Why Straight Talk Might Just Be The Best Carrier For Your iPhone, Period. [Review]

Why Straight Talk Might Just Be The Best Carrier For Your iPhone, Period. [Review]

Straight Talk is the real deal: fantastic coverage, blazing fast 3G speeds and no monthly contract.

Since I’m so excited, we’re going to front load this review: if you don’t want to sign a contract to have an iPhone, Straight Talk is the best prepaid carrier you can possibly choose in the United States. And even if you have no problem with signing a two year contract with one of the big three, you should seriously consider Straight Talk: you get the same quality of coverage and network speeds as if you signed up with AT&T for hundreds of dollars less.

Got that? Now let me elaborate.

Why Does America Hate Prepaid Carriers?

Before I moved back to America last year, I’d spent the previous decade living in Europe, and the only mobile phones I’d ever had were European. Most of those phones, in turn, were prepaid, pay-as-you-go phones, and I was always very happy with them. Instead of having to sign away my soul for years at a time to a carrier for a monthly allotment of minutes and texts that I would probably never exhaust, I could walk into a shop with my existing phone and walk out with a plan where I only paid for what I used. And because, in Europe, you never paid for phone calls or text messages you received, twenty euros worth of credit could last me half a year at a time.

A law-abiding citizen, it is inferred, would prefer to sign up for an expensive two-year contract on an allotment of minutes and texts that they may very well never use than opt for the same cellphone plan favored by Marlo Stanfield on The Wire.

So back when I lived abroad, America’s attitude towards prepaid phones completely mystified me. Part of that attitude has always seemed to me to be simply classist: look at the way, for example, Hollywood treats prepaid “burners” as being essentially synonymous with drug dealers and criminals. A law-abiding citizen, it is inferred, would prefer to sign up for an expensive two-year contract on an allotment of minutes and texts that they may very well never use than opt for the same cellphone plan favored by Marlo Stanfield on The Wire.

That’s just stupid: there are way more reasons why the average person might not want to sign up for a two-year mobile contract than the other way around. Unlimited data. Unlimited texts. Unlimied minutes. Monthly fees that are only half what the likes of AT&T and Verizon charge. The ability to walk away at any time if you find a better provider.

In fact, I’d argue there are only two real reasons why a person would sign a contract with a major carrier. The first has to deal with network coverage; the second, to get themselves the latest and greatest smartphone.

How The iPhone Is Changing Attitudes

Luckily, times are changing. Prepaid carriers are getting a lot better about offering an attractive range of modern smartphones with their services, and over the last few months, we’ve seen the iPhone 4S finally hit the prepaid market through at least three different prepaid carriers.

I’m a big proponent of buying the iPhone 4S and going prepaid. Even having to pay for an unlocked iPhone upfront, you can save over a thousand dollars over the course of two years by signing up with Virgin Mobile instead of AT&T or Verizon. That’s real money for anyone.

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that most prepaid carriers have slightly worse service coverage than the big boys. And worse, 3G data on prepaid carriers like Virgin tends to be bog slow compared to the speeds you’ll get on AT&T and Verizon. Over the last month, though, I’ve been testing the iPhone 4S with Straight Talk, Walmart’s pre-paid offering. And after a month of testing, I can conclusively state that if you want a prepaid iPhone, Straight Talk is probably the best carrier you can possibly choose. Not only will you save more money on Straight Talk than on the likes of Virgin Mobile or Cricket, but you’ll get blazing fast HSPA+ data to boot.

If you want a prepaid iPhone, Straight Talk is probably the best carrier you can possibly choose.

How It Works

Here’s how it works. The first way Straight Talk differentiates itself from the likes of Virgin Mobile or Cricket is you don’t have to buy your iPhone through them. That means that you have a lot more options: Virgin Mobile and Cricket will only sell you an 8 GB iPhone 4 or a 16 GB iPhone 4S in black or white. Using Straight Talk, though, you can use any GSM iPhone, from an old unlocked iPhone cluttering around a door to a fully unlocked 64GB iPhone 4S you bought straight from Apple.com. You can even use an AT&T iPhone that is still carrier-locked.

