1. Timothy Cox | |

    got a new smart phone (TracFone) they told me my old flip would stop working. I guess it works but I get no tower signal in my home with it, used to get a bar or two with the old phone and it would switch from roam to home, but nothing with the new one. can I get a signal booster and what MHz would it be so I can use the phone from home, got three different cell towers within a 3 mile distance Jay Maine

    • Bob Thompson | |

      A signal booster should work, but it is a significant investment. Do you have home based internet? Wi-Fi at home? A feature called Wi-Fi calling is a better option if you can get it to work.

  2. Vanessa | |

    I have paid for a phone plan where i can use my laptop using my phones hotspot through straight talk services but it want let me turn it on and it says you can’t use your hotspot but that’s why i paid for my plan unlimited so i could use the hotspot which straight talk representative said it could be used how do i activate my straight talk hotspot

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Since the Fall of 2019, Straight Talk’s $55 plan has included a fixed 10GB of mobile hotspot with the plan. On iPhone, go to Settings > Personal Hotspot. On my android phone, it’s Settings > Network & Internet > Hotspot & Therhering > Wi-Fi Hotspot. Note that the settings, may be different depending on the Android phone you have. If you are patient enough, you can see me walk through the settings in a video I made. Its a few years old, so ignore the stuff about hotspot not being included. see https://youtu.be/2hw172J6FFg


    Hi Bob. Whats up with the junk e mail I keep receiving since I subscribed to your website? I mean the stuff I’m getting has nothing to do with smartphones or technology. It’s e mail from smartphone matters . com and in the subject line it says ” There is a new comment to Have a Question? Click here…”

    The actual subject has nothing to do with you anything related to smartphones, it’s all about relationships and dating. Theres even a link to click on for russian and ukrain women dating. What gives? have we been hacked.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hey Richard,
      When you commented on my site, you chose the option to receive replies to your comments via email. The initial article you commented on was a page to ask questions. You should get a reply when someone responds to a comment, like this. No one else had reported a problem, but I’ll look into it to see if its fowarding spam comments or if someone is sending mail from my server. If you receive any more mail forward it to smartphonematters@gmail.com so I can take a look at it.

  4. Chris | |

    My daughter has a tracfone BYOP account with an iPhone 5s, and I recently upgraded my own phone and gave her my retired iPhone 7 for an upgrade. It was easy to transfer the data and apps via iCloud, and the last step is to transfer the actual tracfone phone service. Is it as simple as transferring the sim card from one phone to the other like I thought, or will I be forced to buy a separate sim card (only option I can find on the tracfone website)?

  5. James Byrne | |

    You answered my question several months ago which was very useful. So here I go again.
    I understand Verizon has extended the shutdown on their towers so I can use my old iPhone (4s) for another year (yeah). So next year when I get a new unlocked one, Is it likely to work in Alaska? This past year I was able to get the TracFone sim for ATT which got me through my visit there. With a new iPhone presumably with vlte or whatever Verizon will be using, will it automatically work in Alaska or will I still have the same issue as currently?
    I realize this is probably in left field but you were so helpful before I figured I’d try again. Thank you


    Hi Bob. I’m looking for advice on a new smartphone. I’m in need of purchasing a new Tracfone as my current one is becoming obsolete already after just 2 years. I need one that uses GSM technology as my current phone only works on Verizon’s CDMA technology for voice, which they will no longer be supporting come January 2020. I want to stick with Tracfone but want to go with an iphone this time instead of an android. I find my current android phone incredibly annoying and not very intuitive at all. I mean it’s bad. Granted it’s running 5.1.1 version. My current phone came bundled with so many useless apps that took up most of the memory. I hate the way it tells me to delete apps that I no longer use to free up space. Well guess what. Every app that came bundled with the phone I did not use and it wont allow for deletion of those apps. Talk about a scam. The concern I have with the offerings directly from Tracfone is the fact they are already fairly old phones. I worry if I buy one it will soon be outdated and I’ll have to buy another phone in short time again. I’m looking at the iphones as I believe they are more up-gradable and have better support than the Androids. I believe if I bought an iphone 7 or later that it will be able to be upgraded to their latest operating system and beyond. I would have to purchase the phone elsewhere other than Tracfone for newer versions and I’m a bit nervous about the whole bring your own phone deal with sim card, but I definitly want to keep my phone number. Does Tracfone charge more for their service if you bring your own phone? I currently have an active account with them and I’m on their 90 day pay as you go plan which works perfect for me. I’m 57 years old and not too computer savvy. I can rebuild my engine and tranny in my car better than I can comprehend computer technology. LOL!
    Please advise,

  7. Aaron McCullough | |

    Hi my name is Aaron and I am looking for the best unlimited plan on the Verizon network can you help me?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      For prepaid your choices are Visible and Verizon. Visible is much cheaper, but only using the LTE network form what I hear. So if you live in area with good LTE coverage its the cheaper option.

  8. Julia Bonilla | |

    Hi so i just bought the s9+ from Straight talk and i am not sure if the sim comes with the phone cause it didn’t really say. Also i use auto pay so i didn’t buy a plan should have i done that or should i be ok?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      The sim will be included with the phone. It will use their Verizon towers most likely. You did not need to by a plan. When you activate the phone on straighttalk.com and choose to transfer your number straight talk will realize you are a customer and transfer your number and service.

      If your current phone is nott using straight talk’s Verizon towers, you may see a difference in service coverage.

  9. Molly Evick | |

    I ordered the iPhone 6s. it didnt come with a sim card. do you guys send me one?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      smartphonematters.com is a site about prepaid wireless service. I don’t send people SIM cards. If you bought your phone from a wireless carrier it should come with a SIM either installed in the phone or in the separately included. Contact whoever you ordered the phone from to ask about the SIM.

