until September.

wkdwitch said...

Almost a month later and the thread has died.....what is the current status of this problem'. I understand why my spouses ancient flip phone on verizon would need to be updated,,,,,but nothing changes except requiring a hefty cash outlay for a more modern 4g lte hd voice phone, but my reasonably recent j3 sky with recent addition of two yrs of service is not properly addressed. Do I run out for a newer but poorer quality j7crown just to have a phone that works come Jan? Do I wait and see....maybe the J3 will be okay in Jan. there are no answers readily available at Verizon ( it is cdma) or any information from tracfone who gladly took my money for a recent addition of two years service an tpfl. I can not possibly be the only senior citizen who feels abandoned by Verizon and by Tracfonw as well as this blog. Help is needed yet nothing for almost a month.

Anonymous said...

Talk, text and data are still in separate 'buckets' under the volte hd transition. Airtime use does not decease data.

To see if your phone meets the necessary requirements check in 'settings-connections-mobile networks' ... if "VoLTE Calls" is not present/available your phone will not work.

Anonymous said...

If I read this update from Verizon it seems like most phones will work now until the end of 2020? "Starting 1/1/2021" ... Hard to say if that applies to Tracfone users.

*this seems like an important topic maybe worthy of a 'bump up' or re-post on this blog.

Curly said...

Does anybody know what happens if TRACFONE forces you to switch to a newer (VoLTE) phone and your current phone has "triple minutes" program, is TRACFONE going to transfer the "triple minutes" program to the new phone? Or is this just a scam by TRACFONE to renege on its promises to customers of "triple minutes for lifetime"?

Anonymous said...

So I'm going to have to upgrade my Nokia 2126i? I really don't want a smartphone plan, wonder if they will have a basic phone that will work with the new network.

Unknown said...

I have LG TREASURE LTE 4GLTE Will I still have coverage. TRACFONE person said Not after 2019. Why would I need a new phone????

Unknown said...

I have LG TREASURE LTE 4GLTE Will I still have coverage. TRACFONE person said Not after 2019. Why would I need a new phone???? How do I know if my phone is VoLTE

rv65 said...

Anonymous with Nokia 2126i, yes there is a basic phone that works for Tracfone called the Alcatel MyFlip (a405DL) and is a flip phone.

Brian said...

The problem receiving a Tracfone message that you need a new phone is that if you have a unlocked phone they have no frikkin idea what phone you have so how can they send you those messages? I called their support and they claimed I had a iphone 6 on their network, I never owned a iphone in my life, I have a Essential PH-1 which works fine with VOLte, I have a feeling they are largely trying to force absolete phones on their users.

Raymond Howard said...

I have an original LG Rebel with 4.5" screen, it's the perfect size for my jeans pocket. I do NOT want a larger phone, but it seems any smartphone that complies to VoLTE is going to be larger :(

Can I abandon Tracfone and hook up my little Rebel to another service that sticks with CDMA?

ellhess said...

I was on chat with tracfone last night (10-28-19) I am concerned that #1 I will loose all the airtime I have paid for; and #2 that I will also loose the triple minutes, texts, and data that my current phone has. The tech I talked to assured me that I would not loose anything. I saved a copy of the chat for later reference.

I think the rep may not be correct, since their website states that triple minutes do not carry over to a new phone. I am taking the battery and sim card out of my LG Treasure to see if it changes over.

Also, I am going to make sure my airtime is low when I have to change over.

Lababy said...

Wait and see what happens. I also have the lg rebel. If tracfone cuts off my service i am moving over to pure talk with an unlocked lgk4. The same phone with the gsm network.

Anonymous said...

Curly asked: "Does anybody know what happens if TRACFONE forces you to switch to a newer (VoLTE) phone and your current phone has "triple minutes" program, is TRACFONE going to transfer the "triple minutes" program to the new phone? Or is this just a scam by TRACFONE to renege on its promises to customers of "triple minutes for lifetime"?" on August 30, 2019 at 12:26 PM

Bottom line: CALL TracFone _before_ deactiving your current Double or triple minutes phone, and activating the new one. And do NOT let service run out on your current double/triple phone before switching over.

