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Trac/Net10 CDMA Phones - Preferred Roaming List (PRL)
Topic Started: September 22, 2013, 5:34 pm (4,697 Views)
tfuser19

@All you CDMA experts out there:

I have not owned a CDMA phone in many years and would like to understand a few things.
----
Fact:
1. CDMA phones have no SIM cards like GSM phones.
----
Questions:
1. I understand that Tracfone/Net10 CDMA phones are tied to a specific carrier (either Sprint or Verizon).
I also understand that if I have a Tracfone/Net10 CDMA phone tied to Verizon, and I go somewhere that does
not have Verizon towers, but has Sprint towers, my phone will not work because there is no roaming with CDMA
phones. This is unlike the GSM system where a phone with an AT&T SIM will work(roam) in a T-Mobile only area.
Is what I've stated correct?

2. Can someone explain when/why/how to update the Tracfone/Net10 CDMA phone's Preferred Roaming List (PRL)?
----
Please feel free to enlighten me with any other Tracfone/Net10 CDMA phone related knowledge.

@Turk -- If there's a better place for this thread or it's duplicating an existing thread, I know you'll tell me. :)
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DoctorM
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CDMA phones do not have SIM cards because SIM cards are a specific feature of GSM technology.

CDMA phones are built for a specific carrier -- they are not inter-operable with other CDMA carriers. In general, you can't take your CDMA phone with you to another carrier. When a phone maker comes out with a flagship model (like the Samsung S4) they make a specific model for each CDMA carrier.

CDMA technology is owned by a single company - QualComm. Carriers licensing Qualcomm's CDMA technology choose to implement it so other carriers can't steal their customers (or at least their phones.) They could implement it so as to be inter-operable (allow roaming) but they all choose not to. So you will likely never be able to roam with a cdma phone ("roam" means to piggyback on another carrier's system when you are out of your carrier's coverage.)

CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM (Global System for Mobiles) employ different technologies, so you cannot use a GSM phone on a CDMA system, and vice versa. However, there are phones made with both technologies.

In contrast to CDMA, GSM technology is a spec with a independent governing body. It was developed as a Euro-union requirement for all members of the EU, and has become a world standard. GSM phones are all inter-operable (theoretically) and allow roaming because the GSM spec requires that all carriers allow roaming (piggybacking on another carrier when the user is out of the primary carriers area of coverage.) It was designed to provide EU member nations a seamless inter-operable communications system.

GSM implementation world wide, however, often is not compatible from one country to another because different nations assign different frequencies to carriers allowed to operate within a particular country. So while GSM was conceived to be a global, inter-operable system, in practice some countries are not cooperating with that concept. For example, the US assigns different frequencies than does the EU.

The SIM card is specific to GSM phones, and it contains all the is data that enabled GSM carriers to be inter-operable and to allow roaming. Theoretically, you should be able to take the SIM card out of any GSM phone and replace it with another carrier's SIM card. However, in practice, each GSM carrier in the US can lock their phones to prevent that. The worst offender in phone locking appears to be TracFone.
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Tarkio101

CDMA phones do indeed roam. It may be the case that certain carriers at certain times do not have those roaming
agreements in place, but it doesn't mean that the phone cannot roam. Tracfone just doesn't have it set up that way.

US Cellular has native coverage in a tiny handful of locations, uses CMDA, but their coverage map for nationwide
coverage is the same as Verizons.
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ShadowDancer
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My first two cell phones were through Verizon. Of course, they were just feature phones. But, I recall driving I-70
through Ohio and encountering roaming areas along the Interstate. Still, I was able to call out in a roaming area,
but it cost at least 3X more than a phone call in a non-roaming area.

If this isn't a case of a feature phone vs. a smartphone, then I would suspect, as Tarkio101 posted, that agreements
between Verizon and other CDMA-oriented telecommunications companies aren't in place.

In fact, could it be that Verizon has simply refused to provide roaming to Tracfone customers? - That stance by
Verizon would not surprise me at all. It has always seemed quite clear that Verizon has no intention of treating
MVNO customers like they would treat their own customers.


ShadowDancer :)
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Tarkio101

In this case, I don't think an agreement between Verizon and other carriers is the cause. For example, the 840g
may use ATT and Tmobile, but not because of any agreement between those carriers, but rather agreements each
of those carriers has with Tracfone. In other words, Tracfone is buying minutes from both carriers, the phone can
use either, but still it is actually Tracfone who makes it possible, not ATT or Tmobile. The minutes Tracfone buys
from companys is exactly that, just the minutes on that companies network. Roaming agreements for this phone
would need to be with Sprint, primarily, and they barely do any business with Tracfone.

Part of the reason Verizon used to allow virtually no prepaid companies to use their network, is that they had a full
network already, with their own high paying customers. Especially in data usage. However, now, as so many of their
4G customers have moved to that network, this left their 3G network with plenty of capacity. Rather than have it sitting
with extra capacity, they are now willing to work with prepaids to use this asset that isn't necessarily being used for
much more than back by their own customers in most big markets.
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DoctorM
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Tarkio101
September 23, 2013, 1:06 am
CDMA phones do indeed roam. It may be the case that certain carriers at certain times do not have those roaming
agreements in place, but it doesn't mean that the phone cannot roam. Tracfone just doesn't have it set up that way.

US Cellular has native coverage in a tiny handful of locations, uses CMDA, but their coverage map for nationwide
coverage is the same as Verizons.
US Cellular is the 5th largest CDMA carrier, so it is not small (about 4.6 million customers in 126 markets in 26 U.S.
states, according to Wikipedia

But that's interesting that it has cdma roaming agreements with Verizon -- probably with Sprint also, since all use the
same cdma versions. Makes me surmise that the coverage maps they all claim are really inter-operating agreements
coverage, and not just native coverage.

The big GSM carriers (AT&T and T-Mobile, including service under TracFone) do not charge for roaming. But from all
that I read, CDMA roaming is not free, which may be why it is not available to TracFone users.

Here is a nice article on roaming - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roaming
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tfuser19

@DoctorM, @Tarkio101, @ShadowDancer - Thanks for the posts.

I still need to understand PRLs and roaming better.

