Author Topic: AT&T to Straight Talk Problem  (Read 7928 times)

Tacostik

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AT&T to Straight Talk Problem
« on: March 19, 2013, 11:54:09 AM »
Hello everyone, long time reader first time poster. I have read numerous threads regarding switching cell plans and I am finally going to take the leap (Mrs. Tacostik remains skeptical but I plan on switching her over once I show her that it works). My AT&T contract is up and I have been looking into Straight Talk's unlimited plan which is $45/mo. I know that is steep, but it is completely necessary for my job. And no, they won't pay for it.

The problem I'm running into is that their support is garbage. I own an AT&T Iphone 4 and their website keeps linking me to T-Mobile sim cards. Tech support didn't really have an answers and basically referred me to my local Walmart. Well as you can imagine, that trip was not fruitful and the girl at Walmart just tried to get me to buy a new/different phone. So my questions is: Which specific sim card do I need for an I phone 4 and where do I get it?

As an aside, I love the forum. It has really opened my eyes in terms of finances.

Daley

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Re: AT&T to Straight Talk Problem
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 12:16:25 PM »
There are legions of reasons why I don't recommend Straight Talk, and this is but one of many. There are ways around this, but it's not worth the time nor trouble IMHO when there's better for the money.

I'll save you the trouble of wading through the superguide, and just cut to the heart of the matter.

You need/want AT&T reception. You need "unlimited" talk and text it sounds like. You were going to have to go on a serious data diet anyway even with the Straight Talk plan due to their soft data caps before throttling. Before doing anything, I do think you should sit down and get some solid average numbers off your AT&T usage patterns to get a better feel on how much data you need, but you don't need streaming media and there's offline GPS maps for the iPhone, which doesn't leave much of a data requirement once eliminated, and one easily supplemented with WiFi and/or FreedomPop if it's an option.

Your options? One of the "unlimited" talk and text packages from either Airvoice or H2O Wireless with a data package fit to your needs. Of the two, Airvoice will have the far superior customer support. You'll also have similar terms and conditions as Straight Talk has regarding usage, with a soft cap of around 5000 minutes and 10,000 texts... but that's only a ballpark calculated off of what AT&T bundles their services for to MVNOs, actual "abuse" points may vary from MVNO to MVNO with Straight Talk being the least tolerant. The only thing you'll lose going with either of these two over Straight Talk will be the ability to roam onto T-Mobile's network. Not a huge loss most places, and certainly not given how little you're wanting T-Mo coverage.

Now, if your T-Mobile coverage is good and you don't mind losing AT&T roaming... you might want to consider GoSmart Mobile (owned by T-Mo) or Platinumtel as you'll get more for less. You just need to carrier unlock that phone which should be trivial given you're out of contract and you should do so anyway. You'll possibly lose 3G data access depending on service area given the iPhone doesn't have GSM1700 support, but realistically, EDGE will be plenty fast for everything you need if you axe out any streaming media or GPS services, and even the GPS services don't need that much.

Outside of desperately needing the ability to roam off-network, those are your best options. Hope this gets you started!
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 12:19:46 PM by I.P. Daley »

Dynasty

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Re: AT&T to Straight Talk Problem
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2013, 01:20:11 PM »
I recently switched from AT&T to Straightalk about a month ago, in the middle of a contract.

My experience so far is ST support is really not very good.  They'll get your phone's basic functions working.

Voice and text worked fine for me with their support. But a lot of core data functions of the phone didn't work right, specifically anything that needed to connect to Bing, MMS, Skydrive, and for some reason the Weather Chanel app. However, all the Nokia apps that use data worked fine, as well as the regular IE browser, but not the Bing home page.

AT&T ended up waiving my ETF, since I was still staying on their network through ST. 

And then I figured out how to configure all the data and MMS settings on my own and now the phone works pretty much just as good as when I was on AT&T, sans LTE for 3G instead. But I really don't use that much data to worry about speed.

My big thing was I didn't want to spend any money on buying a new phone, and paying an ETF too. So that's why I went with ST.  Though, there may have been other options to keep my phone through other virtual mobile networks.

Ended up being able to keep my phone and paid no ETF. So far, I'm pretty happy with my decision. But I may revisit it in the future and see if there are any better options. But I really like my Nokia phone, and don't want to have to replace it until it dies of old age. Which may be awhile.

I kept my last Nokia for close to six years, until it was stolen.  Would probably still be using it otherwise.


