Does Straight Talk Really Work?

Does Straight Talk work?Straight Talk wireless is a cell phone service plan that is a joint partnership of TracFone and Wal-Mart. It’s a pre-paid way to get phone service without having to sign a long-term contract. But what everyone really wants to know is whether or not you can actually get a good signal with it.

Overview
When it comes to getting service for your smartphone many of the carriers want you to sign up for a 2 year plan in order to offer you the best deal on a phone. If you don’t want to be locked into a contract like that or you can’t get approved for one, a pre-paid plan is usually the best option. This entails potentially paying more for you phone but still receiving the same service for roughly the same price each month.

The Claim
Straight Talk claims that you can get an unlimited plan for $40 a month which allows you to talk, text, and use data all in one plan. They also say you can get a free phone with some plans, or use your own phone by just buying a new SIM card for it.

The Hype
Since this is offered at Wal-Mart they don’t really need to hype it up very much, but they do still advertise it heavily. With all of the foot traffic that goes through Wal-Mart enough people will have seen this and considered it as an option to avoid higher priced plans with other carriers.

The Cost
The most popular Straight Talk plan is $40 for 30 days of unlimited talk, text, and data, but you can also get a plan that has limits for $30 a month. This limited plan might be enough for many and would represent one of the cheaper plans you can get for a cell phone. When you compare this to other plans costing $50, $60, $70 or more per month for unlimited plans it look rather attractive. The only question is whether or not you’ll be able to use your phone the way you want to, with clear calls and fast data service.

The Commitment
Since it’s pre-paid you don’t have to get wrapped in a long-term contract and you are free to stay on or stop your service at any time. They of course hope that you’re happy enough with the service to stay on for a long time so they can collect their monthly fee each month. At the same time since you can stop your service without paying a cancellation fee or suffer any other penalty, you can simply change providers and you’re all set.

Evaluation
You’re basically using the same lines as other carriers when you use Straight Talk, so you don’t have to worry about TracFone adding more towers and making the service better, as they are just piggy backing off of other providers. The GSM phones used on Straight Talk are going to use the infrastructure put in place by T-Mobile and AT&T. It’s always interesting to go with a company that hasn’t built up its own towers and coverage, but in fact is renting space from other providers. How does that deal work? Does T-Mobile and AT&T give preference to their own customers and let Straight Talk users have what’s left over? Is it a total first come first served basis?

There are heaps of complaints about Straight Talk, ranging from the service you’ll get on your phone to the service you’ll get from their customer service department. We haven’t found a cell phone service provider that makes everyone happy, so this is almost the norm in the industry. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you choose a service that has a good track record in your area. You want to minimize the instances of dropped calls and staticky calls by making sure that the coverage map is solid where you are.

Final Straight Talk Review

Straight Talk is getting our Try rating, but you’ll first want to check the coverage of T-Mobile and AT&T in your home location to see what kind of service you can expect from them. If it works out perfectly for you it’s a great way to save money on cell phone service, but if you buy an unlimited plan and have trouble making and taking calls, or the data is so slow it renders your phone useless, it’s not going to be worth it even at the lower price.

The nice thing about this service is that it’s pre paid and you’re not stuck with it if it doesn’t work. There are low costs to entry so you can try it out for a month and see how it’s working for you on a day to day basis. This is something you can’t really do with a phone that comes with a contract, because after that first month you’ll be roped in and be subject to paying early cancellation fees. So many people have said that it didn’t work for them, but the large majority are getting by with the service on some level, so yes, it does work in most cases.

Our Recommendation
It’s worth a try to see how this service works in your area, but you should really check what others are saying in your specific geographic location. This is because the level of service you’ll get is going to vary heavily from place to place. Major markets might have plenty more coverage than more rural areas.

What do you think? Does Straight Talk work or not?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanessa B. July 23, 2013 at 6:12 am

I currently use Straight Talk and am satisfied with their service. Cell phone reception has always been good in the four states I’ve been in since getting this plan. We also pay less using this plan than we did with our previous cell phone service provider. I love that we’re not bound to a contract, especially since many cell phone companies have 2 year contracts these days. For $80 for myself and my husband, we have unlimited texts, data, and minutes. The unlimited factor is important for us, since we used to often go over our minutes with our last plan…causing us to have to pay a steep 40 cents per extra minute.