The reason Straight Talk can manage that last impressive feat is because Straight Talk piggybacks off of AT&T’s GSM network. That brings another major advantage to going with Straight Talk over the likes of Virgin Mobile or Cricket: if you’re using an iPhone 4S, you get full HSPA+ “4G” speeds. That means that using an iPhone 4S on Straight Talk is every bit as fast when it comes to data as using an iPhone 4S you got directly from AT&T. Considering that AT&T currently has the fastest iPhone network in the land, at least until the LTE iPhone comes out, that’s an advantage that simply can’t be over-stated: an iPhone 4S running on Straight Talk’s network will be faster than a Verizon iPhone or Sprint iPhone.

Set-up isn’t difficult, although it’s not as straight forward as it is for many carriers. You plug in your SIM card and then set up your iPhone as normal. Once the set-up is complete, you need to visit a website over WiFi to set up the 3G connection. It’s not hard, but not exactly plug-and-play either, and you need to make sure to follow the instructions precisely.

Once everything is up and running, Straight Talk just screams, though. In our experience, the voice quality, 3G speeds and network coverage were just as good as AT&T’s: we were even able to extensively use Straight Talk’s network in the middle of nowhere on a weekend camping trip. Everything else works without a hitch, including features like iMessage.

There are only two drawbacks. The first is you’ll lose Visual Voicemail. That’s a shame, as it’s a killer feature on the iPhone, but it’s hardly a deal breaker. More confusingly, Straight Talk doesn’t support the sending or receipt of MMS messages. If you use iMessage a lot, this isn’t a big problem, but if you regularly send pictures to friends without iPhones (or get MMS messages from friends without iPhones), the lack of MMS can be confusing, because there are no error messages when you try to send or receive one: instead, MMSes just disappear into the ether.

Verdict

We’re going to be blunt: right now, if you want an iPhone and can afford to pay more upfront to have more freedom and pay less down the line, Straight Talk should be at the top of your list of carriers. You get all the benefits of AT&T’s HSPA+ and GSM networks for half the price, only sacrificing Visual Voicemail and MMS messaging in the process. And the savings you’ll get for giving up these small features is huge.

If you want an iPhone and can afford to pay more upfront to have more freedom and pay less down the line, Straight Talk should be at the top of your list of carriers.

Let’s put it in perspective. Right now, if you signed up for a 64GB iPhone 4S on AT&T’s network, the best deal you could possibly get is $85.00 a month for unlimited minutes and messaging and 1GB of data. That’s after paying $399 for the subsidized iPhone. Over two years, that plan would cost you $2,439.00. On Straight Talk? Even after paying $849 for an unlocked 64GB iPhone 4S, you’ll only spend $1929.00. That’s a savings of over $500 over two years, and you get unlimited data on top of it. Is Visual Voicemail and MMS worth $500 and a much more meager data allowance to you?

The equation may very well change once the next iPhone with LTE is unveiled next month, but for right now, we have no reservations in recommending Straight Talk as the absolute best value in iPhone plans right now. If you can afford to pay more for your iPhone up front, Straight Talk is the carrier you should be considering above all others: you get all the benefits of AT&T’s network without selling your soul or emptying your wallet out to them.

  • coolman1081

    Isn’t ST through Wal-Mart? I’ve seen ads for it that mention Wal-Mart. Sucks if they are, cause I’d hate to support Wal-Mart.

  • matrix3D

    From what I’ve read elsewhere, Straight Talk’s “unlimited” data isn’t really so unlimited after all. I’ve been seeing people say that they’ll cut you off once you cross either the 2 GB or 3 GB threshold for the month.

  • brownlee

    From what I’ve read elsewhere, Straight Talk’s “unlimited” data isn’t really so unlimited after all. I’ve been seeing people say that they’ll cut you off once you cross either the 2 GB or 3 GB threshold for the month.

    I didn’t cross the threshold in my testing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they throttle after a certain point, like everyone else. It’s still a better deal on data than AT&T or Verizon, though

    • Levi

      I never had a problem with straight talk data its the best deal out there

  • FriarNurgle

    $45… what’s the catch?

    I’ve been shopping for a phone/plan for my daughter. I might as well just give her my iPhone 4 with a Straight Talk sim when I upgrade to the new iPhone. Now I just need to decide if I’m staying with AT&T or going to Verizon due to better LTE coverage.

  • Tarun Chachra

    I love your post and have been a StraightTalk user for a while. But honestly, its not all that great….the proxy servers are horrible, the data works great when you first activate and slows down in the days ahead. I have been on it for 3 months now with a iPhone4s…. I activated – was impressed – used it (but not too much) and blam…it got horrible. Called cust service – they re-provisioned the phone – worked great for a day or two and back to horrible. I have also noticed that some apps refuse to recognize an internet connection (example: NEST). I like it for the value…but its not perfect just yet.

