News & Special Offers
Home > Reviews > Cellular > Straight Talk Review – Bring Your Own Phone Program
Buy any Straight Talk phone and get FREE Shipping!

Straight Talk Review – Bring Your Own Phone Program

I have been testing out the Straight Talk service for a little bit now, so I figured I would post a review of how it has been going.  There have been many questions from readers in regards to this topic, as I am sure many have been wondering how to get away from the big carriers, AT&T and Verizon.  Since I am using the Straight Talk bring your own phone program, that is what I will be reviewing.  Straight Talk has expanded this service to allow for both AT&T and T-Mobile service depending on where you live.  This program was initially just limited to GSM technology, but they have opened it up to CDMA phones.  You can be up and running in less than 30 minutes after you get your SIM card.

Get the iPhone 5 from Straight Talk. You can choose between theiPhone 5s and iPhone 5c!

Straight Talk BYOP Program Breakdown

Straight Talk offers two programs for anyone wanting to move to prepaid.  They have their regular service, where you purchase a phone from them and get their service.  Their phones are usually lower end smartphones or “dumb” phones equipped with Straight Talk’s service.  You pay for service each month and it is pretty straight forward.

Straight Talk Review   Bring Your Own Phone Program reviews cellular service reviews Their BYOP program requires you to already have an unlocked GSM phone (usually a phone that works on AT&T or T-Mobile, not Verizon or Sprint, which is CDMA) and you have to purchase their SIM card*.  You only have a choice between SIM cards that work on the AT&T network or the T-Mobile network.  This will be based on your location.  Straight Talk will analyze which network will work best in your area.

*Update: Straight Talk does have a CDMA BYOP program as well. It is not the same as the GSM BYOP program, but many people do have success with it. You just have to register your phone with Straight Talk and then they can see if it will be compatible. It doesn’t work with Blackberry and it appears to only work with iPhone 4 and 4S.

Once the figure out the network that will work best for you, you can purchase the SIM card that will fit your phone, which will be a micro sim or mini SIM.  You have options when purchasing the 30 day service, which are $45 for domestic or $60 for international.  This includes unlimited talk, unlimited text, voicemail, and unlimited data*.

* Although they say unlimited data, there is a know limit of around 2GB a month.  If you are a heavy data user, then Straight Talk is not going to be a service for you.

Straight Talk Review   Bring Your Own Phone Program reviews cellular service reviews

SIM Installation & Activation

I was able to get free 3-day shipping from Straight Talk with my SIM card and my $45/month service plan.  They shipped me a card with the plan that included a code in order to activate the plan.  If you want to continue the plan without interruption, then they allow you to enter your credit card number for monthly billing.

When my SIM card arrived, I went to the Straight Talk website and activated the SIM card.  Since I am testing the service, I decided to just get a new number and make the process quick and painless.  You can transfer your current number to Straight Talk, but make sure you have them transfer the number before you cancel service at your current carrier.  After putting the in SIM card number, I installed the SIM into my phone.  That took about 1 minute total to complete.  During the SIM card activation process, I was able to input my plan number, so it was ready to go once the SIM card was active.

Straight Talk Review   Bring Your Own Phone Program reviews cellular service reviews

Once your SIM is active, you will have to update your phone data settings.  This is a pretty easy process which requires you to go into your phone settings and add a new APN into your mobile networks settings.  If it is a new phone, then there will probably be one default APN that can be deleted after your create your new APN for Straight Talk’s service.  Here are the APN data settings for both AT&T (first table) and T-Mobile (second table).

Straight Talk Review   Bring Your Own Phone Program reviews cellular service reviews Straight Talk Review   Bring Your Own Phone Program reviews cellular service reviews

 

Service Quality

After getting up and running, I was able to start testing out the call quality and data speeds.  The first thing I did was call my wife with the new phone to see how it sounded.  The call quality was crisp and sounded better than my Verizon Droid Bionic phone.  Now the call quality is going to be dependent on your phone and your carrier.  So far I am happy with Straight Talk’s call quality.  Since I am using the AT&T network, I should expect it to be pretty good, especially in my area.  I have not experienced any drop calls or fuzzy connections, which is good.  Here is the current coverage map for Straight Talk’s service.

Straight Talk Review   Bring Your Own Phone Program reviews cellular service reviews

The second thing I did was to compare my data speeds on my Verizon Droid and my Google Galaxy Nexus with Straight Talk.  The best way to do this would be to download the Speedtest.net app.  This application is able to run a simple speed test in order to find out what your upload and download speed is.  Some of you may say that my Verizon phone uses 4G LTE, but my Nexus phone does not.  While I am aware of this, I do not turn on the 4G LTE as it continues to drop off anytime I want to use an app.  This is not ideal and not worth my time.  For the sake of comparison, I tested both phones using 3G speeds.

The data speeds that I received from Straight Talk were comparable to what I receive on Verizon.  Both were around 4MB download and 1.5MB upload.  While these are not blazing fast speeds, they are more than sufficient for me and how I use my phone.  Again, these are not 4G speeds, nor will they ever be.  I tested my data speeds in different locations around town.  The only place where the speeds were noticeable different were at my house.  Straight Talk blew Verizon out of the water near my home.  That is an easy win for me.

After testing data speeds and call quality, I decided to send out some text messages.  This was an easy test to complete and I found no real differences between Straight Talk and Verizon.  Both handled messages, either SMS or MMS, easily.  I do not text message as much as some people, but I am happy with the service I get from both providers.

The RoundUp

If you are looking at an alternative to post-paid plans such as Verizon and AT&T, then I would recommend Straight Talk.  The setup process was simple and fast along with their pricing.  Their BYOP program is a win-win situation for anyone that wants an unlocked phone.  The call quality and data speeds are equal to what I receive from Verizon, so I have nothing bad to say there.  I have not had to deal with their customer service, but from what I have heard, the best way to get them is by using their facebook page.  I am usually pretty handy, so I rarely have to contact customer service.  The big plus about prepaid is that if I am not getting the service I expect, then I can just move on to another provider.  I am not tied down to anything.

Straight Talk Review   Bring Your Own Phone Program reviews cellular service reviews

As I continue to use my phone with Straight Talk, I will update this post with anything that may help others in their search for a prepaid provider.  There are many prepaid providers out there that can allow you to get away from a cell phone contract.  I would recommend that you test out a few before settling on one, but then enjoy your monthly savings, such as putting away your take into a high-interest savings account.

Do you have any experience with Straight Talk’s bring your own phone program?  If so, let me know.

Subscribe to Debt Roundup
You will receive an email when a new post goes up on DR. Your email address is NEVER shared!
Straight Talk Review   Bring Your Own Phone Program reviews cellular service reviews

About Grayson Bell

I am an average Joe, who built up over $50,000 worth of credit card debt and had to learn how to break it back down. It took 4 years of learning budgets, secrets, and many other personal finance tricks in order to cut the debt to $0. Now, I push to teach others not only how to get out of debt, but how to use credit wisely and how to start growing their wealth. You can view my other site, Sprout Wealth for ways to grow your money. I am also a freelance personal finance writer who provides staff writing and ghost writing services.

187 comments

  1. great write up. i have been looking at straighttalk for a good while.

    this write up helps me understand what i can look forward to and see if the switch will make me happy. my at&t contract is already expired, so if i can use a sim card from at&t but pay less then i am happy.

    PJ

    • I am glad I can help you out PJ.

      • Hi grayson. I’m not sure if you still go on here or not but my husband and i baught samsung galaxy s duos phones and have straight talk byop service but everytime we try to send each other pictures or anyone pictures for that matter it says failed not sure why we can’t send pictures do we have to add a certain network for that or should i just call straight talk and see what they say ? Please send me a email back if you can help me thank you

        • Hello Karen,

          Do you have the right APN settings for MMS? Straight Talk has specific setting depending on the network you are using. If you have the correct APN settings, then I am not sure what is happening.

        • i had the same problem with my att phone not sending pictures, i could receive them just not send them. i spent hours on the phone s with st and att and no one could help. i had it for about a month and all of a sudden it started working just fine. so im not sure what the problem was or why it did it.

  2. Thank you for this write up. It is exactly what I was looking for. One Question though…Does the phone have to be unlocked, or can you just use the phone say from AT&T with a sim purchased from them for AT&T?
    Thanks again.

    • Hello Shane. It can be unlocked or AT&T (locked) compatible. If you have been using it on AT&T then you should be able to purchase the AT&T sim and use it with no issues. You might have to mess with a few APN settings, but those are in the manual that comes with the SIM card. Just make sure you don’t get the T-Mobile SIM for the AT&T phone as it will not work.

  3. Hello, what happens to previous apps? I have a iPhone and wondering how can I use iTunes.

    • Hello Patricia. Thank you for asking this question, but it would be best suited for Straight Talk to answer this one. I didn’t encounter this as I bought a new phone.

  4. Hello All, I just wanted to share my experience with Straight Talk BYOP service. First of all im in Jacksonville,FL using the micro sim cards on the Nexus 4 and couldnt be happier. Its a great deal, you get ATT service at a really good price. Running the Speedtest.net app, I have downloaded as high as 6.39 Mbps and upload 1.52 mbps. The ping time is in the low 100ms range which is fine for what you need to do on your cell phone. I havent used more than 1GB of data, so I dont know if they start to throttle after 2gb or not. I hear that is the new thing. They will not terminate your account, just throttle to Edge speeds (latest info I could find). I highly recommend unless you like to call and talk to the customer service reps for whatever reason. ;) total comes to 48.92 after all taxes on the 45 dollar plan.

  5. Thanks for the article. I am very interested in trying Straight Talk, but do have questions. The phones I’ve been looking at have the following network frequencies. Since they do have the gsm frequency needed for AT&T, does that mean any of these would work ok? Would any actually be a better option than others? I’d appreciate your input. If these would not be good, please tell me the best network frequency to look for.

    GSM 850/900/1800/1900 WCDMA 850/1900/2100MHz.
    GSM 850/900/1800/1900 WCDMA 2100MHz.
    GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz.

    • Hello Bob. Thank you for your comment. Straight talk currently only uses the following two frequencies: 850 and 1900 MHz. If you have phone that works on those frequencies, then your phone should work fine.

      • Is it possible to get 4G on Straight Talk? What phone or specs would I need for it?

        • Hello Bob, while it is possible to get “4G” on Straight Talk, most have not had success with keeping it. This is only dealing with speeds and it is not 4G LTE that is advertised by AT&T or Verizon. It is more like 4G HSPA+, which is still a good speed, but not as fast as LTE. You have to search the internet to get the right APN settings in order to enable 4G. The APN settings provided by Straight Talk are for their 3G HSPA. Good luck.

  6. How much is the SIM card?

    • Sims from Straight Talk are currently at $14.99, but check places like RetailMeNot to find a coupon code to get it cheaper. There are many ways to get it for about $5.

  7. HI. I have t-mobile. service sucks. all that is available that can get for the sim card is at&t. will this sim card work for my phone? and, do i need to continue buying unlimited plans after transaction?

    • Hello Pugsy. If you have a t-mobile phone, then you will need the t-mobile card. You will have to have an unlocked phone in order to use either card, so check your phone to see if it is unlocked.

      • My question with this though, I’m in the same boat as Pugsy where T-Mobile just has horrible service in the area I moved to. If I switch to Straight Talk and get a T-Mobile sim card to work in my current phone, would I still be only using the T-Mobile service network and not AT&T’s?

        If that is the case then this really wouldn’t be a viable solution for me as I’d lose the one thing that allows me to use my phone at all, T-Mobiles VOIP service.

        I wish this info was more in depth on their site, it’s frustrating only seeing a glorified flier rather than an In Depth help page to make up for not having customer service personnel.

        Thanks in advance!

        • Hello TyDeL,

          If you get the T-mobile SIM from ST, then you will be using T-mobile’s service. There would be no point to switch unless you just wanted to pay less. If you are on T-mobile’s prepaid plan, then there would definitely be no reason to switch.

          I agree about their website being horrible. They are missing a lot of data and their customer service isn’t good at all. You have to resort to going on forums to find common answers. I guess this is the price to pay for a cheaper cell phone plan. Good luck!

