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Alternative Wireless Networks

Alternative Wireless on Multiple Networks

Some Alternative Carriers use more than one network. In some cases your wireless device will choose the Best network available (the company decides which is "Best" and it's not necessarily one with the best signal).  In other cases you choose at signup which cellular network your phone will use, then stay with that network exclusively.  Some carriers use Wi-Fi first for either Voice Calls or Data, and if they find no Wi-Fi signal will switch to one of the cellular networks.  Ideally, you won't know what network you're using, everything happens automatically.



Using Multiple Networks:
(Your Phone Can Operate on More than One Cellular Network)
*These carriers allow off-network roaming for a certain amount of Talk and Text only, no Data.

Using Your Choice of Networks:
(You Choose the Network at Sign Up, Then Use That Network Exclusively)


Using Wi-Fi Networks:
(These Carriers Use Nearby Wi-Fi Connections for Voice Or Data, in addition to one of the Cellular Carriers)
Also known as "Wi-Fi First" carriers, these phones have proprietary software (you can't Bring Your Own Phone) but switching among networks, Wi-Fi or cellular, is usually seamless.  However, Wi-Fi networks can be available in places where cellular is not, such as a basement, and losing Wi-Fi may mean losing service.

TracFone
The TracFone Networks
TracFone, and their associated carriers, make up the largest group of "Alternative" networks in the US. Some of their phones will access any one of the TracFone "Preferred" networks and are listed below. Tracfone does not share which of the main cellular networks they prefer in multi-network phones, other than the limitation of the technology used by the phone (CDMA or GSM). These Preferred network agreements can and do change from time to time.  The TracFone networks are operated by America Movil.

Multiple-Network Phones:
Single-Network Phones:
  • GoSmart (Uses T-Mobile)
  • Page Plus (Uses Verizon Wireless)
  • Simple Mobile (Uses T-Mobile)
  • Telcel America (Uses T-Mobile)
  • Total Wireless (Uses Verizon Wireless)
  • Walmart Family Mobile (Uses T-Mobile)

U.S. Cellular
Using the US Cellular Network
US Cellular appears to be a fairly low priority among Alternative carriers except where US Cellular has the only usable wireless signal.  The carriers below are known to access US Cellular when other preferred networks are not available.  No carrier, other than US Cellular's own Prepaid, uses this network exclusively.

Useful Alternative Network Links:

Alt.Wireless Resources: