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Old 05-17-2019, 05:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiminnm View Post
Tracfone does not have a network to upgrade, they buy space on other networks (Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile).


If you are getting told that the network is being upgraded, I presume that you have a 2G phone. I think T-Mobile is the only network still using 2G (I know Verizon and AT&T dropped theirs). You are going to have to upgrade your phone to at least 3G regardless of what service you use. There are 3G Tracfone flip phones available. Look on their web site.


Just be aware that AT&T has announced that their 3G network is going away in 3-4 years, and I expect others will follow.
Interesting.

I thought AT&T had already dropped 3G.

Even their cheapest flip phone on their prepaid service (the Cingular Flip 2) is 4G and HD voice capable (I've had 4G capability for the last 6 years (Lumia 520, then Lumia 520 + a ZTE Blade Spark) of my 10+ years with AT&T prepaid and when I've happened to glance at that part of the screen on the Lumia, it's always been in 4G (I rarely use the ZTE as a phone)).

Is that 3G capability on AT&T towers still available for all three (AT&T postpaid, AT&T prepaid, and MVNOs) ?
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mircea View Post
You might not be old enough to remember the 1G days.

I do.

Cell-phones have been around for decades, they just weren't called cell-phones. They were called radio-telephones and primarily used for ship-to-shore communications and in police vehicles.

Over time, as the frequencies got crowded with more users, they had to figure out how to allow more users on the frequencies. So you have one person bogarting a frequency, but they're only using 60% of the band-width. If you chunk up the conversation into time-packets, then you can get more people on the frequency and use 100% of the band-width. That's TDMA or Time Division Multiple Access.

More users necessitated sub-dividing the frequency, and that's what FDMA or Frequency Division Multiple Access is.

When that became crowded, the combined both systems into FTDMA which is what most people use now.

The other system is CDMA or Code Division Multiple Access, and as far as I know, only Sprint uses that (and perhaps carriers using Sprint's network).

CDMA was developed by the Army near the end of WW II. It's an inherently secure means of communication.

If you were in the Army, you might remember using Nestor or Victor with your radios. These were little boxes that you attached to your radio, and they converted an analog signal to a digital signal with a code prefix, and only a receiver knowing the code prefix can decode the digital voice packet and convert it back to analog. Later, you could skip the analog step, because your voice packet was directly digital.

People with radio scanners can pick up FTDMA cell-phone conversations, but not on a CDMA network.

Anyway, the 1G -- First Generation -- Network was all you had for a long time and it could only handle voice communications.

The 2G Network is what allowed you to send text messages.

The 3G Network added data to the mix, so you have a voice protocol, a text protocol and a data protocol, which is what allowed you to access the internet.

The 4G Network did two things. It combined the text protocol with the data protocol, and it increased data speed, so you can stream data.

The 5G Network combines the voice protocol with the text/data protocol, so there's only one protocol, and the speed is even faster.



So, what's the problem?

I have a TracFone. A flip-phone. Pre-paid. I never use the internet and I don't recall ever sending a text message, although I receive a few each week.

If you go to the TracFone web-site and scroll all the way down to the very bottom you'll find an Alcatel flip-phone just like the one we both have now, except it's 5G compatible.

I think it was $19.99.

If you understand sales, everything is "top down."

TracFone, of course, wants you to buy the more expensive smart-phones, which is why the inexpensive flip-phone is buried at the bottom of the web-page after 30 different models of smart-phones.

If you watch, Best Buy sometimes has the TracFone flip-phone on sale for $9.99.

I'm going to watch Best Buy over the next few months to see if they offer the TracFone 5G flip-phone on sale and if so, I'll buy it and if not I'll pay the $19.99 and get it from TracFone.

To me, carrying around a smart-phone is like carrying around a raw egg.

You can't put them in your back pocket, because you butt-dial or break the screen, and you can't carry it in you front pockets because it's too damn bulky and I never wear belt, because if I'm not in jeans and water-buffaloes I'm wearing shorts so I have no place for a smart-phone.

My flip-phone I can just stick in my pocket and forget about it.
Verizon also has CDMA (3G), but they are shutting it down on December 31st, 2019.
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Old 05-18-2019, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
Okay, so I've had a Tracfone for many years (for the last four phones). I pay no monthly fee and "recharge" the minutes when they run low. I spend maybe twenty dollars every three or four months most of the time (if even that). I honestly do not use phones that much and when I do, it's generally just texting. I could actually live without a phone at all and it wouldn't hurt my feelings. BUT... it is nice to have a way for others to get a hold of me.

So... Tracfone is upgrading their network (I'm told) and the phone I have will not be functional soon. So, I need to find out what my options are either with Tracfone or someone else.