  8. One thing you need to realize, and people really need to raise the complaint levels to Straighttalk about their computerized Data Throttling…while they claim unlimited, they ARE NOT. They will tell you that it is 2gb or 5gb or whatever lie the incompetent rep tells that day, it’s not. It’s whatever, whenever, without warning and is more uncomfortable than eating glass to resolve. And then it will just happen again…and again…and again. They drop you to 0.16mbps for almost any reason…this month I’ve used a little over 900mb of data in the first 22 days. I used about 150mb today & lost data connection alltogether. When I rebooted the phone as a last result, blammo…0.16mbps & they’ll play dumb & swear you’re not being throttled, but you are. It’s computer controlled, so any number of things will trigger it. I know people that have downloaded over 20gb in a month & not been throttled, yet I get nailed for 900mb in 22 days. There is no consistency, no rhyme or reason…and it’s near impossible to get fixed without reprovisioning. If they don’t expect you to use data, why let us bring smart phones? Then we’re trapped paying a bill without it….even for a month it sucks.

    • Hello Scott,

      Yes they do have throttling issues. Most say it is around 2GB per month, but they also say that you can be throttled by using more than 100mb per day, which it seems is what you did. I do agree that they shouldn’t advertise unlimited data. Since ST gets their data allotment from AT&T or T-Mobile, they can only allow so much at one time in order to not slow down other people. If you are using too much, then you get throttled. I don’t agree with the ways that they do it, but it is what it is.

  9. I have two att phones, both are currently “shut off” for non payment (UGH $300 for one month with activation fees), can I use those on straight talk? Or will they not work?

    • You should be able to use those on ST as long as they provide you with the AT&T sim card. There could be some issues with them being shut off for non payment, but I can’t speak to that on a technical level.

  10. I have used the Straight Talk BYOP program for about 6 months now. No problems. I am not a big data user so I haven’t encountered any “throttling” issues.

    I bought a Motorola MB860 off Ebay for $175. Its a decent smart phone and does the job. I was on the Straight Talk monthly plan, just about $50 a month including taxes. I decided to go to their annual plan.for $495.

    I get no monthly bills and have no contract. Pay $500 once a year. I hate cell phone bills. I figure I am saving about $50 a month under this arrangement. No regrets whatsoever. Glad I did it!

  11. Been a Straight Talk customer for about 8 months now, and this will be my last month with this carrier. What initially made Straight Talk attractive to me was their promise of unlimited talk, text and web for only $45/month, and being able to use my AT&T branded/locked Motorola Atrix HD Android powered smartphone.

    The big problem with Straight Talk is that their service is NOT unlimited. If you exceed an unknown daily data/web usage limit, they will cut your Internet speed down to a crawling halt, making simple emails almost impossible. Some people claim it’s 2GB/month before it happens – that’s a myth. They have computers setup, that automatically calculate your usage on a daily basis, and the usage threshold is pretty low.

    I have had this happen to me after one weeks use, and all I did was write emails, check Facebook, read news articles online and download a few app off the Google Play Store.

    The next problem occurs when you call their support department. First you speak with a customer rep, who’s accent is so thick you’ll barely understand the person. They’ll next tell you that you violated section 6 and 7 of the terms of service – which basically says they have the right to cut your Internet speed (throttle), or terminate your service if your data usage is ‘excessive’.

    Problem here being that they won’t tell you exactly what ‘excessive data usage’ means, or at what point you reach that limit. When I asked them what the daily or monthly data usage limit is, and what amount of use would be considered ‘excessive’, the Straight Talk customer rep’s answer was simply that the service is unlimited as long as your usage for data/Internet/text/calls is not excessive.

    So there you have it folks – It’s unlimited talk/text/data/Internet…Except it’s not. And you’ll have no idea when they’ll cut you off, because they won’t tell you, and it’s not mentioned anywhere in their ‘Terms of Service’ (TOS).

    For folks with dumbphones, this might be a good option for you, since you probably won’t consume much data if any. However, if you have an Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, Black Berry, Nokia Symbian, or any other smartphone, you’ll probably want to think twice, or trice, before going with Straight Talk, since you’ll more than likely get into trouble with them sooner or later.

    For the smartphone user who wants a cheap prepaid service, there are many other options than Straight Talk, and all of those alternatives will outright tell you what your data usage limit is before throttling occurs – if it occurs.

    Both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile offer plans with 2.5GB of high-speed data before throttling, and T-Mobile just launched GoSmart Mobile, which offers a whole 5GB of data before slowing you down. With those companies, you’ll at least know where you stand, and how much data you can consume before being throttled…

    • This is quite the comment James. I agree with you in regards to how Straight Talk deals with their data. They don’t really offer unlimited, but from what I have heard, you have about 100mb per day maximum. If you are playing games and downloading apps, you can easily go over 100mb and that is why I only download things on wifi. Since I am on wifi most of the day, I don’t even get near 1gb per month. I am sorry you have had problems and this comment makes me want to put up a follow up review.

  12. I loved your input about this process. However, I can’t for the life of me, figure out how to get through Straight Talk’s “Shop SIMS” web pages. It keeps looping from the point where you select “any unlocked GSM phone” and enter your zip code, to the next page where it gives you “Important Information” and you select “Continue”… it then goes right back to the page where you select the type and enter your zip code. I would really love to figure this out and keep thinking that if I give them some time to work out the bugs, it will just correct itself. I have also tried to submit a support ticket through their facebook page contact section and it said it couldn’t be submitted because my e-mail address has been deleted from a profile??? Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a Straight Talk customer…

    • Don’t take a chance on straight talk I’m trying to get reimbursed for 150 dollars of service I ne had to speakver used. While trying to transfer my art to straight talk I sai wanted to use same number and indicated that.After trying to use my phone for several days I tried to contact customer service several people couldndnt speak English. They said they had no record of my phone number or my name connecting my phone. Finally switched back to At& T . After several months I noticed I had been charged for Straight Talk service I never used. Called six times and th finally traced my sum card I removed from phone when I had no service. They said it was connected to another number which I never used, they refuse to reimburse me e though I never used the service.

  13. I hadn’t gotten around to getting new phones, now ST no longer offers AT&T – just T-Mobile. Any idea what happened? What stats do I need to look for to get the best possible phone for TM service? Thanks again for all your help.

