Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Next try at Tracfone Moto G BYOD

 First attempt recap

   This will be my second attempt to bring a 2013 Moto G to Tracfone through their BYOD program.  In my last blog entry I went through my first attempt to BYOD a Moto G to Tracfone.  The seller did not realize it was a locked phone that he sent me so I arranged to return it with him.  I still believe the Moto G is the best phone choice to BOYD to Tracfone so I believe it is worth a second try to find a Tracfone compatible phone. As they say "if you at first do not succeed try try again".  I am not one to give up when I believe there is still the hope of success still in the air, so here it is take two.

    Before I returned the Moto G I backed it up with both Motorola's backup system and Helium by ClockworkMod.  I hope this will help me restore all the settings and apps I had already had set up to lesson my set up some on my replacement phone.  I then wiped it back to factory condition and returned it. (EDIT: It helped with getting me a start, but it is no complete backup. There was plenty of re-setup work to do)

My Moto G replacement 

   The Motorola MOTO G - 8GB - Black Tracfone, Verizon, Page Plus Android smartphone from ebay costs $105 mfg refurbished with shipping as of this post.  I will be giving it a try as a BYOD device. The seller Paradise Aquatics specifically states that it is ready to be used for the Tracfone BYOD program. Here is an excerpt from his add:

 Used Moto G from paradiseaquatics from ebay
Mfg. Rfrb. Moto G from Paradise Aquatics on Ebay
   "Not all MOTO G phones for Verizon and PagePlus will work on Tracfone. I have taken the time to go through these manufactures refurbished phones and verify each phone I sell with Tracfone. The phone must have previously been used on a postpaid account for at least 6 months. 
   These phones have been verified to work with Tracfone . The phones in the photo are the actual phones listed , it has been reconditioned and all of them show minor signs of use and charging port tested. If you have any questions please contact me. I have activated several of these phones on Tracfone service online and if you currently have a Tracfone account the Minutes, Text and Data will be transferred as well as Triple Minutes for life. 
   If you have any questions about this phone please allow at least 3 hours in some cases for me to respond. These are the best smart phones available for Tracfone right now. The phone you will receive is verified to work with the Tracfone BYOD program."
    I am pleased to see that this seller specifically states that his phones are verified to work with Tracfone.

   Easy hookup

   I ordered it on November 26.   I received it on the 1st and went to the BYOD MEID number setup page at tracfone and easily connected it with just a few prompted steps.

The Triple Minute Question

   When I went to subscribe to the Monthly '50 Minute Value Plan' I saw no hint that the minutes would be tripled as I expected. So I did a chat with Tracfone and had the following conversation. 11-3-2014
Junior has entered the session.
Paul : How do I ensure I get my triple minutes when I enroll into a value plan? It is not mentioned when i got to buy it. Scary buying blind. Can I enter a redemption code so it shows up before I purchase? I have 3 other family members who like your tripple minute plan and I also want to assure them it does work smoothly when they BYOD their Moto G's they are also purchasing over.
Junior : Hello Paul. Thank you for visiting TracFone Wireless.
Junior : Please allow me a moment while I check on this.
Junior : Thank you for waiting Paul. Actually, the value plan will not provide you with triple minutes. This kind of benefit is exclusive of TracFone Android phones. You can only get double minutes if you purchase a double minutes card to your phone first and the purchase the value plan.
Junior : If you have any further questions or comments, please contact one of our customer care representatives at 1-800-867-7183. For your convenience, our representatives are available Monday – Sunday from 8:00 AM to 11:45 PM EST. Thank you for chatting with TracFone Wireless. You are the only user left in the session.
  And there I was feeling rather just dropped and hung up on, never got another word in past my original question. I found the conversion rather confusing as all else indicates triple minutes. I did not think the above to be accurate so I took the plunge and tested it out. True to expectations, the minutes were rippled when I subscribed to the '50 Minute Value Plan'. I got 150 Minutes, 150 Texts and150MB of Data added to my previous starter card amounts.

Loose charge plug

   The charge plug on my Moto G phone is rather loose and I have only one charge cable that for some reason fits tighter and gives a charge out of 3 other cables. It looks and measures the same physically as far as the eye can see with the other chords that fit our Nexus 7 and our phone. I contacted to sell to see if he has any experience with this or if a special / proprietary Motorola USB plug is needed. These refurbed Moto G's do not come with a power chord. Dec. 4 2014 9:49 AM
My micro usb plug is VERY loose. I got a couple charges with a standard micro USB. (only one seemed to make any fit at all) I chalked this up to it being a used/refurb phone but it is so loose as to be unusable. Did motorola use a proprietary plug? I will find and purchase one if they did. Please tell tell me all I have to do is buy a proprietary plug. If they went this route I would be disappointed at Motorola, but I do not like the idea of having to return the phone and find another. I am perfectly dialed in and set up too.
  I really like the moto G, it is a nice phone and the rest of our family members are drooling over getting one as well. My Brother Earl already pressed the buy button from the same ebay seller as I got mine from.  I am in real hope to be lead to a cable that works well for this phone by my seller.   Then I can direct the rest of my 3 family members that want this phone to it to make the transition easier on them. If this is an issue with Motorola phones I hope the seller has experience with this. (He is a Moto G user himself)
    Hi, You may need a different USB charger. I used a 2100mA plug/ USB Micro charger to test each phone. The phones USB ports are inspected with a magnified glass for any damage and to make sure the USB cord fits snug. The cord your using and the one I have my be different. It depends on the quality of the USB cord also, I do have some USB cable that fit loose that I got off ebay and they don't work well. If you get another cable and still having problems with the phone I will give you a refund once the phone is returned. Thank you, Tim
   So no specific charger recommended So I am thinking a buying a good brand high quality charger. I will do some research.

