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Prepaid Operator Profile: Straight Talk

This is one of Prepaid Phone News' series of comprehensive US prepaid mobile operator profiles. I will be posting new profiles frequently, starting with the best known carriers. Eventually these posts will cover all the major US mobile operators and MVNOs that offer prepaid plans.

Overview: Straight Talk, TracFone, NET10 and SafeLink are all owned by Mexico based América Móvil, the fourth largest mobile operator in the world. According to Forbes, the world's richest man is América Móvil's founder and CEO, Carlos Slim.

TracFone, NET10, Straight Talk and SafeLink combined have over 23 million subscribers which makes América Móvil the largest US prepaid mobile operator. América Móvil does not break out subscriber numbers for each of its prepaid brands.

Straight Talk is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), it does not have a network of it's own but buys service from other operators which is re-sells. Straight Talk phones and top-up cards are available only at Walmart stores, walmart.com and straighttalk.com

Straight Talk phones use the T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint networks in the 50 states and Claro in Puerto Rico. Each Straight Talk phone has one of the five as its home network which it uses whenever possible.

Straight Talk GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile) phones will roam on other networks for voice and text messaging only. There's no data roaming. Straight Talk CDMA (Verizon and Sprint) phones do not roam at all. See How to Tell Which Network (AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon) a TracFone, NET10 or Straight Talk Phone Uses for more about Straight Talk's network options.

Technology: AT&T, T-Mobile and Claro based Straight Talk phones use GSM on the 850 and 1900 Mhz bands for voice and GPRS (2G), Edge (2.5G), UTMS/HSPA (3G) and HSPA+ (4G) data.

T-Mobile devices use the 1900 Mhz band for voice and GPRS (2G) and Edge (2.5G) and the 1700 Mhz AWS band for 3G and 4G. T-Mobile has begun deploying HSPA+ (4G) on the 1900 Mhz band in many areas to better serve users with unlocked AT&T phones and international visitors.

Sprint based Straight Talk phones use the 1900 MHz band for voice and data including EVDO 3G.

Straight Talk feature phones on the Verizon network use CDMA on the 850 and 1900 Mhz bands with 1xRTT (2.5G) data support. Straight Talk Verizon Android based phones support EV-DO 3G data and some also support LTE.

Plans and Pricing: Straight Talks's pricing structure is simple, there are only two plans:
  • The "All You Need" plan includes 1500 minutes, unlimited SMS and 100 MB of data for $30/month
  • The "Unlimited" plan gives you unlimited voice, messaging and data for $45/month.
  • The "Unlimited International" plan includes no extra cost calls to most landlines in 32 countries. (PDF list of covered countries) and to cell phones in Canada, China, India and Mexico. Straight Talk does not support international direct dialing (+1 - country code - city code - phone number). Instead you have to dial an 11 digit access code, wait for a prompt and then enter the number your are calling,
Unlike most prepaid operators, Straight Talk adds extra charges for "taxes and fee" to the base price of service. These fees average about $1.40/month. State sales tax is also charged on refill in all states that have a sales tax.

If you use up your allotment of minutes, texts or data on the All You Need plan that feature stops working until you add another $30 top up. There's no roll over either, adding $30 dollars resets your balance to 1000 minutes, 1000 texts and 30 MB of data.

As is usually the case, Straight Talk's "Unlimited" data does have limits. Data speeds are throttled to approximately 128 Kbps after 3 Gb is used in a month. Straight Talk's terms of service prohibit streaming audio or video or using the phone as a wireless modem for a laptop or other device (tethering).

Customers who tether, run speed tests, stream video or use more than 100 MB of data in a day have reported having being throttled even though they haven't used more than 3 GB of data. The premature throttling seems to happen mostly with AT&T based accounts although some Straight Talk Verizon customers have reported being throttled after using less than half their allotted data.

International Text Messaging: Strangely it's not possible to send international text messages with most Straight Talk phones and SIMs even on the International Plan. The exception is with Straight Talk's Android phones on the Sprint network which can send international texts at no extra charge.

Coverage: Straight Talk coverage varies depending on which network the phone uses. The AT&T based phones have the best overall coverage with the Verizon and T-Mobile phones close behind. Sprint based Straight Talk phones have the smallest coverage footprint by far. The map below shows how the different networks coverage compares. GSM-T is T-Mobile, GSM-A is AT&T, CDMA-S is Sprint and CDMA-V is Verizon. Unlike most carriers Straight Talk does not provide detailed block by block coverage maps.

Devices: Straight Talk offers feature phones on the AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile networks and Android phones on Sprint, Verizon and AT&T network and Symbian smartphones on AT&T. To determine which network a Straight Talk phone uses see, How to Tell Which Network (AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon) a TracFone, NET10 or Straight Talk Phone Uses. Straight Talk smartphones only work with the Unlimited plan, they can not be used on the All You Need plan which is restricted to non-smartphones, aka feature phones.

Straight Talk feature phones (aka dumb phones) include messaging phones and touchscreen models that can be used on either the Unlimited or All You Need plans. Most have cameras and many have a music player. Straight Talk's feature phones tend to be quite locked down with features like BlueTooth file transfer and PC synchronization and the ability to install your own ringtones, games and wallpapers disabled on some models. The newer phones are better. The LG 500G, 800G, L840G, LG 900G and the Samung S390G allow installing apps and games and support basic PC connectivity and sending photos by Bluetooth.

Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP): Straight Talk supports BYOP of AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon and unlocked GSM phones. Verizon phones must be postpaid models, activation of phones sold for Verizon prepaid is blocked. SIMs for either the T-Mobile or AT&T networks and activation codes for Verizon and Sprint devices are available from the Straight Talk web site and walmart.comicon.

Straight Talk BYOP requires the Unlimited plan, BYOP devices can't be used on All You Need plan.