  • Tarun Chachra

    I love your post and have been a StraightTalk user for a while. But honestly, its not all that great….the proxy servers are horrible, the data works great when you first activate and slows down in the days ahead. I have been on it for 3 months now with a iPhone4s…. I activated – was impressed – used it (but not too much) and blam…it got horrible. Called cust service – they re-provisioned the phone – worked great for a day or two and back to horrible. I have also noticed that some apps refuse to recognize an internet connection (example: NEST). I like it for the value…but its not perfect just yet.

  • Jerome Garot

    Thanks a bunch, I was looking for something like this.

  • Garym

    Coolman is right… WalMart is the worst and deserves no patronage in any way, shape or form.

    http://www.fastcompany.com/47593/wal-mart-you-dont-know

  • Shane Bryson

    I know 5 people on Straight Talk and they all absolutely HATE it. I’m not talking like they are just dissatisfied. I mean they HATE their service. Reason? They all claim exactly the opposite of what this article claims. They never have signal and their data connections crawl slower than a turtle. We live about 10 minutes from Greensboro NC, a metropolitan area. I have At&t and my signal coverage here is great, where their in the same area and most of the surrounding area is atrocious.

    Nevermind the glaring problem with this article, Straight Talk only uses AT&T’s network in very very very limited areas. In fact, in most cases, it uses Verizon. What’s ironic about this, is where it uses Verizon, happens to be the places where Verizon’s coverage is basically useless.

    So what I would say is, NO Straight Talk is most certainly not the best carrier option for an iPhone… What good is any smart phone without a data connection or a coverage area?

  • andyf

    Couldn’t agree more. If you pay for a year in advance, the monthly cost drops to $41.25. I’m loving the speed and cost – been a ST customer for 4 months, my 4s is now perfect. I use Google Voice instead of visual VM and have never needed MMS. People who don’t do this are crazy!

  • Skywaytraffic

    Damn. Should’ve started with the no MMS or Visual Voicemail thing… Instant deal breaker. Shame.

  • Skywaytraffic

    Also, why does everyone hate Walmart for being good at capitalism? It’s just a business. It’s not killing babies. Relax your shit.

    • Steven Mosher

      They don’t pay their people a living wage, who then have o choice but to go to the government for food stamps and other assistance. Which is then spent where??? At Wal-mart. That is not capitalism. That’s corporate welfare.

  • Shane Bryson

    Couldn’t agree more. If you pay for a year in advance, the monthly cost drops to $41.25. I’m loving the speed and cost – been a ST customer for 4 months, my 4s is now perfect. I use Google Voice instead of visual VM and have never needed MMS. People who don’t do this are crazy!

    If you don’t use your visual voicemail or MMS, I have to ask, why do you have an iPhone? Not having these are certainly deal breakers.

  • thisbejason

    I have Straight Talk with an AT&T iPhone 4. Here’s the the truth:

    + uses AT&T’s network so if their network is good in your area, ST will be good for you
    + MMS if you jailbreak and edit network settings
    + Very cheap compared to two year commitments
    – No visual voicemail
    – lose your phone number if they suspend your service (if you use too much data, YouTube, tethering; although many people do these things and get away with it, main thing is don’t use a crazy amount of data)

    If you dont care about visual voicemail and possibly losing your number, ST might be for you. Check out the forum with 80+ pages on slickdeals and read the iPhone straight talk network settings Wiki

  • Uncl3Ric0

    I’m on ST and they do throttle after 2g a month – and warm you they can cancel you anytime, but for $45/mo, it works and it’s cheap. You do not have to do anything with Walmart. Here is the best vid on how to make the switch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE1kAn9Ng_0

  • eeh73

    I’ve been on ST for about a month now and here is what I can tell you.

    1. Data was great first 5 days. After that, it’s been really slow and spotty. You have to call and get “re-provisioned” which can take 30 minutes of your time getting to the right person – and even then, once that is done, the speed is good for a day, then back to crap – so just accept the fact that the data is not so good. In fact, I have a friend who is an exec with ATT and he said those companies like ST that sub lease their lines, ATT customers get priority and what ever is left – the others like ST get. So it is what it is.

