The prepaid service Straight Talk Wireless, which is owned by TracFone, relies on the big four's network, all for an affordable fee. It sounds great, but what all does the Wal-mart-sold service offer to the customer? This review will hopefully aid you in your search for a suitable carrier.
Straight Talk Wireless Plans
|30 Day Unlimited Plan||5 GB||$44|
|30 Day Unlimited Plan with 10GB||10 GB||$55|
|Unlimited International Plan||5 GB||$59|
According to one particular Wal-Mart executive, Straight Talk is considered to be "one of the best-kept secrets" in the wireless industry. As a prepaid network, Straight Talk offers a few plans. Overall, these plans are awfully affordable, containing rather high amounts of high-speed data.
Straight Talk Monthly Plans
Listed on Straight Talk's website are four prepaid plans to choose from, ranging from 100MB to 10GB of high-speed data. Once the allotted data has been reached, the data speeds will be reduced to 2G levels.
The 100MB plan features Unlimited Nationwide Text but 1500 Minutes of Nationwide calls. If you're a heavy user of the phone (it's rare for you not to be in this day and age), this option may not be suitable for you. The other three plans consist of unlimited talk, text, and 2G data. The most expensive plan, the Unlimited International, not only contains 5GB of high-speed data and unlimited talk and text, but also unlimited international calling and mobile-to-mobile to Mexico, China, Canada, and India.
These monthly plans come with an Auto-Refill function, which saves you $1.00 every 30 days, which is only eligible with the $45 and $60 plans.
You can also purchase an add-on for Global Calling, which allows you to call anywhere in the world for rates as low as 2.5 cents per minute to Mexico and as low as 5 cents per minute to Claro Guatemala. You can combine the feature with any service plan, and the balance carries over.
Straight Talk Data Plans
Straight Talk does provide data-only plans in its prepaid service. These data plans run from 1GB to 7GB, which must be used within 30 or 60 days.
Straight Talk Cell Phones
Straight Talk carries quite a few phones in its arsenal, but before you can look at them, you'll need to input your zip code to see what is available for you.
While the service does carry a lot of popular phones, you may not receive the latest iPhone or even the latest Samsung Galaxy. So if you're comfortable with having older versions of either series, then by all means, consider Straight Talk.
Straight Talk's phone page also features a great organization tool to help you find your phone. You can filter through the phone selection by price, the manufacturer (the carrier distributes ZTE, LG, Apple, Alcatel, Samsung, and Huawei products), phone color, phone type, plans, and OS.
Regarding payments, you can purchase a phone through an installment plan (requires a prepaid plan) or pay for the phone immediately in full.
Overall, Straight Talk's selection isn't the greatest, as it doesn't always offer the latest phone, but it's more varied compared to some prepaid carriers.
That being said, Straight Talk's Bring Your Own Phone program is very generous, allowing you to bring in any GSM-unlocked, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and some CDMA-type phones to the service.
Straight Talk Phone Insurance
Straight Talk carries the Easy Exchange phone insurance policies, which protect your phone from those pesky accidents it may encounter.
There are two types of plans to select from: Easy Exchange and Easy Exchange PLUS.
Easy Exchange - This plan provides coverage for your phone in the case of electrical failure and mechanical failure.
Easy Exchange PLUS - This plan protects your phone in the event of an electrical failure, mechanical failure, accidental damage from handling, water damage, damage due to power surge, and damage due to humidity.
It's clear that you may want to enroll in the PLUS plan after you purchase your phone.
Straight Talk Activation
Straight Talk provides you with an easy way to activate your phone. You can activate your phone directly with the carrier's activation page. All you need is an IMEI, MEID, or a Serial Number.
You can also activate your phone's Straight Talk's service by calling the Customer Care Center from another phone.
Straight Talk Mobile Hotspot
Straight Talk offers Mobile Hotspots (and Mobile Hotspot data plans) for a fee. You can always obtain a free physical mobile hotspot (UNIMAX U240C) for free with a planned purchase, which provides you with 3G/Wi-Fi Connectivity.
However, if you're not happy with receiving 3G speeds, you could instead opt for the hotspot's cousin, the ZTE Z288L 4G LTE, for $39.99, which allows you to connect up to five Wi-Fi Enabled Devices.
And finally, you could purchase the ZTE Z291DL Mobile Hotspot, which provides 4G LTE connectivity and a connection for up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices.
Straight Talk SIM Card
If you're in need of a Straight Talk SIM card, a small card that contains your carrier's subscriber profile, you can purchase a SIM card for a small fee from Straight Talk's official seller, Wal-Mart, or from Straight Talk's official website. After you obtain your phone's SIM card, you will have to activate the SIM card through Straight Talk's website, but the process is quick and efficient.
Straight Talk Deals, Promotions & Discounts
Straight Talk features plenty of deals. For instance, you can save $100 on the Samsung Galaxy S 5. Yet, if you want to shop all special offers available to you, you'll need to input your zip code. Unfortunately, promotions are few, and there doesn't seem to be any discounts for employees or students available.
Straight Talk Coverage
Straight Talk is an MVNO or a mobile virtual network operator, so it doesn't own its own wireless network. It instead relies on the services of AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint, meaning that its coverage is both reliable and extensive. In fact, the service covers 99.6 percent of the United States.
Straight Talk Customer Support
How is Straight Talk's customer support service? Straight Talk is rather solid in that department, at least in regards to phone support.
That being said, the service does offer a variety of support outlets, including:
- Online Chat
- Snail Mail
Straight Talk Review Recap
While Straight Talk isn't the greatest prepaid service around, it does offer some affordable plans. That being said, it doesn't exactly provide the latest smartphones until a good while after the smartphones' release. If you do decide to opt for Straight Talk, it may be best to consider its extensive BYOP policy.
Curious about other available cell phone carriers? You can always view our review of the best cell phone plans.