    • It appears that maybe AT&T stopped providing SIM cards to ST. I am going to be writing an update, but I think the best phone you could get would be a Google Nexus phone. It works with either AT&T or T-mobile SIM cards. It is the cheapest option for a smartphone that will still work on ST.

    • There is word around the block that T-mobile is now offering 1900 frequency, which would make it much cheaper for ST to carry service. AT&T might have been getting too expensive. No one really knows what happened though.

      • I have been using ST BYOP plan for over a year now and have been pleased with it – however I do not normally do more than download an app infrequently. That being said I primarily use my cell for calls and texting. I have used two different models – one a generic make android from EBay and a Samsung Galaxy Europa (not supported in US) with no problems. Today I upgraded to a used Samsung Galaxy S Captivate which is an ATT phone. I already was using an ATT sim card from ST and had no problems getting up and running with it. I recently moved from Maine to a MidAtlantic state and have not noticed any problems, change in quality, etc. For several years prior I used a Tracfone and when my usage increased significantly I moved to ST (knowing that they are really the same company). I love being able to change phones at will and knowing that it will be an easy process.

        • Thank you for the feedback on the service you have received from Straight Talk. I think it is a good service, unless you are a data hog. I had perfectly fine service with texting and call quality. I really appreciate your feedback and I am glad to hear that the AT&T SIM card still works because you cannot buy them now.

        • What’s the process of swapping phones with the byop? And does the phone have to he unlocked?I have a att locked gs2 that I want to put on my account.

          • Hello Amber. Thank you for your question. Yes, your phone needs to be unlocked. You will also need to get an AT&T sim card, but Straight Talk doesn’t offer those anymore. You can find them on eBay, but they can be pricey.

          • I bought one (an att compatible sim) off the straight talk website a week ago.. Do you know how I’d go about unlocking it?

          • Good to see ST is selling the AT&T sims again. You will need to contact AT&T to unlock the phone. Sometimes they do it easily, other times, they don’t. This is the only way you can unlock the phone.

          • Okay. Thanks for your assistance. This was very helpful.

  14. My wife and I were considering ST’s BYOP option, although I don’t quite understand how they select which carrier is best for you. AT&T has great coverage where I live and according to T-mobile’s website the best I can do is 2G speed, but when I checked ST’s website it will only give me the option to purchase a T-mobile sim card. I am waiting on a respond from ST’s support department.

    • Hello David, Thank you for stopping by and commenting. From what I have been told and researched, they don’t have the AT&T option any more. Straight Talk said that they ran out of SIM cards, but most people I have talked to said that they think AT&T shut down ST due to overages. This would lead you only to use T-Mobile. It is cheaper for Straight Talk to just support T-Mobile. Good luck on the response from ST.

  15. Grayson, I have purchased an unlocked phone from Blu Mobile along with a Straight Talk sim card. The phone takes dual sim cards. One slot says GSM, the other says WCDMA/GSM. Which one should I use? I was about to activate the phone, but figured i need to know which slot to use. Thanks in advance.

    • Hello Michelle. The ST SIM card should go into the GSM slot and you should be ok as long as your phone has the capability to catch the bands that Straight Talk uses. You will find out once you activate the phone if it will work or not. There is not a lot of data out there for Blu Mobile.

  16. So if i bring an unlocked att phone would i be able to use it?

  17. Can a sprint I phone 4 and iPhone 4S be used on straight talk?

  18. Wanted to add a comment – the phone that I began using today is a locked ATT phone; I am using my existing ST ATT Sim with no problems. I used the same configuration I used on prior unlocked phone with same card. (See my prior post for the phones used successfully).

  19. I purchased a TM sim (thinking it was AT&T). I had to unlock my AT&T phone to use this sim. The TM service is horrible in my area. I went to Wal-Mart today and purchased a cheap $40 ST phone with an AT&T sim card in it with hopes to get back on the AT&T network. Can I transfer this sim to my AT&T phone or am I out another $40?

    • I would try to just pull out the SIM and put it in your phone. It is a simple trick that might just let your phone work. Since your SIM is already active, why not.

  20. I had purchased a byop sim for AT&T from ST about a year ago and went to buy three more recently for my unlocked iPhones ( wanted to be an the AT&T service) , but when going to their site the only options were the T-Mobile sims so I did a Google search for the program and found them at Walmart. I purchased three about a month ago for my phones and they are all running on the AT&T network. Again I could have bought the T-Mobile ones because all my phones are factory unlocked but I wanted the AT&T ones. On another note I have a iPhone 4s and it is getting 4G on the network.

  21. I have the straight talk bring your own phone plan and I’m wanting to change phones I currently have at&t lg escape but I’m wanting the iphone 4 do I have to buy a new sims or can I use the sims I have in my escape?

  22. I have a HTC Thunderbolt from verizon. Can I get it switched to ST?

  23. I have a Nokia E7 I got from India. It works with all sim cards in India and is enable for 850 and 1900 Mhz. Will the ST Sim work in this phone. also I am a heavy user of international calls. Any idea about the cut-off on that.

    • I would say go and try it. I don’t think you will have much luck with international calls, but there are a few apps for that. You will have to be on wifi though because that would be a data hog.

  24. I have a sprint HTC EVO 4g design and a ST sim card do you think it will work ??

    • Hello Thadd. Sprint is on a CDMA network just like Verizon, so you wouldn’t be able to use the phone. You can only use GSM phones with Straight Talk.

  25. I think it’s pretty cool that once you activate and register the micro sim serial number your basically paying a monthly fee for the sim regardless of what phone you put it in (as long as it falls in the AT&T compatible or unlocked requirements) I found this out when mid month on my plan someone gave me a brand new unlocked AT&T HTC 8x to try out. I changed the apn and SMS settings which this phone let’s you do they have it right there in the settings and popped out my ST byop sim I been using in my iPhone 4s and putcitcin the HTC 8x everything worked perfect for a couple days I tried all features…then I popped it out and back in my iPhone 4s everything is still working fine. So it’s nice if your using the BYOP deal you can have the chance to try a newer model phone out first to see if you like it then choose which one you want. As long as your not a Data hog and can just WAIT to take your Internet game moves like Words for Friends etc once you GET HOME and on WIFI and use the service in a sensible matter I personally highly recommend Straight Talk

  26. I have a galaxy s2 through sprint what would I need to do to get it over to str8 talk

    • If you bought it from Sprint and it is locked to Sprint, then you won’t be able to use ST. You need a GSM compatible phone and Sprint is a CDMA provider like Verizon. You can only use phones that come from AT&T or T-Mobile or ones that are completely unlocked.