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Allison July 23, 2013 at 7:53 pm

I can’t possibly say enough wonderful things about the Straight Talk service and experience. I switched over to Straight Talk a year before I got married in order to save money. True story: I paid approximately $100 a month with my Verizon contract for 450 minutes, unlimited messaging, and data. I not only paid to get out of the contract (a whopping $350!!) but purchased a $60 Straight Talk phone and began paying the $45 plan. In one year, even after paying that horrible early termination fee for Verizon, I saved enough to purchase half of our plane tickets for the honeymoon. I will NEVER leave ST!

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fightin_irisher July 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I made the switch from the typical carriers to StraightTalk about 4 years ago- excellent decision! I don’t need all the “bells and whistles” that most cell phones come out with, and on a fixed income, I can’t afford a crap load of money each month. All I’ve ever cared about has been talk and text- StraightTalk definitely fits that need for a great price. They have a huge variety of phones, and the coverage is really good in my local area. We did recently go up north, and I barely had coverage in most of those states. I pay $30.00 + tax a month- the lowest plan available- but that’s honestly all I need- 1,000 minutes talk + 1,000 texts a month and I usually have left-over. It’s actually called the “All You Need ” Plan. Love this service!!!

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Lynda Schab July 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I was a Verizon customer for years and loved the service. But it’s pricey, and when my contract was almost up, I started checking around. I switched to Straight Talk two months ago and I love it! The best part is in my area, the service is actually provided by Verizon, so I get the same great service at a much cheaper price. Yes, I had to buy my phone ($100) but for less than $50 per month (which includes all taxes), I not only get unlimited texting and calling, but data, too. Love, love, love my Straight Talk plan and won’t even consider anything else. Oh – also want to mention that I had some issues at first with transferring my number, and the ST customer service was excellent! Got right through and they were very helpful.

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Josh B July 27, 2013 at 4:03 pm

It sounds like a great way to save money and if you get a great quality for a cheaper price then it’s totally worth it in my opinion. With all these “pay as you go” programs it’s hard to tell if they’re actually worth joining if cheaper means that you get what you pay for. I tried a prepaid phone before but the quality of the phone was sacrificed for a cheap looking phone. The back part of the phone was too loose and could easily fall off if I wasn’t careful. But if I can pay for a similar type of phone without a contract and for much cheaper, I would definitely go for it!

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Claude July 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Unfortunately, like many other products, Straight Talk is not available in Canada. Having lived in both the U.S. and Canada, It is really a shame how many more options the U.S. has compared with Canada due to minor, little differences in law. I wish I could give this a try instead of my four options here.

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Rhonda August 3, 2013 at 10:15 am

I have a family contract with Verizon, but my son didn’t want to join the contract he went with Straight Talk for the price. You have to purchase your phone first and to get a decent phone, then your looking at over a hundred dollars, then you have to purchase your phone time card. The phone time card was $55.00. My son kept dropping calls and the service was unreliable. He was stuck with a phone that he couldn’t do nothing with as he decided to go with our family contract with Verizon. If you can get service, then this is a good deal after you purchase the phone. It just didn’t work for him. It cost him a lot for one month of no service.

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Barb August 4, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I am all for prepaid cell phone services! I have been so frustrated with past plans and the company doesn’t really matter. I’ve tried several! I have been using Straight Talk for the past few months and I have no complaints. I make very few calls on my cell phone as it is (where I work I’m not allowed to have my cell phone with me so I basically rely on the cell phone for when I’m traveling). I haven’t run into a situation where I haven’t been able to pick up cell reception. For anyone who doesn’t use a cell phone much, I would highly recommend Straight Talk.

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LS August 5, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Cell phone service plans are priced so ridiculously high, and I am so relieved to see that there are services like this one out there for people to use instead of having to sign up with the usual service suppliers, like Verizon and AT&T, who charge so much money for the same kind of service. As long as you have good, reliable reception, there is no reason to switch to a service like this one. I am going to stop being robbed every month by a provider who doesn’t care about its customers but only cares about its bottom line by switching to this service instead.

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Patricia S Fox June 23, 2019 at 11:47 pm

Do i have to pay on or before the datecinpaid last month or can we pay on any date i choose ?

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