Apparently, depending on your carrier and service, CDMA phone can roam and so the question is do any
Tracfone/Net10 CDMA phones roam ?

Then it's going to be interesting to figure out how my GSM phones compare reception wise to my new
Tracfone Samsung Centura S738C.

@Turk, not a peep out of you Mr. CDMA? ;)
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AKmaro1
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All right, I'll chime in on my CDMA experience with Tracfone, since I've almost run that exclusively for the past
10+ years. Tracfones do indeed roam. Every CDMA phone I've ever had with them has shown roaming from
time to time on the screen when I head out of town. I live in NW PA and when I get up into New York State and
I think Cleveland, it shows roaming on my LG 290C screen, now my GF's phone of the same model oddly never
shows roaming....

But when I head down to Pittsburgh, it never seems to show roaming on the screen. Now I have seldom had to
use my phone to make calls when I'm out of town, but I will try within the next month when we are supposed to
go back up into NY State.

So take that for what you want, but that's my experience... I hope it does help some with the discussion. :)
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DoctorM
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@ AKmaro1
That's interesting, thanks for posting it.

Do you make/receive calls when roaming shows? And are you charged more for it while roaming?
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ShadowDancer
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For what it's worth . . . I just checked my Tracfone CDMA phone which is a Samsung r455C.
It is capable of detecting roaming areas. The symbol which will appear on my home screen for roaming is "R."

However, since I haven't used my Samsung much outside of my immediate home area, I don't know whether I
will get a signal available symbol or a signal non-available symbol when I'm in a roaming area.

Like AKmaro1, I will try to check it the next time I am on a road trip.


ShadowDancer :)
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Turk
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TuRk WoRld OrdEr
* tfuser19 .... I am not a CDMA expert, I just play one on a Tracfone Forum ... lol ... (good one, Turk) ;)
* Also, my name is not "Mr. CDMA" .... I prefer the name what all the ladies call me --> Mr. Universe. B-)

* I can't speak for contract phones, for I never had one, but my sister who lives out west uses U.S. Cellular on her phone.
* Whenever she comes home to PA, there isn't U.S. Cellular in our little area, but she does pick up Verizon reception.
* So I assume Verizon has agreements with U.S. Cellular and probably Sprint to roam/use their towers, and vice versa?

------------------------------

* With CDMA Tracfones, there is roaming on them, but it doesn't roam onto Sprint (maybe onto U.S. Cellular, I don't know).

* As ShadowDancer stated above, there's a R that pops up on the phone screen to show roaming if your phone roams.
* As AKmaro1 stated above, if you go far away from your home, sometimes the phone may also show roaming.

* Years ago, there use to be regions your CDMA phone was locked into for using Verizon... these regions would
* usually be your zip code/county surrounded by 3-5 counties in your area. So in other words, your Home region
* would consists of 3-5 counties ... that's why it would say Home on the screen, cause your in your Home area.

* Then years ago, when you would go out of your Home area/region, the phone would show "roaming" on it.
* You could still make a call, but sometimes Tracfone would charge 2 or 3 extra minutes per one minute talking.
* Back then, you were being charged extra for using Verizon elsewhere, cause you were out of your "Home area".

* I have experienced roaming back then when I went out of my Home region/area, and was charged more per call.
* But over the last three years, with my newer CDMA phones, I haven't experienced roaming anymore when I travel.
* I been out of State to the West and down South and haven't experienced roaming on my CDMA phones anymore.

* I think Tracfone has gotten rid of most of the "regions" by now - and wherever there is Verizon, you're ok, no roaming?
* That's my experience... but maybe others still do experience "roaming" on their CDMA phones from time to time...
* Tracfone doesn't charge extra minutes anymore for roaming on CDMA phones (if your phone does roam by chance).
* It's now "one minute per minute" whether you roam or not, same as the GSM phones.

* Does the native browser still work if you're in "roaming" on a CDMA phone? -- I don't know, my old CDMA phones
* didn't have a browser back then... and I haven't experienced roaming on my new CDMA phones to test it out.

------------------------------

* All that stuff I wrote above is what the (PRL) is somewhat all about .... if you went out of your home area and was
* roaming, you could dial *22891 (star 22891) on your CDMA Tracfone and it would update your phone to that area,
* so it wouldn't roam anymore.

-----------------------------

* So whenever you get a new CDMA Tracfone, after you activate it and it's good to go, you should dial *22891 on it
* and let it update itself to your area, just to be safe (it only takes a minute) - and it won't hurt your phone, so just do it.

* You don't have to, but folks should dial *22891 on their CDMA Tracfone every so often when your in your Home area.
* This keeps the phone up to date with the Verizon towers in your area ... I dial it on my phone about twice a year.

* Edit:
* I want to add something about dialing *22891 on your CDMA Tracfone .... when you dial *22891, a recorded
* operator comes on and says to: "please hold while we update your roaming capabilities", or something like that.

* Then you'll hear music playing for about 45 seconds, then the operator will come back on and say something like:
* "you phone is now updated, thank you"... Then your phone will turn off and back on, so don't panic if this happens.

* Ps: thanks tfuser19 for the good topic .... I should have made this up along time ago about the PRL / *22891 stuff.

* Attention Everyone: If I'm wrong on any of this, feel free to add or correct me - as I am tired as I type this. -_- (lol)

*** Dial *22891 to update your PRL (Preferred Roaming List) on your CDMA Tracfones ***


*Turk B-)
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ShadowDancer
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Turk B-) --

Thank you for your detailed explanation and history of CDMA roaming! I found your write-up quite enlightening.

Moreover, thank you for posting the *22891 number. . . . A couple of months ago, I had tried to update my PRL,
but I might have gotten an incorrect number on the Internet, because when I punched that number in, it didn't do
a thing other than give me a busy signal.

Anyhow, I went out on the porch tonight, punched in the *22891, and it worked like a charm. . . . I was hoping this
update might improve the lousy signal reception that my phone gets at the house, but such was not the case. . . .
Oh well, I've got my trusty LG 840G with five bars!

Two thumbs up ... ;)


ShadowDancer :)
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tfuser19

@Mr. Universe aka Turk, :)
Terrific writeup. That's exactly the information I was looking for.

I appreciate everyone here posting, but I'm surprise there are not more Tracfone/Net10 CDMAers posting to this thread.

