A reader, Julie, asks..
Hello. We need to switch our phones from Verizon to a prepaid plan. I currently have a Verizon Samsung Galaxy s4 that I would like to switch to Straight Talk. I have read that I can do this with an AT&T sim card. My question is once I do this, will it only work on the AT&T network? Where we live there is only Verizon service, so I need to find a way to use a smartphone with Verizon’s networks. I would appreciate any thoughts you have as to how to do this.
Want to use your Verizon Samsung with Straight Talk Wireless? In this article, I’ll tell you what you need to know.
Yes You Can Use Your Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 with Straight Talk Wireless
Your Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4, model SCH-I545, will work with Straight Talk’s Bring Your Own Phone Plan (BYOP) but their are few things you need to know before you make the switch to Straight Talk Wireless. Let’s get started. Straight Talk doesn’t own their wireless network, the lease service from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. Straight Talk handles all their own sales, marketing, billing and support. When you sign up, you are Straight Talk’s customer, but your Galaxy S4 will use either the AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint Network.
Is Your Samsung Galaxy S4 Eligible?
To use your Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 with Straight Talk’s Verizon network, you have to check if your phone is eligible. Check this by entering your phone’s serial number (called an IMEI, MEID,or ESN) online on straighttalk.com. Straight Talk verifies that they can register your Galaxy S4 on their network.
Want to learn if your phone is eligible? I have an article and short video to show you how. See Checking If You Can Use Your Verizon Smartphone with Straight Talk Wireless
Not all phone are eligible. Straight Talk doesn’t say why some phones are eligible and others are not. If your Samsung Galaxy S4 was reported lost or stolen by someone else or was on a contract or payment plan that wasn’t paid off don’t expect it to be eligible. I mention that because I do get asked about that.vNow after you check if your Galaxy S4 is eligible or not keep reading because you have a choice of which Straight Talk network you can use your Samsung Galaxy S4
A lot of people ask me if their Verizon iSamsung Galaxy S4 has to be unlocked to use it on Straight Talk. No, to use it on the Straight Talk Verizon network it needs to be eligible as I described above. In fact Verizon sold all their Samsung Galaxy S4 phones unlocked. They had an agreement with the FCC that as part of being able to offer 4G LTE service in the United States the phone would be unlocked.
Choosing a Straight Talk Network
Now because your Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 is unlocked you can also use it with Straight Talk’s AT&T or Straight Talk’s T-Mobile network. So if your Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 is eligible you have a choice to sign up and use either Straight Talk’s Verizon network, Straight Talk’s AT&T network or Straight Talk’s T-Mobile network. If your Samsung Galaxy S4 is not eligible you can still sign up and use it with Straight Talk’s AT&T or Straight Talk’s T-Mobile network. Yes, really it will work.
So which network should you choose? Well, that is up to you. You should choose whichever network works well in your area. Some people live in areas where only the Verizon network has decent coverage. Some live in areas where the AT&T network does. I live in an area where both networks have great coverage so either would work for me.
A few points to consider when choosing a network. It turns out that Verizon limits the speed of their 4G LTE network for prepaid wireless customers. This includes customer using Straight Talk’s Verizon network and even Verizon’s own prepaid wireless service. They have limited the download speed on their network to 5Mbps. The Straight Talk AT&T network does not have this limitation. I use Straight Talk’s AT&T network and I have seen my download speeds vary between 5Mbps and 50Mbps so the AT&T network can be much faster. Whether or not you would notice the speed difference really depends on what you do on your phone. So you might want to try the AT&T network if it works well in your area.
Your Verizon Verizon Samsung Galaxy S4 will work with AT&T’s network but may not work with AT&T’s 4G LTE network but it should work with Straight Talk’s AT&T’s 4G and 3G network. Those network is slower than the 4G LTE network, but still pretty fast. In fact Straight Talk’s AT&T’s 4G network may even be faster than the Straight Talk’s Verizon 4G LTE network with that 5Mbps restriction I mentioned earlier. If you want consider using the Straight Talk AT&T network. I recommend you check it out first. Find a friend with AT&T service and borrow their SIM card. It needs to me a micro SIM. Put the SIM in the phone and see if it works and what type of data connection you get.
So How Do I Sign Up?
Regardless of which Straight Talk network you decide to use you’ll need to order a SIM card or CDMA LTE Activation Kit. You should order this and wait until you receive it before signing up online at straighttalk.com. The Samsung Galaxy S4 use a micro SIM card which you can order online from straighttalk.com.