  10. valare | |

    can I take my sim card out of my old Samsung straight talk phone and put it in my new LG straight talk phone

  11. Peter | |

    I currently have AT&T through Straight talk. I am getting a new phone and was wondering if you could switch from AT&T to Verizon network on Straight talk? And if so, keep the same number?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Your new phone will come with a SIM card for the Straight Talk Verizon service. (at least for most areas, the come with a Verizon towers SIM). Go through the steps to activate it. When you choose transfer your current number, straight talk will know your a customer and transfer your number and service balance to the new phone. As you understand about the different towers, I am sure you realize your coverage may be different depending on how well ATT and Verizon work in your area,

  12. Mark | |

    Hey Bob. Awhile back I asked if you may have some information about the future of home cellular service (in my case, Straight Talk Home Phone) once Verizon turns off their 3G service at the end of this year. Any updates? Believe me, I have searched high and low and cannot even get close to an answer. Neither Straight Talk nor Verizon can give me an answer. The only thing I’ve learned is that some Verizon “legacy” business customers will still be able to use the 3G network after the beginning of 2020, but I cannot find out if Straight Talk is one of their legacy customers. It is frustrating since I have two different lines on the Straight Talk Home Phone system and have no idea if I’m going to be in the cold when they flip the switch. Any updates? Thanks!

  13. Vera Guertin | |

    How do I know what size sim card to use? I have a samsung galaxy A10

  14. Maryann | |

    I have a service plan already with straight talk and I transferred my micro sim card fro my old LG smartphone to my att galaxy s4. I was able to receive and make calls as well as text and receive them. However, I cannot connect to the internet. Straight talk told me I had to get a BYOP sim card and call them. I am on aa&t tower and want to remain with them. Is that right? They keep pushing Verizon but I get great reception where I live and I don’t want to use Verizon towers.
    What can I do besides go and get AT&T service which I don’t want too?
    I would appreciate any assistance

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I’m a little confused by your question. Was your LG phone using Straight Talk’s AT&T or Verizon towers? I’d guess if you bought the phone from Straight Talk directly it would be using the Verizon towers but it’s possible the LG phone uses the AT&T towers. If it was using the AT&T towers and you moved the SIM into AT&T Galaxy S4 and you are not getting data the problem might just be you didn’t set the APN for data and picture messages. Why would Straight Talk tell you to get a Verizon SIM card for your AT&T S4? I don’t think that phone is even compatible with Verizon’s network. Getting a new SIM for the AT&T towers might not be a bad idea but the old one should work.

      If you are sure your SIM is using the AT&T towers, try setting the APN. The latest values are here. Straight Talk APN Settings. You’d need to use the values on that page. You can see how to set them here Setting the Straight Talk Wireless’ RESELLER APN on your Google Nexus 5 with Android 5 (Lollipop). Note that article is pretty old and your phone will look a little different.

      And while not related to your problem you might want to consider…
      If you are using large amounts of data 25 GB or unlimited data Straight Talk could be a good deal. if not, AT&T prepaid or some other prepaid services that uses the AT&T network might be a good choice. Also while your S4 may still work, it don’t think it’s received security updates for years. You can continue to use that phone but just be away that the older version of Android software that phone uses has many security issues.

  15. Amirrah | |

    (Hey there, so i have a locked t-mobile iphone 7, and would the simple mobile card work even if i don’t want to unlock the phone, and use it as is ?)

    • Bob Thompson | |

      A locked T-Mobile phone should work with Simple Mobile. Unlocked is always better though.
      If you met the terms and conditions of your agreement, T-Mobile will unlock it for free. See Unlocking Your AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone. If you have concerns, try an AT&T SIM in the phone, just borrow one. You’ll see if the phone is really locked. Then spend the dollar on the Simple Mobile SIM, you should be able to tell if the phone is locked even though the SIM isn’t active. If the phone is locked try asking T-Mobile to unlock it

  16. Clarke Cunningham | |

    I’m having to upgrade my Tracfone smartphone due to Verizon’s switch to VOLTE. I’m planning to use the BYOP program. Will I be able to use the sim card from my current Tracfone, or will I need to purchase a new sim card for the new phone?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      You need to transfer your service to a new SIM. If you buy your phone from Tracfone, it will come with the SIM. If you buy a BYOP phone you’ll need to buy a new SIM for $1. Order it online or check bestbuy or target. Walmart will charge you $10, not a good deal. If you go BYOP, make sure to by a Verizon compatible phone (assuming you want to stay on their Verizon towers). Also note you’ll need to check the BYOP phone for eligibility Checking If Your Phone Is Compatible With Tracfone’s Verizon Network

      Tracfone may have offered you a deal on a new phone, look through your email. I’ll be updating the my Tracfone deals page for June later today. See https://smartphonematters.com/tracfone-latest-deals

  17. Jules Isenberg-Wedel | |

    My husband and I have iPhones through Tracfone’s BYOP program – the phones work great and meet our everyday needs very well. We have a trip to Canada planned for the near future and don’t believe that we’ll be able to access wireless service there through Tracfone – their international calling plan addition does appear to allows you to make calls TO Canada, but not IN Canada. The trip will only be for two week, so we plan to just use wifi where available to communicate with others. Are there some other options that you would recommend we look at? Thanks.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I don’t think your Tracfone service will work in Canada either. Three options:
      1. Try to enable Wi-Fi calling on your tracfone phones, It probably won’t work but it it does you can make and receive calls from your phone numbers when on Wi-Fi
      2. Buy a temporary candian SIM. The have these for travelers. Look in the air port.
      3. Activate a US Prepaid SIM on a carrier that supports roaming into canada. (ATT prepaid, T-Mobile prepaid, or Verizon).
      With options 2 and three you’ll have a different phone number while in canada but you’ll have phone service when not on Wi-Fi

      Do you know which towers your BYOP Tracfone iPhones are using? (ATT, Verizon, or T-Mobile)

      • Jules Isenberg-Wedel | |

        Thanks, for the advice, Bob! I’ll check out wifi and the Canadian SIM options (we live in Michigan, so I’m guessing there will be options close to the border). Our BYOP iPhones are both using Verizon towers.