@ShadowDancer / @DoctorM,
Does your home reception low signal experience correspond with Tracfone's CDMA coverage map you've seen?

@Everyone, speaking of Tracfone coverage maps, where are a best places to find GSM and CDMA Tracfone/Net10
coverage maps that we can zoom in/out on?
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DoctorM
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@ Turk
Great information -- thanks for posting it.

Is what you say applicable for Sprint also?
I ask because I distinctly remember a warning with the Net10 LG Optimus Net (LG 45C) on Sprint that roaming
was not allowed. But the L45C itself appears to allow it, with a settings display of roaming guards... Maybe that
has all changed now.

I don't actually use this model for calls or text anymore... I just now fished it out of my "abandoned cell phones"
drawer and realized how much better Android is compared to Java2ME.
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tfuser19

@DoctorM,

How long ago was the warning about Sprint roaming - and what kind of warning was it.
The phone either roams or not ..... so what was the warning about? So you quit using the L45C?
Why .... cost?
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ShadowDancer
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tfuser19
September 24, 2013, 9:12 am
@ShadowDancer / @DoctorM,
Does your home reception low signal experience correspond with Tracfone's CDMA coverage map you've seen?

@Everyone, speaking of Tracfone coverage maps, where are a best places to find GSM and CDMA Tracfone/
Net10 coverage maps that we can zoom in/out on?
tfuser19 --

I haven't been able to find a Tracfone CDMA coverage map where I can actually zoom in to look at my
street's coverage -- only a Verizon coverage map. And, on the Verizon map, it shows that I'm covered
with all voice, messaging, and data up to and including 4G LTE.... But, as I told you in another thread,
every cell phone that I have ever had that runs through Verizon or through Verizon via Tracfone, has had
the low signal reception at my home, which is situated on a hillside...

Quote:
 
At the same time, I can tell you that my cleaning lady has a CDMA Verizon Tracfone, my repairman has a Verizon contract phone, and my furnace person has a Verizon contract (I think) phone, too. None of them can receive calls inside my house. Their phones will ring once, maybe twice, and then go directly to voicemail. And, if they try to answer their calls, there is no one on the other end. In addition, whenever they need to make a call, even standing next to a window, doesn't provide them with a sufficient signal. They have to go outside, down the porch stairs, and stand either on the sidewalk or walk out into the side street.

Moreover, when I mentioned this poor Verizon signal to the person who cuts my hair, she remarked that her mother, who has a Verizon contract phone, but lives on a hillside, but in a different part of town, has complained about the exact same situation. To make a phone call on her Verizon phone, she has go out and stand in her street. So, she prefers to use her landline when she is at home.
However, if I drive downtown, which is about half a mile away from the house, I get/got a perfect five bars
with both my Tracfone and my old Verizon phone.

I suppose if I wanted to buy a signal booster and install it in the house, that would correct the problem.
But, I have a land-line, so I'm not going to bother. Plus, my LG 840g gets five bars of reception.


ShadowDancer :)
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tfuser19

@ShadowDancer,

Thanks! I forgot the details of what we discussed in the other thread.
Here's a zoomable Verizon coverage map.

I'm not sure whether how it corresponds to the Tracfone CDMA coverage and if we should look at Data
Coverage, 4G LTE Data Coverage, or Voice & Messaging by selecting the corresponding radio button.
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ShadowDancer
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tfuser19
September 24, 2013, 1:36 pm
@ShadowDancer,

Thanks! I forgot the details of what we discussed in the other thread.
Here's a zoomable Verizon coverage map.

I'm not sure whether how it corresponds to the Tracfone CDMA coverage and if we should look at Data
Coverage, 4G LTE Data Coverage, or Voice & Messaging by selecting the corresponding radio button.
@tfuser19 --

Knowing Verizon, we should probably look at the map's "Pre-paid Coverage!" :D

But, seriously, I feel that the "Voice and Messaging" should give us a pretty fair representation of Tracfone's
current CDMA coverage.

But, once CDMA Tracfones begin accessing Verizon's 3G Network, I'm not sure which category or categories
would most accurately reflect Tracfone's CDMA coverage.


ShadowDancer :)
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AKmaro1
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@DoctorM, honestly it's been so long since I've had a need to make a call when out of town I can't remember
much about how it worked. But I've never had a problem with being able to not make a call when out of town.

But like Turk said, back in the day you were charged more for roaming, plus sometimes other features wouldn't
work, but calls still went through. Also 10+ years back, me and my GF were able to call home on the way up to
Toronto Canada on her Tracfone. Amazing! Who knows if that would still work today...

And the rest of what Turk said is spot on the money for us "old-time users" who still remember the old days of
Tracfone. Heck, my GF still has her old Analog CDMA phone that she had initially! ... Isn't that something!
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ShadowDancer
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About seven years ago, I had friends from Pennsylvania who took their sailboat to a sailing meet on the Great
Lakes ... For a few days, they were anchored on Canadian shores, and they were able to call home (PA) with
their CDMA Tracfone. No problem. ...Tracfone didn't flag them for it, but I don't believe that a call like that was
supposed to be allowed to go though from Canada to the U.S. on a Tracfone at that time.


ShadowDancer :)
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DoctorM
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Well, this is embarrassing. :$
I just went through everything I still have on my Net10 LG 45C CDMA phone, and I can find nothing about
not roaming. The phone itself sure seems capable of roaming, although I was unsuccessful in updating the
Preferred roaming list (PRL) by WiFi (authentication error. Please try later.) But maybe that is related to not
being on monthly plan... I haven't used it since April or May of 2012.

I was so sure there was no roaming, but I can't prove it -- maybe I was dreaming. :wub:
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GaryST

DoctorM
September 24, 2013, 6:39 pm
Well, this is embarrassing. :$
I just went through everything I still have on my Net10 LG 45C CDMA phone, and I can find nothing about
not roaming. The phone itself sure seems capable of roaming, although I was unsuccessful in updating the
Preferred roaming list (PRL) by WiFi (authentication error. Please try later.) But maybe that is related to not
being on monthly plan... I haven't used it since April or May of 2012.