It worked for me. I previously called TF and the rep told that since I had a current old-school Triple Minutes phone with active service, the Triple would transfer over to a new smartphone.

He was right; I got Triple stuff when activating the new phone with the old-style $20/60-minute card. It took about 20 minutes to show up on the new phone, but all is good.

Also, the new phone (a ZTE smartphone) was sent to me by Tracfone for FREE. If you get a message on the website that your current phone will no longer work in 2020, and if there is a phone # to call TracFone about this, give it a shot. They offered me a new phone (no choice of models) without me asking, and mailed it to me about a week later.

I can't promise you'll get a new phone, or that your old plan will transfer over (it may depend on your current phone and/or the replacement one?), but do call TF before your current service runs out on your double/triple minutes phone, and before activating a new smartphone with the new HD voice technology. They should be able to tell you what's up.

Anonymous said...

They refused to send me a new phone. Even asked to speak to the supervisor, and did. Maybe I was too polite? (lol)

Michael Weston said...

My honor 9x has 4G supported device. Its 4G antenna is powerful.

Anonymous said...

I have a Moto G4. I was able to get the "Enhanced 4G LTE Mode" to show by using phone info dialer (*#*#4636#*#*) and selecting "VoLTE Provisioned" But, now that I've selected the "Enhanced 4G LTE Mode" I cant make outgoing calls. I get "Server Error. Try Again Later."

Unknown said...

I just think this sucks! I like to keep it simple. I got my 4g LTE Rebel in 2016. I love it. Only last week i got a Google acount to use internet outside. Use my wifi inside. If i cant get this on here, i hope to get a Rebel 2, 3, or 4 that supposedly supports VoLTE. Never had problems with my Tracfones. I still think its a thing to get people to spend money.

Unknown said...

I just think this sucks! I like to keep it simple. I got my 4g LTE Rebel in 2016. I love it. Only last week i got a Google acount to use internet outside. Use my wifi inside. If i cant get this on here, i hope to get a Rebel 2, 3, or 4 that supposedly supports VoLTE. Never had problems with my Tracfones. I still think its a thing to get people to spend money.

David Jarrett said...

Verizon screwed the pooch on that one. Because I was getting barraged with warnings about the impending shutdown, and had to upgrade from a perfectly adequate low usage phone to a new one, I chose a GSM model, and had TracFone ship out an AT&T MVNO sim instead.
Then I switched my heavy usage phone to Mint via TMo from a TracFone/Verizon CDMA sim.
Got one more phone, a CDMA Rebel 4 for my kid. When he loses it (He already lost the previous Rebel 3) it's going to get replaced by a GSM model of some sort and that one will, in all probability, get a TracFone AT&T or TMo sim to use up the remaining balance before I finish switching everything over to Mint.
So not only does Verizon lose 3 of their TracFone MVNO accounts, eventually TracFone loses them to all to Mint as well.
Not that anyone cares but me. That's just how the business works.

Unknown said...

I would like to know the answer to that question im sure many of us triple minute tracfone users would.
Please let us all know.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree,it sucks,and tracfone should not do away with the triple minute program ether, thats what made them as big as they are!!!

Boofunkin' said...

TracFone has become one more crappy technology company. I received a text message Jan 11, 2020 only saying "You need a new phone to keep enjoying your service". What garbage! And no info when I log into my account or on their web page. Truly terrible!!

Thank you for the article and explanation of what seems to be going on.

Michael said...

This shutdown only applys to tracfone customers using tracfones with VERIZON WIRELESS TOWERS.... I am happy they are going to finally get rid of the 2g/3g crap at the end of 2020, did not work for me, nothing but dropped calls..

Any fone that don't have 4g lte or HD VOICE will not work no more with VERIZON TOWERS
I don't care what the list here says. if its BYOP OR a tracfone using VERIZON TOWERS and it does not say 4G LTE in the signal bar its pretty much worthless on VERIZON...

