Straight Talk is a wireless service provider, branded similarly to TracFone and Wal-Mart carrier services. They offer straightforward pricing and are one of the lower-end, affordable phone providers. They offer different discounted rate plans, available in 30-day no-contract obligation service packages. Straight Talk is an exclusive brand that is made possible by the arrangement between TracFone and Wal-Mart. Straight Talk uses Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T’s GSM and CDMA networks. One of the nice things about Straight Talk is that some brands of phones are compatible from other carriers by replacing the SIM card. The list of compatible phones include: the iPhone, Nokia Lumina, LG Phoenix and Thrive, HTC’s Inspire, and the Motorola Atrix 2. Unfortunately, BlackBerry products do not have this cross platform compatibility.
- Basic, simple service
- Bring your own phone feature
- Port your number option
Straight Talk's services closely resemble the message sent in their brand name. They provide a basic service with clear selling points that outline the exact service customers will receive. There are some limitations to their products and services, but Straight Talk is extremely transparent regarding what is offered and what is not.
Prospective customers can also "bring your own phone," where a customer service specialist is going to give you a SIM card so that you can use Straight Talk's service. So, if you have a phone from a prior carrier, there are instances where you can keep it and transfer it over. Customers can also purchase the SIM card and install it all on their own without a representative. Customers should double check which devices are compatible and what phones Straight Talk actually carriers because it is constantly changing and upgrading.
If you want to move your number over to Straight Talk, they make it easy to "port" your number. Keeping your same phone and number makes Straight Talk a great fit for many different customers. Unfortunately, there are some phones that cannot be fitted with Straight Talk's SIM card. Customers appreciate the ability to install Straight Talk's SIM card into an iPhone. That being said, some older iPhone 4 models might not be compatible with the SIM card. There are also no options for integrating BlackBerry into Straight Talk's service at this time.
There are some limitations with other carriers prospective Straight Talk consumers should be aware of. Consumers have found that some AT&T phones might not be compatible with Straight Talk because of usability issues. For the most part, other carrier's phones are compatible, but customers should double check before making the switch. Once confirmed, a majority of devices can be easily integrated into Straight Talk's service.
Even though Straight Talk is affiliated with Wal-Mart, it is a separate entity of the retail chain. There are representatives ready to assist with questions and activation at Wal-Mart locations or online. Current customers have also been satisfied with the 4G LTE coverage that Straight Talk provides. While they don't have their own network, Straight Talk utilizes T-Mobile, AT&T, and some of the best networks in the United States to provide the best possible coverage for customers.
Data is also available for smartphone users. The two higher-end service levels offer unlimited data for customers. The only difference between the higher-end service levels was that the top service level offers unlimited international calling and texting.
The "half-the-price" package also lived up to Straight Talk's reputation. Straight Talk claims that the price of service is comparable to that of other contract and non-contract providers. There are some limitations to the half-the-price claim because this package does not include the cost of the phone.
It is also possible to pre-pay for more months of service with the Unlimited Plan. There are three additional service extensions with the Unlimited Plan. They include the following:
- Unlimited 3 months: $130
- Unlimited 6 months: $255
- Unlimited 1 year: $495
Customers can enjoy piece of mind by pre-paying for their phone service a year in advance. With other non-contract providers, you could only purchase service in monthly increments. You could, of course, load enough money onto your account to cover a year, but Straight Talk makes it easy to pay for your phone for as long as you'd like.
- Dropped calls and lack of data service
- Not unlimited data
- Network redundancy
There are some limitations with the Straight Talk services as well. Customers have experienced issues with dropped calls and lack of data service. This can be frustrating when a customer is trying to browse the Internet or make a phone call.
There are also some issues with the data claims being labeled as "unlimited." Customers actually get 3 GB of metered data for each 30-day service package that is purchased. When you go over the 3 GB limit, you have access to the data network, but your speeds are drastically reduced. Most customers say that the average customer needs 2 GB of data per month. With 100 MB of data on the low-end plan, you will likely use all your data quickly.
There are also concerns surrounding network redundancy with the number of other company's networks that were used. Some of the dropped calls that have been reported may be a result of the shared networks with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and other cellular providers.