Bring your own phone to this service that boasts low fees — and no bills.
Everybody hates bills — except when you get one that saves you money. Many wireless consumers are turning away from contracts to embrace prepaid month-to-month options that offer comparable services to contracted carriers.
One such option is Straight Talk Wireless from Walmart. Users describe it as “ridiculously cheap.” And in the world of wireless service, claims like this can cause a lot of commotion. Straight Talk also boasts the best phones on the best networks for half the cost. But does Straight Talk Wireless deliver on its claims?
Straight Talk is a prepaid month-to-month (read: no contract) wireless service supported by TracFone Wireless, a company that boasts coverage in “99.6% of the cellular populations.” Sold by Walmart and contracted through major carriers, the company claims to provide the same coverage consumers are used to receiving — through the same cell towers — but at a much lower cost.
What services does Straight Talk Wireless offer?
Straight Talk is designed to provide everything you’d want in a cell phone but without the contract typical of major carriers. As its name implies, it intends to do it without a lot of confusing terms and conditions.
Straight Talk offers individual and business plans that are simple and straightforward.
Unlimited Plan (3,000MB) — $35 a month. Includes Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text and Unlimited Data (first 3GB high speed, then 2G).
Unlimited Plan (25GB) — $45 a month. Includes Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text, Unlimited Data (first 25GB at high speeds, then reverts to 2G).
Unlimited International Plan — $60 a month. Includes Unlimited Talk, Unlimited Text, Unlimited Data (first 25GB at high speeds, then reverts to 2G).
Straight Talk recently introduced its new No-Contract Mobile Hotspot, with prices and availability depending on your location.
In addition to offering a variety of plans to accommodate various needs, Straight Talk not only claims to “rule” in the coverage department, but they offer access to a coverage map that new and existing users can search using zip code and that’s some pretty straight talking.
What sets Straight Talk apart?
When it comes down to it, the main benefits of Straight Talk Wireless aren’t what they can do that’s the same as other wireless services — but what they can offer that’s different. That difference is simple: lower monthly costs and straightforward billing for services with no contract.
If you’re specifically looking for ways to cut back on monthly expenses, Straight Talk may offer one huge benefit: In many cases, you can keep the phone you already have. Go to Straight Talk’s website to see if your current phone is compatible with its services.
Are there any other features I should know about?
Straight Talk intends to cut back on the fluff and provide the service callers need without the extra costs and charges. Still, Straight Talk offers a rewards program and other extras you may enjoy.
Straight Talk Rewards Program. Accumulate points toward a free service plan with this free loyalty program. Save $1 on your plan with auto-refills.
$10 global calling cards. Save money on your calls worldwide.
Easy exchange program. If your phone suffers electronical and mechanical failure, exchange it. Or pay more for to protect your phone against water, power surges and more.
Call Detector app. This easy download identifies and blocks unwanted calls.
What to watch out for
“New” name in the industry. Compare with more well-known carriers, Straight Talk doesn’t come with a solid history of service in the industry.
Spotty coverage. Current users complain that while coverage may be available, the strength of the signal can be noticeably low.
Long waits for customer service. Online reviews reveal long wait times of up to 30 minutes for customer service, which is available from 8 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. ET.
Possible future changes. No one can predict what changes the future holds, but users talk about their suspicions that new restrictions to Straight Talk’s Unlimited Plans will unfold at some point. Then, changes hold true for any carrier.
If you reminisce about the days before bills, Straight Talk’s no-contract plans could be just what you’re looking for. But if you’re a stickler for quality customer service, the most thorough coverage on the market or feeling pampered by awesome “extras,” you may need to explore other carriers.
Go to Straight Talk’s website or visit a participating retailer nationwide.
Check for your phone’s compatibility at Straight Talk’s website. Program-compatible phones include phones compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon.
Yes, with local number portability (LNP), you can keep the same phone number when switching between wireless carriers or between wireless and landline carriers. However, you can only transfer your phone number to another carrier within your local market.
Mary Brown enjoys finding money saving deals and sharing those tips with others. An avid adventurer, she explores the world in her free time (and is always looking for a good deal).
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