ATT will shut down their 3g at the end of 2022...

dave9 said...

David Jarrett, how long have you worked for Mint?

What you are suggesting does not make much sense. If you have to get a new phone anyway, could just get either a GSM or VoLTE, continue using Tracfone, with lower monthly cost for these "low usage phone" needs from TF instead of Mint.

Further your new phone plus service will cost more than getting a TF bundled with service.

Your "that's just how the business works" does not make any sense in the context of your post. A business would switch to a better option or a cheaper option while the switch to Mint serves neither purpose in the context of having to get a new phone anyway which was the WHOLE point of this topic.

deerhunter said...

Its all garbage to this 81 year old.Tracfone shut my wifes alcatel 405in august 2019 and then my older LG 221 last month.Can not even guess how many morons I have talked to on phone and chat email you name it.Just like a previous lady said.Tracfone has stolen 4600 off the 205 phone and 2600 minutes off LG good untilyou do the math on how much money they stole.I have filed complaints with every agency and AG I could find..Lots of work..Just think of what this Tracfone is stealing.One idiot kept saying the phone wont work.I told him I was talking on the dam thing to you yesterday. If their is a class action against them I would sure like to join..

Unknown said...

I got a new phone, (since I was forced to change phones at the end of the year) and now I have to drive 8 miles for my Tracfone to work. I've chatted 6 times with Tracfone and it has done no good whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

I have an inactive Samsung Galaxy Core Prime phone that I would like to reactivate with Tracfone. Some lists show it as volte ready, some don't. Apparently you can't get to the menu to turn on volte unless you have an account directly with Verizon (which I do not). My question is, would a new SIM card already have the volte active? If that will fix the problem it would be far less expensive than buying a new phone (I like the phone I have), but I don't know if the volte is tied to the SIM card or the phone itself.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I NEVER was contacted by Tracfone. My phone is a LG 840G. I too am in a fringe rural area also with limited Verizon towers. And here it is March of 2020.

So, now have to search for a new phone due to these changes. A few years ago, I purchased a smartphone for my Tracfone account. I had to send it back since I was not smart enough to use one.

Hope that the Volte phones are better listed as to which ones are capable and easier to use.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the "g" at the end of LG840G meant it was working on the GSM network ( AT&T with tracfone) so should not be an issue with the Verizon CDMA shut downs...another comment here was that the AT&T towers are ok until 2022..

davidgs66 said...

Can I convert my Samsung J3 Luna Pro, sub model Sm-s327vl Tracfone from CDMA/LTE to LTE + VoLTE because CDMA calling is going obsolete?

By the way, I'm in Canada. I also own Samsung J3 Luna Pro, submodel Sm-s337tl from Tracfone, and I use it with Freedom Mobile, but that phone doesn't rely on CDMA.

davidgs66 said...

You and I have same problem. You will lose regular calling/texting as CDMA becomes obsolete. Your only hope is for LG to provide a software update that includes VoLTE. I have Samsung J3 Luna Pro, Sm-s327vl, which is CDMA/LTE like your phone. Other J3 Luna Pro submodel sm-s337tl has VoLTE.

Anonymous said...

TracFone and their other companies (Net 10, Tracfone,etc) have made it impossible to transfer your current minutes and service plan to your new 4G phone.

Yesterday Net 10 sent notices they are migrating from 3G (will shut down at end of 2020)to 4G on their Basic Talk and Text plan.

In the past 2 days I have spent several hours talking to 10-15 Reps & Managers, getting disconnected 6 times, endless workarounds to get my minutes back and promises of my minutes back(I have several thousands minutes). Going on Day 3.....

BEWARE!They don't want you to get your minutes back. Thats a liability to Tracfone. They want you to give up in frustration and let the customer throw away all those unused minutes.

I hope social media will pickup on this. This scheme is affecting thousands of people mostly the elderly and lower income customers.

Let Federal Trade Commission know. Look up Tracfone and see how they operate. Thank You!