    2. Voice and TXT have been great. No Issues there at all.

    3. There is a data limit of 2GB per month. If you go over, they will call you and tell you that if you do not watch it, they will cancel you. Once you do go over 2GB, they throttle you, hard. This is not listed on their TOS, and you will only know this by calling their customer service when you gripe about very slow speeds and think somethings wrong. Chuckle…

    3a. The iPhone has a feature to tell you how much “cellular data” you have used. I suggest you reset this on your phone, and keep an eye on it so you know just how much you are using each billing cycle. It’s under Settings, General, Usage, Cellular Usage (at the bottom). Each time you re-up your ST account, click the “Reset Stats” button.

    4. While there is no visual VM (who cares for the savings you are getting), you can use YouMail on the app store. It’s free and has some nice features that apple does not. I love the “out of service” message – its great for telemarketers or people you never want to talk to again. Hahaha.

    5. Never tell ST you tether. If you do, that is grounds for instant termination and they will do it. I know someone who was caught and they do not argue the point, or hear you out. It’s one and done.

    All in though, even with slow crappy data, (I am usually on wifi anyway) it’s hard to gripe over $45/mo. With 3 iPhones moved over from ATT, we are saving a total of $78/mo. Just stay away from netflix or anything thing else data intensive while on 3G and you will be ok. Take that extra $ you save and do something nice for someone in need and good things will come to you. :)

  • Margaritae3

    like Sandra explained I’m dazzled that some one able to get paid $6761 in 4 weeks on the computer. did you look at this site link (Click on menu Home more information) http://goo.gl/RKYVT

  • Justin Gilbert

    I’m on Red Pocket, $55/month for 1GB/month, more than enough for me. On AT&T as well. Same dealio as Straight Talk.

  • utfluke

    It’ s funny in a “ha ha ACK” sort of way that this article was published.

    I ported a phone number over from AT&T to Straight Talk on Monday. 2.5 hours later, it worked like a charm. I tested the coverage, and while it was slower than AT&T, it wasn’t enough to discourage me from using the service.

    Tuesday, I attempted to port my wife’s number from AT&T to Straight Talk. That number has apparently fallen into the same place that socks go, because it has not transitioned over. The phone is still using AT&T coverage. I have called every day since I attempted to port the number over, and I’ve been told the exact same thing every day: “Sir, the port takes 24-48 hours to process”. I was told that again this morning. I attempted to get their cust service rep to be honest with me as to why this had happened, and he would not deviate from their rote script. Escalations upon escalations, but no one would be honest over the phone.

    Let this be fair warning to everyone. Straight Talk’s technical know-how is wildly inconsistent. Buyer beware.

  • Garym

    Virgin Mobile is only $30/month if you set up automatic billing on a credit card… of course, you do have to buy the phone outright for $700-ish?

  • blazzingsaddle

    You can get mms on the 4s.
    There is a simple trick with a non-working t-mobile sim card that’ll get it to work.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ1GbuSD3nY

    Btw – if you live in an area with bad att service then st will have bad service…duhh!
    Yes, if you get good att service – you’ll get good att service with st.

    All you anti-walmart people need to look in the mirror – apple,microsoft and every major companies supply chain uses indentured servitude/slavery from communist/socialist/corrupt contries.

  • blazzingsaddle

    I know 5 people on Straight Talk and they all absolutely HATE it. I’m not talking like they are just dissatisfied. I mean they HATE their service. Reason? They all claim exactly the opposite of what this article claims. They never have signal and their data connections crawl slower than a turtle. We live about 10 minutes from Greensboro NC, a metropolitan area. I have At&t and my signal coverage here is great, where their in the same area and most of the surrounding area is atrocious.

    Nevermind the glaring problem with this article, Straight Talk only uses AT&T’s network in very very very limited areas. In fact, in most cases, it uses Verizon. What’s ironic about this, is where it uses Verizon, happens to be the places where Verizon’s coverage is basically useless.

    So what I would say is, NO Straight Talk is most certainly not the best carrier option for an iPhone… What good is any smart phone without a data connection or a coverage area?

    The ST iphone uses ATT gsm network as an mvno, which is why they offer just the sim. Other straight talk branded phones use Verizon.

    So again, ST works great for (iPhone) if you live in an area with great ATT service.
    I’m absolutely certain your 5 friends aren’t using an ATT iphone on Verizons cdma network. Nice anecdotal try though.

