How to Activate a TracFone

TracFone is the 6th largest mobile network operator in the United States. It allows its customers to purchase airtime usage when they purchase phones that companies like Nokia, LG, and Motorola make.

A TracFone customer has to activate the cell phone before using it. It can be activated via the TracFone website or TracFone customer care. It is also possible to download the programming codes from the website directly to the cell phone. Customers can also utilize the OTA (Over The Air) feature to activate a TracFone. The TracFone’s OTA feature allows the customer to activate his/her phone through the radio waves that the customer’s local tower provides.

TracFone assigns a code number based on the zip code that the customer provides. The activation process may take a few hours or a day. It is also possible to transfer an existing TracFone Number to a new phone. Transferring an existing number to a new phone may take 3 to 10 business days. Transferring a phone number from another company to a TracFone may take 2 weeks.

Prior to activating Tracfone, insert the battery into the handset and charge it for one or two hours. Choose the phone’s main menu and select the “prepaid option.” Now click “My ESN” (it can be My IMEI or Serial Number depending on the phone). Note the number displayed when this option is clicked and also record the SIM serial number.

Open the TracFone website http://www.tracfone.com to activate the phone. Click “Activate/Reactivate” on the website. First time users should enter the personal information that the website requires. Click on the brand of the phone on the available phone list. Now choose the phone model from the list of pictures provided. Enter the serial number previously noted in the designated space. Customers also have to provide their billing information and airtime. Follow the directions on the site to activate and verify the phone number. Once the activation process is over, the customer will receive an SMS confirming the TracFone’s activation.

The TracFone activation process is different for different models. Whatever the phone’s brand, it is important to note the IMEI and SIM card serial numbers that come with the phone. When compared to other phones, activating a Verizon Wireless prepaid phone is simple. It only requires the user to dial *22888 and hit the send button. The customer should then enter his/her zip code in the space provided. The customer will then be asked to choose the code for the language he/she prefers. The customer will then receive a message regarding his/her talk time as an indication of TracFone activation.

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  • Carl

    Does this account for reactivation too? My phone stopped working because it was disabled and now I have to reactivate it. Please do help by telling me if it’s the same thing.

    • alfred

      i need to reactivate my phone how?

      • Marlon Franco

        have you followed the steps above? Please do so, and let us know, the problems that you have encountered.

  • froz

    tracfone sucks. i lost 20$ trying to make it work. they can kiss my ass for all i care.

  • IRMA TORRES

    I have been approved for a free tracfon from the state of Florida can I use this old phone by putting in the sim card once I rec it & have the # they given me trans to this phone? will have to contact them when I rec. the phone they r sending me to ask this question & to ask for assistance to do this or call tracfone for help.

    thanks for information

  • Daniel Memenode

    Irma, I think that shouldn’t be a problem from what I’ve read. If you’re gonna ask them though they should be able to confirm this.

  • Jane Casa

    I will be going to Mexico and Cuba in April and May.  Will my tracphone work there?

  • Joan T

    I just purchased a new tracfone, LC290C.  I have been trying to activate the phone and transfering the number and minutes from my old phone.  The transfer seemed to work but I can’t complete the activation.  Tracfone support keeps telling me the activation is complete but I can not send or recieve messages or calls.  And when I try to dial *22890, it tells me I can not complete the call as dialed or that I will need a calling card or credit card to make a call, even though I have almost 200 min on the phone.  This has been going on for 6 days and countless hours.  Can anyone give me some advice, short of giving up?

    • teresa

      hit ur menu button, go to prepaid, go to add airtime.
      then type

  • Raymond Mickey Woodcock

    need help with new tracfone.com

    • Will.Spencer

      Exactly what help do you need?

  • edwin aviles

    no puedo activar mi celular

    • Will.Spencer

      What have you done thus far?

  • Mohammed Tahiiru Al Waiziya

    pls sir/madam,
    how do i create my operating system into my phone

  • Patricia Hahn

    I cannot connect to hear my phones messages, can you please help me understand what to do.?? I press 1 to set it up and will not let me do it.