  18. Linda | |

    Are TFW phones on 3G or 4G?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Your question is a little vague, but all of the Tracfone brands support 4G LTE service provided you have a compatible phone and their is 4G LTE available on the network they are using in your area. As of this time I am not aware of any phone that and of the Tracfone brands sell that doesn’t use 4G LTE.

  19. David Stratton | |


  20. Sue | |

    HI Bob,
    I have an iPhone 7 plus that’s been on Tracfone for a year. All of a sudden yesterday, I’m not able to make or receive any phone calls. Did all the expected off/on, SIM card out/in, airplane mode on/off, reset network 3 times, I have enough minutes etc. Can sporadically make a call out (but it fails within 30 seconds) but cannot get any calls incoming. Tracfone India has exhausted me…any advice?

    • Sue | |

      Bob, just FYI, it’s a VZW phone and no one else in my house is having trouble with their phones or signals… thx

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Ask a family member or friend if you can try your SIM in their iPhone and see if you SIM works in their phone. Try their SIM in your phone and see if it works. This will give you an idea if the problem is your phone, your SIM, or the combination of the two. Your Tracfone SIM is either for the ATT, Verizon, or T-Mobile networks. If you are not sure which you are using ask Tracfone via online chat. Note that some iPhones are compatible with all four networks, others only the ATT and T-Mobile networks. Verizon iPhones should work will all networks, so that is the best to try.

      If the problem is the SIM card and you use the Tracfone ATT or T-Mobile towers I’d try buying a new SIM($1) and transferring your service to it. Keep in mind if you use 3x minutes or the $50 365service days add-on you might lose those options. If your phone uses the Verizon towers, its a little more involved. so let me know.

      If the problem is phone, make an appointment at an Apple Store and ask them to check it out. If your phone is bad and you need to buy a new one, you might want to check out the latest Tracfone deals here. https://smartphonematters.com/tracfone-latest-deals

      Here is the quickest way to ask Tracfone which towers you phone uses.. visit https://www.tracfone.com/contactus
      Click do you need help? Click to chat now. Then ask support. say
      “Hi my phone number is XXX XXX-XXXX. Can you tell me if my phone uses the AT&T or Verizon towers?”

      • Sue | |

        Thank you! Been trying for an hour to remove the sim card from hubby’s Galaxy J7 to no avail…so I’ll need to wait til someone else comes home to help!

  21. Walt Russell | |

    Actually my Tracfone iPhone 5s, I believe, works on AT&T towers, which is GSM.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I am not aware of any reason why an iPhone 5s would stop working on Tracfone’s AT&T towers. Did you buy the phone from Tracfone? or did you sign up for Bring Your Own Phone?

      Ask Tracfone which towers you phone uses.. visit https://www.tracfone.com/contactus
      Click do you need help? Click to chat now. Then ask support. say
      “Hi my phone number is XXX XXX-XXXX. Can you tell me if my phone uses the AT&T or Verizon towers?”

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Oh. And just to be clear. AT&T and T-Mobile use both GSM and 4G LTE technologies. Verizon and Sprint use both CDMA and 4G LTE. Verizon plans to shut down their CDMA network in 2020 and migrate their customers to LTE. I’m not aware of AT&T’s plan to shut down and parts of their GSM network soon. In the past they did shut down their 2G network and require their customers to get new phones. When this happens, any of the prepaid companies that use their networks have to do the same.

  22. Walt Russell | |

    Will the iPhone SE work on the new Tracfone network? (CDMA EV-Do) (??)

    I very recently received a notice from Tracfone that my iPhone 5s will no longer work on the network after this year. They are offering (temporarily) reduced prices on iPhone 6s & 7. I would prefer the SE because of its smaller size, but am unsure whether it will work on the new network.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I’d say yes. the iPhone SE has the many of the same internals as the iPhone 6s. The issue is that some of tracfone’s phones use the Verizon towers. And Verizon will soon only support phones that can use Voice Over LTE technology and the iPhone SE does.
      see this link about it for Verizon if you are interested. https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/knowledge-base-206700/

      your other option would be to transfer your current Tracfone service to a Tracfone ATT or T-Mobile SIM card and then you could continue to use your 5s. You might want to try to confirm the with Tracfone customer service that the SE will work. Given its for their Verizon network they will probabally ask you for the phone’s serial number (MEID) which you don’t already have.

  23. David urban sr | |

    Why won’t my data from my hof app go on to my new phone from old phone, took a long time to get where I am

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I don’t understand what you are asking me…

  24. Jules I-W | |

    Hi, Bob —
    Thanks for all the great information! Several years ago I brought my iPhone 5 to Tracfone through their BYOP program, and based on all your information here I recently upgraded to an iPhone 7 through one of Tracfone’s April deal, saving tons of $$ (thanks for that pros/cons article about purchasing directly through Tracfone, too – very useful). One thing that prompted my decision to upgrade was a message I got when I logged into my Tracfone account — it said that they would no longer support my device by the end of the year. I assume the message was specific to the iPhone 5, as Apple is no longer updating that iOS, not a BYOP issue. Just tossing that tidbit your way as you might get some other questions about the “no longer support the device” message. My recent upgrade was easy-peasy, and the new phone works great!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Jules,
      Thanks. Glad to hear all the info helped. This is the first I am hearing about such a message from Tracfone. I suspect you are using Tracfone’s Verizon towers and the message is a result of a change Verizon made to only support 4G LTE phones that are capable of using VoLTE. Verizon will currently only activate iPhone 6 or later. In 2020, Verizon plans to shut down their 3G / CDMA network so these older phone will no longer be compatible with their network.