  • nthnm

    Isn’t ST through Wal-Mart? I’ve seen ads for it that mention Wal-Mart. Sucks if they are, cause I’d hate to support Wal-Mart.

    Well someone didn’t read the article, haha :)

  • nthnm

    Nevermind the glaring problem with this article, Straight Talk only uses AT&T’s network in very very very limited areas. In fact, in most cases, it uses Verizon.

    Wouldn’t that mean all phones on the network would have to support GSM and CDMA? AT&T is GSM based and Verizon CDMA? Or do I have this wrong?

  • Holly Oberle

    I also live in Europe and travel to the US about twice a year for a month or two at a time. What really annoys me is that AT&T and Tmobile offer “prepaid” plans that aren’t really prepaid at all in the way prepaid works in Europe. You still pay a base fare per month for a set allotment of minutes. To me, what prepaid means is that you buy credit and you use the minutes/data that you have credit for. This means you always pay for what you use, you never pay for what you don’t use. If I’m on one of these so-called prepaid plans, if I get say, 1000 minutes per month but I only use 200, I still have to pay the monthly fee. It is truly ridiculous, and this Straight Talk plan, while it is an improvement it seems over AT&T and Tmobile’s prepaid services, it isn’t really prepaid either. $45/mo in Europe would be ALOT to pay, right now I would say I only use around $15 worth of minutes on average monthly. Why would I pay $45/mo, if I don’t use the phone that much? Where are the true pay-as-you-go plans in the US?
    Anyway, given that the US is a giant monopolistic market when it comes to mobile phones, I may just give Straight Talk a chance next time I’m in the US just to see what its like. Do you know if it is compatible with a legally, factory-unlocked older generation iPhone from Europe?
    Thanks for your review.

  • Tallest_Skil
    Nevermind the glaring problem with this article, Straight Talk only uses AT&T’s network in very very very limited areas. In fact, in most cases, it uses Verizon.

    Wouldn’t that mean all phones on the network would have to support GSM and CDMA? AT&T is GSM based and Verizon CDMA? Or do I have this wrong?

    No, he’s just outright wrong is all. They barely use CDMA. They mainly use GSM.

  • coolman1081
    Isn’t ST through Wal-Mart? I’ve seen ads for it that mention Wal-Mart. Sucks if they are, cause I’d hate to support Wal-Mart.

    Well someone didn’t read the article, haha :)

    It does mention Wal-Mart once re-reading it. However, I missed that the first time. I think I’ll pass on supporting them.

  • Joan Bailey

    I’m not so sure about this. I’ve got my iPhone on AT&T’s 4g LTE here in Dallas, and I don’t think it’s a lot to pay when you know it’s going to do what you need it to. I’m a graphics designer so I work with data-heavy files and I need to KNOW they’re going where I send them.

  • Joe Barron

    Does Straight Talk support Personal Hotspot?

  • Tallest_Skil

    Does Straight Talk support Personal Hotspot?

    No. And all tethering will cause them to cancel your account immediately. If you say the word ‘tethering’ to their support on the phone, your account is terminated.

  • HelenesDreams

    I’m using Straight Talk with two IPhone 4s’s and they work great here in Bend, Oregon. I am on AT&T towers at 4g.. fast and quick. I also have MMS and data working just fine on both IPhones. I am saving over $1740 and this includes the cost of the two unlocked IPhones. I did buy them used.

    This you tube video helped me to change the APN settings to get everything working just right! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJXHf80AaSU I even ported my Verizon numbers over as well. EAsy!

    For all of you “anti” Walmart people…well…nobody makes you work at Walmart. If your not a happy Walmart employee then go back to school..get a better job. Walmart is a great place to save on certain things. Apple utilizes China’s low labor cost to manufacture their phones..so don’t be so hypocritical. The money I save will help me to support other small business in my local town. I am sure Verizon isn’t hurting any either! I have paid them well over $12,000 in the last six years… WOW..all for just two phones. One was just a normal phone and the other a smartphone.

    Save your money…..

    You can read my review on my blog here:

    http://www.helenesdreams.blogspot.com

  • jimmyrustle

    Been a Straight Talk customer for about 8 months now, and this will be my last month with this carrier. What initially made Straight Talk attractive to me was their promise of unlimited talk, text and web for only $45/month, and being able to use my AT&T branded/locked Motorola Atrix HD Android powered smartphone.