  27. I have a iphone 4s and was having trouble with no more AT&T cards, so I went to Ebay and
    bought a AT&T sim card, granted it cost $50+ but it was worth it, as soon as I received it, I
    popped it right in and service……

  28. I was thinking, my grannies Just5 phone is an unlocked phone that works with GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz. It is a simple phone suited for the elderly but it does not have internet access. Is there any possibility that I can offset internet data charges for a plain call and text service?

  29. Straight Talk BYOP program is NOT working for me. My phone does not work at my place of employment at all, even though I have several co-workers who do have service, but the phones they are using are Staright Talk phones. I am a single parent and I need to be connected. I have the T-Mobile MyTouch Phone because I left Verizon to go to Family Mobile and I did not have service at my job, so I brought that phone over to Straight Talk thinking it would work since my co-workers have service in the same building. I am very unhappy. Help!!!

  30. Do you have to continue to purchase a $45/mo plan to use the BYOP option, or can you drop to the $30/mo “limited” plan? I use very, very, very little data. Probaly only get on the net 5 or 6 times a year with my phone, and I only use about half of my alotted talk/txt. I’m currenly using the $30 plan with a standard phone, but lost the phone a few days ago and now I’m considering an upgrade. TM is terrible in this area, so I’ll have to try and find an ATT sim.

    • Hello Mark, Yes, the BYOP program has to have the $45/month plan. The $30 plan is just for a phone that you purchase with Straight Talk. The BYOP has the $45 as minimum and I think they also have a $60 plan. You can look on eBay for AT&T sim cards that I have heard people have had luck with.

  31. I have heard and read on straight talk blogs that it runs also on verizon. Phones that have a g are at&t and phonte that have a c are verizon. When u put in your zip, the site picks the best plans for you. I am getting a verizon sim, and always purchase my phone on ebay. ;+) See online videos on how to convert even a Iphone to ST. ;+)

    • I don’t know if there BYOP program runs on Verizon. Their regular program where you purchase the phone through them has the ability to run on Verizon, but most of the time it runs on Sprint or T-mobile. Unless they changed it to include Verizon, I am not sure if the BYOP can do that.

  32. I’ve decided to actually go with a verizon plan instead. I can get a discount through work and for an extra 15 a month over straight talk, I can have a shared smartphone plan that includes a pair of Iphone 4s, AND doesn’t have any reception issues out here in the sticks…

  33. I’m a little bit confused about this, but lets say I have a ATT Iphone 4s, can I bring it in and use on the BYOP plan?

  34. I have a verizon galaxy s3 4G LTE phone model # SCH-1535 ….will it work with the straight talk byop plan and if so what do I have to do. I do have a sim card in the phone…..I have gotten 2 different answers from straight talk …..one said it will work with the byop plan and another one said no it will not work…..I can email a pic of the back of my phone showing the sim card if you need it…….any help is appreciated :-)

    • Hello Kylie, Your Verizon phone will NOT work with ST’s BYOP plan. It has be able to run on a GSM network, but Verizon runs on CDMA. There might be some ways to hack it in order to get it to work, but I wouldn’t advise it unless you know what you are doing. Straight Talk only uses the CDMA network with the phones that you purchase through them. Sorry.

      • Thank you…..one other question…..would you know why I have a sim card? I was told my straight talk if my phone was CDMA there would be no sim card….really dont understand all this network stuff lol ….Would it be so I can go with other carriers? Virizon told me my phone could be used with other carriers just take it to the one of my choice and they would know what to do ….again thank you for your time :-)

    • Thanks for passing this over Groverboy. I didn’t know straight talk now allows CDMA phones to come over, but when you read it, it won’t work with 4G phones, iphones, blackberries, or any of the branded ST phones. That kind of limits it.

    • Thank You Groverboy. :-)

  35. I have a HTC EVO design sprint am using a gsm card but the phone is stuck on edge network.I can’t change to 3g anytime I change to wcdma preferred or only the phones picks and drops the network ..please hlp me have a 3g setting only only my phone

    • Are you saying that the phone is a Sprint phone? Is it unlocked? Sprint uses a completely different network, as in CDMA, and you are trying to use a GSM sim card. If the phone is a Sprint phone, then it probably won’t work with GSM.

  36. Hi. I presently have AT&T and an iPhone 4S. They are eating me alive with charges! My phone bill is over $120./mo and that’s with unlimited data (grandfathered in). I would like to try Straight Talk, but my coverage is so poor in my neighborhood that I have to use a AT&T Microcell. Can I use my Microcell with Straight Talk?

  37. Hi Greyson I’ve been with st about a month with one of their LG phones. A friend gave me a at&t HTC inspire for my bday, now my question is, I was told by a st rep that I might not have picture messaging if I use my own phone. Have you heard anyone having any issues after using the byop? After dealing with st customer service I’m ready to terminate my service with st. Anyway have you heard weather or not the issue has come up with not being able to use pic messaging after switching? Plz email me I don’t get much time online. Thank you

    • Hello RK. Thank you for stopping by. The only phone that I have heard that doesn’t have MMS (picture messaging) is the iPhone 5. I have not heard of any other phones that don’t have it. When I was using the service, which I have since switched to Walmart Family Mobile, I was able to get picture messages fine.

      The only other scenario is if you use Google Voice as your telephone number carrier. If you have your phone number hooked up to Google Voice, which then redirects the call to your ST phone number, then you won’t have MMS.

