Straight Talk

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Straight Talk

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.  

The Good

  • 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.

The Bad

  • 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.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Straight Talk can be an inexpensive carrier to use for basic cell phone services. They offer quality coverage that rivals the best contract providers. Straight Talk also lets you use your old phone from a different provider with a simple SIM card replacement that you or a service tech can perform. There are some concerns though about the "phone unlocking" policy that should be mentioned, however. If someone has given you their old phone, you will need their permission and the serial number. You should also check ahead of time to make sure that your phone is compatible to be fitted with a Straight Talk SIM card. All in all, Straight Talk consumers can expect the following:

  • Pre-pay pricing
  • Data and speed restrictions
  • Quality coverage
  • Wide variety of compatible cell phones
  • Keep your number and phone

22 Straight Talk Reviews

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  • User Score

    0

    July 19th, 2017

    Worst company I have ever used. Switched to their service in May 2017 - big mistake. The incompetence of the customer service department is truly breathtaking . Called yesterday as they had deactivated my Husband's phone, Said it had never been activated. It had. Less than an hour later they deactivated my phone. I contacted customer service and was told I requested my number to be ported to another company on 6/18/2017. I didn't, it worked until yesterday. They were unable to reactivate it. I used the number for business. Will cost $000s to replace equipment and materials to show a new phone number. Choosing Straight Talk was the biggest, most expensive mistake I have made in years. There is nothing positive to say about the company - I don't know how it's still in business.

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  • User Score

    0

    July 17th, 2017 Anchorage, AK

    This company is awful. 1) They do not cover Nation wide as they advertise. I bought my phone in Washington and when I moved to Alaska it no longer worked. 2) I bought a card that somehow had already been used even though the scratch off was intact when I bought it. I had proof of my purchase, but their customer service didn't care and offered me nothing. 3) Customer service is outsourced and they read off of prompts while they are talking to you. It's painfully obvious that they have no idea what they are talking about. They are anything but helpful.

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  • User Score

    0

    July 11th, 2017 Helena, MT

    Got new phones now we dont get service hardly anywhere cause they can't use a diffent sims card. They talk to you like you are a retard are not helpful at all still have like no service unless I'm in a city for heaven sakes I live in montana we don't have many of those.

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  • User Score

    0

    June 29th, 2017

    It's a disgrace that my mother is charged 45.00 per month for the most crappiest service around. For basic service, 3 days to activate, to turn around and get screwed over still. They changed her plan without her knowledge, every phone call data is used, every text whether picture or not charged, etc what is the 45 bucks a months for?! The customer service people refused to speak English and give her run around til they drop her calls. I wouldn't recommend this service to anyone one with a brain.

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    1 0
  • User Score

    0

    June 26th, 2017

    I purchased Straight Talk service from a Walmart in New Mexico. They assured me the service should be active immediately with nothing further required. When Straight Talk refused to activate my phone, they said I needed a service number from Walmart or they could not help me. Walmart told me they have never operated that way and never give out service numbers. Neither side knew anything about the other, and I never got the service I paid for. How a company this poorly managed is still around boggles my mind. Worst service ever.

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  • User Score

    2

    June 25th, 2017 Colorado Springs, CO

    I have had service through straightalk for about three years. On several occasions when my account refills (monthly) their app that keeps track of how much data they say I have used did not clear on the refill date leaving 2.0 to 4.0 gigs of data showing as already used. Being that I tend to be on WiFi most of the time I let it go the first couple of times (I rarely use more than about 3 gigs of the 8 per month that I contract for). It happened again on this months refill leaving 3.19 gigs showing. Obviously, I couldn't have used 3.19 gigs in the first few minutes after refilling for a new month. I got on the chat box and explained that there was no possibility that I could have already used 3 gigs of data. The rep.in the chat replied "let me bring up your acct". When they came back they said "yes sir that's right, you have used 3.19 gigs and you have 4.81 remaining." To which I replied 'that's not at all possible....did you not understand what I just explained? The app did not reset as it should have on the refill date.' They said "the app did reset. You have 4.81 gigs left until next refill date." I replied 'there will be no next refill date.' As much as I really don't have time to go shopping for another carrier, I will. Simply the principal of the matter. So watch out for straightalk data app. IT WILL ROB YOU. Even if you've been an honest loyal customer for three years.

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  • User Score

    0

    June 24th, 2017

    Had a warranty issue, Straight Talk sent me a refurbished, junk phone that overheats, turns off and takes 8 hours to have a text message received, phone does not not ring, and when Straight talk is contacted, horrible service and Straight talk expects me to wait 13 days for a phone - and will not send replacement phone. Changing service. Go with a different service

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  • User Score

    0

    June 23rd, 2017 Rochester, NH

    Worst customer service ever. Been a customer for 3 years never had an issue until the other day when I signed up for the auto pay and the payment was sent from my bank to straight talk, but my service wasn't activated instead it is sitting pending, waiting for straight talk to accept the payment. According to customer care they finally admitted, after they completely insulted me that they have no idea why straight talk has not accepted the payment. After i asked them to put someone on who does know why they transferred the call back into the customer care cue so i could wait another 30 minutes for another customer care rep who also would not know why straight talk hasn't accepted the payment. They spent the first half of the call telling me my bank was lying and i did not have funds in the account. Even after i explained i have documented proof I can send them showing to show them I did have the funds , and the funds were sent to straight talk. How rude do you have to be to accuse your customer of lying without even have understanding or answers for what the customer is asking, and when a customer asks for someone who is capable of providing the answers they transfer you back into the customer care cue.

