Straight Talk is one of the more well-known MVNOs, but it's still facing competition among dozens of wireless services. Owned by Walmart, Straight Talk offers a wide array of deals that should interest any cell phone user.
The only problem is: What makes Straight Talk stand out amongst the plethora of other carriers like Verizon and AT&T?
Well, we're here to clear the air for you, by providing you all of the details - in our easy-to-read guide - that are essential in helping you decide whether or not the available Straight Talk cell phone plans are right for you.
Within this guide, you'll find information on not only the no-contract plans of the Straight Talk Service but also on the coverage, the customer service, prepay plans, deals, and more. Finally, we'll direct you to our cell phone plan comparison tool, to help you make an informed decision if you should move onto another service or stick with Straight Talk Wireless.
Straight Talk Wireless Plans
According to one particular Wal-Mart executive, the Straight Talk service is considered to be "one of the best-kept secrets" in the wireless industry. As a prepaid network, Straight Talk offers a few no-contract plans. Overall, these monthly plans (as well as yearly, depending) are awfully affordable, containing rather high amounts of high-speed data.
Unfortunately, as the wireless service market progresses, Straight Talk is falling a little behind. In fact, it is now one of the MVNOs that doesn't offer a truly unlimited plan.
Straight Talk Monthly Plans
Listed on the Straight Talk 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 prepay 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. This makes Straight Talk a great alternative for making international calls.
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 Unlimited
Is there a Straight Talk unlimited plan? As mentioned earlier, no, there is no Straight Talk unlimited plan, unfortunately, so 10GB (complete with 4G LTE speeds) is the most you can grab at the time of this writing.
So if you want a truly unlimited data plan - or just more data than 10GB - then you should refer to another MVNO or a major network provider plans such as the T-Mobile unlimited plan or the Verizon unlimited. However, both the T-Mobile unlimited plan and Verizon unlimited plans are a little on the pricey side, so if you're looking for a cheaper-priced unlimited plan, it's best to go with an MVNO that offers unlimited data like Boost Mobile or Virgin Mobile.
Related: You can also check out Straight Talk's BYOP plans here.
Straight Talk Cell Phones
Straight Talk carries quite a few prepay cell 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 iPhone, Alcatel, Samsung, and Huawei products), phone color, phone type, plans, and OS.
Regarding payments, you can purchase a prepay cell 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.
With that being said, Straight Talk's Bring Your Own Phone program is very generous, allowing you to bring in any GSM phone, as well as AT&T, T-Mobile network, Sprint and some CDMA phones to the service. And yes, this means you can bring your Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy to the service. If you're unsure as to whether you have a CDMA phone or GSM phone, our article can help you figure that out.
Related: Compare Straight Talk's BYOP plan to the major carriers using our comparison tool here.
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. However, before you consider a cell phone insurance plan, you should take a moment to read our article on "
However, before you consider a cell phone insurance plan, you should take a moment to read our article on "Is Cell Phone Insurance Worth It?"
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. Just make sure that you have your serial number, IMEI, or MEID information on you.
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. With this hotspot, you'll receive the LTE speeds you desire.
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.
If you're in need of a Straight Talk SIM card, a small card that contains your carrier's subscriber profile (if you'd like to learn more about the SIM card, you can always read our article on "What Is a SIM Card?"), 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.
Deals, Promotions & Discounts
While its no-contract cell phone plans are attractive, Straight Talk also features plenty of deals in the phone and plan departments. For instance, you can save $100 on the Samsung Galaxy S5.
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 network, and Sprint, meaning that its coverage is both reliable and extensive. In fact, the service covers 99.6 percent of the United States. You can compare the coverage between all four carriers here.
How to Change Your APN Settings
If you're switching to Straight Talk, you may need to change your APN settings. You'll find the information you need below. Don't know how to change your APN settings? Go here.
|APN Settings||Straight Talk||ST (AT&T)||ST (AT&T)|
|APN Name||tfdata||ATT 4G LTE||Straight Talk|
|APN Type||default, mms, supl||default, mms, supl, hipri||default, mms, supl|
|APN Roaming Protocal|
Straight Talk Customer Support
How is the Straight Talk customer service? Straight Talk is rather solid in that department, at least in regards to phone support.
That being said, there are a variety of customer service outlets, including:
- Online Chat
- Snail Mail
While Straight Talk isn't the greatest no-contract cell phone service around, it does offer some flexible and affordable plans.
If you do decide to become a Straight Talk customer, it may be best to consider its extensive BYOP policy. However, if you're looking for an unlimited data plan, your best bet would be to go with an unlimited plan from one of the major carriers. However, if you're happy with the amount of data Straight Talk offers, then you'll find that the service will do you just fine.
Curious about other available cell phone carriers? You can always use our cell phone plan comparison tool. We recommend taking a look at The People's Operator (TPO) if you're looking for similar plans to Straight Talk at similar prices.