  38. hello. I tried talking to the ST people about this and looking online and this website has seemed to be the most useful but i still have not found answers. I ordered a new phone offline to use for the BYOP program. it had all of the requirements needed. and i also ordered the att sim card to go with it which is what it uses. My phone works, and the ST people said it showed the sim card works when it was all transferred over but they do not work together. how do i fix it so i can use my new phone which i love??? or should i just send the phone back and try again?
    oh, the phone is a Z.Doxio Android phone. its unlocked and its att. it said online it was compatable with straight talk and the company said it was also when i emailed them. the only thing they could figure was the sim card. ST said since its a dual sim maybe i could try a different sim card but what should i try..? thanks!

    • Interesting question Sonya. Where did you get the dual sim card from? ST used to offer AT&T cards, but they don’t anymore, so you have to get them off of eBay. It would be best to find a ST AT&T sim card on eBay instead of a dual sim card. You can try that and see if it works.

    • Hello Sonya,

      Sorry for the misinformation. ST does offer the AT&T sim cards now. I had not checked in some time since they took them off.

      Again, did you get the SIM card from Straight Talk? I have not even heard of the phone you talk about. Does it have the appropriate band to work with AT&T?

  39. I tried to use straight talk’s byop program and it was a total disaster! I entered my meid number into their website to see if my phone is compatible. It said it was so I paid $15 for the access code. Then I paid $50 for the plan. However, it turns out that my phone is not compatible. I did live chat with customer service who informed me that the money I paid is not refundable….even after explaining to her that it was a mistake on the part of their website that prompted my purchase. At that point, customer service disconnected from live chat. Just like that. I have been a straight talk customer for years…today ended that!

    • Hello Angie,

      Thank you for providing your experience with Straight Talk. I am sorry that this has happened to you. I would reach out to them via Twitter to see if they can do anything about it. Putting your grievances on Twitter helps out quite a bit.

  40. I got the byop plan yesterday and am using a HTC one x from att it takes the micro card and what I was wondering is if I could use the other att sim regular non mirco card provided in the byop kit because it is a HTC inspire from att… instead of having to buy a whole other byop kit

  41. I have been with straight talk for almost 4 years now. Never had any problems. yea service drops when your out in the middle of nowhere sometimes, but what carrier doesn’t. as far as all the complaints about throttling your data it says clear as day on the activation card, box the phone comes in, and the website about your data speeds which slow down after 2gb. but honestly ive never had this happen and im a pretty average data user. I use my gps all day at work frequently check facebook, twitter, and my espn apps. as well as surf the web but never had any problems with throttling. I love straight talk and im never going back to contract phones. Thanks for the review on the byop my phones getting old and I need to update im thinking of buying a nice used at&t phone and trying this feature out.

    • Thank you for your overview David. I appreciate it. ST didn’t have the 2gb limit on the BYOP program at first. No one knew what it was. They just said that they can throttle you when they deemed necessary. That has since changed and now they are much clearer about their limits.

  42. I have a IPhone 5 will the ST sims fit ?

  43. I am looking at buying a Droid Bionic i was told i could use it on stright talk im already with stright talk but im looking to upgrade my phone is it posable to have this phone put on stright talk

  44. dont work cuz it has a sims card it wat i was told 2day last night i was told tht it would this would b the 2nd time straight talk told me something tht costed me money and it didnt work

  45. they dnt have a cdma sims card cdma is for phones with no sims

  46. i have a sims in it the sims is active but i cnt do nothing no call text or internet

  47. how can i get verizon to unlock a non global phone

    • You just have to ask them. Sometimes they do it, sometimes they don’t. Unfortunately, they are not required to, so many times they won’t, but it can’t hurt to ask.

      • pls see this link. It gives a lot of info on unlocking phones with different carriers. Since late 2012 or early 2013, carries are actually required by law to unlock your phone-provided you have satisfied all contractual obligations: i.e. paid your early termination fees or completed your contract time. All have different ways on how to request it and the time it takes and the number of times you can do this.

        • Thank you for the link. I have actually added that information to a post for my other readers at http://www.debtroundup.com/how-to-unlock-your-phone/.

          While they might be more obligated, the ways to unlock your phone are difficult for some. Look at Sprint’s requirements. They make you jump through some hoops and then all of the carriers don’t actually have to unlock your phone. They just have to give you an option to do it. They have many ways to get around this and I have talked with many who have been denied.

  48. I’ve read this entire thread and am still confused.

    My son has an iPhone 4s he purchased at WalMart over 2 years ago. His carrier is AT&T. He is out of contract now and wants to make a change as he is paying over $100/month. He can’t afford to buy a new phone.

    In some questions/answers on the thread it says that the 4s will work with the BYOP plan and in others it says no.

    Which is right?

    TIA for your time…

    • It really all depends on if it is unlocked. The 4s should work on Straight Talk and since he got it at Walmart, he can go ask them if it is locked to AT&T. That being said, if he really wants to know, then he can pick up a SIM card from Straight Talk, then he can pick on up on their website for 50% off right now. He can then sign up for one month of service with a new number. Put the SIM in and see if it works. If it doesn’t, then put the AT&T card back in and still have the original service. You would lose about $50 bucks, but that could be much less than the hassle of switching the number and realizing it doesn’t work.

    • I actually looked into this a little more and ST does provide the option to bring over an AT&T compatible phone. I would see if the 4s will work with that compatibility.

  49. I have a AT&T Samsung I had the service turned off, but have a plan with AT&T. I am using a small phone like a 9.95 a month phone. Can I use my Samsung on ST even tho no service is on it. I plan to cancel my service with AT&T in March of 2014. Do I need to wait or can I get a new number and go on ST even tho I still have a plan with AT&T.

    • If you phone is AT&T compatible, then you should be able to use it on ST. Do you want your current number? If you want your number, then you have to transfer it to ST. They do it for you, which will then cancel your plan with AT&T. If you want to make sure the service will work, you can just buy a SIM card from ST and put a new number on it. Put it in the phone and see if it works. If it does, then you would have to buy another SIM and transfer your current number on there.

  50. Hello, I was thinking about switching over to ST from att. I think my question was answered a few posts up but I wanted to make sure. Basically I have att service still but im no longer under contract. WHen I get my ST sim will I be able to just pop the att one out, then use the ST to see if i like the service? If i have to change apn settings to get the ST to work will I have to revert those to the earlier settings If I prefer my att service? Thanks.