Dynasty

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Re: AT&T to Straight Talk Problem
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2013, 01:41:42 PM »
So my questions is: Which specific sim card do I need for an I phone 4 and where do I get it?

I just looked at the Wal Mart Website, and they seem to be not shipping the ATT straight talk sim...

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Straight-Talk-AT-T-Compatible-SIM-Card/21550824

When I ordered my stuff back in February, I was able to purchase an AT&T compatible sim card, and 30 day phone plan combo for $55.  That offer seems to be gone.

On the ST website for the T-Mobile sim card:

"Straight talk SIM Card will only work with an AT&T or T-mobile compatible or unlocked GSM phone. To activate your service, you will need a Straight Talk Unlimited 30-day Service Plan Card for activation. Some data services may not be available with all wireless devices. Blackberrys and branded TracFone, SafeLink, NET10 or Straight Talk phones will not work with this program. In order for your phone‘s data services to work, you must update your APN data settings, also called the Access Point Name. SIM Card and Service Plan are not refundable.

http://www.shopstraighttalk.com/bpdirect/straighttalk/Start.do?action=view&siteType=TR&AID=&VID=&VC=&SAHCID=&COM=&gotoPhonelist=true&brand=STRAIGHT_TALK&siteType=&productFamily=simcards&zip=98405&market=GSM5&locale=en&lang=EN

My hunch is AT&T has told ST to no longer advertise so heavily that one can use an AT&T phone through ST. And the T-Mobile card will work...

Daley

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Re: AT&T to Straight Talk Problem
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2013, 02:04:41 PM »
My hunch is AT&T has told ST to no longer advertise so heavily that one can use an AT&T phone through ST. And the T-Mobile card will work...

Nope. It's because bulk services bought through T-Mobile are far cheaper than AT&T as of late last year. If America Movil forces new customers onto the T-Mo network by only selling T-Mo SIM cards, their overhead drops further as then they only have to pay AT&T for their customer's roaming time. Their prices for what you get on a T-Mo native MVNO are at best average and aren't worth the money when coupled with the customer support quality, the restrictive nature of their terms and conditions (longest legal agreement in the industry!), and their undisclosed restrictions on their definition of "unlimited" data.

Trust me, I've been at this for years... there's far better for the money than StraightTalk, Net10, and Tracfone.

Dynasty

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Re: AT&T to Straight Talk Problem
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2013, 03:34:25 PM »
Oh I trust you.

Looking at Air Voice now. From your guide, I can bring my own phone. Which is a requirement for me.

Looking at their website, I'd probably want to buy the $35 or $40 unlimited plan. I typically use about 150 mb of data a month.  And at 33 cents a minute per mb, the extra five dollars seems like cheap insurance.  So that would save me a few dollars a month over ST.

But in your guide, it states you can't roam. So what happens if I'm in an area with no AT&T coverage, but there is a another tower with a network compatible with my phone that is within range?

Daley

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Re: AT&T to Straight Talk Problem
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 04:02:42 PM »
But in your guide, it states you can't roam. So what happens if I'm in an area with no AT&T coverage, but there is a another tower with a network compatible with my phone that is within range?

Then you can safely dial 911 or 112 (international emergency number for GSM handsets) if you're in need of emergency services. Odds are, this'll only happen in places like New Mexico and Nebraska and off the beaten path rural spots where AT&T usually has better GSM coverage than T-Mobile or the only reliable provider is through a regional CDMA carrier anyway. If you're in an area that remote that still has GSM coverage and it's not an AT&T or T-Mo tower, you likely wouldn't get service anyway as America Movil doesn't have any partner contracts with smaller regional network providers, AFAICR. If possible when you encounter this, set down the phone and enjoy your surroundings instead. :)

Odds are, if you've never noticed yourself roaming on AT&T in the past, you'll likely never run into dead spots in your general area anyway. The rest of the time, if you're concerned about coverage and falling off-network, run due diligence with the AT&T and T-Mo MVNO maps and check the coverage for where you spend 95+% of your time to determine which network would be the more reliable provider. Overall though, letting go of the urge to be 100% wired 100% of the time can be liberating... and the off-chance you need to make an emergency call, no matter the carrier, you're either going to have the reception to dial 911/112 or you won't. That particular map coverage footprint is identical for every GSM handset on the planet, with or without a SIM card.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 04:14:32 PM by I.P. Daley »