I was so sure there was no roaming, but I can't prove it -- maybe I was dreaming. :wub:
I didn't know you could update your PRL online with WIFI... Guess you can't.
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annepani

DoctorM
September 24, 2013, 6:39 pm
I was so sure there was no roaming, but I can't prove it -- maybe I was dreaming. :wub:
Maybe you were droaming.
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ShadowDancer
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DoctorM
September 24, 2013, 6:39 pm
Well, this is embarrassing. :$
I just went through everything I still have on my Net10 LG 45C CDMA phone, and I can find nothing about
not roaming. The phone itself sure seems capable of roaming, although I was unsuccessful in updating the
Preferred roaming list (PRL) by WiFi (authentication error. Please try later.) But maybe that is related to not
being on monthly plan... I haven't used it since April or May of 2012.

I was so sure there was no roaming, but I can't prove it -- maybe I was dreaming. :wub:
@DoctorM --

I suspect that you are undoubtedly correct in thinking that you can’t update your PRL because your phone is
not currently active.

As I recall, didn’t your NET10 LG 45C run on Sprint? . . . I was just wondering –-when you bought your phone,
Sprint didn’t have some quirky restriction on it that did not allow roaming because your LG 45C was a NET10
phone, did it?

I also wonder if Sprint phones can roam as widely as Verizon phones can. I was thinking in terms of the
different broadband frequencies involved. And, correct me if I’m wrong, because I know next to nothing
about these issues.. But, I’ve read that Sprint essentially owns broadband frequencies in the 1900 MHz
range.

In contrast, Verizon is primarily invested in frequencies in the 800 and 850 MHz ranges, although it apparently
does own some 1900 MHz for its EVDO Network... And, of course, I have no idea what some of the smaller
CDMA telecommunications companies employ... However, I’m wondering if all of these different frequencies
used by various CDMA companies can affect any given phone’s ability to roam, assuming of course, that there
are the proper agreements in place. ...I just don’t know.


ShadowDancer :'(
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DoctorM
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@ ShadowDancer

Yes, it runs on Sprint, and it may just be a Sprint issue.

I'm sure I didn't just droam it (good one, Annepani ;) )

I just found this on a Google search:

SPRINT restrictions:
Off-network Roaming:
The primary use of your Device must be for domestic purposes within the Sprint-owned network.
Domestic means use in the 50 United States and U.S. Territories (except Guam).
Sprint reserves the right, without notice, to deny, terminate, modify, disconnect or suspend
service if off-network usage in a month exceeds:
(1) voice: 800 min. or a majority of minutes; or
(2) data: 100 or 300 megabytes or (based on plan terms) a majority of kilobytes.

The display on your device may not always be on and will not indicate whether you will incur roaming charges.

Sprint As You Go™- Sprint may terminate service if off-network roaming usage in a month exceeds:
(1) 400 min. or a majority of min.; or (2) 100 MB or a majority of KB
.
You can monitor usage online through My Account.

Roaming is not available with single-band phones, or to customers who reside or whose primary
use is outside an area covered by the Nationwide Sprint Network.


Sprint may limit or terminate service if you move outside of the Sprint owned-network.
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tfuser19

I'm not sure I understand the significance of this from the new Tracfone Android S738C specs:
Mode: CDMA 800/1900

Does it possibly mean this Verizon phone is capable of roaming on the Sprint wireless network if Tracfone
feeds it the appropriate PRL entries?
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DoctorM
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Quote:
 
** I got some good news, and I got some bad news .... the good news first...
* I just got back from an early Easter dinner with some family members ... and I am stuffed! :) (lol)

* The bad news... after looking over on HSN and watching their video presentation of this phone...
* I have a feeling this is just the Net10 LG Optimus Net phone for sale they are offering.

* HSN sold the Net10 LG Optimus Net before, and the Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V before on their Site.
* I think they made a mistake on their Site and have the VM Optimus V description page posted instead of the the Optimus Net's.

* I have seen HSN do this before and made mistakes and have the wrong phone go with another phone's description.
* The phone presented looks like the Net10 Optimus Net and nothing like the Optimus V <-- unless they changed it?

* I didn't hear them say in the video that it was the Optimus V -- all they kept saying is it was a "LG Android phone".
* Anyway, I guess when DoctorM gets this phone, he'll let us know what phone it really is: Optimus V or Optimus Net.

* Whichever phone this is, it uses all Sprint all the time ... no roaming, and no Verizon.
* Anyway, this is my prediction about this phone .... when someone finds out for sure, let us know, thanks. ;)


Optimus T = Optimus Turk B-)

Ah, 'twas Turk himself who said Sprint don't roam...
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ShadowDancer
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LOL! :D . . . Well now, how about that! See, I knew you weren’t dreaming, DoctorM. You’re too sharp for that!

However, I assume the truth of the roaming matter has turned out to be, shall we say, somewhat different than
what Turk was suggesting.


ShadowDancer :)
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ShadowDancer
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tfuser19
September 24, 2013, 11:08 pm
I'm not sure I understand the significance of this from the new Tracfone Android S738C specs:
Mode: CDMA 800/1900

Does it possibly mean this Verizon phone is capable of roaming on the Sprint wireless network if Tracfone
feeds it the appropriate PRL entries?
tfuser19--

Technically, based on what I've read, a Verizon phone that is set up to handle the 1900 MHz frequency could
run on Sprint. However, if I were you, I wouldn't hold my breath.

You see, in addition to using the 1900 MHz frequency for EVDO, for some reason, Verizon uses the 1900 MHz
frequency for voice messaging in Texas and Florida. I don't know why, it just does. So, what the 1900 MHz capacity
on your phone probably means, is that you will have seamless Verizon voice coverage when you cross from
Verizon states using 800 MHz into Texas and Florida, which use 1900 MHz.


ShadowDancer :)
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Turk
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TuRk WoRld OrdEr
* I want to add something about dialing *22891 on your CDMA Tracfone .... when you dial *22891, a recorded
* operator comes on and says to: "please hold while we update your roaming capabilities", or something like that.

* Then you'll hear music playing for about 45 seconds, then the operator will come back on and say something like:
* "you phone is now updated, thank you"... Then your phone will turn off and back on, so don't panic if this happens.