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  • User Score

    8

    June 14th, 2017

    Solid cell phone service on the big networks and without dropping calls as stated above. Now thye give you 8 gigs per phone before limiting your data

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  • User Score

    3

    June 13th, 2017 Salt Lake City, UT

    I had to use Straight Talk temporarily, for a pay as you go phone, it is not bad. I would have liked it better if I would have had more selections for phone choices. But the Walmart I bought it at only had 3 options that were all pretty poor. The phone service was fine, but the browser was awful.

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  • User Score

    0

    May 18th, 2017 Syracuse, NY

    Customer service is very poor. The representatives are very very very slow. Plan on being on the phone near an hour each time you call them. Then when they are unable to fix the problem, you will have to re explain and do all the same steps, each visit.

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  • User Score

    1

    May 17th, 2017 Phoenix, AZ

    I'm absolutely astounded by how terrible this company's customer service is. I ordered a refurbished iphone from their website. It was purchased for my wife's birthday. It took much longer than it was supposed to to get to me which I was able to cope better with compared to the many issues that followed. After receiving the phone I called into Straight talk support to activate the phone. I was then told that the phone was defective and that I had to return it. I was then told that FedEx would ship it for free if it was sent with the original box that it came with. When I got to FedEx they said that there was nothing on the box that allowed them to ship it (no label from straight talk). I called into straight talk again and was told that their company actually does not pay for shipping. The straight talk support line did not attempt to replace the product (it is actually no longer available) and then they didn't even offer to pay to ship the defective product back. No responsibility was taken whatsoever.

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  • User Score

    8

    May 16th, 2017

    Looking to switch from horrible AT&T. I do appreciate that StraightTalk seems to do just that - talk straight and not add lots of extra taxes, surcharges, hidden fees and pure nonsense. Therefore, my review is not about service. It is about company offering, which thus far in my research, I find to be very positive.

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    0 1
  • User Score

    0

    May 9th, 2017

    horrible customer service, I dont think they know their product. they lost my phone number during a switch and made me buy a new phone to reactivate.

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  • User Score

    0

    April 19th, 2017

    Worst customer service ever!!! 2 months in a row with no data - called customer service many times. One time the woman was actually talking to what sounded like her kids - she'd told me to hold while she worked on my problem.....Guess she forgot to hit the hold button. Every time I was kept on hold off and on for over 45 minutes. Still no resolution to not having any data on a newly filled/and paid plan. Ditching this company.

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  • User Score

    0

    March 19th, 2017

    Terrible service, this is the worst carrier I have ever had. The people you deal with do not speake the english very well. They have a script to go by and that is it. Asking for a transfer to some one who speaks good english. Forget it. I have had straight talk for a long time but not after this month. Straight gives you the run around. And do not bother calling complaint department. It does no good.

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    0 0
  • User Score

    0

    March 6th, 2017 Laramie, WY

    Horrible company! Their customer service is the worst I have ever in my life received. They are rude and do not want to help you. I bought two new phones through them and received defective phones. It took forever for them to ship and to activate them is a pain. Finally, after they were activated our phones starting crashing. I have been fighting with them for almost 2 months, since rebooting the phones should help a phone that overheats and crashes..... Well, now I find out it will take me 2 weeks, if not more, to receive my replacements. And I need to pay for services during this time since if not, I will lose my phone number..... Save yourself the trouble, STAY AWAY FROM STRAIGHT TALK!

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  • User Score

    0

    February 10th, 2017

    Straighttalk socks. Low price, but service socks. Apn settings are impossible to get working. Don't waste your time.

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  • User Score

    5

    January 19th, 2017

    I have been a straighttalk costumer for almost 7 yes and never read had any problems until I had a problem I call the automated service to refill my time with my credit card. which I've done since I started using this company The system said that my card was denied which was impossible because I had more than enough funds to pay It then transferred me to a live operator who kept asking me for my card information although I kept repeating not to run it again because it was already done and looking at my bank statement online it showed the funds were taken from straighttalk She said it was only to confirm the information and then told me that it was denied again Needless to say I was upset and asked for a supervisor who spoke English After explaining it to the 3rd person on the line that said they could not do anything about it and that I need to speak with my bank So I called my bank who joined in on a 3 party call and explained that the funds did go through and provided a confirmation number The person on the line said that there was nothing they could do and transferred us to someone who could help This went on for almost 3 hours until they finally said the will submit a credit to my account if we provided them with all my personal and banking information and it could take up to 45 days Thankfully the person from my bank got tired of the run around we were getting and asked for their name and contact information and said they will dispute the charge and give me my money back I really had nothing but good things to say about straighttalk until this happened now I plan to find another company to give my business to because I feel that aftrr 7 yrs I should not have had to be transferred to 6 operators who didn't speak English and still end up losing my money if it were not for the patient person helping me at first citizens bank "my bank" So good bye straighttalk I hope you get some English speaking representatives who can actually help your long term costumers and not lose them

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  • User Score

    2

    December 14th, 2016 Huntsville, TX

    Customer Service is applauling. Received broken new phone with someone else's data on it. A so called straight talk manager informs me it came straight from the factory. Straight Talk do not care and are determined to stand their ground. I am considering cancelling all my services. The phone was a birthday gift for my son. Zero empathy. A disgrace.

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