  • John

    tracfone worked fine for 5 years…then suddenly said uregistered sim card.  Tracfone sent new sim card which changed my # to a new unwanted #.  When tracfone tried to re-install my old # sim card said “uregistered” again and phone would not work again.  Tracfone sent me two more sim cards with same result…”unregistered sim card” “no service”.  So now after 3 weeks w/no phone they are sending replacement phone which will take another week….pathetic.

  • Terry

    My new tracfone will not activate. Its an LG22oc. My phone is charged. I’ve been on line and by land phone trying to activate it. I’ve put in my serial # and went thru the steps of putting in pin # on minutes card.  So whats the deal? How can I get help with this???

  • Randy

    My parents gave me their old tracfone  “Nokia 5125″ and want to activate it.  I bought a 60 minute card this week.
    I went to your http://www.tracfone.com site and there is no listing for the phone I have.  What do I need to do to get it activated?
    Thank you

    • Scott

      My parents gave me their old tracfone “Nokia 5125″ and want to activate it. I bought a 60 minute card this week. I went to your http://www.tracfone.com site and there is no listing for the phone I have. What do I need to do to get it activated? Thank you

      It seems that your phone is a TDMA phone and no longer supported by tracfone. You might need to get your money back for the Card if possible? 

  • nchall

    need help with replacement phone  It will not let me text and my old minutes have not been added  I have spent over3 hours on land lime trying to get my tracphone working  Thank you

  • Scott

    If you purchase a Tracfone from a National retailer, and then sell it to someone in another state, will the activation process be compromised? I remember entering my zip code for a # assignment, but just wondering if it will affect activation?

  • RichFromRoch

    I had to transfer my number and about 800 minutes to a new device due to a lost phone. IIt took several tries by the tech support person to access my records, but he finally made the transfer to the new phone and processed the activation. He said it could take up to 24 houra. Well, I kept checking the phone…and checking…and checking. Finally, the next afternoon I decided to call back tech support. I picked up the phone to check numbers, and presto! It was activated and it only took 23 hours! So sometimes the Tracfone process work, albeit at a snail’s pace.o
    Rich
    Rochester, NY

  • JHOVIE JEAN ANGCACO

    PAGNILALAGYAN Q PO NG SIM NA SMART BUDDY SBI PO SIM LOCK CODE 1.ANU PO DPAT KUNG GWIN PLS PLS
     

  • ana nelson

    I  receive my  new cell phone because the other one was stolen.  I will like to activate but the the webpage is under construction, ?What I have to do?

  • ana nelson

    I will like to know what I have to do to activate my phone I tried by the webpage but is under construction.  What can I do now?

  • Debbie

    This is all very sad and very wrong.  I bought my TracFone 6 months ago and still cannot get minutes.  Do not even have a telephone number.  Bought from HSN on the t.v.  I was suppose to have 1 year to activate but I am not going to make it at this rate.  Cannot even return as it is past 30 days.  Guess this is not such a good phone.  Certainly do not recommend to anyone.

  • Philip Ashley

    Very poor service after buying from HSN, phone returned.  Unable to activate phone, no “person”, to talk to. Machine responses do not ask questions pertaining to the problem. Tried to contact both Tracfone and HSN, multiple times, but unable to speak with customer relations of either company.  Would not recommend.

  • Katherine Davis

    My name is Katherine Davis I receive a phone on 12/1/2011. When I talk to someone about my phone I was used my uncle phone when I call and report that my phone was stolen. So they sent me a replacement phone . They ask me for a number so they could get in touch with me and I gave the my uncle number .My phone that they sent is my uncle number. So what do I do about the phone number.

    • Connecticut Sam

      Best of luck to Datherine Davis.