Data (APN) Settings for Straight Talk SIMs:
Visit Straight Talk's How To Update Data Settings page and enter your phone number or SIM ID for settings and instructions.
See How to Setup Straight Talk & NET10 Data and MMS on Android, iPhone & Windows Phone for detailed instructions on how to configure Straight Talk data and MMS APNs

How to Buy: Straight Talk phones are available only at Walmart stores, walmart.com and straighttalk.com. SIMs and CDMA activation codes are available online at straighttalk.com.

The GSM Straight Talk feature phones use SIM cards. However these SIMs are locked to the phone they were sold with and can not be used in any other phones including other Straight Talk phones. The feature phones themselves are virtually impossible to unlock and can not be used on any other service.

How to Activate: Straight Talk phones can be activated at straighttalk.com by clicking the Activate/Reactivate tab and following the instructions. You can also activate by calling 1-877-430-2355 from any phone except the one you are trying to activate.

After activating Verizon based phones online or by calling, Straight Talk will tell you to dial *22890 on the mobile phone to complete the activation. If that doesn't work try dialing *228 and choosing option 1 when prompted.

I've seen multiple reports of users having problems when porting existing numbers from another carrier using the website. Some have even lost their numbers. If you are porting it's best to call Straight Talk, preferably using the "Executive Resolutions Dept." number at 1-305-715-6500 or 1-800-876-5753, Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM Eastern time.

Payment Options: You can refill using a credit or debit card by calling 1-877-430-2355 or on the Straight Talk site which also offers an auto-refill service. You can also buy top-up cards or PIN codes at Walmart stores and walmart.com. Straight Talk refills are not available at convenience stores or from 3rd party online sites.

Taxes and Fees: Unlike most prepaid operators which include all taxes except state sales tax in the plan price, Straight Talk adds additional taxes to the price of refills These taxes vary by state and average between 76¢ and $1.72. You can avoid these taxes by ordering refills from walmart.com which only charges state sales taxes. Walmart sends refill PINs by email which can take hours and sometimes a day or two so don't wait until the last minute.

Account Management: If you register at straighttalk.com you can top up and check your used and remaining All You Need minutes etc. online. On unlimited plans you can check data usage by texting USAGE to 611611.

Free information services calls
911 - Emergency services

Customer Service:
Phone support: 1-877-430-2355 is the official Straight Talk support number which is available 24/7. You can also use this number to access the automated service for adding top-ups. You can also reach a customer support representative at this number from 8 AM to 10:45 PM Eastern Time 7 days a week. Calls are handled by off shore call centers. Wait times are usually short and the representatives courteous. However, they often appear to be following a script and seem unfamiliar with the details of Straight Talk devices and services.

The general support number for BYOD SIM Customers is (855) 222-2355.

An alternative is Straight Talk's "Executive Resolutions Dept.", a possibly Miami based call center at 1-305-715-6500 or 1-800-876-5753. It's available Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM EST. At other times calls to that number are handled by the off shore call centers. The Executive Resolutions representatives are more knowledgeable and better equipped to resolve complex issues. I recommend always calling 1-800-876-5753 for things like no service and billing issues, porting your number from another carrier and switching phones while keeping your service.

Several users have reported that they were able to get problems fixed by submitting a support ticket on Straight Talk's Facebook page.

Phone Sales and General Information Web Site: straighttalk.com

Straight Talk Pros: Lowest price unlimited plan of any carrier, good coverage with most phones, bringing your own phone is supported.

Straight Talk Cons: not transparent about how much data is included with the unlimited plans, limited retail presence, cumbersome international dialing, no international messaging on most phones, lack of detailed coverage maps, "taxes and fees" charged on top-ups, crippled Bluetooth and PC sync on feature phones.

Updated 12/11/2014: Verizon LTE phones are now supported for BYOP.


133 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. $45 a month "Unlimited" Not at all competitive anymore. For $50 a month you can get the AT&T truly unlimited( no one was ever kicked off for using too many minutes, text or data)and international text. Realistically the straight talk unlimited plan is worth at best $30 a month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The $50 unlimited plan only includes unlimited data for feature phones. Smartphone data is extra, $25 for 500 MB.

      Delete
  2. Hi, if I use unlocked version of iPhone4 with $45 unlimited plan, do I get 3G data speed or 2.5G (Edge) data speed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you use the Straight Talk AT&T SIM you will get 3G. If you use the Straight Talk T-Mobile SIM you will get Edge.

      Delete
  3. I have a TMO LG MytouchQ I want to get a BYOD Net10 SIM.. My question is... If I get the Tmobile SIM will it run off TMO as its home signal and roam to AT&T where ATT has a stronger signal? or will I be stuck on TMO? Cause thats why I did away with TMO cause they dont have service in my area but ATT does.. and my phone allows me to select which service I want to use but TMO didnt have an agreement with ATT to roam.. But I didnt know how NET10 worked that.. any help would be great..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Net10 T-Mobile SIM will only roam in areas where T-Mobile has no signal. As long as there is a weak T-Mobile signal, the phone will not roam. Roaming is voice and texts only no data.

      Delete
    2. Well from what I have been reading I can order the AT&T sim card and it will work in my (locked) TMO phone do you know this to be true? If so I would rather do that since AT&T has better coverage at my home and my job.

      Delete
    3. A T-Mobile phone would need to be unlocked in order to use an Straight Talk AT&T SIM. Also most T-Mobile phones only get 2G on AT&T.

      Delete
  4. Well I have checked and my phone is a quadband and works with AT&T 4G just not the LTE. Also, Do you know a good reliable source to get a phone unlocked? I tried TMO but they will not give methe unlock code.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry I meant to reply to my previous post but wasnt pay attention. Also, If I cant get 3/4G that isnt a big deal cause I use WiFi at work and home but would rather be on AT&T coverage since it is better where I live then BlowMO

      Delete
    2. T-Mobile will unlock your phone for free provide you meet the following requirements:
      User has a minimum of 60 days of active service with T-Mobile and either a Prepaid Plan account balance of at least $10.00 or a prior refill within the last 30 days.

