BUYING TRACFONE RINGTONES
Buying and dowloading TracFone ringtones directly from TracFone can be slightly tricky, so I’ve taken it upon myself to blaze a trail for my faithful readers and download a couple of tones to find out how the process works. Keep reading to see what I learned.
You can buy ringtones from TracFone either through their website or through the browser on one of their internet-enabled phones. I tried both methods and found that each has its own pros and cons.
Buying TracFone Ringtones on the phone’s browser
My first foray into buying a TracFone ringtone was through the browser on a Motorola W376g. Detailed instructions for how to do this were on a pamphlet that came with the phone, and you can also find the instructions online by going to the TracFone website and clicking on Buy Phones & More and then the Data Services menu and then follow the instructions from there.
The most important thing to remember when using the phone’s browser to find ringtones is that it deducts 0.5 minutes from your phone when you first connect, and another 0.5 minute every minute you are connected using the browser. Plus, you can’t listen to the tones before downloading them.
For my first ringtone test, I followed the instructions and connected to TracFone using my Moto’s browser. The first thing I noticed is that the browser connection is pretty slow, especially when you know that the clock is ticking.
Luckily, though, the menu has categories of ringtones to choose from so that you can narrow your search down. It does have a search function, but it always said that the search couldn’t find anything no matter what I searched for.
I selected the Christian category and browsed through the 20 or 30 selections, finally deciding on the mp3 ringtone for Fingerprints of God by Steven Curtis Chapman. I selected it and confirmed that I wanted it, then exited the browser.
I burned 5 minutes of airtime browsing around and selecting the tone I wanted, and it told me that my tone would cost 8.97 airtime minutes, which isn’t deducted until you actually download the tone. The number of minutes they charge comes out to the equivalent of $2.99 for a mp3 tone or $1.99 for a polyphonic tone, based on the last airtime card that you added to your phone.
A couple of minutes later I received a text message with details about the transaction, including the name of the ringtone and how many minutes it cost. I selected Go To and the download started and the minutes were deducted from my airtime.
The browser has to open to do the download, so you are charged the 0.5 minutes of airtime for every minute of download time. This download burned 1.5 airtime minutes, and after it finished I went to the multimedia menu on the phone, where I could listen to the tone and select it to be my active ringtone.
I started this process with the 20 free minutes that you get when activating a phone online, and I was charged 5 minutes for the browsing time selecting a ringtone, 1.5 units for the time to download the ringtone, and 8.97 minutes to purchase the ringtone, which left me with 4.53 minutes at the end. Thus, the total cost of the transaction was 15.47 airtime minutes.
All in all, it wasn’t a terribly difficult process. The TracFone ringtone sounds great, and I’ll let you decide for yourself whether the cost is worth it. The biggest gotcha to watch out for is that you are charged airtime whenever the browser on the phone is open. Don’t worry, though, it beeps at you regularly to let you know that you are connected and you can see when it deducts the 0.5 minutes and how many airtime minutes you have left on the phone.
Buying TracFone ringtones on the TracFone website
You can also buy TracFone ringtones on the TracFone website, though for some strange reason they put it in a different part of the website than the instructions for how to buy ringtones on the phone’s browser.
To get there, click here to go to the TracFone website then click on Service and Support and go to the Ringtones and More page. There you have to enter the serial number and phone number for your phone and click continue to get to the ringtones page.
On the TracFone ringtones page, you are supposed to be able to search or browse all ringtones they have available to buy. As was the case when using the phone’s browser, however, the search function doesn’t seem to work as of this writing. No matter what I search for, it just says that no matches were found.
Not to be deterred, I decided to browse the ringtones instead. Clicking on the “Browse Ringtones” tab brought up a list of 10 mp3 ringtones, and I could keep clicking the “more” button to see, well, more. These were ringtones from all categories mixed together.
I then clicked on the “Polyphonic Tones” tab, which shows the first page of polyphonic tones, but also shows a list of categories to help you narrow your search.
Why they don’t have the category listings for the mp3 tones is beyond me, especially since it’s there when you access the tones on the phone’s browser. It’s definitely a major oversight on TracFone’s part. Let’s see, the search doesn’t work and the tones aren’t sorted by category. It’s not very user friendly, and hopefully TracFone will address this soon.
Since the only option for mp3 tones was to simply browse 10 at a time, that’s what I did. You can play any given tone to hear what it sounds like and to hear which part of the song they clipped for the tone.
After browsing through quite a few pages, I decided upon Call on Jesus by Nicole C. Mullen. Clicking on the “buy” button took me to a page where I could choose to pay $2.99 by credit card or pay with 17.94 airtime minutes.
TracFone says that the airtime minutes to buy a mp3 ringtone come out to an equivalent of $2.99 based on the last airtime card you added to your phone. After burning most of my initial 20 free minutes buying my first ringtone, I added a $19.99 60 minute card with an extra 60 minutes from the Double Minutes For Life (DMFL) on the phone and another 60 minutes because of a TracFone promo code that I used. So I effectively gotten 180 minutes for $19.99.
I whipped out my calculator and deciphered that the minutes they charged were as though I had only gotten 120 minutes on my most recent card instead of 180 minutes. I'm not sure if they didn't factor in the DMFL minutes or the promo code minutes, but either way I got a mp3 TracFone ringtone for the equivalent of $1.99 in minutes instead of $2.99 in minutes.
I received a text message a minute or two later which let me download the ringtone. The phone’s browser opened during the download, and I was charged a total of 1 airtime minute for the download time. The 17.94 airtime minutes for the cost of the ringtone were deducted when the download finished.
When it was finished, I was able to go the multimedia menu to listen to the tone and make it my active ringtone with no problems.
If TracFone gets their website fixed so that the search and categories functions work for mp3 ringtones, then in most cases it would be the better choice for buying ringtones rather than buying them directly on the phone. On the website you can listen to the ringtones before you buy them, and you’re not charged airtime while browsing for the tone you want.
Until they get their website fixed, however, you can save some time by using your phone’s browser because it does have the mp3 tones sorted by category, though the search function isn’t currently working.
Both methods worked well, and I had no problems getting ringtones downloaded to my phone, so I there's no technical reason to choose one method over the other.
Although I’m not really into ringtones, I’ll have to admit that I did have some fun browsing around and listening to different tones. One funny one was Jeff Foxworthy telling redneck jokes related to cell phones, and another fun one started off with Johnny Cash saying, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.” I’m starting to see why everyone is so interested in TracFone ringtones!
For now, the only way I know of to download mp3 ringtones (or music tones as they call them) to your TracFone is to buy them from TracFone, because they have locked down other methods of importing data to your phone.
I found that the $2 to $4 worth of airtime was a reasonable enough price, but everyone has a different price sensitivity, so you might think it’s too much. You might especially think it’s too much if you download new ringtones on a regular basis.
Another thing to remember is that any ringtones you buy can only be used on the phone you used to dowload the tone. There's no official way to transfer the ringtone to a new TracFone if you buy a new phone.
It stinks that they've locked down their phones this way, but I’ll be sure to update this page if I find a way to import mp3 tones from other sources to a TracFone.
You can, however, get free polyphonic ringtones sent to your TracFone by text message from of the various ringtone websites. You can click here to read about my experience with Crostel.com.
I hope this page has helped you in your quest for getting TracFone ringtones!