In late November of 2021, Verizon announced that it had closed on its acquisition of Tracfone and all of its associated brands. Some Tracfone brands, like Straight Talk Wireless, have always been available for use on any major carrier network in the USA, while others, like Simple Mobile and Walmart Family Mobile, are only available for use on the T-Mobile network. With Verizon's takeover of all the Tracfone brands, it was only a matter of time before Verizon would want to move each brand over exclusively to its network. For some Tracfone brands, that time is approaching more quickly than others.
Twitter user @TracfoneGuy has shared with BestMVNO that starting on March 1st, Tracfone Master Agents/Distributors will no longer be purchasing AT&T or T-Mobile SIMs for the Tracfone brand. Only Verizon SIMs will be purchased. Master Agents will also begin to buy any surplus Tracfone branded AT&T and T-Mobile SIM inventory from their dealers. Consumers will still be able to activate Tracfone on any network at least through 6/30/2022. After that, dealers will be no longer be able to activate AT&T or T-Mobile SIMs for their customers through their activation portals. However, they'll still be able to refill the accounts of customers using either network. It is unknown if the changes will also spillover to the Tracfone website at that time, but all bets are that they will. A recent Wave7 Research prepaid report notes that Verizon is eager to move its Tracfone customers off of other networks for profitability reasons.
Wave7 Research also noted in its latest prepaid report that Simple Mobile has been emailing its customers welcoming them to the Verizon family. Customers are being told they don't have to make any changes at this time but they'll receive a notification when the opportunity arises for them to be able to migrate over to Verizon's network. New Verizon based SIM cards will be given out to those customers free of charge.
Verizon formally acquired all Tracfone brands on November 23, 2021. And it immediately began making changes to those newly acquired brands. On December 2nd, Straight Talk's $45 plan was updated from 25GB of high-speed data to unlimited. Days later, the Total Wireless brand was also updated to have its $50 plan go from 25GB of high-speed data to unlimited. A transition away from using other networks will be one of the biggest move that Verizon makes with the brands.
Jeff Moore, Principal of Wave7 Research added: “For Verizon to only allow TracFone activations on its network was as inevitable as the sunset. There are 7 million TracFone customers using the networks of T-Mobile and AT&T. Getting these customers onto Verizon’s network will be a difficult, more drawn-out process.”