      If you don't qualify for an unlock there are services that will unlock most phones for a price. I've never used them myself but www.cellunlock.net is supposed to be reputable.

      Delete
  5. Maybe you could help me. The phone I am looking at is unlocked but operates with 850/1900 on GSM and only 1900 on HSDPA (some sources say it has 850 on HSDPA, too, but I've read the opposite also)

    Would this mean that I would only get 2G or Edge speeds?

    The phone I am looking at is the SE Xperia Mini Pro. (mostly for the keyboard, small size, android and low price)

    I'm moderately tech savy, but I don't know cell phones. Thanks for any input! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would get 3G in areas where AT&T has 3G deployed on 1900. It would only get 2G/Edge in areas where AT&T only has 3g on 850.

      Unfortunately AT&T doesn't reveal where they use 1900 for 3G and where they don't.

      Here in San Franciso, AT&T does have 3G on both 1900 and 850. In general, AT&T uses 1900 in more places than it has 850 only.

      cellularmaps.com has some old maps showing 850 vs 1900 coverage (overall, not 3G specific).

      Delete
    2. Thank you, very much. Not only did you answer my question, but provided extra info for my mental digestion!

      I've found conflicting listings for the phone (having or not having 850) but at least I know I have the potential for 3G, and that it would work with ST Sim.

      Delete
  6. my phone spec is Network GSM:850/900/1800/1900
    3G WCDMA 2100MHz

    can i use straight talk 3G??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, you need either WCDMA 850 and 1900 for the Straight Talk AT&T SIM or 1700 for the T-Mobile SIM.

      Delete
  7. i have the zte merit on straight talk. next week i will venture into canada for a few days, will i be able to use my phone there? i remember being warned a long time ago that using your cel phone in canada would result in a some shocking charges on your next bill. wasnt sure how it worked with a prepaid phone. will it simply not function?

    thanks for the awesomely informative site!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your Straight Talk phone is unlikely to work in Canada. Based on the warning (below) from Straight Talk's online Terms of Service page you probably shouldn't even try to use it there.

      International Roaming is strictly prohibited. Straight Talk does not offer international roaming or international long distance service. You will not be able to make or receive calls on your Straight Talk phone if you are traveling outside of the United States. Any attempt to place or receive a call on your Straight Talk phone while traveling outside of the United States could result is service deactivation and account termination without a refund for unused service.

      Delete
    2. i can use it with airplane mode on though right, for the mp3 player for example?

      Delete
    3. Sure, airplane mode disables the phone's radios making it impossible to make or receive a call.

      Delete
  8. whoa! glad i asked, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know my straight talk phone has been cut off. Don't get wrong i do like my phone but I just dont understand why i cant recieve calls or least the chance to check my voicemail or recieve voicemail. this is making me lose out on jobs opportunties that i could respond on my facebook for a position; to be able to pay my phone bill. So why

      Delete
    2. You didn't pay for service and you expect it to work? That's not going to happen.

      Delete
  9. I am travelling to NYC and Miami and someone had suggested Straight Talk but am getting conflicting information if my phone will work in the USA.

    I have an HTC Desire HD from the UK and want to get a Prepaid SIM in the USA to make USA calls, texts and check email.

    These are the specs I found on the HTC website if this helps:

    Network4

    Europe:
    HSPA/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz
    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

    Asia Pacific:
    HSPA/WCDMA: 900/2100 MHz
    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz

    After speaking to various customer service personnel not sure if my unlocked UK phone will work in the USA with Straight Talk Unlimited and there are no refunds once I pay.

    Any advice?

    Many thanks!

    Ann

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as it's unlocked, your Desire HD will work with a Straight Talk SIM. You will only get 2G/Edge data speeds as the phone doesn't support any of the US 3G bands. But it should be fine for email, calls and messaging.

      Delete
    2. Thank you very much for your quick reply!

      Do you think this is the best plan in the US market for calls, email and messaging (unlimited)? Last time on my trip to the USA I bought a prepaid Nokia and SIM and the call reception was terrible! So thought it might be worth exploring this avenue of unlocking my UK phone.

      I looked at your very informative article and went into my Android phone and could find all the APN settings except the last one called AVP protocol - Ivp4 - will this make a difference when I activate my SIM and set it up? Again, thank you so very much for the information and advice! Ann

      APN: att.mvno
      MMSC: http://mmsc.cingular.com
      MMS proxy: 66.209.11.33
      MMS port: 80
      MCC: 310
      MNC: 410
      APN TYPE: default,mms
      AVP protocol: Ipv4

      Delete
    3. Unfortunately, mobile coverage in the US is not nearly as good as it is in the UK. We have quite a few dead spots, especially in rural areas and National Parks. However, a Straight Talk AT&T SIM uses the larger of the two US GSM networks by default and will roam on T-Mobile and regional operators and will give better coverage than any other GSM option.

      AVP Protocol is a typo, it's actually APN Protocol and isn't an option on all phones. If your phone doesn't have an APN Protocol setting it doesn't need one.

      Delete
  10. Thank you! Hopefully will have a much better experience this trip. Ann

    ReplyDelete
  11. So there are really people that are happy with Straight Talk? Over the last week I have had to keep checking your website to be sure. I seem to have made a terrible mistake and bought a refurbished Samsung r451c that has a horrible battery and refuses to activate. I have been on the phone with techs and emailing for days now it seems that they are outright lying about sending a lable to return it for replacement.

