Here's a startling number for you: the average retail price of a new iPhone reached a record high of $695 in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Bloomberg. You'll be a bit better off if you're a stalwart Android phone user, as Android phones average in the $250s (except the Samsung Galaxy S8 at $750).
While the greatest and latest shiny new smartphone is certainly tempting when switching to a new service, many wireless providers, including Straight Talk, offer the option to bring your own phone.
Why should you bring your own phone when you sign up for Straight Talk service? For starters: you can save hundreds of dollars, depending on how long your phone lasts. Furthermore, there are no contracts required, meaning you won't be chained to a contract during your stay with the carrier.
If you're considering the switch to Straight Talk wireless, you're not alone. As of Spring of 2016, 6.28 million cell phone users were Straight Talk customers, according to Statista. In this guide, I'll explain the details of bringing your own device to this carrier as well as the monthly plans they offer.
Bring Your Own Device
According to FierceWireless, former global head of mobile at Wal-Mart Gibu Thomas stated this a few years ago:
"Straight Talk has been an incredible value for our customers. It's the fastest growing segment of our wireless business."
He later goes on to add:
"I think it's an incredible value for anyone. I think it's one of the best-kept secrets."
To this day, Thomas is right. Straight Talk offers an incredible value with its plans. Not only that, but Straight Talk service happens to operate on all four major carrier towers in order to bring you the best coverage available. The caveat is that they don't offer postpaid plans.
So are you curious about Straight Talk BYOP plans? This carrier keeps it simple: there are three BYOD Straight Talk plans to choose from, all of which include unlimited talk, text, and data.
Each Straight Talk wireless unlimited plan lasts for 30 days and comes with an Auto Refill option. However, the $45 plan is eligible for the extended plan, which saves both time and money. You can purchase three months, six months, or even one year's worth of the plan.
The $45 Plan
The cheapest monthly plan grants you 5GB of high-speed data and unlimited nationwide talk and text, but keep in mind that once your high-speed data allotment has been exceeded, your speeds will reduce to what you would experience in a 2G network. At 2G speeds, you won't be able to stream audio or video very well.
The $55 Plan
The middle plan, which is the newest, features unlimited talk and text within the U.S. You'll also receive 10GB of LTE speed data, which will reduce to 2G speeds once the 10GB has been used.
The $60 Plan
Finally, there is the Straight Talk Unlimited International plan, which comes complete with 5GB of high-speed data. Like the other plans, your speeds will reduce when once your high-speed data allotment has been exceeded. However, you'll have unlimited nationwide talk and text, as well as international calling to over 1,000 destinations.
You'll be able to dial up to 15 unique numbers each month. You can consult the Straight Talk website to see which destinations are included.
Sim Card Activation Kit
Straight Talk offers a 4G LTE Straight Talk Activation Kit. These kits allow you to obtain nationwide network coverage and grant you the ability to keep your own number. There are two ways to obtain a Straight Talk SIM card and activation kit:
- Buy one straight from Wal-Mart for just 99 cents.
- Go to the Straight Talk Bring Your Own Phone page, check your phone's compatibility, follow the steps to place an order.
Straight Talk SIM cards are available for both GSM phones as well as CDMA phones. If your device was previously on the AT&T or T-Mobile networks, you likely have a GSM phone, as the AT&T and T-Mobile networks operate on GSM technology. Verizon and Sprint use CDMA phones.
If you're coming from a provider like TracFone Wireless, you'll have to check with customer service to see which kind of device you have, even though Straight Talk is actually a division of TracFone Wireless. Don't worry if you need a micro-SIM card, those are available too.
Read More: Interested in learning more about the SIM card? Then feel free to head on over to our article on "What is a SIM card?"
How to Activate Your Own Device
First, you need to know how activating your own device works with the phones you can bring. Here is what you need to know in regards to major carrier compatibility:
If you have a Verizon-compatible phone capable of 4G LTE speeds, you need both a SIM card either directly from Straight Talk or via Walmart and your choice of one of the unlimited plans outlined earlier. However, if you have a Verizon-compatible 3G phone, all you'll need to do is choose a plan. You will select that during the activation process.
If you have an AT&T phone, you'll need both a SIM card and your choice of an unlimited service plan.
If you have a T-Mobile phone, you'll need a SIM card and your choice of an unlimited service plan.
If you have a Sprint phone, then all you'll need is an unlimited service plan, which you can select during the activation process.
Overall, compatible phones include unlocked GSM phones, AT&T phones, T-Mobile phones, Sprint phones, and several other CDMA technology phones. You may need to refer to this guide if you need help unlocking your phone. If you want to know more about GSM and CDMA technologies, our guide to GSM vs. CDMA will shed some light.
Activating Your Phone
Now, as for the steps on activating your phone, all you need to do is follow this simple guide:
- Find out whether or not your phone is compatible with the service. On the Straight Talk website, all you need to do is select your phone and pick your carrier.
- Buy an activation kit and service plan, either the 5GB unlimited, 10GB unlimited or Straight Talk Unlimited International. Again, this kit includes the SIM card required to make your phone work on the service. Make sure you're getting the correct type - there are regular, nano, and micro-SIM cards.
- From there, all you need to do after you receive your activation kit and select your service plan is to decide whether or not you would like to keep your phone number. Then from there, follow the simple directions on the activation page and activate your phone. Your phone will then be ready for usage.
Becoming a Straight Talk customer is simple and straightforward, whether you're bringing your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, or another Android device.
Are Straight Talk BYOP Plans Right for You?
While Straight Talk is very affordable, there are some qualms with the prepaid provider. For one, it doesn't do much to stand out from the rest of the pack. For another, it doesn't offer any postpaid plans.
It only carries three plans, which are ideal for those who crave simplicity, but there are no additional features tacked on. However, it does rely on network coverage from all four major providers - you'll receive 99.6% coverage - but at the same time, it's been noted that its download speeds fall behind its competitors.
Looking to compare bring your own phone plans among other carriers? Then you should read our bring your own phone plan buyer's guide.
Perhaps you're instead curious about all the cell phone plans a provider has to offer. In that case, you definitely should take a peek at our handy cell phone plan comparison tool.