    The big problem with Straight Talk is that their service is NOT unlimited. If you exceed an unknown daily data/web usage limit, they will cut your Internet speed down to a crawling halt, making simple emails almost impossible.
    I have had this happen to me after one weeks use, and all I did was write emails, check Facebook, read news articles online and download a few app off the Google Play Store.

    The next problem occurs when you call their support department. First you speak with a customer rep, who’s accent is so thick you’ll barely understand the person. They’ll next tell you that you violated section 6 and 7 of the terms of service – which basically says they have the right to cut your Internet speed (throttle), or terminate your service if your data usage is ‘excessive’. Problem here being that they won’t tell you exactly what ‘excessive data usage’ means, or at what point you reach that limit. When I asked them what the daily or monthly data usage limit is, and what amount of use would be considered ‘excessive’, the Straight Talk customer rep’s answer was simply that the service is unlimited as long as your usage for data/Internet/text/calls is not excessive.

    So there you have it folks – It’s unlimited talk/text/data/Internet…Expect it’s not. And you’ll have no idea when they’ll cut you off, because they won’t tell you, and it’s not mentioned anywhere in their ‘Terms of Service’ (TOS).

    For folks with dumbphones, this might be a good option for you, since you probably won’t consume much data if any. However, if you have an Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, Black Berry, Nokia Symbian, or any other smartphone, you’ll probably want to think twice, or trice, before going with Straight Talk, since you’ll more than likely get into trouble with them sooner or later.
    For the smartphone user who wants a cheap prepaid service, there are many other options than Straight Talk, and all of those alternatives will outright tell you what your data usage limit is before throttling occurs – if it occurs.

    Both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile offer plans with 2.5GB of high-speed data before throttling, and T-Mobile just launched GoSmart Mobile, which offers a whole 5GB of data before slowing you down. With those companies, you’ll at least know where you stand, and how much data you can consume before being throttled…

  • Hcklbery

    Straight Talk Guilty of FRAUD
    They give a FINAL price with taxes etc all included then when you authorize they charge your account more than you authorized without any notice.

    For couple of bucks they lose a monthly regular customer and gain a pissed off consumer who reports them to the Attorney General Consumer Fraud complaint division AND a BBB business complaint.

    Customer Service is PISS POOR AT BEST.

  • ErJW

    Straight Talk is HORRIBLE. Worst customer service ever. They make it impossible to cancel the auto refill option without calling them, but when you call, all you get is “we are experiencing an unusually high call volume….click”. Been trying for a week straight now.

  • oommma

    This has got to be a paid endorsement. Anyone that has Straight Talk knows 1) Customer Service is a HORROR, 2) Phone service is spotty at best, 3) When you add in the cost of your phone(s) (which will never work more than 1 year) the savings is insignificant. Having personally been a Straight Talk customer for 3 years and 3 phones I give up. First phone was on T-Mobile and never worked reliably, dropping nearly half my calls. Dealt with it a year and upgraded phone (savings reduced). Right at a year that LG phone began cutting off when charging (over and over again), BUT it worked on Sprint towers so I had experience good call service during that year. I was lulled into complacency when I should have switch my carrier to Sprint, but I didn’t. I purchased a new LG that works off of Sprint (not mentioning the ordeal it was finding out which straight talk phones used Sprint) and experienced yet another reduction in cost savings. Oh and I’m waiting 12 more hours to call Straight Talk back to find out why the neither the old or new phone now have service. Yeah…I have to go 24 hours without service before they’ll do anything, which I’ll bet will be tell me to send them my new phone so they can send me a refurbished one. I remember that solution from my first year of service. That’ll be a week or two without phone service. Yeah…talk about a bargain!

  • TheGreenSinger

    If you cherish your hard earned money, THEN DO NOT GET STRAIGHT TALK! I have been waiting 28 days for a replacement SIM card for my iPhone 3GS that didn’t activate correctly. Turns out they sent me a TMobile SIM card AND now Straight Talk doesn’t provide AT&T SIM cards anymore!