      Enjoy your iPhone 7, I’m a big BYOP fan, but with the discount codes its a really good deal.

    • David urban sr | |

      Hi I got a new phone,I got it switched over,but I cant get my data from my HOF app from my old phone,please help I don’t want to lose it took me 3 yrs to get that far

  25. Theresa Haefele | |

    I have tried calling tracfone, and they give me the same instructions / steps as you did in the video. Data is still not working. Any ideas what to do?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Do you know which phone you have and which tracfone towers you are using? Do you have any error messages on your phone when you try to use data? Does your phone service work?

  26. Howard | |

    Hello Bob,
    First, thanks for the great information. I really enjoy your videos.

    I am currently using one of the Tracfone brands that uses T-Mobile. I really need to change to an MVNO using Verizon towers. I use very little data; about 1gig a month. Do you have any thought on US Mobile vs Total Wireless? The customized plans at USM work out cheaper but I wanted to be sure there are no glaring issues with them.



    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Howard,
      I haven’t tried US Mobile yet, so I can’t comment on the service. I think Dwight over on the iTechUOutGuy youtube channel is reviewing it. US Mobile has lower plan prices. I’d say you’d need to compare the plan prices between Total Wireless, Tracfone, and US Mobile depending on the service you need and decide how much you would really be saving.

      You can always try US mobile and transfer out if it doesn’t work well for you. Remember you’ll also need a phone that is compatible with the Verizon network.

      Let me know which phone you have and what plan you are considering.

      • Howard | |

        Hi Bob,
        Thanks for the reply.

        I am leaning towards US Mobile because they allow tethering. Neither offer wifi calling from what I can tell, which would have been the tie breaker.

        Finding a phone is the much bigger challenge for me. I do not like large phones, really wanted to avoid a glass back and would like a headphone jack. I’ve looked at the Samsung S9 and it is comfortable with one hand and has the headphone jack. Right now this is about the amount of money I want to spend. I am going to look at the S10e, since it has one feature I like more – a flat screen. I’m not sure how eager I am to spend $750 though and also want to see how the fingerprint scanner works for a lefty. If neither of these work, I may wait until the rumored Pixel 3a comes out as long as it does by next month. Otherwise it will be the S9 or S10e.

  27. Lynda Mallette | |

    I need to know how I can fix my apps when downloading or updating they keep saying queued? I’ve tried everything like clearing data and cache also uninstalling and reinstalling Google play store. Also I’ve removed my Google account and re-added it but nothing seems to work. Thanks.

  28. Tim | |

    Hello Bob. Thank you for making these posts and answering all these questions.

    Do you know if it’s possible to only get certain features on phones with Straight Talk if they are from a carrier? My phone was bought unlocked but it had an AT&T logo upon start up. Although the menu did have options for CDMA/LTE. Well, I stuck my Verizon (my carrier choice) SIM in there and was able to get data, but it dropped out during calls and I could not get HD calling, which I’ve gotten on all my prior phones (that had Verizon logo upon start up.) I messed with the APN and got the mobile data to work, but it wasn’t the best. Not as good as my older phones and I’d wondered if it had to do with the AT&T branding.

    I’m not sure if that was because the new phone had an AT&T logo, or if the features were simply tied to Verizon. And if that’s the case, would it be more convenient to buy a Verizon carrier phone *for* Straight Talk or a fully unlocked phone from Samsung? Would I be missing out on (Verizon) carrier features by using Straight Talk on unlocked phone from Samsung?

    Sorry if all this is confusing. Thank you again.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Tim,
      Good question. Your AT&T Android phone comes with android software optimized for AT&T’s network, not Verizon or other carriers. Depending on the phone model, it may only have partial compatibility with Verizon’s network (CMDA, the proper LTE bands…). If you buy the recent US model unlocked Samsung phones (S8, S9, S10 …) you’ll get a phone that is fully compatible with the Verizon network but none of the apps that Verizon ships on the phone. The software updates will come from Samsung. If you were to buy a fully priced Verizon carrier phone and were able to activate it on ST Verizon network, you ** might ** see some features that work, (like visual voicemail) but you really can’t count on it. Features may or may not work, or work and then stop working.

      Straight Talk is good if you want talk, text, and data and the plan you choose has the right amount of data for the money. If you want network features Wi-Fi Calling, VVM, HD calling, Hotspot, then switch to Verizon prepaid and use a compatible phone. The current $45 15GB promotion at Verizon prepaid is a good deal if you don’t require unlimited data.

      • Timothy Oakgrove Jr. | |

        Thank you Bob. You’ve took my badly worded questions and I understand your answers clearly.

        I’m looking at my account on Samsung and all my phones say (Verizon) except the last one. It says (Sprint.) But it had AT&T apps and a boot image. It was model number SM-N960UZKASPR.

        I’m going to read a bit more about the features between the two before I make another decision. It’s hard for me to understand why everything worked perfectly before, and then was a lot slower on the Sprint phone and lacking features. I mean it’s obvious, but I feel I need to understand more so I never make this mistake again.

