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Thread: New "smartsim" service from Tracfone.

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by offthegrid View Post
    So one thing right off the bat is only certain phones would work.

    Since the nodeadzone website specifically mentions 4 carriers is Trac getting back w/Sprint pending the merger?
    So, maybe it explains the "DL" models that can be used on multiple carriers? Not sure of Sprint service though, as it uses odd LTE bands. I believe Straight Talk and Net10 provide service on Sprint, but don't think they sell any phones for it.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by offthegrid View Post
    This could be the tech behind this.
    ....
    Since the nodeadzone website specifically mentions 4 carriers is Trac getting back w/Sprint pending the merger?

    http://www.advantixsolutions.com/smartsim/
    Great for data, but less so for voice/SMS.
    Verizon and TMO give TF VoLTE, but if it decides ATT you get GSM voice?

    And where would voicemail go?
    Last edited by ST Dog; 12-09-2019 at 01:46 PM.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ST Dog View Post
    Great for data, but less so for voice/SMS.
    Verizon and TMO give TF VoLTE, but ifnir decides ATT you get GSM voice?

    And where would voicemail go?
    I guess it depends on how deep they go with it but I would think it wouldn't differ much from roaming. I believe in Google Fi's case they provide the voicemail. The more Trac provides the less it costs them I imagine.

    It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

  4. #19
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    Looks like this new SmartSIM service is similar to Google FI or Visible, in that it uses pure data only and VoIP for voice.
    At this time it's unclear whether this will work on select handsets with custom firmware only, or any handset with a SmartSIM app running, which will manage all the network data and VoIP traffic. I'm leaning towards the latter, that is any unlocked handset capable of picking up all networks or a subset thereof, while running a custom app for to manage network traffic. Newer smartphones are quite capable of that, with a VoIP component to manage voice and text. (Note: Not VoLTE but VoIP similar to Google's Hangouts voice app, which makes voice mail independent of the carrier the phone is using at any given time).

    Currently there are several companies offering multi-carrier pure data services without voice at a very reasonable cost, so this new SmartSIM service is quite possible to be real in the future. The problem with most of these pure data services is that it's channeled through the MVNO server/proxy/firewall/billing, which increases the ping (latency) time to well over 100ms, which is almost unnoticeable when browsing, but voice calls sound choppy and almost unusable (there are lot's of complaints on the Playstore about quality of calls and high ping latency), and fast action online games pretty much unplayable. A word of advice, not everything that's shiny is gold, so buyer beware!

    Here are some examples of companies offering pure data services, coincidentally (or maybe not) the first one even calls it SmartSIM (hmmm.

    http://www.advantixsolutions.com/smartsim/
    https://teltik.com/plans_step1_choose.php
    https://www.visible.com/plan

  5. #20
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    Fierce Wireless muses about SmartSim based on a conversation with an analyst. My Google Fi comparison was apparently on the money as the analyst says Trac either licensed the Google core from Fi or created their own.

    It could also be that they've contracted with Google to run it similar to a Cloud service used for business computing.

    This is Trac showing its muscle, lowering its costs and separating itself from every other MVNO out there, aside from FI which is only run as a test.

    https://www.fiercewireless.com/wirel...artsim-program

    TracFone Prepares a Nationwide SmartSIM Program

    by Linda Hardesty | Jan 13, 2020 10:01am

    Recon Analytics Founder Roger Entner speculates that there might be a connection with Google Fi.

    The mobile virtual network operator TracFone is in the early stages of offering a SmartSIM program in the United States. TracFone subscribers will be able to insert a SIM card into their mobile phones, and then they will automatically be connected to the best wireless service wherever they are without any interruption.

    Analyst Jeff Moore at Wave7 Research was the first to notice some marketing about SmartSIM. Two separate TracFone brands - StraightTalk and SimpleMobile - sent marketing emails that provide a short video about SmartSIM, saying “What if there was a wireless brand that instantly connected you to the strongest cellular network? Our new SmartSIM plan takes the guesswork out of choosing the best service.”

    Requests for comment from TracFone and its parent company Mexico-based América Móvil were not answered.

    It appears that the SmartSIM program is in the early marketing phase, and that the service has not been commercially rolled out yet. The marketing video prompts interested subscribers to input their zip code to see if service is available in their areas. Zip codes for Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Miami and New York all resulted in a message that said “SmartSIM isn't available in your area yet, get notified when it arrives.”

    According to the site BestMVNO, which tracks MVNO subscriber numbers from public documents: TracFone counts 21.229 million total subscribers in the U.S. Of that, its Straight Talk brand accounts for 9.307 million; its SafeLink brand accounts for 2.228 million; and its other brands combined account for 9.474 million. The other brands include Walmart Family Mobile, Simple Mobile and Total Wireless.

    A Google Fi connection?

    TracFone already has MVNO relationships with all the big U.S. carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular. And as far back as 2016, TracFone was known to shift its service to whichever network operator was offering the best wholesale rates at the time.

    But its SmartSIM initiative seems to be different than just shifting from one wholesale provider to another based on the rates. SmartSIM looks like a technology-based play related more to dynamic roaming in order to offer seamless coverage for subscribers.