* You guys talking about Network Coverage Maps for Tracfone.... well, Tracfone.com use to, a few years ago, show
* coverage maps on their website, somewhere ... but I don't think they do anymore, I don't see them anymore?

AKmaro1
 
Heck, my GF still has her old Analog CDMA phone that she had initially! ... Isn't that something!
* Hey AKmaro1, you have a girlfriend?! ... that really is something! ...... Woooooooo! (LOL, just kidding)

* Sorry man, I just couldn't pass it up... it was staring me right in the face... However, I'll make it up to you,
* next time you're in Pittsburgh, I'll take you out to dinner.... and we'll put it on ShadowDancer's tab. :D

DoctorM
 
Turk
 
* Whichever phone this is, it uses all Sprint all the time ... no roaming, and no Verizon.
* Anyway, this is my prediction about this phone .... when someone finds out for sure, let us know, thanks. ;)
Ah, 'twas Turk himself who said Sprint don't roam...
* Ahhhh, come on DoctorM, I think you're "twisting words" a little, you must be a Republican... (LOL, just joking). :D
* Anyway, I don't think I ever said Sprint doesn't roam? Contract phones on Sprint I'm sure roams onto other networks,
* but Net10/Straight Talk phones that use Sprint don't ... but if your Net10 phone does roam, I don't know onto what,
* but it won't be Verizon, just sayin'.

* Just to clarify, when I made that last statement above about "this is my prediction about this phone" ... I was referring
* to the phone back then that it was gonna be the Optimus Net HSN was offering and not the Optimus V. ;)


Sprinturk B-)
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DoctorM
Member Avatar

Turk
September 25, 2013, 2:24 am
* I want to add something about dialing *22891 on your CDMA Tracfone .... when you dial *22891, a recorded
* operator comes on and says to: "please hold while we update your roaming capabilities", or something like that.

* Then you'll hear music playing for about 45 seconds, then the operator will come back on and say something like:
* "you phone is now updated, thank you"... Then your phone will turn off and back on, so don't panic if this happens.

* You guys talking about Network Coverage Maps for Tracfone.... well, Tracfone.com use to, a few years ago, show
* coverage maps on their website, somewhere ... but I don't think they do anymore, I don't see them anymore?

DoctorM
 
Turk
 
* Whichever phone this is, it uses all Sprint all the time ... no roaming, and no Verizon.
* Anyway, this is my prediction about this phone .... when someone finds out for sure, let us know, thanks. ;)
Ah, 'twas Turk himself who said Sprint don't roam...
* Ahhhh, come on DoctorM, I think you're "twisting words" a little, you must be a Republican... (LOL, just joking). :D
* Anyway, I don't think I ever said Sprint doesn't roam? Contract phones on Sprint I'm sure roams onto other networks,
* but Net10/Straight Talk phones that use Sprint don't ... but if your Net10 phone does roam, I don't know onto what,
* but it won't be Verizon, just sayin'.

* Just to clarify, when I made that last statement above about "this is my prediction about this phone" ... I was referring
* to the phone back then that it was gonna be the Optimus Net HSN was offering and not the Optimus V. ;)


Sprinturk B-)
Just clearing up my own mind Turk. :unsure:

But you are right -- nothing to do with the Samsung - Verizon offer from HSN.

The restriction by Sprint on roaming off its network, by the way, are from Sprint's own website, and is
current -- making roaming unsettling at best, and dangerous at least, if Sprint is your native carrier.

Makes me wonder if Verizon has similar restrictions on roaming.
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tfuser19

More good technical reading on PRLs @Wikipedia.
Too bad the @ the top it says "This article does not cite any references or sources.", but it's still good reading
as far as I could tell.

@Turk,
The only way I can find to get a Tracfone coverage map is,
https://www.tracfone.com/direct/CoverageMaps?app=TRACFONE&lang=en , enter zipcode, select phone,
then it shows you a zoomable map. :) .. That's new.

@all,
I entered zipcode 26855, then selected the new S738C, then need to select a plan from these three:
TracFone Data Card 10, 20, or 50 . They seem to correspond to the new Tracfone Android $10, $20,
and $50 data cards. Selecting each of the three options did not change the map - as one would expect.

Being able to zoom in and out on the coverage map is very cool. I wonder how accurate the maps are. ;)
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tfuser19

@all,
If I activate my new Tracfone Android S738C with a new number for test purposes, then I later decide I love it
any I want to transfer my old S390G number and minutes to this new S738C without losing any minutes/days
left on either phone, do I need to call Tracfone CS or can I do this on the Tracfone website?

I think I'll have to call - and if so, any precautionary measurements I should take first?
Can you do *#0 and *#30 on CDMA phones ....... or is there some equivalent thing you do?
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AKmaro1
Member Avatar

ShadowDancer
September 24, 2013, 4:39 pm
About seven years ago, I had friends from Pennsylvania who took their sailboat to a sailing meet on the Great
Lakes ... For a few days, they were anchored on Canadian shores, and they were able to call home (PA) with
their CDMA Tracfone. No problem. ...Tracfone didn't flag them for it, but I don't believe that a call like that was
supposed to be allowed to go though from Canada to the U.S. on a Tracfone at that time.

ShadowDancer :)
Yeah, that does make sense. In fact this Summer when we went to Niagara Falls and went deeper into
the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, we actually encountered no service on our CDMA phones at a local
shopping mall. But when we got near the U.S. Border, we got service again.

@ Turk's post. Yeah he is right about the *22891, how it works when you call the number. And I remember
the coverage maps they had on Tracfone's old site.. There were areas around us in NW & Western PA that
were considered home areas and no roaming charges applied. But get into NY State, and then the roaming
started. But they probably eliminated those maps when they went to all 1 rate phones...
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ShadowDancer
Member Avatar

AKmaro1
September 25, 2013, 3:44 pm
ShadowDancer
September 24, 2013, 4:39 pm
About seven years ago, I had friends from Pennsylvania who took their sailboat to a sailing meet on the Great
Lakes ... For a few days, they were anchored on Canadian shores, and they were able to call home (PA) with
their CDMA Tracfone. No problem. ...Tracfone didn't flag them for it, but I don't believe that a call like that was
supposed to be allowed to go though from Canada to the U.S. on a Tracfone at that time.