        Mind you, this was all using Straight Talks service. I still have a lot of plan left so I’m going to stick with it for now and hope a Verizon or unlocked Samsung phone will do the trick.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          You are welcome. If you bought the phone from a third party seller, it may have been a Sprint variant that was reprogrammed with the AT&T software by the seller. that’s part of the challenge buying Samsung phones on-line. I bought a new S3 off amazon years ago, an unlocked ATT model, and when it arrived it the model on the box was for an international model. I contacted the seller, and they said “oh we get the new phones without the boxes and repackage them in these boxes.” My reply was “I don’t consider that a new phone.” I returned it without issue. If I buy a phone off eBay, I look for an individual who is selling a phone rather than a reseller. For new Samsungs, I recommend Best Buy and samsung.com for unlocked phones. Best Buy is one of the few places that you may be able to buy a new full priced carrier Samsung phone without activation/

  29. Alisha Pirnie | |

    So I have a byop straight talk t-mobile sim with service but a verizon phone … how can I make my service work like that what are the apn settings ?

  30. Mark | |

    Bob: Maybe you can answer this one because no one else seems to have any idea. If you could address this in a video, I would be grateful.

    I’m a Straight Talk Home Phone customer. I have not one, but two of their devices for home phone service. The service works great and I love that it is cellular versus VOIP which I hate. The Straight Talk Home Phone service works on Verizon’s towers which covers my area well. Plus I like having a home phone that will ring in the middle of the night in case of an emergency.

    But at the end of 2019, Verizon plans to shut off its 3G service. That means that 3G services like Straight Talk Home Phone equipment will be worthless and the service will end. You can’t even activate any 3G equipment on Verizon’s network anymore. No flip phones, no older smartphones, etc.

    Straight Talk cannot give me an answer as to what they plan to do. When I asked them if any of the cellular networks would step up and offer a 4G voice only home phone service which they could carry, they had no clue. Verizon was also vague and will only say that the 3G network will end by January 1st of 2020. When I ask around to people in the cell industry, all I get are shoulder shrugs.

    Could you see if any of your sources have an answer? I mainly want to know if any companies will offer a 4G home phone service beginning in early 2020. Will any of the MVNOs or actual cell companies offer the service, or will everyone either have to start using VOIP services to fill the void?

    Thanks so much!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hey Mark,
      I’ll take a look into this. It would be a good topic for a video too. Before doing that I wanted to at least give you a quick reply. While, I would normally think shutting down their 3G / CDMA network is a good thing I wasn’t aware of the impact of this for home phone customers. Certainly from a home phone customer’s perspective, its pretty bad that your phone company can’t answer some basic questions about whether your service will continue after early 2020. It’s possible however that Straight Talk really doesn’t know the answer if Verizon hasn’t offered them a solution going forward.

      My initial reaction would be to see if it’s possible to find a device / adapter that coverts 4G LTE cellular service for use with home phones and use an inexpensive BYOP phone plan. In your case, a device that is compatible with Verizon’s 4G LTE, but more likely one made to work with AT&T or T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network. A quick Google search turned up these two devices from Verizon, which claim to use the 4G LTE network. I didn’t look at the full tech specs to verify calls are made using LTE and not CDMA however. Check them out and let me know what you think. https://www.verizonwireless.com/home-office-solutions/verizon/

      What are you paying for Straight Talk Home Phone? 15 Bucks per month?

      • Mark | |

        Hey Bob!

        Yes sir, I’m using Straight Talk’s $15 home phone service. I do autopay and save $1 a month using it. I’m in rural North Carolina, and while AT&T does have good service here, it doesn’t work well in my neighborhood. T-Mo is virtually nonexistent. But I get great signal with Verizon, and I bought two of the Huawei H258C boxes through Straight Talk; one for my dad’s house and the other for mine. At least for me, the clarity is so great, it is almost like talking on a copper line. And for $15, it is hard to beat for a cellular home line. I’ve had no issues with Straight Talk using this service through them. If I’ve called about anything, questions or whatever, they are responsive. But in this case, they just couldn’t tell me about the future of home phone service.

        Looking at the link you sent, the Verizon Wireless Home Phone T2000 looks similar. But it doesn’t say how much it is per month. I would pay $99 to buy the box, but wonder what they charge monthly? I couldn’t find that anywhere.

        I know a lot of people who use Straight Talk and would love to stay with them if they would continue home phone, but I know they are at the mercy of the cellular providers.

        Thanks for the fast and informative response, Bob. Any help you can come up with is really appreciated!

  31. Jen | |

    I have AT&T, but I want to switch to Verizon Straight Talk, because the AT&T service in my area is horrible! Straight Talk says that I can’t do this, but I have been told that I can. If so, how do I do it?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      You need to have a phone that will work with the Verizon network and then you need to have check the phone’s MEID to make sure its eligible. What phone do you have?

  32. Greg | |

    Good afternoon! I was wondering if by some chance do you happen to know if straight talk supports Apple Watch and galaxy gear watch? Thank you.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      they don’t. That’s a good question though.I don’t think any prepaid wireless company offers cellular service the Apple Watch or any other smart watch.

  33. Charity Dorsett | |

    If I buy the iPhone XS Max unlocked and sim free from Apple and buy the Verizon BYOP kit will it 100% work and will I be able to transfer my number to the new sim I use from the kit?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      The SIM Free iPhone XS Max is compatible with Verizon. When you sign up, you’ll need to check the new phone’s MEID (serial number) with Verizon to make sure it’s eligible (it will be), then you can transfer your number to the new phone and SIM. The phone will support all the features available on Verizon prepaid. You’ll have 15 days to return the phone to Apple, if you have any problem.

      You do mean, Verizon’s prepaid service, not Straight Talk’s Verizon towers or Total Wireless, right?

      • Charity Dorsett | |

        I have straight talk service and use Verizon SIM card so I will be buying the sim kit with Verizon so yes I meant with straight talks Verizon towers

        • Bob Thompson | |

          When you get the phone from Apple you’ll need check the iPhone’s MEID with Straight Talk. You shouldn’t have a problem registering it with Straight Talk. If you do contact them via online chat and ask them to double check it.