UPDATE Dec 18, 2014: I found a newer tighter plug among my cords that works well. From research I found that it is the cords that get looser with age as designed. They will need replacing over time as they get loose. That said wear on the USB port mostly happens through connection torquing. Inserting straight in and out when Un/Connecting and using caution if you use your phone while connected so as not to stress connection.

My Moto G and Tracfone service is working great for me. Mt Brother decided also to get a Moto G and move to Tracfone. My wife and another Brother are merely waiting on purchasing a Moto G. I should have gotten a commision. LOL

Saturday, November 22, 2014

My new Moto Phone and Tracfone provider

   I have been researching the best phone and plan choice for me for quite some time.  Here is my research using a spreadsheet I made to compare my options that I made.

   For some time I was in favour of Republic Wireless for its unlimited voice and text.  I liked its unlimited $10 voice plan however I increasingly desired to be able to have some data as well and did not want to have to pay Republic Wireless's $25 charge to get it.

   In the end I chose Tracfone for its plans that hover around my monthly budget goal of $10 and get plenty of monthly rollover minutes of Voice, Text and Data for my usage.  Higher usage plans are available for up to $29.99. There Extra Data $10 bucket of 300MB w/ rollover at 3¢ a MB also tops all others in value.  Tracfone seems to have the best value plans among all of the MVNO choices I compared.  They have several customer service options, Chat, Forum, Help ticket, and Phone.  There phone help service comes from native spanish speakers in guatemala that try, but have a hard time communicating with native English speakers. A lot of misunderstandings with them are reported.  Tracfone also has an App to help track your minute usage. And of course plan minutes can be purchased online at you local store. Plans can also be set up to automatically charge to help assure you conveniently have Minutes/ texts and data available.

   I found the smart data phones at the Tracfone store to be limited lower spec Android phones at entry level prices. Most of the phones are at least 4.1 and up to 4.4. and Single and Dual core 4.1 - 4.4 phones. One exception is a Quad core 5" phone that looks nice if you want a larger phone, it is usually out of stock at Tracfone but more often available at re-sellers.  Tracfone seems to have a hard time keep phones in stock, One would hope this is because of  newer updated phones coming but I doubt it, as it seems a pattern to frequently go out of stock and to stick with older phones.  A large selection of less techie non data phones are also available.

   I also chose the BYOD option as the smartphones that Tracfone carries at their store are less than optimal specification models.  I learned a lot about how to BYOD at the Tracfone Reviewer blog website.  The caveat with BYOD is that the phone you choose must have been used on Verizon for at least 6 months and have a 'clean ESN'(ie. not stolen or have a bill owed on the account the device was last used on).

   EDIT: My this first attempt failed see next blog entry for a hopeful success. (Just wanted to save you some reading in case you hate disappointing stories.)

    I chose to purchase a used 2013 (1st gen) Moto G' from amazon for $59.  I received it for $46 because of a credit card 'bonus bucks' balance that was available to me.  Motorola does very good about updating the Operating System on their phones.  Verizon and Tracfone are however not good about passing on these updates their phones via over the air updates.  I will have to update it manually with Motorola's update files if I have any hope it getting their Lolipop 5.0 update for it.  The Moto G is a very well liked phone with a good bang for the buck.  Its general specs include a quality high DPI 4.5 screen, 8Gb mem, Quad core processor and gets regular Motorola updates.

    I am going to forward calls through my Google Voice Hangouts number that I already use just in case Verizon does not work out and I need to move on.  Besides I like Google Voice's online answering system as it makes it easy to go through messages and customize answering messages to different groups.  I can also redirect calls to whatever, and however many, phones I choose.  I can also make and receive my calls via WiFi with it when available to save my monthly minutes, texts and data allocation.  No one will know whether i am answering or initiating my call with them using google hangouts or my phone.

  I expect my Moto Phone along with the 'Hard case/Screen protector/Car charger' set I ordered to arrive this week. I will get it updated and hooked up to Tracfone.  When I am up and running I will update this blog entry with how my plan and phone are going.

UPDATE: 11-26-2014
1. Tried BYOD setup page but it did not work.

2. I called the help number from "Network Access Code" package they were not able to help.

3. I used chat and they were not able to help but they recommended I call 1-800-687-7183 but they were unable to help but gave me the 1-866-667-6470 direct access hotline to call and give the 67427 case reference number to use when I called.

4. I called the 1-866-667-6470 direct access they gave me to number their system crashed so was told to call back in 15 minutes.

5. I called back they finally figured out the phone is still locked. And says to call Verizon to get it unlocked.

6. I called verizon at  (800)922-0204 and they said to get it unlocked I would have to take it into a local store to get it done.

7. I also contacted the seller of the phone and he is working with me. I was accidentally sent a locked phone.  I am being sent a prepaid label for a return.

8. I will try to take it into the local Verizon store to try to get it unlocked as well.

9. Verizon said they no longer unlock devices. they suggested I look it up on youtube for instructions to do it myself. I followed instructions and my Moto G comes up as not unlockable. Reasons for this can be it has not been on verizon for 6 months, has an outstanding bill on it or it was reported stolen. Whatever the reason, I contacted the seller to arrange an exchange.
NEXT TRY: Motorola MOTO G - 8GB - Black Tracfone, Verizon , Page Plus Android smartphone from ebay.  This phone costs $105 as of this post. I will be giving it a try as a BYOD device.  This seller paradiseaquatics specifically states it is ready to be used for Tracfone BYOD service.  I am going to start a new blog entry to chronicle how this phone purchase and hookup went.