ShadowDancer :)
Yeah, that does make sense... In fact this Summer when we went to Niagara Falls and went deeper into
the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, we actually encountered no service on our CDMA phones at a local
shopping mall. But when we got near the U.S. Border, we got service again.
AKmaro1 --

Thanks for the explanation as to why my friends’ Tracfone Verizon CDMA phone worked on the shores of Canada.
I will have to share your information with them. Appreciate your post!


ShadowDancer :)
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ShadowDancer
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DoctorM
September 25, 2013, 6:03 am
DoctorM
 
Turk
 
* Whichever phone this is, it uses all Sprint all the time ... no roaming, and no Verizon.
* Anyway, this is my prediction about this phone .... when someone finds out for sure, let us know, thanks. ;)
Ah, 'twas Turk himself who said Sprint don't roam...
* Ahhhh, come on DoctorM, I think you're "twisting words" a little, you must be a Republican... (LOL, just joking). :D
* Anyway, I don't think I ever said Sprint doesn't roam? Contract phones on Sprint I'm sure roams onto other networks,
* but Net10/Straight Talk phones that use Sprint don't ... but if your Net10 phone does roam, I don't know onto what,
* but it won't be Verizon, just sayin'.
DoctorM wrote:

Just clearing up my own mind Turk. :unsure:

But you are right -- nothing to do with the Samsung - Verizon offer from HSN.

The restriction by Sprint on roaming off its network, by the way, are from Sprint's own website, and is
current -- making roaming unsettling at best, and dangerous at least, if Sprint is your native carrier.

Makes me wonder if Verizon has similar restrictions on roaming.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regarding Sprint-base phones ... I’ve been digging around on the Internet, and this is what I’ve found thus far . . .

First, a Sprint-based phone on Sprint will indeed roam if it is:

1. a dual-band phone
2. a digital dual-band phone
3. a dual-band/tri-mode phone

Here is the link to the reference along with both analog roaming and digital roaming maps on the Sprint website:

http://www.sprintpcs.com/common/popups/popOffNetworkMap.html

If however, your Sprint-based phone is a single band phone, as DoctorM had posted previously, the phone will NOT roam.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That said, for NET10 and Straight Talk Sprint-based phones, Turk appears to be 100% correct.
That is, NET10 and Straight Talk Sprint-based phones do NOT roam –period.

The information was not easy to find, but here are two independent sources:

The first source is an article published on August 9, 2013 . . .

How to Tell Which Network a TracFone, NET10, or Straight Talk Phone Uses

TracFone and its sister brands NET10 and Straight Talk, do not have their own networks. They're Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that buy wholesale minutes, texts and data from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and over a dozen smaller regional networks. Straight Talk and Net10 also have smartphones that run on the Sprint, Verizon and AT&T networks. Each phone has a home network that's either AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint or Verizon. TracFone, Straight Talk and NET10 phones will favor their home network and refuse to roam in an area where the home network claims to have coverage. So if you have a phone whose home network is T-Mobile and you are in an area where T-Mobile has spotty coverage, the phone will refuse to roam on AT&T even if AT&T has a better signal. The Sprint based phones don't roam at all.

See the full article here: http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2011/12/how-to-get-tracfone-net10-or-straight.html

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And, the second source comes from a page on a law firm’s website entitled,

The Prepaid Wireless and MVNO Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) Page,

which was updated on May 15, 2013 . . .

Straight Talk and Net10 are both brands that are owned and operated by Tracfone Wireless, Inc.

Network: Depending upon the phone, can be AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. AT&T and T-Mobile phones can roam on some roaming partners. Sprint and Verizon phones do not roam.

To visit the legal page, go to: http://www.andersonlaw.net/mvnofaq/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, hopefully, this information answers most of our questions regarding Sprint-based phones which use NET10 and Straight Talk.

At the same time, the Anderson Law Firm page raises an interesting point with regards to Verizon phones on NET10 and Straight Talk. That is, they apparently do NOT roam, as DoctorM speculated in his last post.

In any event, this information strongly suggests to me that the Android phones, which use Verizon and are coming to Tracfone, will not roam.

Comments, anyone??


ShadowDancer :)
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DoctorM
Member Avatar

@ ShadowDancer

I am vindicated -- sort of. ^o)
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tfuser19

@all, directions with Tracfone S738C say to dial *22890 ..... last digit 0 vs 1 ?
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Turk
Member Avatar
TuRk WoRld OrdEr
* Just want to say thanks to you guys for all the information you all posted on this CDMA topic, it really caught fire...

* ShadowDancer ... Wow, thanks for all that information you found and posted up above ... I can't believe I was
* "100% right" on this one, I usually make some mistakes (here and there) on some topics .... maybe I better go
* play the lottery since I'm on a roll now... (lol)

ShadowDancer
 
In any event, this information strongly suggests to me that the Android phones, which use Verizon and are
coming to Tracfone, will not roam. ..... Comments, anyone??
* ShadowDancer .... At the moment, I would have to agree with that .... that sounds about right to me.

tfuser19
 
@all, directions with Tracfone S738C say to dial *22890 ..... last digit 0 vs 1 ?
* tfuser19 ... that is correct ... when you are activating a CDMA (Verizon) Tracfone, the final steps ask you to dial *22890.
* Dialing *22890 is what connects your phone and phone number to the Verizon network so you can use it properly.

* Dialing *22891 is for roaming issues only .... Dialing *22890 is for the phone to function right with Verizon.

* After you dial *22890 in the final steps, the phone will probably turn off and back on (so don't panic).
* Then you can go check to see if your phone number is listed in the phone, and see if it now works for calls, etc.


Turkizon B-)
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Tarkio101

ShadowDancer
September 25, 2013, 5:32 pm
DoctorM
September 25, 2013, 6:03 am
DoctorM
 
Turk
 
* Whichever phone this is, it uses all Sprint all the time ... no roaming, and no Verizon.
* Anyway, this is my prediction about this phone .... when someone finds out for sure, let us know, thanks. ;)
Ah, 'twas Turk himself who said Sprint don't roam...
* Ahhhh, come on DoctorM, I think you're "twisting words" a little, you must be a Republican... (LOL, just joking). :D
* Anyway, I don't think I ever said Sprint doesn't roam? Contract phones on Sprint I'm sure roams onto other networks,
* but Net10/Straight Talk phones that use Sprint don't ... but if your Net10 phone does roam, I don't know onto what,
* but it won't be Verizon, just sayin'.
DoctorM wrote:

Just clearing up my own mind Turk. :unsure:

But you are right -- nothing to do with the Samsung - Verizon offer from HSN.

The restriction by Sprint on roaming off its network, by the way, are from Sprint's own website, and is
current -- making roaming unsettling at best, and dangerous at least, if Sprint is your native carrier.

Makes me wonder if Verizon has similar restrictions on roaming.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regarding Sprint-base phones ... I’ve been digging around on the Internet, and this is what I’ve found thus far . . .

First, a Sprint-based phone on Sprint will indeed roam if it is:

1. a dual-band phone
2. a digital dual-band phone
3. a dual-band/tri-mode phone

Here is the link to the reference along with both analog roaming and digital roaming maps on the Sprint website:

http://www.sprintpcs.com/common/popups/popOffNetworkMap.html

If however, your Sprint-based phone is a single band phone, as DoctorM had posted previously, the phone will NOT roam.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That said, for NET10 and Straight Talk Sprint-based phones, Turk appears to be 100% correct.
That is, NET10 and Straight Talk Sprint-based phones do NOT roam –period.

The information was not easy to find, but here are two independent sources:

The first source is an article published on August 9, 2013 . . .

How to Tell Which Network a TracFone, NET10, or Straight Talk Phone Uses

TracFone and its sister brands NET10 and Straight Talk, do not have their own networks. They're Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that buy wholesale minutes, texts and data from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and over a dozen smaller regional networks. Straight Talk and Net10 also have smartphones that run on the Sprint, Verizon and AT&T networks. Each phone has a home network that's either AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint or Verizon. TracFone, Straight Talk and NET10 phones will favor their home network and refuse to roam in an area where the home network claims to have coverage. So if you have a phone whose home network is T-Mobile and you are in an area where T-Mobile has spotty coverage, the phone will refuse to roam on AT&T even if AT&T has a better signal. The Sprint based phones don't roam at all.

See the full article here: http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2011/12/how-to-get-tracfone-net10-or-straight.html

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And, the second source comes from a page on a law firm’s website entitled,

The Prepaid Wireless and MVNO Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”) Page,

which was updated on May 15, 2013 . . .

Straight Talk and Net10 are both brands that are owned and operated by Tracfone Wireless, Inc.

Network: Depending upon the phone, can be AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. AT&T and T-Mobile phones can roam on some roaming partners. Sprint and Verizon phones do not roam.

To visit the legal page, go to: http://www.andersonlaw.net/mvnofaq/

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, hopefully, this information answers most of our questions regarding Sprint-based phones which use NET10 and Straight Talk.

At the same time, the Anderson Law Firm page raises an interesting point with regards to Verizon phones on NET10 and Straight Talk. That is, they apparently do NOT roam, as DoctorM speculated in his last post.

In any event, this information strongly suggests to me that the Android phones, which use Verizon and are coming to Tracfone, will not roam.

Comments, anyone??


ShadowDancer :)
I guess a comment I would have it this--if a phone on Tracfone uses primarily Verizon native coverage, if it does access another companies network with whom Tracfone has agreements, it really isn't roaming. Tracfone uses various networks for coverage by nature. And the phone may use various CDMA carriers because Tracfone provides that coverage, all under the umbrella of Tracfone. If Tracfone is selling a phone, then it was designed and programmed to work with whichever carriers they have deals with. Its a technicality, I know, but the nature of Tracfone and all of its network providers is confusing by nature.

With that said, all cell phone companies roam on someone at some point. Whatever att, verizon, sprint etc coverage maps looks like, it's actually towers owned and operated by dozens of different companies all pieced together into a network. One example I know of is a company called Northwest Missouri Cellular. They own their own network and have their own plans, phones, and customers. Their customers can use the Verizon network when they travel. Likewise, Verizon customers use the NMC network when they are in the NMC coverage area. It's an agreement that a Verizon customer would never know about. They don't know they are technically roaming, but they are. But Verizon coverage map shows this area in red, as if they have towers there. They don't. They just have access to someone elses towers there. And on the Verizon prepaid map, there is a big old gap in coverage in the area that NMC covers. I guess they did not reach a deal that covered prepaid customers, most likely because verizon doesn't want to pay that company money for coverage that may be used very little. However, Tracfone CDMA phones do work there because America Movil does have an agreement with Northwest Missouri Cellular. So in this case, Tracfone CDMA coverage is better than even Verizon prepaid customers get. And in this case, it would seem like if your Tracfone uses primarily Verizon, and works in this area, then it is roaming "off of Verizon" while it is actually just working as all Tracfones do...using whichever network sells AM access to its network.

I hope I didn't totally confuse the situation. I just really like to know how things work behind the scenes:)
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tfuser19

Tarkio101
September 25, 2013, 10:41 pm
I hope I didn't totally confuse the situation. I just really like to know how things work behind the scenes. :)
@Tarkio101,
Okay ... so in the example you gave about Northwest Missouri Cellular customers, when they "roam" into Verizon
owned tower territory, does their phone's PRL not need to have an entry for the Verizon network? .. And is a PRL
entry required for the home network?
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Tarkio101

I am not sure I completely understand what you are asking. But I know this--customers do nothing different from
their home network to the Verizon network... The phone is programmed to take care of whatever it needs to do,
out of the box. Now, it's possible that issues may come up and tech support may have people enter something,
but it's not necessary to do just for it to work in the first place. Is that what you meant?
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tfuser19

@Tarkio101,
My point is that there has to be information in the PRL to tell the the Northwest Missouri Cellular phones that they can
use the Verizon network - and yes, it happens without customer intervention.