          I also recommend taking a look at Total Wireless and Verizon prepaid to see if the plan prices or features better fit your needs.

  34. Peter | |

    Do you work for TracFone? How did you get started on reviewing prepaid?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I couldn’t review prepaid wireless if I worked for Tracfone. I started doing this after I signed up for Straight Talk myself, I wrote up an article about how to set it up on an iPhone. People started asking my questions and I started answering them. Most of the questions where about straight talk and tracfone. I started doing reviews and then branched into youtube too.

  35. Shannon White | |

    Can I use my straight talk flip phone sim in my new jitterbug flip phone? All I need is phione & text – no emergency services

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I don’t know. First, the SIM would need to fit, that is they would need to use the same size SIMs. Second the phones would need to be compatible. The Straight Talk phone either uses the ATT, Verizon, or T-Mobile towers. You’d need to figure out which one the jitterbug flip phone uses. If one or the other of these phones used the verizon towers it might not have a SIM. It’s possible that either or both Straight Talk and / or Jittebug have locked the flip phones to only be used with a specific SIM card. If you are able to try moving the SIM and see if it works.

      I am assuming you use a flip phone by choice? I am assuming you are using the Straight Talk $30 plan? FYI I think that Straight Talk $30 plan is a bad deal. You can get a plan with unlimited talk and text for way less than $30. Switching to a smartphone like the iPhone would give you an amazing camera and replace using a pocket camera for most stituation. You’d never need to use the other smart features.

  36. Brandon | |

    Hey Bob, just giving you the heads up that Family Mobile made changes to their plans. All plans are now hotspot capable. The truly unlimited $49.98 plan now comes with 5 gigs of mobile hotspot which I assume is lte. I assume the the other plans’ hotspots are either capped or not lte since you would get more hotspot data on the lower plan. The lower plans just say hotspot capable but don’t have an amount listed. Not sure if you have to buy an add on to activate it or if the full amount of data can be used for mobile hotspot. The $39.98 plan has also increased from 9 gigs to 14 gigs. The plans just changed a week or two ago so I’ll let you know more once I get more details. I did notice when you text for usage it now lists the plan usage, plan balance, hotspot usage, hotspot balance, and add-on balance.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Thanks, I’ll have to check it out again. Its sort of the forgotten t-mobile prepaid service since tracfone took them over.

      • Brandon | |

        My plan just renewed so now I have a little more information. I’m on the Truly Unlimited plan with 5gig mobile hotspot. Well the first thing I noticed when checking my plan details is that I actually have 10gigs of hotspot instead of 5gigs. Not sure if it is a glitch or error but I’m not going to question it. I will let you know if it changes next month but the hotspot works as advertised. I used it this weekend when I was out of town so ithe timing was perfect.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          Cool, I still need to check this out. Kind of behind on doing updates. I appreciate you sharing.

  37. Ken | |

    I have a new Iphone 6 from StraightTalk that I would like to use on Tracfone. Can I just swap my existing sim card and install it into my new phone? My sim card is now in an android Essential phone.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      In my experience, a tracfone ATT SIM card works, a tracfone T-Mobile one doesn’t, and verizon was does but with a catch. If you are using a Verizon SIM card, your phone’s MEID is registered with Tracfone. If you move the SIM, your old phone will still be the one registered and you can’t use it on the Verizon network any more. Also, the way the Verizon network works they want the MEID registered for any phone used on their network. It’s possible you could have issues. Some of my readers report being able to get Tracfone to activate Straight Talk phones on the Verizon network. But when I’ve checked my phone’s MEID it wasn’t eligible. Some say they spoke to customer service and got theirs activated.

  38. Finn | |

    I am using an iPhone 5s and would like to switch from AT&T GoPhone to TracFone, Straight Talk or Something similar under the TracFone branding lineup. Which would be the best to choose from? I personally use an average of ~500 MB of data a month and spend a lot of time calling. Also, I’ve heard that there are multiple SIM Cards in the pack, so which would be the best for me? And, which plan?

      • Finn | |

        Alright– I’ve chosen to bite the bullet and go for Straight Talk, however will iMessage siphon away at my data?

        • Bob Thompson | |

          iMessage uses data for sure. I don’t know how many text messages and pictures you receive but for me it is an does not use that much data, especially if you use wifi at home or the office so I would not worry too much about that.

          Which plan are you interested in? Before you switch you might want to consider Net10Wireless and Cricket too. Both use the ATT network. With Cricket you’ll get 2GB for $30 and with Net10 you’ll get 4GB for $31.50 on autopay. On Straight Talk, you’ll get 3GB for $35 if you sign up and buy a new phone.

          Also note out of all these options only Cricket has visual voicemail, the others regular. Something to keep in mind.

  39. A. Pratt | |

    Hello – We have Net10 wireless, and we want to upgrade my wife’s current BYOD phone from an iPhone 5s to an iPhone 6plus. What steps do I need to take with Net10 to seamlessly transfer our current service from one device to another? Many thanks!

  40. Maria Luisa Palafox | |

    Can I switch. My info, data, still keep my wireless carrier but using this Microsoft phone? Had this phone now for a couple of years, but didn’t think I could use instead of phone I have my data on?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Maria,
      Without knowing exactly which phone you have, which wireless carrier you are currently using, and which wireless carrier you want to switch to its kinda hard to say.

