In a situation that has been developing since early this afternoon, Tracfone has begun removing references to AT&T in its BYOD service pages and related products, which include SIM cards and APN settings, potentially signalling the end of Tracfone’s network agreement with the carrier.
Currently the only options offered for BYOD SIM cards available via Net10, Telecel America and StraightTalk are powered by T-Mobile and AT&T SIM card options have been removed from sale along with any explicit references to the carrier. In fact, those customers in markets that are not even served by T-Mobile are being served up order pages for T-Mobile SIM cards with no option for AT&T SIMs being available as an alternative.
As far as Tracfone-branded devices are concerned, AT&T-powered devices are still being offered for the time being, but smartphones are randomly appearing and disappearing from product sale listings, again suggesting that Tracfone has suddenly lost the right to offer service via AT&T with other options being unaffected. Currently, the removal is affecting all of Tracfone’s brands with no word on whether the removal is temporary and the result of a system malfunction, lack of stock, as is being speculated, or is indeed a permanent change.
As AT&T service formed the backbone for the majority of Tracfone’s offerings through Net10 and StraightTalk over the past 24 months, the potential loss of AT&T as a service offering deals a big blow to both Tracfone-branded devices powered by AT&T and the BYOD program as well as to those looking to purchase AT&T-powered smart devices, as many feature pre-installed SIM cards which can be used on other devices.
What is also not known at this time is whether those that already have AT&T powered devices and SIM cards will have their service negatively impacted, as the elimination of AT&T from sales pages is leading many to come to the conclusion that Tracfone will not be able to continue offering service to those with devices and SIM cards that are already activated. As representatives for Tracfone are known for being guarded and secretive, the chances of receiving a statement are slim to none, though this situation certainly merits a public statement of some sort.
As this story is developing, more updates will be filed as more information is received and confirmed. As an alternative for the time being, StraightTalk AT&T SIM cards are still being sold through Walmart online pending available stock, with some locations carrying BYOD kits with AT&T SIM cards as well.