    My biggest mistake was proting my number before the new phone was activated, so now I have no phone and emails from customer service that they tried to call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX and it is not working. Um yeah since the phone you sent me won't activate, why would the number work??

    Can you offer any advice? I am trying to find a way to contact the executive resolution center without spending $.25/min on a borrowed phone to get this resolved. Emailing April@corporateresolutions did not seem to help.

    PR

    ReplyDelete
  12. I recommend complaining on Straight Talk's Facebook page. You can also submit a trouble ticket.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Awesome! And your facebook link even works, unlike the one they sent me in an email. I already have a ticket number, but will see if it is the same thing.

    I appreciate all the info you give and was just reading your page about Uprepaid since where I live now I am limited to Verizon and US Cellular for somewhat reliable service. Sorry about the earlier typo's I don't type as well(or remember to use sp check) when I am angry.

    Thanks again,
    PR

    ReplyDelete
  14. I just recently purchase a Chinese made phone with these radio specs:

    Support 3G network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 & WCDMA 850/2100 MHz

    I live in Los Angeles, CA. I want to go with a Straight Talk SIM. From what I understand from the research I've done is that BOTH WCDMA 850 and 1900 bands have to be supported by the phone to get 3G data??? Is that correct?
    Bottom line is will I get 3G data with Straight Talk?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I appreciate all the info you give and you attempt to help resolve the issue with their horrible customer service. After being told on the phone and in emails 4 times over the last 10 days I should wait 24hrs for my prepaid return label to be emailed to me and once that I should wait 3-5 days for it to arrive, I am turning things over to the credit card fraud unit and Better Business Bureau.

    Thanks again for thrying to help though,
    PR

    ReplyDelete
  16. I recently purchased a PREPAID SIM card with StraightTalk after unlocking my HTC Desire HD. I landed in the USA and inserted the new SIM card and adjusted the APN settings and I must say everything worked perfectly! No lost calls, texts and I was anticipating slower browsing but it was not really noticably slower than the UK. Perhaps it was because I was in a big metro area - NYC - and was on AT&T. My next stop is Miami so will report my experiences there once I use the phone. In the past,I have landed in the USA and purchased a basic NOKIA and SIM card and was very disappointed in this arrangement. Calls were difficult to hear, had dropped calls and it was really only good for texting. I had no web browsing. So for a few dollars more this was an excellent option. Many thanks Yeswap for answering all my questions prior to making my decision.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have a currently active tracfone and phone number. I also have a deactivated LG800G tracfone. Can I activate the LG800G tracfone using a straight talk unlimited plan SIM and port my mumber?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, Tracfone's are locked to only accept the SIM they came with or a replacement SIM sent to you by Tracfone for that specific phone. You can't use a Straight Talk SIM in a Tracfone.

      Delete
  18. I am currently researching on whether I should invest in a new ST Android phone (used to have ST, but not Android) or buy the ST SIM for my current phone, a T-Mobile HTC Wildfire S. Which would you recommend?
    HTC Wildfire S Specs:
    3G capable
    GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
    UMTS: 1700/2100, 2100 MHz
    HSDPA 7.2 Mbit/s, UMTS, EDGE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Depends on what you want. Different network? Then which one (Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint)? Better phone on the T-Mobile network?

      If your happy with your phone and T-Mobile coverage and data speed and switching to Straight Talk would save money your Wildfire S would work with a Straight Talk T-Mobile SIM.

      I

      Delete
  19. I just moved to the FL panhandle and T-Mobile network does not cover this area very well. My phone will only work when I activate my WiFi to connect to my home wireless network, which in turn drains my battery pretty quickly. I've done some extensive research about unlocking my T-Mobile bound Wildfire S with a ST SIM card, but most people who have switched with the same type of phone as mine complain that their Internet speeds will not surpass 2G. Have you heard of that happening with the Wildfire S?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The T-Mobile Wildfire S doesn't support AT&T's 3G bands so it will only get 2G with Straight Talk a Straight talk AT&T SIM.

      If Verizon is good in your area I recommend the Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy Proclaim ($180)

      If AT&T coverage is better, you could get the Straight Talk ZTE Merit ($130) but it has even less internal memory than your Wildfire S. Better choices include the Straight Talk AT&T SIM with the Galaxy Nexus sold unlocked by Google ($349) or an unlocked T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy Exhibit 4G ($180) or the AT&T Pantech Crossover ($80 at Amazon)

      Delete
  20. So in answer to your questions, I am not happy with T-Mobile's coverage of this area. I am happy with my phone as far as quality goes, but the internal memory sucks (250 MB), so I'm eyeing the Galaxy Proclaim from ST, which has 1 GB IM in the event I do go with a new phone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can add up to a 32 gb microSD memory card to your wildfire which would take care of your memory issue. If you want a different network; you can go here and see the coverages available in your area: http://www.prepaidphonenews.com/2011/09/coverage-maps-for-all-prepaid-carriers.html
      I have the Proclaim which works great for an entry to mid level android phone.

      Delete
    2. The Wildfire S has low internal memory which is used for installing apps. Unless you root your phone and do the somewhat complicated Apps2SD fix most apps can't be installed on the SD card

      Delete
  21. I'm considering StraightTalk unlimited plan, but I get confused when it comes to gsm vs cdma and trying to decide what phone. I live in Indiana but do travel around the US visiting family and friends. I have never had a data plan so trying to decide on what type of phone is a bit overwhelming. I would mostly use talk and text, but may do some web browsing on occasion or use it for GPS service. Any suggestions/tips would be extremely helpful and appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Among current Straight talk options, I believe the Samsung Galaxy Proclaim, which uses the Verizon network, offers the best combination of coverage and minimal network and phone issues.

      Delete
    2. What do you know about the galaxy S2 with straight talk? Do you know what network it uses? Someone told me to check out that phone.