  • Smarter Generation

    You have to activate the phone…. DUH! It doesnt just come activated… take it to a local retailer or go on the website and do it. If you can read… than you can activate it… ::shake my head::

    • an

      If my memory serves me correctly, when disposable phones came about, they were designed for on-the-go, and with the possibility of one-time-use. (which is why they’re usually cheap to buy)You were able to grab a phone and prepaid minutes card, dial a number (given in instruction booklet) on the phone you just brought to activate it, and get the job done within in minutes. You didn’t have to call customer service using a different phone and go through a series of prompts, or go online and sign up, givng a bunch of personal information just to activate the phone. That’s added stress, time consuming, inconvenience, etc…which is counteractive to what the disposable phones were supposed to be about.

      I believe that the reason many cellphone companies now require the user to go online or use a land phone to active the new phone is to extact personal info from the user; When you use a land phone, your number comes up on their caller ID, and of course, the number is attached to someone’s name and address. And when you go online, you must register on their site and submit personal info in order to activate your phone.

      We have come a long way from what prepaid, pay-as-you-go phones is supposed to be about; a non intrusive, no contract way of using a portable phone on-the-go. That means, that the users name, address, phone number or any other personal info is not to be attached to the phone.

      but with so much commercialism nowadays, all the competition betweens the cellphone companies, online social networking, and so on, everybody’s trying to extract as much info about the user of their products for promotional and financial gain.

      I remember about four years ago, one company, whose name I won’t mention, that has pay-as-you-go told me that I needed to pay $50. activation fee, and a minimal of $50 each month to use their pay-as-you-go service? What? And on top of the $100. it was going to cost me to get started, they were charging taxes and somekind of service fee. I have no idea what that is. And, they required me to fill out an application! Name, address, phone number, and so. I asked the rep at the phone center why the company required such a high minimal monthly fee to use their prepaid service? shouldn’t I decided whether or not I want to buy more minutes every month, as this is what pay-as-you-go was all about. He just shrugged his shoulders and said, that’s the way their program works. To this, day, their requirements has not changed, but the setup fees and monthly prepaid fees are higher.

      I found tracfone to be more reasonable with their prepaid minutes cards prices, which was why I brought their phone. I’ve been using tracfone for three years now, and I don’t recall having to use a land phone back then to activate my phone.

      I still own a trafone and like their prices, but the one problem I have with them is that they have poor tech and customer service support.

      I tried for two consecutive weeks by email to get tech support for my phone, it had stopped ringing, couldn’t hear the other party and so on. I decided to transfer the number from that phone to a differnt tracfone I had, but hadnn’t used in over a year. emailed tech several times for help with the transfer and even called on the phone. And I got responses that had nothing to do with my problem and when I called on the phone, I had to deal with a foreigner whose english was not good. he could barely understand me, and I could barely understand him. it took an entire hour just for him to figure this thing out, then tell me that he couldn’t find a problem with my phone and that I probably need to replace it, which is what I already told him.

      All I wanted to do was transfer my number to a new phone, which he couldn’t do. what? Said my new phone had a problem with the sim card because it read “unregistered sim”. huh? doesn’t this mean I just need to activate the newer phone? Nope, he said he would send me a new sim card. Well, I got the new sim card in the mail, and you guess right, it too read “unregistered sim”. this is crazy.

      There was nothing wrong with the other new phone, just something wrong with the rep I was dealing with.

      I just purchased a new phone, activated it and moved on.

      • earl

        one of my TC phone time ran out and i bought a 60min card from K-MART but when i install the code,my phone will noy activate.

  • floyd finnicum

    You need to do something about how long it takes to activate a phone!!!.  24 hours?!!!   One phone dont work and the other one dont work till its activated.

  • James Pikowski

    need help!!!  love my tracfone, I am having a problem, it will not ring when I get an incoming call, have tried everything , not ringing????  Help

    • julianna

      have you tryed to press send when you get a call? if you haven`t you should try it but if you have it may be on vibrate or you nedd to turn up the volume. you should also read the tracfone book that came with you tracfone.

    • an

      Hi James,

      that’s the first sign I had too, when my tracfone of 3 years of use started to go bonkers.