From Wikipedia link I posted earlier:

"The Preferred Roaming List (PRL) is a database residing in a wireless (primarily CDMA) device, such as a cellphone,
that contains information used during the system selection and acquisition process. In the case of R-UIM-based CDMA
devices, the PRL resides on the R-UIM. The PRL indicates which bands, sub bands and service provider identifiers will
be scanned and in what priority order. Without a PRL, the device may not be able to roam, i.e. obtain service outside of
the home area. There may be cases where missing or corrupt PRL's can lead to a customer not having service at all."
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ShadowDancer
Member Avatar

@ Everybody--

I’m currently up near the Pennsylvania/New York borders with both my Tracfone (Verizon) CDMA phone and my
Tracfone (AT&T) GSM phone. I have not encountered a roaming situation with my Verizon-based feature phone
yet. So, everything is still working –calls, text messages, multi-media messages, and data.

However, my AT&T-based feature phone is another story.. Right now, I’m in a roaming area, and “Roam” appears
on my home screen. This means that while I do have 3-4 bars of a 3G signal from an unidentified roaming partner,
I can only make calls and send text messages.

And, these calls and text messages cost the same to send and receive as if I was in a “non-roaming” or home area.
Multi-media messages and data, however, simply do not work... And, when I try, for example, to send a multi-media
message or use the phone’s browser (without Wi-Fi), a box pops up on my screen which reads, “Check Data
Restrictions – 36.”

So, that’s my current phone situation, and I’m dubious that I am going to encounter a Verizon roaming area before
I return home.


ShadowDancer :) …on the road
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DoctorM
Member Avatar

@ ShawdowDancer
That is very interesting -- data roaming is now a new, heretofore unrecognized (by me, at least) restriction for
GSM phones on AT&T... Do you know who the GSM carrier rejecting the data connect was?
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ShadowDancer
Member Avatar

DoctorM
October 15, 2013, 12:00 pm
@ ShadowDancer

That is very interesting -- data roaming is now a new, heretofore unrecognized (by me, at least) restriction for
GSM phones on AT&T... Do you know who the GSM carrier rejecting the data connect was?
DoctorM—

I am in a rural farming area in Northern Appalachia just south of the New York state border. The only national
carrier with a major footprint here is Verizon.

However, looking through the local Yellow Pages, I’ve noticed an ad for a company called Indigo Wireless
(www.indigowireless.com). The headquarters for Indigo Wireless is in Wellsboro, PA, and the company brags
to have not only twice the number of towers in the county as its competitors (read Verizon), but it also claims
to have 3G coast-to-coast coverage thanks to its nationwide network of partners, including AT&T and T-Mobile.

Consequently, my best guess is that my AT&T access is being provided by Indigo Wireless.
…Sound about right to you?


ShadowDancer :) …On the Road
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DoctorM
Member Avatar

@ ShadowDancer
I Googled "check data restriction 36" and it appears a pretty common event outside the home carrier, apparently
caused when the data signal has to roam to connect. Also sometimes encountered for those who use a different
zip code than their home base when they purchase a phone, and sometimes when a Tracfone user changes carriers.

We haven't seen it before on TracFones (as opposed to Net10 and StraightTalk) because we haven't (generally)
had data capability before.

From what I read, data might be restricted to one's local "home" area, even when connecting to the preferred carrier,
depending on who the carrier is.

I don't think this issue is specific to a phone, so this is a good topic to explore and report on so we get a better handle
on how the various underlying TracFone carriers handle the issue of data "roaming."
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AKmaro1
Member Avatar

Hey all, just another update to the CDMA roaming thing. Sunday, I went up in NY state (a few miles over the
border with PA), and sure enough it showed "Roaming" on the screen of my LG 290c phone, but nothing
on my GF's of the same model.. Now I was too busy to make calls or anything, but what was interesting was
on the way back.

Even when I was back home in PA, it still showed Roaming on the screen.
But after shutting off the phone and restarting it, it went back to normal (how about that one...).

So take that info for whatever it's worth, but I thought I'd share. :)

It'll be interesting to see what happens if we ever upgrade our phones to new CDMA ones....
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ShadowDancer
Member Avatar

I'm afraid that I can't add much info. to the CDMA Roaming issue. In northern PA, I did not encounter any Verizon
roaming areas. Instead, as I drove across scenic Rt. 6, I encountered at least four "No Service" areas. That is, the
phone simply didn't work at all in those areas.

So, for me, it was either a "Home" area --where calls, texts, multimedia messages, and data all worked perfectly,
or a "No Service" area -- where the phone was unusable as it simply received no signal... There was nothing in
between.


ShadowDancer :-/
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tfuser19

Roaming data from another site which indicates no roaming with Android as experienced by ShadowDancer :

"I live in a US Cellular and Verizon service area. I had a LG 221c which roamed perfectly between the two.
Two weeks ago I upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy Centura. No more roaming. If I don't have a Verizon signal,
I have no service. I make a 105 mile trip daily and have one 20 mile stretch of no service. I have called the
Miami customer service number 4 times. They just tell me to update the roaming list. Never helps... I have
traveled 100 miles south and 200 miles east of where I live and have only found the one 20 mile stretch of
no service."
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tfuser19

It's written in stone now ....... "TRACFONE Smartphones and BYOP phones do not roam. "

From Tracfone Terms & Conditions

"11. ROAMING

"Roaming" occurs when a subscriber of one wireless service provider uses the facilities of another wireless service provider. Roaming usually occurs when you make and receive calls outside of your network coverage area. When your TRACFONE is roaming, an indicator light on your handset may display the word "Roam" or "RM" on the screen while the phone is not in use. For most TRACFONE models, roaming calls are charged one (1) unit of airtime per minute, the same as all other calls. For some older TRACFONE models, roaming calls may be charged at the rate of two (2) units of airtime per minute. Even if you are using your TRACFONE in your network coverage area, roaming can occur if there is a high volume of callers in the area, if your Carrier’s signal is too weak or for other reasons. Instead of having a call blocked or dropped, your device might use another’s Carrier’s tower or network to enable your call to go through. Thus, roaming is based on the Carrier tower receiving and transmitting the call; not your physical location at the time the call is made. If you have one of the older TracFone models that deduct 2 units per minute of use when roaming, you should check the roaming indicator on your TRACFONE to determine actual areas where the roaming rate applies. When the TRACFONE roaming indicator is displayed, the roaming rate will apply to calls made or received in that area at that time. Availability, quality of coverage and Services while roaming are not guaranteed. TRACFONE Smartphones and BYOP phones do not roam. "
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