    • Hello Sean. Are you planning on just trying out the service with a new number and keeping your other number with AT&T? If your phone is unlocked or AT&T allows you to use it on ST, then you can just buy the SIM and put it in. You should be able to create another APN record with the new SIM information and use that. You other APN settings should stay in there, but it depends on the phone.

      • Yeah exactly, I just want to compare the call quality before I shut down att completely. I have an iphone 4s which isnt unlocked but from what Ive read should work no problem with the ST sim. Ill just write down the old apn settings before I start to be sure. thanks for your help.

  51. Will a verizon phone work on straight talk??

  52. My husband bought me an Iphone 4S from an Ebay-style website. He got the IMEI from the owner and did the research on ST.com It said “Good news! Your Iphone is compatible” and then he bought it and the BYOP plan. WEll, guess what…not sure what the good news was about…and why they said it was compatible, cause it is NO WAY compatible. Really upset. Merry EXPENSIVE Christmas to my husband and me. The carrier in the phone says Sprint 15.5. Wouldn’t the IMEI that we entered to check compatibility state it isn’t compatible!!! ARGH!!

    • Hello Brenda,

      Thank you for sending over this information. I have heard of these problems. I am assuming that the phone is not actually unlocked. If you don’t have an unlocked phone, then you can’t use it on another carrier. Can you confirm that the phone is actually unlocked?

  53. Everything went well except for not being able to get mms. I used a locked iphone 4s from att and it was working within 5 minutes! I found a workaround to get mms going using tmobile micro sim to get some menu to appear so you can adjust apn settings. Just waiting for the sim to get here.

  54. My question deals with this. My phone was purchased in a different area code and I moved. I want to keep my number so it is not long distance for my family to call me on their home phone lines. Would Straight Talk be able to work with me for that. I mean honestly, I use my phone on my wifi, is that also still possible with them so I do not use the data on the phone itself? This seems like it is too good to be true at some instances.

    • Hello Steve,

      You can transfer your number to Straight Talk and it should be OK if you are living in a different area code. Many people use a number that doesn’t belong in that area code. Most phone companies do not deal with long distance if the calls are within the US. If your phone has WiFi, then it won’t use the data from ST. You will only use it when you are not near WiFi. If you are near WiFi all of the time, then check out Republic Wireless.

  55. Hey Grayson,
    I have an iPhone 4s from at&t that is NOT unlocked. Will this program work for me? And if it won’t work with a locked phone, aside from going through at&t, do you know how I could go about getting it unlocked? I really miss being able to use my iPhone.. I had to get a “dumb” phone for now to get by. I would really love some resolve. Thanks for your time :)

    • Hello Jessica,

      In order to unlock a phone, you have to get AT&T to do it. You might be able to get the service on the phone while it is locked. The only way to do it is to just try. You can buy the AT&T sim card from straight talk, then put it in your iPhone. Setup the ST service with a new number just for testing. Go through the activation process and see if it works. If it does, then you can buy a new sim card again and transfer your number to it and you will be on your way.

  56. Hi, I have been using ST for 4 + years and i am unhappy with their phones. I want to purchase an unlocked phone online however I’m confused about something and their representatives are not very helpful. can I purchase a ‘factory unlocked gsm phone ‘ ( does not list a previous carrier) and use ST’s att sim card or do I need to purchase an att phone ? ( I know T-Mobile is an option too but the coverage is poor in my area) I don’t want to buy a gsm phone that advertises it will work with any gsm carrier if straight talk/att will not accept it. Ebay charges a 25% restocking fee :/. Thanks for any help !

    • Hello Kasey,

      Thank you for your question. This is how I used Straight Talk. I bought an unlocked phone that was not tied to any carrier. It was factory unlocked. I bought the AT&T sim card and popped it in. You change the APN settings and you should be good to go. As long as the phone you are buying works on the same frequency range. Those will be listed in the specs of the phone (or should be).

  57. do not buy a vorizen htc thunderbolt to use with strighttalk even though sellers are saying they will work. i called straightalk, give them the esn # of the phone i was thinking of purchasing. The rep told me it would work with my zip code. Paid $100 for the unlocked phone, paid $60 for the sim card, called straighttalk back like they told me to. GUESS WHAT!!!!!!!! They forgot to ask if it was a 4G phone. NOW they informed me it won’t work. Yes i can get my $60 from walmart, but i’m out the $100. Maybe if there was english speaking folks answering the phone at straighttalk, this ###### wouldn’t happen.

  58. My mom gave me a iPhone 4s for my 18th birthday. Its a at&t phone. Can I use this phone for straight talk? I hope so because I don’t want to be tied to a contract.

  59. I recently purchased a z.doxio android from from E Bay new and I bought the BYOP sim I have tried all the different APN config. listed on this page and with none of them will my phone open picture messages :( I receive the picture message and when I press download it says its downloading but it never completes and shows me the picture :( any suggestions how to make it work?

    • Hello Melissa,

      Thank you for reaching out. I actually just updated the two APN pictures. They updated them on Straight Talk. You can look at this page to see if you need to make any changes. APN setting changes might not work depending on the phone model. I have not heard of your phone before, so I don’t know if it will work or not.

      http://www.straighttalkbyop.com/program.php

  60. Hey Grayson,
    If I bought a locked AT&T iPhone 4 and get the AT&T micro sim through ST’s BOYP program, once I change the APN settings I should be operating a full functioning iPhone using AT&T’s network through straight talk? Also would I be able to use that phone through AT&T afterwards should i not like straight talks service, what would have to be changed if anything?

    • Hello Teddy. Thank you for the comment. If you have a locked AT&T phone, you should be able to purchase the AT&T sim from ST and then change the APN settings. Since it is already AT&T, you can get away with it. If you don’t like ST, then you can just go back to AT&T and change the APN settings back.

  61. hello I have a Verizon galaxy s3 I was wondering if I could get it transferred to straight talk byop service and still get 4g lte

  62. now if i choose need an access code and it brings me to a purchase screen does that mean it will work?

    • by the way it does not have a sim card in it yet

    • I would give them a call. I know it can be bad sometimes to call them, but it would be better. I can’t answer the question for you. If you want to continue to use Verizon Towers, but not deal with the high prices, then check out Page plus. They only deal with Verizon and it should be much easier. I have heard of issues with ST and them bringing over Verizon phones.