    THE ISSUE: After I tried to activate online (that in itself is a WHOLE OTHER ISSUE, along with the site), I called the next day (call center in Indonesia) and they said they would send one out to me in 3-5 days. They did not, nor would not offer rush shipping, although the faulty SIM card was sent 3day express. 7days go by…
    WEEK 2: called AGAIN (call center in The Philippines) for the status of this SIM card. Could not give an explanation of why card still wasn’t received. I asked to speak to a manager, which was in vain because he was just as useless and unappeasing. Had to take down my shipping info, AGAIN.
    WEEK 3: last week I called corporate HQ in Miami and requested a refund. They said over and over again that they don’t issue refunds. Yes, I know it’s on the website, but any other company would offer a refund if the goods/services weren’t delivered to the customer in a timely fashion, considering this is a replacement for the wrong item sent in the first place! Then I demanded that the replacement be sent overnight. No dice, even after I made point about waiting 21 days for this thing. Again I asked to speak to the rep’s supervisor, a Vanessa Rato (at this point I thought it would be prudent to start taking down names). This lady kept me on hold for over 47 minutes. Clearly she was avoiding the call, because the rep, Jay Ferson, would from time to time pick up and say, “She is still on another call, would you still like to hold?”. Now that I think of it, I’m certain the reps are trained in ways to wear out irate customers that call HQ. What a damn disgusting experience that was. Finally, I told Jay to just send the card.
    WEEK 4: still no card! The last straw came today when I made my weekly call to this damn company. Called corporate HQ again 2x. The first rep I got was less than bright as he just kept repeating what the issue was and offered no solutions. I told him this call was being recorded and he basically said don’t record, but he said a more “official” sounding response, like “I respectfully do not consent to this call being recorded”. Super shady. I called another # connected with HQ. This rep was more interested in sassily chiding me like a child instead of being solution oriented; she insisted that I must have ordered the wrong SIM card, that I must not have followed the directions online, both of which are incredibly incorrect. Why would I order a TMobile anything if I have AT&T service and my SIM card is AT&T? Then she finally dropped this bomb-STRAIGHT TALK DOES NOT HAVE IPHONE SIM CARDS! They don’t have any What?! She said that she can send another card, but it won’t work and that I have to BUY an AT&T SIM card on Walmart.com!!!! BUY!? Oh hell to the no. Called another number; as I write this I have been waiting for an available rep for an hour and 12 minutes and counting.

    This Straight Talk sham needs to be put out of business. Period.
    They refuse to give a refund despite the fact they:
    1) sent me the wrong SIM card,
    2) I waited over 21 days for the right SIM card, did not offer to rush ship, and
    3) after 4 weeks of waiting am now being told that they do not sell AT&T SIM cards.

    I’ve clerked at various retail stores and was a retail store manager and this nonsense with Straight Talk far and away has been the absolute WORST NIGHTMARE of customer service I have ever had in my 33 years.
    I have contacted an attorney; apparently there is at least 2 emerging class action suits against Straight Talk/TracFone. I will write up a complaint on the BBB, I’d like to maybe even contact ABC News or something like that. Since TracFone/Staright Talk is related to Walmart, I refuse to visit that store EVER AGAIN. Maybe there should an organized boycott of Walmart. The more of us that make noise and raise hell, the more likely that sleezy Straight Talk will treat customers better. Or just go away.

  • chickenprox

    Please do not buy, read my review below before purchasing!!

    I bought 2 sim cards from them (bring your own phone) and when THEY werent able to activate the sim cards they told me that since it wasnt my fault they would issue me a refund, even though they dont normally refund with the bring your own phone program. The lady gave me a reference number and told me that I would need to send it back with a tracking number, call back with it and it would take up to 15 days after they received the package for me to get my refund. I called today to give them the tracking number and after I did they informed me that they would not be giving me my refund. After arguing with them for 30 min I finally said “So she just basically lied to me about getting a refund so that I would send it back and you guys could resell it and make another $150 off it” she said YES MAM!! I told her that im glad she admitted to it and that I hope that this conversation was being recorded. I would NEVER buy anything from them again!!! They are shady shady people. I told them I was going to report them to the BBB however they arent even on their…hmmmm should tell you something! DO NOT BUY!

  • Levi

    I got st with iphone4 and i love it theres no better deal out there was with st now for 3 years and id never go back to a plan

  • Steven

    I recently purchased a SIM card from Straight Talk to put in an unlocked phone I bought at http://www.flumongu7s.com. The SIM uses AT&T towers and I get awesome service. I have dealt with customer service before and I have to say they are the smartest group of people, no technical knowledge what so ever.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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