    “This looks very much like TracFone bought/licensed the Google Fi core or something very similar and updated its agreements with various carriers to allow always on eSIM with on-the-fly network switching,” said Recon Analytics Founder Roger Entner. “This allows to optimize for least cost and/or best network coverage. Altice has something similar where they normally roam on Sprint but if Sprint has no coverage the phone automatically switches to AT&T.”

    Google Fi is an MVNO service operated by Google that uses networks operated by Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular. The service requires a Pixel smartphone.*

    “Most carriers buy their core from a vendor,” said Entner. “Google built its own core. One of the critical components in there is that it allows an always-on eSIM with dynamic network switching, which is what TracFone says it will offer. Depending on where you are, it will pick the best coverage for you and switch it dynamically.”

    Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has said that if T-Mobile merges with Sprint and Dish becomes the nation’s fourth major wireless carrier, both Dish and T-Mobile have promised to support eSIM, which stands for embedded subscriber identity module. eSIMs are similar to SIM cards, but instead of being removable, they are embedded in the mobile device. Also, they can be updated with software, as opposed to being physically replaced. With an eSIM, mobile subscribers could potentially switch service providers whenever they want, without having to obtain a new physical SIM card.

    According to TracFone's video, it's working with a removable SIM card. But whether it uses a removable card or an eSIM remains to be seen.

    In any event, “This is an opportunity for MVNOs to be in a stronger bargaining position; it allows them to dynamically switch between networks,” said Entner.

    He said that Google decided to build Fi because no telecom vendor provided a mobile core that offered multi-carrier support as well as eSIM. Google also had to build the Pixel phones that support Fi. It’s not entirely clear why Google built Fi – whether it really wanted to compete in the wireless space or whether it just wanted to show how some innovation could be done. Google hasn’t done a great job of marketing Fi, so the service is not very well known.

    “It looks like Tracfone either bought it [Fi] or leased it,” said Entner. Or perhaps TracFone followed Google’s model, and is building something similar to Fi for itself.

    *Correction: Google Fi works with a variety of phones in addition to the Pixel....................................

  6. #21
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    I just want an inexpensive phone to work.

  7. #22
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    The original website link redirects to different TracFone operated site now, specifically a location finder for resellers.

    I'm wondering if the mentions on the fiercewireless site got a bit too much attention from the carrier partners...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    I just want an inexpensive phone to work.
    I fear that such a device will be eSIM only or otherwise difficult to be used on a different service. TracFone going back to their roots and having locked down device would be possible with this route.

    Having a multinetwork core would make things more cost effective on TracFone's end. Though this could make end users get vendor locked if they don't allow a universally supported (by this I mean it can be used on any phone without a firmware change) BOYD option. VoLTE is still hit or miss on unlocked devices, so I don't expect a BOYD option with voice calls.

    I feel this is not a product for individual, non-business customers. Business customers, using this for their IoT or M2M devices, would love this option.

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    Last edited by Haas_Dave; 01-13-2020 at 06:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haas_Dave View Post
    The original website link redirects to different TracFone operated site now, specifically a location finder for resellers.
    I followed the link listed in the article to find the marketing videos that were supposedly sent out to some Straight Talk and Simple Mobile customers. It redirects to the Total Wireless retail store location directory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by loboheeler View Post
    I followed the link listed in the article to find the marketing videos that were supposedly sent out to some Straight Talk and Simple Mobile customers. It redirects to the Total Wireless retail store location directory.
    It's the same link as in the OP.

    And yes nodeadzone.com redirects to the TW location finder page now.

    Back in December it did not.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haas_Dave View Post
    I'm wondering if the mentions on the fiercewireless site got a bit too much attention from the carrier partners...
    lk
    More likely it was FW contacting them for info /comebts.

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    I read an article this past weekend regarding this sim/plan. It specifically mentioned Tracfone under the pre-paid listings. I'll see if I can find the article and post it here.

  12. #27
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    Tracfone can't get average business stuff right and now they're going to tackle this.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    Tracfone can't get average business stuff right and now they're going to tackle this.
    With 22 million customers they can save money. They've likely hit the highest discounts available from carriers based on volume. This will also enable other features because they're in the driver's seat not the carrier. The carrier just becomes a pipe, they control the faucets so to speak.
    Last edited by offthegrid; 01-14-2020 at 09:28 PM.

  14. #29
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    Tracfone cannot even get their advertising correct. Check out the last two things for January: http://extras.tracfone.com/en/spotli...s/january-2020

    Also the fine print on the eBay 365 deal.

    Tracfone racing ahead to its next brainstorm without adequate control of the present.

    CS polite but iffy.

    Even adding a card is foul-up scary. I'm about 50/50 on that, especially with a promo code at the same time. I got cheated on the last one. Auto-refill works better, not scary.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisme View Post
    Tracfone cannot even get their advertising correct. Check out the last two things for January: http://extras.tracfone.com/en/spotli...s/january-2020

    Also the fine print on the eBay 365 deal.

    Tracfone racing ahead to its next brainstorm without adequate control of the present.

    CS polite but iffy.

    Even adding a card is foul-up scary. I'm about 50/50 on that, especially with a promo code at the same time. I got cheated on the last one. Auto-refill works better, not scary.
    They are almost certainly doing smartsim through someone else, like Google and its highly likely this would be something the customer chooses as opposed to being mandated. Maybe another brand.

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