Page Plus Cellular has always been interesting, if not useful, for mobile enthusiasts. With Verizon having (arguably) the best rural and national reception/coverage footprint in the industry, getting a cheap/reliable prepaid phone on their network has been important for many.
But Page Plus Cellular always went a bit deeper than that. It did something at a time nobody else did: BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device. You could take just about any CDMA device, and activate it on Verizon via Page Plus prepaid plans.
As Verizon got more and more expensive, making most of their prepaid plans laughable for most of the 2000s, Page Plus became more and more relevant.
Now owned by América Móvil, Page Plus continued their tight relationship with Verizon and opened up LTE BYOD… while at the same time shutting down CDMA BYOD.
Now, customer outrage is at a fever pitch. We’ll explain why in the six facts below – but one thing has become clear to us… Page Plus Cellular is on a deathwatch, clearly.
Note: América Móvil uses a lot of sub-brands, including Page Plus, TracFone, Obama phone maven SafeLink, Straight Talk, etc. To keep from carpal-tunnel syndrome, and to keep you from falling asleep… we’re not going to list all the different names, and may use them interchangeably in this article.
Fact 1: Page Plus Fired Almost Everyone
No, not just their customer service, which has been outsourced to outside the country. Page Plus Cellular actually used to have customer service in the USA, and at their offices. Things got fixed that were causing widespread issues quickly, because the few managers that were there got direct-feed feedback reports from their own staff.
That’s all gone now… right down to the non-support team. Sources say “basically everyone is gone” with only a few account-level team left. “Those that are around still are programmers who have been at PP (Page Plus) since the beginning.” Those people are tasked with migrating Page Plus’s billing to the TracFone / América Móvil billing system.
We can confirm that all of our longtime contacts have been terminated, or left the company voluntarily.
Fact 2: Dealers No Longer Can Get Help Anywhere for Problems
Multiple Page Plus dealers have confirmed to us that they are no longer getting account-level support. They have nobody to escalate to… even when a key problem has come up that they know how to fix.
“It’s scary. We literally just get updates in an email and are told to call the same support number you guys are. We have no contacts, no referrals, nobody to talk to.” Marking time, waiting for death.
Fact 3: TracFone Has Assimilated Their Lucrative Verizon Contract
It’s pretty clear why TracFone bought Page Plus Cellular. Page Plus had contracts with Verizon Wireless that allowed for things like BYOD and LTE. Before the Page Plus acquisition, América Móvil / TracFone was limited to only a couple of devices that were locked to CDMA.
Straight Talk, also an América Móvil brand (technically a subsidiary of the TracFone brand), even went so far as to use those contracts to ship an iPhone 5 that was specifically neutered to run on Verizon as 3G/CDMA-only… in a way that no other iPhone was neutered similarly.
By purchasing Page Plus Cellular, TracFone got the managers and relations with Verizon that they wanted, and leveraged that power to negotiate an upgrade to Page Plus’s BYOD contracts… and at the same time, expand said contracts to their other prepaid brands.
Fact 4: You Can Now Activate LTE BYOD on Pay As You Go TracFone
The previous factoid is why you can now take a Verizon 4G LTE smartphone and order a brand new, just-released TracFone Verizon SIM card. You can now use just about any Verizon device as a prepaid phone, but now on TracFone too.
The rates are vastly different than Page Plus. Page Plus restricted BYOD LTE plans to their $25-and-up monthly plans… no pay as you go.
TracFone’s offers are different, with cheaper data and a focus on pay as you go prepaid. For $150, you can have 1,200 minutes, 3,200 text and 3.2 GB of data that doesn’t expire for an entire year.
Like other TracFone “triple balance” prepaid plans, the amounts roll over and expiration dates reset when you add more funds.
Fact 5: Page Plus Doesn’t (Appear To) Have a Press Contact
Remember what we said about Page Plus losing all its staff? That includes any press contacts. We have made several efforts to get someone, anyone at Page Plus Cellular to return our emails and calls. Nobody has.
We did find one person who still claims to be working at Page Plus Cellular in the marketing department. She claims responsibility for all web marketing and publishing actions. We won’t use her name as she did not return our multiple requests for contact, nor did she return our requests to be referred to someone else at the company for an inquiry.
Exhausting our resources, we turned to social media. The only response we could get out of @PagePlus on Twitter, when directly asking for a press contact was from “Fabricio” who said “If you have any issue related with our service please contact us from your PP Phone to #737. ^Fabricio”
Follow-up requests for clarification on how in the world that is a media relations contact, went unresponded to.
Fact 6: People Are Losing Their Balances / Accounts
Staff on PhoneNews.com, as well as dozens of others that have written in and/or posted on social media, have lost their accounts. Many inexplicably.
Between Page Plus dealers no longer able to provide assistance, and customer service grappling with the English language, many (including the reporters writing this article) have concluded that our lost balances… some stretching into the hundreds of dollars… are gone for good.
Symptoms range from refill PINs not taking and then expiring, to pay-as-you-go accounts claiming to be on a monthly plan when nobody put them on a plan… then lapsing and expiring.
Bottom Line, We’re Done
The real pain point for many is that, with Verizon BYOD being limited now to Page Plus and TracFone, many of us are having to go back and sign up with the company that just ripped us off.
But one thing is quite clear: We don’t trust Page Plus Cellular anymore. We encourage everyone to use up their balances, and migrate to a TracFone BYOD plan (or another MVNO) as soon as possible. We don’t consider Page Plus to be an operation that will be around much longer.