      Delete
    3. The S2 is a good phone, last year's Samsung flagship and Straight Talk's top of the line. Good screen and camera, dual core processor, lots of memory. The only real drawback is that it runs the older Android 2.3 OS. It uses the AT&T network.

      Delete
    4. Thank you so much Yeswap!! You are a wealth of knowledge and I'm enjoying reading your sites and blogs!!! Have a good evening.

      Delete
  22. Hi Yeswap, does Straight Talk Verizon had 3G or LTE data? Up in the review it says 2G but that is a little hard to believe. Isn't 2G extremely slow?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Straight Talk's Verizon based Android phones support EV-DO 3G but not LTE.

      Delete
  23. Yeswap, I have a friend that just ported his verizon number over to a straight talk galaxy proclaim about 10 days ago. But over the last two days, he has been having mobile data issues with connection timeout errors when using the browser etc. He has called straight talk twice (including the number you have previously mentioned down in Florida) and it has gotten him nowhere. Does he possibly have a buggy phone or have we just not got the right support person on the phone yet that knows what the issue is?

    Any help greatly appreciated

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It might be a bad phone or a setup issue, but timeouts in the browser are usually caused by either a slow or intermittent connection because of a weak signal or a problem with the web site you are trying to visit.

      Toggling Airplane mode on and off often helps with flaky data.

      If you believe that it's a network or phone issue many users have been helped only after submitting a ticket onStraight Talk's Facebook page.

      Also when calling 305-715-6500, when that call center is busy calls are transfered to offshore support which is rarely helpful. Try calling early in the day around 8 AM Eastern. If a receptionist answers with "Executive Resolutions" you are in the right place, otherwise you've been transferred.

      Delete
  24. Hello! You write that "T-Mobile devices use a 1700 Mhz uplink and a 2100 Mhz downlink for 3G and 4G." Maybe 1700mhz is a typo?

    So this is different than using an official T-Mobile card that uses 1900 mhz after the refarm which makes iphones able to use their 3G network?

    I'm hoping to use Straight Talk with my unlocked 4s now that T-Mobile has refarmed in my area...
    I've been told that StraightTalk uses the same freqs as Tmobile, is this wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not a typo. 1700/2100 (also called 1700 Mhz, AWS or UTMS Band IV) is the 3G band that T-Mobile usesGeverywhere that they offer 3g.

      T-Mobile currently uses 1900 Mhz for 2G. The refarming project is switching some of the 1900 spectrum from 2G to 3G In areas where they have sufficient 1900 spectrum to support both technologies.

      That means that in areas that have been refarmed you will get 3G on your iPhone. In areas that have not been refarmed the iPhone will be limited to 2G.

      Delete
    2. There are 18 areas where re-farming has been done, so far. 3G works fine on my 3GS in my local areas where this was done. Data's much faster and the screen shows 3G, then screen switches back to E when I leave those areas.

      Delete
    3. According to T-Mobile, re-farmed markets are Atlanta, Minneapolis, Seattle, Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Washington D.C.

      There are pockets of 1900 Mhz service in other areas (I've seen it in San Francisco) but there's not enough coverage in those areas for T-Mobile to announce them as live yet.

      There's a user-generated map of 1900 Mhz 3G at airportal.de/

      Delete
    4. On 12/13/12, Tmobile CTO announced they have upgraded 23 metro areas and this reaches >100M people. He mentions that 5 newly upgraded areas include refarming (he did not say ALL areas have this). He also explains that the iPhone 4S was tested and ran data 70% faster than AT&T in re-farmed areas (IMO this varies a lot by exact location).

      http://blog.t-mobile.com/2012/12/13/t-mobile-enhances-coverage-in-five-new-metro-areas-to-reach-100-million-people/
      http://www.phonescoop.com/articles/article.php?a=11653

      Delete
    5. If you click on the 'refarm' tag on the Tmobile blog and read the description of each announcement of metro area upgrades, they all mention that AT&T smartphones will have access to faster data on 1900 channel.

      Delete
    6. Yes, but some metro areas are not fully covered; they are continuing to expand, but currently do not cover the whole market. E.G., in Washington DC area, they cover ~ 6 areas, to include downtown, Falls Church, Tyson's Corner, Alexandria, Arlington and some MD areas. Driving the Beltway West in MD, you pick up 3G around Rockville exit, and carry it all the way to the Potomac river bridge. You lose it until Tyson's Corner. Then you have 3G from there until 1 mile before Hunter Mill Rd. exit on the Tollroad. Sometimes 3G will pop up for a short time, then disappear in other areas.

      Delete
    7. Here's a link to the T-Mobile blog posts that Anonymous posted: blog.t-mobile.com/tag/refarm/. Thanks.

      Delete
  25. Ok Thx... So Straight Talk TMobile 3G in my area should work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it should if your location has been refarmed.

      Delete
  26. which sims card will my phone work with
    2g-850,900,1800,1900mhz
    3g wcdma-850,1900,2100mhz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it's unlocked it will work with either the AT&T or T-Mobile SIM card. With the T-Mobile card it will only get 3G data in refarmed 1900 Mhz areas as it lacks T-Mobile's primary 1700 Mhz 3G band.

      Delete
  27. I just ordered a SIM card for my Nexus 4 from Straight Talk before reading your informative articles. I chose Unlocked GSM Phone. You indicate I could get either ATT or T-Mobile service. I would prefer AT&T. If my order confirmation says AT&T Compatible Micro SIM does that mean the SIM card will be for AT&T not T-Mobile? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The AT&T compatible SIM will be for AT&T.

      Delete
    2. Great thanks. Your site is the first place I have found for reliable and detailed info. But more questions.
      With Straight Talk and an AT&T SIM card in the Nexus 4 will I get roaming on the T-Mobile network if it is available and AT&T isn't? (Just voice calls and texting - not data?)