  41. James Wilson | |

    Pretty much i was with straight talk for 2 years with no problem speeds were fine but the one time i go over and get throttled down to 2g wich is unusable here my plan has never been the same since. So i figured im in college and i will probably keep going over that data cap so ill just buy unlimited and be done with it, But the service never returned to normal not even after i paid 55 dollars for unlimited. So i went from employee to employee at straight talk trying to find a solution but all they say is change your apn to this and to reset your phone. None of it works and somehow its still my phone or my apn settings no other possible solution from a straight talk employee

    • Bob Thompson | |

      I hear about this problem from time to time. Never experienced it myself. You did not mention what phone or which Straight Talk towers you are using which would be good to know. If possible, run a speed test on your phone, put your SIM in a buddy’s phone and run a couple speed tests. This will help you isolate the issue between the phone or the SIM. If your using their ATT or T-Mobile network, sometimes transferring your service to a new SIM will make it go away. On an iPhone, sometimes reseting the network settings. The experience is like your data was throttled and never reset after you upgraded plans. Just curious what APN are you using what did they tell you to use?

  42. Tony | |

    Now that the new, just released iphones have E SIMS, can they immediately be setup on the TracFone service, as is, right after purchase?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      the new iPhones support dual SIM. one physical SIM, one e-SIM. You can use Tracfone with the Physical nano SIM slot

      And while the new iPhones have eSIM, it needs to be enabled in a forthcoming software update. I suspect that update will be soon but we don’t know. Last year the portrait mode on the X came in a software update after sale. Hopefully they don’t delay it longer. 2. eSIM requires carrier support. In the US, that’s ATT, Verizon, and T-Mobile only. No word yet on if or how a prepaid service can be used with e-SIM yet.

  43. Jake | |

    I’ve been using Tracfone with a used iPhone (Verizon) bought on eBay and a Tracfone CDMA LTE SIM. Worked fine with LTE (top of iPhone home screen would read “Verizon LTE”). I then had an LTE access issue, so Tracfone had me replace my Tracfone (Verizon) SIM card with a new Tracfone-specific SIM card they sent me. Now the top of the iPhone home screen reads “TFW LTE”. But I soon ran into the same broadband issue again. (Turns out I misconfigured some iPhone app settings, so I resolved that issue.) I also noticed my original Tracfone CDMA LTE SIM packaging says it’s for “Used Verizon Smartphones.”

    So now I’d like to buy a brand new (Verizon) iPhone on eBay to replace my old (Verizon) iPhone on my Tracfone account. Some of those new iPhones on eBay are cheaper than at the Apple Store. But since the Tracfone SIM card specifically says it’s for “Used Verizon Smartphones,” does that mean I cannot use a new (Verizon) iPhone from eBay on Tracfone? I am unsure of the source of those new iPhones on eBay. Could some of those new iPhones on eBay be from Verizon customers selling an iPhone they got on one of those “Buy One Get One Free” iPhone deals? If so, could such an iPhone have a Verizon lock on it, preventing its use on Tracfone? So I guess the real question is: Is it too risky to buy a new (Verizon) iPhone on eBay for use on Tracfone? Would a new “Unlocked” iPhone on eBay work with Tracfone? Or should I only buy a SIM-free new iPhone directly from Apple? Is “SIM-free” the same as saying “unlocked?” Sorry for the million questions, it’s kind of confusing stuff. Thanks.

  44. Angel Kooken | |

    I have an Apple iPhone 6s Plus that I bought on June 14, 2018. I had it hooked up to Metro PCS and they also are the ones that sold me the phone. I started having problems immediately when I left the store and it is supposed to have 4G LTE . But when I have cellular data turned on it says MetroPCS LP when I have data and voice turned on it says MetroPCS LTE 4G and when I have no cellular data turned on it says MetroPCS but when I have cellular data turned on it says MetroPCS LP when I have data and voice turned on it says MetroPCS LTE 4G and when I have no cellular data turned on it says MetroPCS E. which I guess is extended does anybody know what extended mean? and why the phone is not connecting to cellular LTE 4G it is an unlocked phone ….

  45. Angel Kooken | |

    i just bought an unlocked iPhone 6s Plus on June 14. immediately after I left the store which happens to be Metro Pcs Help I noticed problems. won’t connect to the internet, won’t send messages(all types) CALLS FAIL, etc. however, it goes from saying METROPCS 4G LTE …to the letter E only. then it will say …just… PCS? what’s wrong with it? I have three other phones on the same plan they are all Annedroids on the MetroPCS 4G LTE and they’re all fine ….

    • Bob Thompson | |

      You bought the phone three months ago.. June 14, when did the problem start? Make sure LTE is on in the settings. Find another phone with a nano SIM, swap them and see if the iPhone still has a problem or if the phone with your SIM stops working?

      • Angel Kooken | |

        The problem started immediately after I had the phone the next day I called MetroPCS customer support. I’ve been trying to get the guy to replace the phone and tell him that somethings wrong with it but he made me take over 100 screenshots to prove that something was wrong with the phone then he wouldn’t answer my phone calls then I went in there for the 15th time in three months and he had me in tears so yesterday I had my brother go with me and my brother took care of it and I’m supposed to have a new phone by next Wednesday. That situation as a whole other story

      • Angel Kooken | |

        I have been trying to get the phone replaced since then I have called MetroPCS 22 times and I have a store 15 times and the guy last time I was there he made me cry so I had went back in and then I have my brother go in there yesterday with me and he said I will have a new phone by Wednesday but I still understand why the phones doing it.. I have been trying to get the phone replaced since then I have called MetroPCS 22 times and I have store 15 times and the guy like him I was there he made me cry so I had went back in and then I have my brother go in there yesterday with me and he said I will have a new phone by Wednesday but I still understand why the phone is doing it .