      It stopped ringing. Then the incoming message text signal stopped working too. My daughter would text me and i wouldn’t know becaue my phone wouldn’t signal the incoming text. And tech support say, ha, just turn up the volume. Problem solved. or Is it set to “ring”. Ah, yeah. I set the tone to ring when I get a text, it’s supposed to ring when I get a call. My phone even stopped vibrating.

      then one day, it rang, next day, it didn’t. One day, it vibrated, next day, it didn’t vibrate. One day, the backlight was lit, next day, the keypad was lit, display, not let.

      I just brought a new phone.

      So, if your phone starts acting crazy like mines recently did, and its got a few years wear on it, you just might have to buy a new phone. But if it’s fairly new, tracfone might replace it free of charge.

      Good luck with dealing with their tech and customer support.

  • julianna

    how do i active my security code on the tracfoneLG?

  • Joan

    I am having a problem with the Tracfone.  My Tracfone does not ring when there is an incoming call.  I managed to get the Tracfone to vibrate, so it vibrates everytime there is an incoming call.
    I turned the volume up to 7, but the Tracfone still does not ring when there is an incoming call.  I called Tech Support and they told me to save after I selected a function.
    I did that, and the Tracfone still does not ring when there is an incoming call. 

  • I am zuhair yousif

    I received my new SIM card till now I do not active it 

  • DEBORAH JONES

    i want to activate  my trac fon. you arenot clear on it at all!!!!

  • Eileen Paget

    I just bought a Tracfone and there isn’t any instructions on the basics as to how to add contacts or delete them.  How can I get an instruction brochure?

  • Ernest Cutrer

    Requesting activation of new phone.

  • Ernest Cutrer

    Activation of new phone.

    • Ray Tesiero

      I have tried to setup the voice mail without success. I can make outgoing calls but am not able to receive calls,the recoeding says that my voice mail has not been activated.

  • Edward Baratto

    I want to activate my phone for International calls

    • an

      I purchased my first tracfone 3 or so years ago. I activated my phone by dialing a number on the phone I brought. I didn’t need to call a number from a Land phone, nor go online to activte the phone, which is tracfone’s requirement today.

      After three good years, by phone went bonkers, all kinds of weird stuff started happening, and tech support was no help, so I brought a new phone yesterday(March 17, 2012).

      As for international calls; I don’t recall reading in the instuction book 3 years ago any specific activation rules before making international calls. But here is the Customer Care Center number that’s given in Tracfone’s latest guide book for setting up International calls. 1-800-867-7183.

      They say to call this number. Setup is free.

      Good Luck!

  • Sarah Quigley

    I recently purchased a one year addition of minutes to my tracfone, but it has not been added on the phone’s opening screen. How do I get tracfone to update the additional minutes.

    Also my phone has received some 31 messages that were to a wrong number. How can I avoid this? Do I need to change the number of my phone?

    Thank you for your assistance.

    The phone’s number is 541 517-5429

  • edward hamilton

    Bought a new phone. Followed instructions to activate it. Did not work. Called 800 number Have now been holding on for 17 minutes.
    Went to the internet address. Tried to activate. Screen asking for the SIM number to be activated. NOTHING WORKS???? Is there anyone or thing out there that can help me activate it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/marylou.gray.5 Marylou Gray

    I did not receive any instructions with my new tracfone and would like to know how to add and delete contacts, also need to know how to connect to wifi

  • Helen

    My wonderful Smart Tracfone fell in a puddle and died. I sent for a new one but can’t get it activated. Tracfone said they would activate and transfer minutes from my old phone but now the first screen that comes up says’ SIM invalid’. I keep calling and can’t understand the associates because of their Indian accents. In the meantime, I don’t have a phone. WHAT DO I DO?

    • DanielMemetic

      Did you try the Activate Phone feature on TracFone.com (as suggested in the article)?

  • jean dorman

    no manual came with my tracfone (Alcatel)