Less than a week ago America Movil's Straight Talk Wireless launched a CDMA Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) program that let users activate most Verizon phones on Straight Talk's $45/month unlimited, voice messaging and data plan. As of today that option is no longer available!
CDMA activations were handled by a dedicated web site at straighttalkbyop.com (image above, right). That URL now redirects to straighttalksim.com, which only sells T-Mobile based Straight Talk SIM cards with no option to activate a CDMA phone.
The BYOP programs of the other two America Movil brands that offered CDMA BYOP, NET10 and Telcel America, are also offline and redirecting to their respective SIM sites.
Straight Talk hasn't issued any explanation for the sudden disappearance of CDMA program. Their social media representatives on Twitter and Facebook are ignoring questions about it, although they are online and responding to other queries.
The BYOP disappearance could be a technical glitch but it seems more likely that the program has been deliberately halted, either temporarily or permanently. This all seems so similar to the sudden end of Straight Talk's AT&T SIM program in January. Hopefully the BYOP sites just were taken down temporarily to work out some bugs in the program. This post will be updated when I find out more.
Update 4/16, 9 AM PDT: Thanks to a couple of readers comments we now know that Straight Talk is blaming that the unavailability of BYOD CDMA on a temporary website issue. Here's a private message HowardForums member Deathcab recieved from Straight talk social media support rep Sara;
Hi Deathcab,Update 4/16, 5:30 PM PDT: BYOD CDMA appears to be dead; Straight Talk and NET10 representatives on Facebook and HowardForums are saying "we no longer offer a BYOP (Bring Your Own Phone) CDMA program". Telephone support for both brands is telling callers the same thing. Here's an updated private message from Straight Talk that Deathcab posted HowardForums:
I noticed your post in this forum, and I will be addressing your query.
We apologize for the inconvenience. Our website has issues as of the moment, and we are still working to get this issue situated. Please allow us 24 hours to get it fixed. Feel free to send us an email at [email protected] if you have further questions. Thanks!
Straight Talk Wireless
Hi Deathcab,I doubt we will ever hear the true story of why the four day old program was so suddenly cancelled. Here are a couple of theories:
We apologize for the inconvenience. We just received an update that the Verizon CDMA phones are no longer compatible with our Bring Your Own Phone program. We will keep you up to date regarding this issue.
Feel free to send us an email at [email protected] if you have further questions. Thank you!
Theory 1 - Someone in high level management at Verizon decided that letting customers switch their iPhones to Straight Talk at half the monthly cost was not in the company's best interest. However that seems unlikely as Verizon surely had to approve BYOP for it launch in the first place.
Theory 2 - Show stopper issues in the BYOP activation and provisioning process. Perhaps so many activations were failing that resolving them was taking up an inordinate amount of time. America Movil may have halted the program to try and rework the process to make it more robust and maintainable. If and when the problems are fixed CDMA BYOP will return
I think Theory 2 is the likeliest.