      Would the same be true for a Tracfone LG 840G with an AT&T SIM card?

      Thank you!!!

      Delete
    3. Roaming is tricky. Straight Talk and Tracfone AT&T SIMs will roam on T-Mobile in areas where Tracfone has a roaming agreement which is usually only in markets where AT&T doesn't claim to offer service at all. You normally can't roam in markets where AT&T sells service even if AT&T's service is down or overloaded or you are in a localized dead spot.

      Delete
  28. If you had the same model phone from Straight Talk, Net10 and Tracfone, and all had AT&T SIMs, would there be any difference in coverage, reception or performance between Straight Talk, Net10 and Tracfone? Do all three provide the same coverage and have access to the same towers and AT&T services? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably, but no one knows for sure outside of Tracfone. The new coverage maps on the Tracfone and Straight Talk sites appear identical.

      It also looks like Tracfone and Straight Talk AT&T SIMs both lost a bit of coverage recently, for example along I-80 in Nevada which used to be T-Mobile roaming but is now no coverage.

      Delete
    2. How do you know when you are on T-Mobile roaming?
      Does the phone indicate it?
      Do the Tracfone and Straight Talk maps show those areas?

      Delete
    3. Not sure about ST phones, but when a Tmobile phone roams, it shows ATT vs Tmobile in upper left corner of screen, near the signal strength indicator.

      Delete
  29. Hello I am looking to purchase samsung galaxy s2 sgh i777 unlocked
    the bands say GSM/GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA (UMTS), HSPA
    GSM 800/950/1800/1900 Quadband WCDMA (UMTS) 850/1900/2100
    Will this work with my ATT sim from Straight talk /And will I get 3G like I do now on my iphone 3G/ Can ST get 4G on this phone or any phone like the samsung s2 offered from ST??

    ReplyDelete
  30. It will work fine with a Straight Talk AT&T SIM.

    4G is a meaningless marketing term. The Galaxy SII will get HSPA+ data which most people call 3G but which AT&T called 4G until they got LTE. No phone on Straight Talk can get LTE.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hello. I have an unlocked iPhone 4S that was previously used on the Verizon network. I am looking to move to Straight Talk and would like to be able to use the Verizon towers since it is the only service that will work in my area. Since this phone is CDMA, will I need some sort of a Sim card to get it to work with Straight Talk?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can't use your own phone on Straight talk and get Verizon service, only AT&T or T-Mobile. For Straight Talk Verizon you must use a Straight Talk phone.

      Delete
  32. Hi there Yeswap, i have a iphone 4, i want to buy the straight talk plan, of 45 unlimited.. i live in puerto rico, and my phone carrier is At&t. my 2 year with them is over. looking to lower my monthly bills. if i want to switch to straight talk and take my number with me, do they port my number from At&T,and disconect me from AT&T.. dont want to have 2 monthly bills..how does this work? and the other question, if y travel to US, could i use my phone there.. or i would be charge for roaming? and if i live in puerto rico what plan should i get to call to US? considering that Puerto Rico is part of US? or with the unlimited plan i can make calls to US? hope you reply back as soon as possible, thnaks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you call Straight Talk to activate your phone tell them ythat you want to port your number and they will take it from there. You will need to give them the number you want to port, account holder's name and address and the account PIN. When the port completes your AT&T service will automatically be cancelled.

      Straight Talk AT&T based phones with Puerto Rico numbers will work in the mainland US, Hawaii and Alaska with no extra charges.

      Delete
    2. thnaks, i have an iphone 4.. do i need to buy a sim card, or sd card ? or can i use mines the same one i have on my phone? i seen on some other forum that theres a bundle in walmart the monthly service plan and the sim card is this true? or i need to bye it staight from staright talk..

      Delete
    3. what sim card is the one i should buy the sim card or micro sd card? when i bought my iphone 4 i had my card cut, because it was to big to fit on my iphoine 4.

      Delete
    4. and my last question , it will work on a 3g or 2g .. seen alot of post that it will receive Edge/2G service only..is this true?

      Delete
    5. You need a micro-SIM card for your iPhone 4.

      Walmart does have a Straight Talk SIM Card Bundle that includes a micro-SIM and $45 airtime card for $54.96, a $5 savings.

      You will get 3G speeds everywhere that you do now with AT&T

      Delete
  33. Great blog! I plan to give Straight Talk a shot with the Samsung Galaxy Proclaim as I live in a rural area and it's Verizon or nothing. My Kindle 3G/Wifi shows 2 to 3 bars of 3G at my home.

    1st question: Can I use a signal booster to crank the gain on 3G reception?

    2nd question: My wife and I have two phones on a Verizon family share plan with one account number. She wants to stay with Verizon, but as a single user, and I want a smart phone with my old number ported to it. Will she get bumped from Verizon also?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those foil sticker "signal boosters" don't work on any phone, ever. If you are talking about a Wilson amplifier or similar product, yes those do work.

      I'm not knowledgeable about the intricacies of Verizon contract pricing but I'm sure there's a way to do what you want. Give Verizon a call or visit a store.

      Delete
  34. I have an iPhone 4 from at&t, straight talk's website says I have to purchase an unlimited plan for activation. Can i switch to the all you need plan later?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The All You Need Plan only works with Straight Talk's branded non-smartphones. The iPhone and other smartphones are only allowed on the unlimited plans.

      Delete
  35. Hi Yeswap,
    I am thinking about getting a Verizon Straight Talk cell phone. However, is it worth splurging for the iPhone? I mean, i don't want to spend too much money but I want a decent smartphone. Like, im paying 45 a month for cell service and I want to be able to take full advantage of it and use data service at a fast rate and with a good smartphone experience>? do you think that the proclaim will suffice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Proclaim is a solid mid range phone, one of Straight Talk's best Android phones. The iPhone has a better screen and a more intuitive and more attractive user interface and is more of a luxury product and status symbol. I would be happy with either. There would be no difference in data speed. The iPhone is better but not 2.5 times better though it costs 2.5 times as much.