      • Angel Kooken | |

        he said he put a new Sim card in it for me he said he put a signal booster on it they refresh the network settings like six times And have you done all the troubleshooting he could possibly do

      • Angel Kooken | |

        Do you know why it’s saying eight for extended instead of 4G LTE because the LT is on it’s when it’s on that I don’t connect to the Internet I can’t send messages but when I turn it off then it will send them but it’s super super smi do you know why it’s saying you for extended instead of 4G LTE because the LT is on it’s when it’s on that I don’t connect to the Internet I can’t send messages but when I turn it off then it will send them but it’s super super slow

  46. Noah Grove | |

    Ok so I pre ordered the iPhone Xs Max sim free, and I have a iPhone 5 se currently with a sim that I already had a byop through straight talk from Verizon would I be better off just getting a new byop kit from Walmart and setting it up that way? Also I don’t know how to set up the byop with a sim free phone because with the straight talk byop it says theirs a sim for t mobile, at&t, verison SIM card but if it’s already a unlocked device which sim do I use because I’m not changeing it from one of those carriers. I’m leaning twords just getting the Byop kit because I don’t care about my old sim, I just don’t know how to set it up with a sim free device with the kit

    • Bob Thompson | |

      With an unlocked iPhone Xs Max, you can choose the SIM card for the network you want your phone to use. (ATT, Verizon, or T-Mobile)

      1. Order a new Straight Talk Verizon SIM card directly from Straight Talk for a $1.
      2. When you get your new phone, check the MEID Checking If Your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S Is Compatible With Straight Talk’s Verizon Network
      3. when you get your SIM card, From straighttalk.com, choose the option to activate a BYOP phone
      4. Follow the steps
      5. when you choose to keep your number, Straight Talk will figure out you are transferring your number
      6. You should be good from there.

      If you are on the $35 or $45 plan and want to use the Verizon network consider Total Wireless
      If you want to use the T-Mobile network consider Simple Mobile.

      Both are a better deal than Straight Talk. Like Straight Talk both are owned by Tracfone.

      With the walmart kit you are paying for a plan card. Not sure what they charge for those kits now. but in the past you were payinhg an additonal $15 for additional SIMs.
      Last, if you order a Verizon SIM, order 2. If for some reason their is a problem when you sign up and need another SIM you’ll have it on hand and not need to wait for them to send you another SIM. Worth the extra buck.

  47. Susan | |

    Im wanting transfer my current ST service on my att lg phone to a T-Mobile LG phone.. can i use the same sim & just change apn to use att towers Or do i have use t mobile network? Coverage isn’t that great with tmob in my area. If so can i do this online? Thanks so much for your time

    • Bob Thompson | |

      If you T-Mobile phone is compatible with the AT&T network and unlocked yes. As I don’t know what model phone you have I can’t say if it is compatible. If the SIM from your att phone fits and the above is true, you can use the SIM. If the SIM doesn’t fit or if the SIM is a few years old you can order a new att SIM from ST for $1 and transfer your service to the new ATT SIM. That is easy.

      Most modern mid range and premium phone from AT&T and T-Mobile are fully compatible with both networks. Older or less expensive phones may not be. If the phone was from T-Mobile and it’s locked they may unlock it for free if the previous owner meet their unlocking policy.

      You can check if the T-Mobile LG phone is unlocked by putting any ATT SIM in it and see if you can make a call.

      I hope this helps.

  48. Reggie | |

    Hi Bob!
    Hoping you can clear something up for me. I have an account with TracFone and I currently use an iPhone 4s(A1387) on the TracFone Verizon network. My daughter gave me an iPhone 5s(A1453) that’s out of contract with US Cellular. I believe the phone is unlocked because under Cellular in settings, Cellular Data Network is present and in that setting, APN is ‘usccinternet” with the original sim. I believe this is usually an indication that the phone is unlocked but she is going to take it to US Cell to check.

    I purchased a TracFone sim kit which had sims for AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile and tried to switch my current phone over to the 5s using the AT&T sim. To make a long story short, it didn’t work. Got on a chat with TracFone and thought we had it worked out but still not able to make calls, text or message. I got on chat with another rep that said it looked like the sim was working but the phone was a CDMA phone and not compatible with the (GSM) AT&T network. I had the indicator for the cell signal strength followed by TFW and in the phone’s settings TracFone was listed as the network,but no communication. My understanding is that the A1453 5s is a CDMA and GSM capable phone and from the info I read it used frequencies and bands that should work with TracFone AT&T.

    Any insight you could give me would be greatly appreciated.



    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Reggie,
      I agree with your assesment about the US Cellular 5s. It should work with ATT. You are on the right track here. Have your daughter verify the phone is unlocked which I think needs to be checked at a US Cellular store. Next, make sure your new ATT SIM is working. If you can borrow an iPhone that uses a nano SIM, try your SIM in that phone. If you daughter has a US Cellular iPhone newer than 2014, here phone should be unlocked and you could try your SIM there. If you haven’t tried it, Go into setttings general reset on the 5s, and try a reset network settings. After the phone restarts, connect to wifi and go into settgs general about and if the phone wants to update the carrier settings, do it.

      Give that a try and let me know. Also if you have a SIM adapter, your 4s show now be unlocked by Verizon and will work with the ATT SIM. You wont get 4G LTE but at least you can have a phone while trying to get this resolved.


  49. Roger Hein | |

    The apn is asking for a name and a 3digit mcc what do I get them

    • Bob Thompson | |

      The APN is different for each carrier. I don’t know which carrier you are using. On an android phone, the first field NAME, can be whatever you want to call it. The MCC should get set automatically, but if you need to enter one consult this list http://www.mcc-mnc.com/

  50. Dyana | |

    Can I use a Huawei Ascend xt2 with straight talk?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Is this phone from ATT prepaid / goPhone? it should work with the Straight Talk ATT SIM card then

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