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Really confused about Tracfone Coverage: CDMA vs GSM and HSN TS

Started 1312120231.82 in Electronics Talk | Last reply 1312150036.783 by madcity411

I have been searching high and low to figure out whether or not (too late now) I would have cell coverage in my rural town if I purchased the HSN TS yesterday which is on the AT&T/T-Mobile network. My zip showed coverage. But, when I actually went to AT&T and T-Mobile sites and viewed their coverage maps, coverage is very iffy in my area so I passed on the deal. Verizon is definitely the provider in my area. Everyone's cell phone provider is Verizon where I live. Any time my sister is here, she has a very hard time using her T-Mobile phone.

From what I understand Tracfone has two types of phones. The first type is referred to as a CDMA phone. These phones use network coverage provided by Verizon (in most cases) as well as Alltel, US Cellular, and sometimes other smaller, regional carriers.

The other type of technology used in Tracfone handsets is referred to as GSM. This type of phone will be charged the same airtime rate regardless of where you are when you make or receive a call – as long as you have service. I point this out because, as I noted above, the coverage of GSM networks is not as comprehensive in certain areas. Coverage for these models is provided by AT&T and T-Mobile.

The TS on HSN was GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile). I wonder how many people actually understand this.

Here are links to the maps of coverage provided by CDMA and GSM, respectively:



So, am I right in thinking that since Verizon has the monopoly on coverage in my area, that if I had purchased the TS on HSN yesterday, I would not have very good coverage in my rural community?

Thanks for taking the time to read my lengthy post.

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wotchagot1312122121.743341 PostsRegistered 4/25/2007

Here's an article explaining the differences between GSM and CDMA.


4paws1312127293.3522685 PostsRegistered 7/29/2006

Same here when I was considering the phone. When I put in my zipcode it said No Coverage, however they sell Tracfone & cards here. We only have Verizon towers. After further research I found that I use so many minutes that it was not the phone for me. I have Straight Talk, the coverage is wonderful and so much cheaper.

KonaKat1312139346.168228 PostsRegistered 2/25/2006

I live in a town covered by AT&T. Those people who have a CDMA type phone do not have much service. Ten miles east of me, I get into an area served by Verizon so I don't have much service. I have had no problems in most places as the coverage is generally pretty godo. The problem does exist in remote areas, however. I can't use a CDMA type phone where I live. It works fine when I travel as major areas have both types of services. The GSM type phone is the type used most often in the world but that does not mean it works in all areas; it depends upon what providers are available. My phone is a GSM TracFone which I've had for two years and it has worked very well. I even call Internationally to it at the same rate as I call here. When I do that, I have to call a special number and then enter the international telephone number.

The phone HSN was selling costs $29+ at TracFone or in the stores. It is a double minute phone when purchased from them.

Last edited on 7/31/2011

Last edited on 7/31/2011

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CocoaMolly1312149194.303819 PostsRegistered 1/1/2007Midwest

Thanks everyone for your responses. I wish HSN would offer a CDMA smartphone (Verizon network) as a TS with triple minutes. I know that I can go on the Tracfone website and purchase a CDMA phone with double minutes. I'm hoping they will have one in the future. I've still got a few months left on my Verizon contract that I'm willing to cancel for the right phone.

madcity4111312150036.785004 PostsRegistered 8/11/2007

Code Division Multiple Access, (CDMA) is older technology, Global System Mobility (GMS), is the norm now for world phone usage and is considered much better, especially using todays new smart phones. The HSN tracphone is okay for occasional use, but not that great for a serious phone user. Both systems still work today.

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