Here are my requirements (or lack thereof):

* I only care about voice and texts. NOTHING else. No data, no internet, no apps, no this. No that. I don't want a bunch of crap on the phone. I use none of it. I want minimal functionality (it isn't just that I do not wish to use the technology/functionality, I don't want it to be there at all if that is possible these days). I don't even care if it doesn't have a camera.

* No monthly fee. I pay for the minutes I talk and for the texts I use. Not to have a paperweight sitting there costing me money when I don't use it that much.

* NO GPS, no tracking.

* It can be a flip phone, I don't care. For texting, though, it's nice to have a keyboard or a screen keyboard. And texting is what I do most.

So, for you phone tech gurus... any options like that or am I SOL in this modern phone-addicted world? I read a blog entry about Lycamobile and that they have a "secret plan" with no monthly fee if you call them and ask for it. I know Tracfone still will, but like I said, I DO NOT want a smartphone--dumbphones only. Any other companies out there without monthly fees (pay as you go) and offering dumbphone support?
You're not SOL but I don't know about the GPS requirement. GPS has been soldered and hard wired into phones for as long as i can remember. Getting a dumb phone does not get around GPS. I used GPS on a dumb phone before with a program called AT&T Navigator. It was a dumb phone application. No it wasn't Android or iOS but for whatever OS dumb phones use.
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Old 05-18-2019, 02:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goofy328 View Post
You're not SOL but I don't know about the GPS requirement. GPS has been soldered and hard wired into phones for as long as i can remember. Getting a dumb phone does not get around GPS. I used GPS on a dumb phone before with a program called AT&T Navigator. It was a dumb phone application. No it wasn't Android or iOS but for whatever OS dumb phones use.
On Microsoft/Nokia Lumia phones you can effectively turn the GPS off in the settings. With that possible on those phones, I imagine it is the case with a number of others.
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Old 05-19-2019, 05:36 AM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMESMH View Post
On Microsoft/Nokia Lumia phones you can effectively turn the GPS off in the settings. With that possible on those phones, I imagine it is the case with a number of others.
OP is talking about old feature phones not a smartphone.
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Old 05-19-2019, 11:59 AM
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goofy328 View Post
OP is talking about old feature phones not a smartphone.
Yes, main thing I'm looking for is not a lot of "garbage" that I don't use on the phone (which, unfortunately is just about everything companies insist on putting in a phone nowadays). Talk and text. That's it. The GPS thing is not a huge issue as long as I don't have to trifle with it. I don't even want to see it.

The main thing I'm looking for right now is a phone that is not filled with crap (aka smarphone) and I want a no-monthly-fee pay as you go structure. I know I can get a smartphone today from Tracfone that fits the bill on the fee, but I'm just looking for other alternatives with very basic phones, rather than smartphones. To me, smartphones are just about the most annoying bits of technology around. HATE them. Total time wasters (IMO) and unnecessary (for me). I guess what I'm looking for is essentially a landline without the wires and monthly fee.
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Old 05-19-2019, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
Yes, main thing I'm looking for is not a lot of "garbage" that I don't use on the phone (which, unfortunately is just about everything companies insist on putting in a phone nowadays). Talk and text. That's it. The GPS thing is not a huge issue as long as I don't have to trifle with it. I don't even want to see it.

The main thing I'm looking for right now is a phone that is not filled with crap (aka smarphone) and I want a no-monthly-fee pay as you go structure. I know I can get a smartphone today from Tracfone that fits the bill on the fee, but I'm just looking for other alternatives with very basic phones, rather than smartphones. To me, smartphones are just about the most annoying bits of technology around. HATE them. Total time wasters (IMO) and unnecessary (for me). I guess what I'm looking for is essentially a landline without the wires and monthly fee.
You're never going to see GPS on a feature phone. But it is tracking you, that's what I'm saying.

Truth is that smartphones are going to be cheaper than feature phones, or dumb phones, as you call them. They're a novelty now. Some would even say that they're vintage. Smartphones are going to be cheaper. I don't make payments on phones, so you'll never see me recommending that to anyone around here.

If you just want something basic you can go to AT&T Prepaid and get a phone for $25 that is very basic. Nothing but the minimum. It runs 8.1 Oreo. It does have the beautification mode if you're into taking selfies. I'm not a fan of beautification mode, but then again I'm not a fan of selfies either. It is also capable of HD voice, when and if AT&T turns that on for their prepaid users. AT&T is okay either way it isn't like you'll have trouble hearing people on an AT&T phone.

Far as what apps that are on that phone that come out of the box I'd just ignore them and use the phone for voice and text. Again that is $25 and you own the phone, and as far as the service I'd go for their $35 plan because it's not like you're going to use your data for anything.

I had to come back and edit this; I did see where they offer a flip phone for $60. Its called Cingular Flip 2. They also have a $30 a month plan with no data. So you'd be $90 for the first month but then $30 a month going forward. That is without auto pay. It does connect to WiFi. Apparently you can make calls over WiFi if you need to in that rare situation where you're not in an AT&T area.

