Trying to Use Straight Talk’s Verizon Network

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A reader, KM, writes:

My husband and I both have Verizon unlocked iphone 6s plus phones and were told by Straight Talk last year our phones are not eligible for BYOP on the Verizon network in our area which is laughable because older Verizon Galaxy’s are on the local Verizon network on ST no problem. We took our Verizon model unlocked phones to PagePlus for guaranteed Verizon service.

New issue I am looking to buy my son an iPhone 6s plus as a present. He is currently on the Straight Talk network with a Galaxy. There is no clear way to know which phone will or will not work on their BYOP until you have that IMEI in your hands and the eligible phones section on ST is vague to say the least. Also the check compatibility feature does not work with Firefox at all. I don’t have alot of faith in ST at the moment because they seem to force you to use an ATT iphone to be on their network. And their website is often unreliable. I don’t want to do that. I prefer a truly unlocked model Apple offered or a Verizon model phone. I guess ST doesn’t want us as customers or my son as a continued customer.

Hi KM,
I understand that this is a frustrating experience, and I wish that Straight Talk would improve the experience. Unfortunately, the fact is that all prepaid wireless companies that use the Verizon or Sprint network need to check the MEID number of the phone to make sure it can be registered on their network before activating it. This is required because Verizon and Sprint both use CDMA network technology.

The fact that Straight Talk doesn’t state clearly what the eligibility criteria and just says your phone is compatible or not also confuses consumers too. It seems obvious to most people that a Verizon phone is “compatible” with the Verizon network so it seems to make no sense.

You are also right that it not possible to figure out which which network a Straight Talk phone uses by looking at straighttalk.com. And sometimes they use different networks depending on your location or the specific deal they are offering at that time so you need to contact support and ask.

I also agree with you that the straighttalk.com isn’t always a reliable way to determine if a phone is “compatible”.  Sometimes it requires a call or online chat with Straight Talk to know.  And, the fact that you could use your iPhone’s with Page Plus, which is also owned by the same company as Straight Talk makes it more confusing.

It is possible to find out the MEID of an iPhone before buying though depending on where you buy the phone from and you do need to make sure understand the return policy.

Straight Talk offers service on all four major networks because they want to reach as many consumers as possible, so I don’t think they want to force people to the AT&T network.

Now, I wanted to tell you that if I needed to be on the Verizon network at this time Straight Talk (or PagePlus) wouldn’t be my first choice. If are heavy data users, I’d consider Verizon prepaid. The cost is very close but its a better experience, the data speeds are way faster, and you get HD voice features like voice and data at the same time as well as Visual Voice Mail. And if you were looking to spend less per month, Total Wireless, which is also owned by tracfone has some very affordable plans, including shared plans.  I have found that most Verizon phones, and now even unlocked phones are eligible for Verizon prepaid.  And, you can be certain that any phone you buy from either of these two companies uses the Verizon network.

I hope this helps.

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2 Comments

  1. Dutch | | Reply

    Great post Jay Cee!
    I am in the same boat as you. I currently have ST on Verizon. It’s OK but I was used to ST on ATT network. Better coverage with the Verizon but I gave up voice and data at the same time and slower download speeds. I think I will go the Verizon prepaid route. Do you have to be a Sam’s Club member to order from them online? I assume you do.

    Thanks

  2. Jay Cee | | Reply

    Timely post Bob, I’ve been meaning to come back and thank you!! for triggering a couple ideas for me when I had the same issue with tragically uninformed “help” from Straight Talk.
    For those reading, I had ATT network, with Straight Talk, I wanted to move to their Verizon network,for better rural signal. Headaches and irritation was on the Cecil B demille scale.

    Long story,I even have ST SIM kits for both ATT and Verizon, sitting in my drawer, they will go unused.

    The end result:
    I went with Verizon pre-paid, been activated for a week and VERY happy I went that direction after a tip you gave me.
    Previously I had ruled them out in favor of MVNO because the data amount VS cost was not even close.

    My Coffee has not had a chance to work it’s magic, so I will merely add a couple advantages and add more if any responding comments require it.

    With Verizon prepaid
    -No limit on speed, compared to 5Mbps speed cap on Verizon (thanks Bob, that was a great heads up!)
    -If you buy Walmart SIM kit to activate, you get 2GB bonus on $50 5GB plan, or 3GB bonus on $70 7GB plan
    -The bonus data remains part of your deal as long as the account/line remains active
    -You can Hot-Spot (at least with iPhone, no idea how Droid works, I assume the same.
    -You get rollover data, I have spent a LOT of time looking at various blogs, popular opinion, and anecdotal posts say the usage each month is first used is the bonus data (2GB or 3GB) THEN any rollover from previous month, THEN actual plan data. I really did not think bonus or rollover would be used first, I will know for sure after my first and second billing cycle, but if it turns out to be true, that really is a consumer friendly way to do it.
    -You get online account, and app features being Verizon customer, VS their network through an MVNO.
    -Verizon customer service people are domestic, well , trained, and from my experience VERY helpful
    Note: Rollover data expires in 30 days, it’s not cumulative,but since it gets used first, no impact.
    As Bob said above, Visual voice mail, talk and data usage at the same time
    All this for $5 extra dollars a month, (compared to Straight Talk $45 plan.
    AND, I bought $50 refill cards from Sams Club online, $47.50 no tax, no shipping cost, I’ll load them on my account, and that creates a “bank” of money, that will feed my automatic renewal, so same as adding a charge car for “auto-pay” but for 5-7% less because no tax like with Auto-Pay

    Popular opinion, though nothing official I believe the Walmart deal ends in April, that is based only on various posts in various blogs, I have found no official word.

    I’m sure I’m missing some other stuff, I don’t become a lucid genius until after I move from coffee to beer, later in the day.

    Thanks again Bob !! your heads up set off a good investigation and final result for my needs !!

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