  63. Color me stupid. I am not generally a totally techno idiot, but I feel thus at this juncture. I have a stupid phone with Straight Talk, Samsung GMA. I happen to live in no-where-ville Oregon. I use the $30 plan and do not come close to using the 1000 text/talk minutes.

    I have been told, GMA has limited coverage and that I should obtain a CDMA phone for all around better service. I have researched this ad nauseam and have not come to any conclusions other than the phone I now possess is a pain in my arse.

    I purchased the phone from Straight Talk and it has performed nominally for a year. The issues I have are:
    1. When roaming it won’t allow me to access my voicemail.
    2. The phone was set to PST and now has reset itself to RMT until I travel 20 miles north of my home, then it reverts back to PST. I cannot physically change it.
    3. I too am unable to send or receive photos via text.
    4. I am unable to update i.e. as with verizon *228 when contacting the company concerning this issue I receive no help what-so-ever.

    When observing the coverage of GMA vs. CDMA it appears the GMA is better, however it does not seem so at this juncture.

    Help!! Do I need to purchase a sim card for AT&T, which is a poor second for service in this area compared to Verizon. T-Mobile is defunct in this area. I do have a SIM number but no little card that I’m aware of, unless it came installed in the phone.

    Any information, assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hello Celeste,

      GMA and CMDA work every differently in different parts of the country. It sounds that your phone is not very good and is having problems. If Verizon works best for you, then I would check out Page Plus. They are a Verizon MVNO that just deal with Verizon towers. They have a good service that could work for you. Verizon also now has no contract plans that start at $45 a month, I believe. If your current phone is already GMA, then it will be using either AT&T or T-Mobile towers already, so buying a different SIM is probably not going to do much for you.

  64. How do I unlock my iphone 4s so that I can go to straight talk?

    • You need to ask your current carrier if they can unlock it. You can try to take a locked on to ST, but will need to head over to their website to see if you can bring it over locked.

  65. I have ST svc, using an AT/T phone and SIM as of now. Is it possible to switch my SIM to a Tracfone (GSM) phone and it work with ST?

  66. I just bought a ST starter pack and im was wondering if i am able to test out the network by activating it with a new number and if it works well then i want to port my number over. Is that possible? or do i have to do it right when i activate the account?

    • Hey Tyler, yes it is possible. The only thing that you have to do is buy another starter pack when you are ready to port your number over. Yes, it does cost money to get two starter kits, but it can be worth it if you don’t want to port your number over yet. This is exactly what I did when I tested it before I used it.

  67. Hello I have Samsung Galaxy s3 with Tmobile that was given to me by a friend. I transferred over my verizon number to the S3 with Straight talk. ST confirmed the transfer went great but when I attempt to make a call I get error message: not registered on network. I have full bars I have reset taking out battery and SIM 100x I have followed everything I could try on Google nothing works…..

    • I assume you got the T-Mobile SIM card from Straight talk? If you did, then you would need to contact them about it. I do not know why it would be throwing that kind of error.

  68. Hi ! I did not know straight-talk had a program where you can bring your phone. Can you please tell me how it works in simple terms. I read all the information and was just pretty confused. Like can any phone work? Would a HTC inspire phone work or a Samsung phone? If so, what is the process of getting it to be compatible with straight-talk? Please write back when you can. Thank you :)

    • Unfortunately, there are no real simple terms to how the program works. You buy a phone or bring one you have as long as it is compatible. You can check on Straight Talk’s site to see if it is compatible. You will have the best luck if your phone is unlocked and already using AT&T or T-Mobile. I have heard very few actually get a Verizon phone to work. If they say it will work, then you have to buy their SIM card kit, wait for it to be delivered, then follow the instructions in the packet. That is about as simple as I can go with it.

  69. has there been much luck with unlocked phones through Verizon?

  70. Hi. I have a Sprint iPhone 5 with no service, but it’s activated. I bought the R-Sim 9 pro unlock (hardware unlock) for it; it works, just not on verizon (my family carrier) or sprint for that matter (I think it’s because I’m trying to unlock CDMA (Sprint) to CDMA (Verizon). And I was wondering if I could get the Straight Talk sim for it and use 4G/3G and MMS/SMS. I know that the Straight Talk sim is GSM, but my R-sim unlocks GSM (worked for China telecom roaming on AT&T). I heard that the CDMA code works with no SIM card but only works on iPhone models below the 5 (4/4S). So I need some help. I read your write-up on this site and it was helpful, I just need to know if my unlock will work for MMS/SMS/4G/3G. Thanks in advance!!!

    • I can’t help you here with that. I don’t deal with unlock software and especially doing it with a CDMA phone. Staight Talk has a CDMA service, but I haven’t heard good things about it. You can always purchase service for a month on a new number and see if it works. That will cost you $45, but you don’t have to worry about complicating your number if things go wrong.

  71. Hi,

    I am considering to buy a straight talk SIM card on the BYOP program, and I have a few questions. I have a Sprint iPhone 5 with no service, but is activated. I’m wondering if I buy a straight talk sim for AT&T, could I use 4G/MMS? The phone itself is not unlocked but I have an R-Sim 9 pro hardware unlock for it (a sim interposer) and it does not work for Verizon (my family carrier) but works for other GSM carriers. (Also, ST is a lot cheaper than VZ.) I just want to know if 4G/3G/SMS/MMS will work on it and if I need to buy the “CDMA code” for it (I heard it doesn’t work for iPhone 5). Thanks in advance!

    • I replied to your other comment. Sorry for the delay. I recommend you just by the CDMA code with a new number and try it out. Don’t lock your number up if it doesn’t work. This is what I did in order to test the service.

  72. Great review, Grayson! My wife and I have been thinking about availing this service for some time but we wanted to make sure it’s working good before we do. Our cell phones are pretty essential to our work and we can’t afford to have a crappy provider. Thanks for sharing this!
    Jeremy recently posted..How to Decide What You Want to Be when You Grow UpMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge

Sign up for the Debt Roundup Digest for your chance at $25 monthly!Sign Up