Last edited by goofy328; 05-19-2019 at 12:36 PM..
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Old 05-23-2019, 03:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
Yes, main thing I'm looking for is not a lot of "garbage" that I don't use on the phone (which, unfortunately is just about everything companies insist on putting in a phone nowadays). Talk and text. That's it. The GPS thing is not a huge issue as long as I don't have to trifle with it. I don't even want to see it.

The main thing I'm looking for right now is a phone that is not filled with crap (aka smarphone) and I want a no-monthly-fee pay as you go structure. I know I can get a smartphone today from Tracfone that fits the bill on the fee, but I'm just looking for other alternatives with very basic phones, rather than smartphones. To me, smartphones are just about the most annoying bits of technology around. HATE them. Total time wasters (IMO) and unnecessary (for me). I guess what I'm looking for is essentially a landline without the wires and monthly fee.
I'm guessing that your current Tracfone is 3G, it is using Verizon towers per Tracfone's agreement with Verizon, and that you are now having to change because Verizon (and therefore Tracfone re your particular situation) is eliminating 3G on 12/31/19. I'm facing the same thing on my Verizon line....a 'dumbphone' plan (on a 3G (maximum) LG Extrovert 2) that hasn't been newly available for years (but those of us who already had it could keep it/were 'grandfathered in'), and is almost identical to AT&T's $2 per day plan. As mentioned in another post, I'm going to buy an LG V20 off of eBay or Craigslist and.....a few days before expiration in December 2019...convert my grandfathered Verizon $2 per day plan to Verizon's cheapest prepaid monthly smartphone plan (about $38-39 per month with taxes) which will pull from my over $300 rolled over balance. Once that balance is exhausted, I'll reassess.

My other line (on AT&T) is also...like your current one... a basic 'no data' (just voice and text) plan. I switch between two so called 'smartphones' on this plan, a Lumia 520 and a ZTE Blade Spark. My AT&T plan is a $2 per day plan. $100 gives me 1 year of service. On a day of actual use, $2.00 is deducted from that balance for the first use and then no other deduction until use on another day, even if I was on the phone constantly say from 7am-10pm+. Any remaining balance when I pay for the next year rolls over rather than expiring.

One thing I like about AT&T is that it's about usage. They don't insist on 'straightjacketing' a phone into a category (smartphone vs. basic). AT&T has plans that are based on how you want to use the phone, not whether it is a smartphone or not.

Like you, I like having a main phone that is all about simplicity. The great thing about the Lumia is that it has simple icons that all have big, legible one or two word names in text. You turn the phone on, do one swipe to the left, and all of the functions are listed A to Z in alphabetical order. If you hold your finger down on the name of a function, a little screen pops up that allows you to...with most of them..'pin to start' or 'uninstall'. It's great because you can uninstall all but 22 functions (which are basic things like 'Phone', 'Camera', 'Messaging' (texts), 'Calculator', 'Battery Saver' (which reads the percentage left in the battery), 'Photos' (the storage for the camera), etc.). It's much more intuitive and is much easier to manage/manipulate than the average 'dumbphone/non-smartphone'. The other Lumia phones higher in the food chain (the 6 series, the 8 series, the 9 series, and the 1000 series)...in case someone wants a faster phone with a better camera....can all also be used in this same simple manner, as all can run Windows 8.1 for phones. The other phone I have for this AT&T cell line.....the ZTE Blade Spark....although I don't use the features.....does have the 'crap' on it that you mention as a negative re smartphones .

This thread piqued my curiosity, and I picked up a current Tracfone physical brochure at a Walmart.

Tracfone lets users bring phones from Verizon, T-mobile, and AT&T compatible carriers (you just buy a Tracfone sim kit for $1.00 that is compatible), but Tracfone still has the 'Verizon plan structure' that requires identifying a phone as a basic phone or a smart phone and directing plans based on that.

The other poster in this thread that mentioned 'basic is now the outlier' and '= less...value wise' is correct. For instance, Tracfone has two 1 year/365 day plans...one for 'Basic Phones' and one for 'Smartphones'. The 'Basic Phone' 1yr plan costs $99.99 and allows for 400 minutes total for 'talk, text, and web'. The 'Smartphone' 1yr plan costs $125 ($25.01 more for the year), but includes 1000 talk minutes, 1500 texts, and 1.5 GB of internet data.

Re AT&T vs Tracfone, my particular usage dovetails with a bunch of usage on one day for $2.00 when needed, rather than identifying a number of minutes and texts that can be used anytime, but your usage (and that of many others) might be better suited to Tracfone's identified number of 'anytime minutes and texts'. I don't think there are any more brick and mortar retailers that sell Lumia phones, but there are many available on eBay. I've found them to be extremely durable and problem free.

And, as mentioned in another post, it is easy (takes under 10 seconds) to turn the GPS off on a Lumia.
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