      Delete
  36. i paid for my minutes on the first of this month why is my phone saying its deactivated this is bull shit

    ReplyDelete
  37. Can you activate a 3G Verizon (out of contract) phone onto Straight Talk CDMA coverage? If so, where can you go to get it programmed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, bring your own phone is only available for GSM phones (AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.) not CDMA phones like Verizon.

      Delete
  38. If someone tries to use a Straight Talk SIM card that doesn't have the Unlimited plan on it in an Unlocked phone, will it not recognize the SIM card? Or, how would the phone act if it didn't meet this requiremnt. Thanks for your quick response before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It won't work. Depending on the phone you might get an error like "Invalid SIM" or "Emergency Calls Only" but in any case calling (except to 911), texting and data will not work

      Delete
  39. Will my pantech pbr46a work as a straighttalk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only if unlocked. That's an AT&T Pantech Breeze II, right. Straight Talk no longer sells AT&T compatible SIMs, only T-Mobile compatible ones. The phone would need to be unlocked to use the T_Mobile based SIM.

      Delete
  40. I have a galaxy s phone that was with Verizon. Can this phone be flashed to ST and work? It is a CDMA phone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Verizon's version of the Galaxy S is called the Fascinate. If that's what you have you will be able to use it on Straight talk without flashing once Straight Talk's CDMA BYOD program goes live.

      Delete
  41. Yeswap/Dennis- I am pretty confused with the different coverage offered by Straight Talk for the different phones. I understand if I have a Verizon phone I will get Verizon coverage, T-Mobile phone T-Mobile coverage. What if I buy an unlocked iphone or blackberry online? Which network will those use? Basically I want the new Blackberry Q10 and my boyfriend wants an iPhone5 and we want to be on straight talk VERIZON coverage. Is this possible? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An unlocked BlackBerry Q10 with a Straight Talk SIM would be on T-Mobile as would an unlocked iPhone 5.

      Straight Talk sells their own version of the iPhone 5 and a BlackBerry Curve that work on Verizon but you can't activate your own Verizon iPhone 5 or Q10 on Straight Talk's Verizon based service.

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much- very helpful!!

      Delete
  42. I just purchased a HTC One X 16GB Unlocked GSM Phone with Android 4.0 OS, Audio Beats, Super IPS LCD2 Touchscreen, 8MP Camera, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth - Gray.

    I have a unopened Straight Talk SIM Card also.

    Will this work with Straight Talk?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will work provided, the phone's not blacklisted because it was reported stolen or stolen, or the previous owner's AT&T account is in collection.

      Delete
  43. Dennis, Here is an interesting article by a reliable source. Is Straight Talk about to announce a hard cap?!
    http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/technology/more-data-less-money-your-smartphone/nYTyJ/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is indeed interesting. Clark Howard, who has a long running, nationally syndicated radio show covering consumer issues and ripoff is claiming that Straight Talk will soon implement a 2.5 GB soft cap with throttled data hard capped at 4 GB.

      Howard hints that his information comes Straight Talk but doesn't really give a source.

      Personally I think that Straight Talk sales have been in decline in the last few months as a result of increased competition and word of month about the hidden caps and throttling. Straight Talk needs to change their data policy to restore credibility. They need to:
      1. Document their data caps
      2. Provide a way for the user to track data use online or with short codes that return the number of MDs used or remaining in the plan month.
      3. Eliminate the streaming and tethering prohibitions which are unnecessary with a hard cap.

      Delete
  44. i have a phone that is GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz WCDMA 850/2100MHz would i be able to use it for straight talk?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Provided it's unlocked that phone should work on Straight Talk.

      But it lacks both of T-Mobile's 3G bands and one of AT&T's so data will be 2G in all areas with a T-Mobile Straight talk SIM.

      With an AT&T Straight Talk SIM it will get 3G data in some areas but not in as many as a phone with 850 and 1900 Mhz WCDMA support would.

      Delete
  45. Hi I have a unlocked phone thats say GSM:900/1900MHz WCDMA:2100MHz would that work with straight talk???? thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It won't work very well. The phone is missing all three of the US 3G (WCDMA) bands (850, 1700, 1900) so it will only get slow 2G data.

      It's also one of the two US voice 2G (GSM) bands (850, 1900) so get won't get service in some areas that use 850 Mhz only.

      Delete
  46. I have an unlocked phone that has a space for both CDMA and GMS sims. Can I use bothy slots and get better coverage?

    ReplyDelete
  47. I travel between usa and pr frequently . My at&t contract ended and am getting coflicting info about straight talk in puerto rico working. True or false?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AT&T based Straight Talk phones will work in Puerto Ricep. Verizon based ST phones won't. I'm not 100% sure about the T-Mobile and Sprint based ones but I believe they will also work in Puerto Rico.

      Delete
  48. please help.. i bought a phone from china its a android 3g htm a6 phone this it what it says is compatible
    WiFi: 802.11b/g/n wireless internet
    Network type: GSM+WCDMA
    Frequency: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz WCDMA 850/2100MHz
    Support 3G : Yes
    Bluetooth: Yes
    i use straight talk now and they sent me a t mobile sims im only getting 2g edge ughhh! why is this and if i find an at&t sims will i then get the 3g thanx so much for your help in advance :) karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WCDMA is 3G. T-Mobile uses 1700 and 1900 Mhz for WCDMA so no 3G.
      AT&T has WCDMA on 850 and 1900 Mhz. In some markets it uses both, in others one or the other so you have a better chance of getting 3G with AT&T.

