Free Government Phones

Straight Talk PrePaid Cellphone Plans

Straight Talk is a prepaid cell phone service from TracFone Wireless. Since Straight Talk doesn’t have its own network, it relies on other established and reliable networks for their service. According to their website, they share networks with the four top carriers, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. As a result of their network sharing, they offer phone coverage nationwide.

If you’re concerned as to whether or not Straight Talk offers service in your local area, go to their website and click on the shop for phones link. Insert your zip code and you’ll quickly find out if they service your local area.

Prepaid, No-Contract Service Plans

Straight Talk has a wide variety of service plans. Before you take a look at their plans, you should have a good idea of the type of phone user you are. Here are a few things to ask yourself:

Monthly Talk and Texting Requirements:
  • Do I spend more time on the phone talking or texting?
  • Will I only need the phone for emergencies (minimal talk time) or will this phone replace my landline (requiring more talk time)?
  • Do I make international calls or only domestic calls?
Monthly Data/Internet Use:
  • How many emails with attachments do I send/receive monthly?
  • Do I use my phone’s GPS frequently?
  • How do I spend my time online:
    • researching and web surfing
    • streaming music/videos
    • downloading apps/games
    • posting photos on social media

It’s not imperative that you know the exact answer to the above questions, but having a general idea will help you in determining which monthly plan to choose. The good thing about prepaid, however, is that if you need more data before the month is out, you can always purchase more.

Currently, there’s a basic plan for $30/month that gives unlimited texting and 1500 talk minutes with a 100MB data plan. There’s also a $60/month plan with unlimited international calling (calls to Mexico, China, Canada and India), unlimited nationwide talk/text that comes with a 25GB data plan. There are also several other plan combinations of talk/text and data that vary in price.

Phone Availability for the Straight Talk plan

Straight Talk offers a large variety of phones, but not all phones are available in all areas. To which phones are available in your area, go to their website and insert your zip code. The phones range in price from $19.99 (refurbished phone when available) to over $1,000 for the new release phones. For example, as of this writing, the most expensive phone in my zip code is the iPhone XS 64GB with a price tag of $1,099.

Fortunately, Straight Talk does offer a monthly installment plan for expensive phones. Instead of shelling out $1,099 at one time they offer 24 monthly installments of $52.99 (yes, there are some interest charges built into the installment plan). Keep in mind that the monthly installment is in addition to whatever monthly service plan you choose. If you’ve got a tight budget, I recommend going for a much cheaper phone.

Bring Your Own Phone

Rather than purchase a new phone, you can bring an existing phone. Straight Talk has a compatibility checker on their site to help you determine whether or not you can use your existing phone. Whether you have an unlocked phone or currently have a phone provided by one of their network partners, the compatibility checker walks you through the process.

Purchasing Air/Data Time

To add more air time or data, you first have to purchase a service card. You can purchase them at WalMart or online from the Straight Talk website using a credit/debit card. Once you’ve purchased the service card, you’re ready to add more time.

Whether you visit a WalMart store, use the Straight Talk website or text ADD to 611611 using your Straight Talk phone, adding additional talk/data is simple. You’ll need the service PIN (the scratch-off numbers on the back of the airtime card) and of course your phone number or phone serial number.

If purchasing service cards and replenishing your account monthly is too much of a hassle, you can enroll in the auto-refill option. Auto refill not only saves time, but you save $1 a month on certain plans. You get monthly notifications prior to your credit card being charged so there are no surprises. And, since it’s a prepaid program, you can cancel the auto-refill at any time.

Straight Time Data Speed

In reviewing the data allotments and speed on the various plans, it appears that Straight Talk offers unlimited data, but the data speed varies. For example, if you purchase a service plan with 3GB of data, you will get high-speed service (3G or 4G where available) for 3GB worth of data. Usage over 3GB drops down to 2G service. Similarly, if you purchase the 25GB data service plan, the first 25GB is delivered at high speed. Anything over 25GB is delivered at the slower 2G service.

The slower speed in service may affect streaming videos and audio.

What Folks are Saying about Straight Talk

Before purchasing the Straight Talk services, spend a little time reading reviews. This service has gained popularity over the years and so there are many customer reviews online. Here’s a link to Straight Talk reviews on the Consumer Affairs website.


About the Author: LaForey is a person who was fed up with contract phone plans and opted for something more practical.

Last Modified: 14 May 2019

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