      Delete
  49. ohhh thank you so very much i was worried since this was an old post you may not respond truly ty.... they sent me a set of sims but only micro for at&t and standard for tmobile so i used tmobile and its only going the 2g blahhhhh so i ordered on net 2 standard at&t ones figured if dident wrk with straight talk possibly could get it on net 10 fingers crossed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. may i also ask since i put a straight talk card in my own phone will it be locked to them for good :( or can i leave them and go to net 10 for the at&t service if need be soooo sry for all the questions but greatly appreciate ur help.. karen

      Delete
    2. No putting the Straight Talk SIM in doesn't lock the phone, you should be able to use a NET10 SIM.

      Delete
    3. may i ask?? i in butler pa 16001 which company would you try in this area so i can get 3g i dont do anything heavy i just hate being slow ;) ty once again any input would be great

      Delete
    4. hi dennis sry to bother you again so i went n changed the tmobil sims to the net 10 at&t sims to get the wcdma and 3 g and it worked but now im not receiving pic messages ughhhhhhh please help do you know the settings i need i used a couple apn things any info you could supply like all the settings i need now ty karen

      Delete
  50. i am planing on getting a unlocked pantech p8000 crossover and using the straight talk plan and i want to know if that phone will work in seward alaska

    ReplyDelete
  51. It should. Be sure to get a Straight talk AT&T SIM. Check the AT&T coverage map to verify there's AT&T native coverage where you need it.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi! I am looking to buy this phone its a 5" Dual Sim Dual Core 3G WiFi Android 4.2 Unlocked Mobile Smart Cell Phone AT&T.
    Frequency
    Sim 1 :GSM850/900/1800/1900MHZ / 3G (WCDMA 850/2100MHZ )
    Sim 2 : GSM850/900/1800/1900MHZ

    I am not sure what all of it means but what straight talk activation kit would I need to buy?Would it be 3g and is it a decent phone to get?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That phone only has one of AT&T's two 3G (WCDMA) bands and neither of T-Mobile's. It would work the best with an AT&T SIM but wouldn't get 3G in many places where other phones would.

      Based on the specs it sounds like a cheap no-name phone that's not intended for the US market. I wouldn't spend any of my money on it.

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much. I am wanting to get a phone off ebay since i found out you can get unlocked phones for straight talk. Just don't really know what to look for for it to be a decent phone. I also came across a Samsung Galaxy Trend Duos GT-S7562 White Unlocked Android 4.0 Dual Sim & Cam

      Cellular Band: GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 (Quadband) HSPA/UMTS 850/1900/2100

      Is that a better phone and what kit would that one need for straigh talk? Thank you for taking the time to answer my question so I don't go spend money on a phone that doesn't work well.

      Delete
    3. It's a better quality phone but it's old, the processor is slow and it runs an old version (ICS) of Android.

      Plus, I think the Ebay seller is misrepresenting the 3G bands the phone supports. The Samsung site and GSMArena say the GT-S7562 only supports 3G on the 900 and 1800 bands which aren't used in the US so the phone would be 2G only Straight talk.

      I think you would be better off with a modern phone designed for the US market. Some I recommend are:
      - T-Mobile LG Optimus F6 $129.99 locked but will work with a Straight Talk T-Mobile SIM or it can be unlocked for less than $2 to work with a Straight talk AT&T SIM.
      - AT&T GoPhone ZTE Z998 locked but will work with a Straight Talk AT&T SIM
      - Motorola Moto G $179 factory unlocked.

      All three have 4.5 inch screens, dual core processors (quad-core on the Moto G) and US 3G and 4G HSPA+. The Optimus F6 also has 4G LTE. The F6 and Z998 run JellyBean and the Moto G has KitKat.

      Delete
    4. Thank you again for all your help. So you wouldn't recommend any Samsungs. I had a Samsung Galaxy Proclaim. It was a decent phone. Never had a problem with service but not very good with games and I'm looking for a phone that can skype and is good with games. Plus I really like Straight Talk plans. Any suggestions on that or just the previous ones?

      Delete
    5. Samsung makes good phones, the Samsung Galaxy Express is an excellent phone that will work with a Straight talk AT&T SIM.

      Delete
  53. ST's website now indicates high-speed data is capped at 3 GB instead of 2.5 GB.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Dennis,
    I've been using a ST Samsung Galaxy Proclaim for the last year and a half a have, generally, been pleased with the phone but I'm looking to possibly upgrade the phone. I want to remain connected to Verizon, but I can't tell from the ST descriptions which carrier each phone uses. Can you tell me which currently available (or soon to be released) ST Android phones are connected to Verizon. Is it yet possible to bring your own unlocked Verizon phone to ST?
    THANKS, Jim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See How to Tell Which Network (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint or Verizon) a TracFone, NET10 or Straight Talk Phone Uses for a continuously updated list of which networks the different models of Straight Talk phones use.

      You can also use clean ESN 3G Verizon postpaid phones on Straight Talk. See The Best Smartphones For Page Plus, Selectel and Other Verizon MVNOs and Where to Find Them

      Delete
  55. This is a great site. In reviewing all of the options, I think I am looking at using straight talk. Based on my area - the Verizon network is the choice (and my current provider). I have an iphone and can bring it, but the one thing about Straight talk and the iphone 6 selection is the only available model directly from straight talk is the 16gb model. Can I purchase a larger gb iphone from somewhere (?) and then use it as a BYOD? Does the iphone 6 have to be a certain model or purchased from a certain place so it is not locked to a provider and thus not able to be brought to straight talk? Thanks for the help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Straight Talk's iPhone 6 is on AT&T.

      If you want an iPhone 6 on the Verizon network you must buy the Verizon specific iPhone 6 model from Verizon or the Apple Store.

      Straight Talk Verizon can't currently activate LTE phones like the iPhone 6. Verizon Prepaid and PagePlus can.

      Delete
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