Can I Use My Straight Talk iPhone 5s With Another Wireless Service?

Recently a YouTube viewer, Leron, asked me if he could use his Straight Talk iPhone 5s with Total Wireless or some other prepaid wireless service.  I have been asked this question a few times before so I thought I’d write this article.

That is a good question, but my answer is sometimes yes, sometimes, no, so I think it just depends on a few factors.  Let me give you a few things to check and try to find out if your Straight Talk iPhone will work with a different carrier.

First, you asked if you can use Total Wireless. Total Wireless uses the Verizon network, and like all wireless carriers that use the verizon network, you’ll need to check the serial number or MEID of your phone on totalwireless.com to see if your phone is compatible. By compatible, I mean it can be registered and activated on Total Wireless. In my video, I show you how to check if your phone is compatible with Total Wireless.

Now, if you phone isn’t compatible with Total Wireless, you may be able to use with a wireless carrier that uses the AT&T or T-Mobile network.  Before doing this, you want to make sure your phone will work with either of those networks. The easiest way to do this is to find a friend using an iPhone with AT&T or T-Mobile and borrow their nano SIM card.  If their SIM works in your phone, than your phone will work with that network. If it works with both the AT&T or T-Mobile network, the phone is unlocked.  If your iPhone works with the AT&T or T-Mobile network, you’ll be able to transfer your service from Straight Talk to a BYOP SIM for a different wireless service.  Once the SIM is activated, just put it in your phone.

Depending on when you bought your Straight Talk iPhone 5s and how much you paid for it, your phone might be locked or restricted. Back in June 2016, the iPhone 5s page on straighttalk.com listed the phone for  $199 but also clearly said: “This iPhone 5s is secured for activation on Straight Talk Wireless Only.” 

Now finally, if you aren’t able to register your Straight Talk iPhone with Total Wireless, and it’s not working with a borrowed SIM you have one more option. You may be eligible to have Straight Talk unlock your phone.  Visit straighttalk.com and scroll down to the bottom.  Click Unlocking Policy and fill out the form to see if your iPhone is eligible to be unlocked. You’ll also find a link with the details of Straight Talk’s (Tracfone’s) unlock policy.

4 Comments

  1. Philip | | Reply

    I am a StraightTalk customer for 7+ years . Have several problems with StraightTalk the last 3:months and wanted to change to Total Wireless.
    I called the 866 number provided on the Total Wireless website. The automated system picked up my StraightTalk s5 Samsung Galaxy and was identical as if I had called StraighTalk to renew my service data plan . I was rather astonished that not my number but ask if I wanted to renew my data service plan . My service end date and I am thinking what is going on . So as the same as StraightTalk I waited till the option to talk to a Customer Service Representative for Total Wireless . My s5 Samsung was StraightTalk and had my original SIM when I purchased the phone . I asked him what is going on that I was inquiring about Total Wireless and wanted to change from StraightTalk cause I was tired of the problems I was having . Then I asked the Rep how is it that the automated system was identical and didn’t know the difference between StraightTalk and Total Wireless . The Customer Service Representative was a Filipino I believe but I don’t think he comprehended that my phone was StraighTalk . He just asked me what was the problem . So I told him and also said that I how is it that my StraightTalk s5 phone number was identified as a Total Wireless customer . Cause it’s still StraightTalk…Told the Customer Service Representative that I presumed that StraightTalk was losing customers cause of the crappy Customer Service Reps and all the complaints from customers on Social Media but I also think Walmart may behind the push for Total Wireless cause sales were down cause of the way StraightTalk was abusing and ripping off customers . Walmart must have been losing a great deal of money cause I noticed that there were more Total Wireless end caps in a store . StraightTalk hardly had anything much . but that is my presumption . But as I have smart devices and I cannot cast or another device will not pick up my StraightTalk s5 Samsung and I have no internet access or WiFi where I live is very rural . I didn’t change to Total Wireless because I think Total Wireless and StraightTalk are one and the same and will still have the same crappy antagonizing Customer Service Representatives .
    Like me I never even had a thought it might be the same as StraightTalk . So to answer the question for whomever wants to know that a StraightTalk phone will work if it’s a CMDA on Verizon towers . But as I am who would want to change their service to the same Carrier that they had.. just be more of the same problems . Its the people who do not have any idea or clue that Total Wireless is StraightTalk . I know I won’t.. anyone who has had StraightTalk and had problems would not even consider to change . Hope that this may help others out if and or not they want to change to Total Wireless . Good luck !

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hey Phillip,
      Total Wireless, Straight Talk, Simple Mobile, Net10 Wireless, Tracfone, Walmart Family Mobile, and a number of different prepaid wireless brands are all Tracfone brands. And yes, if you are unhappy with the service or support you have received from any of these brands it’s not wise to switch to another one. Support is handled by the same teams. However, these brands differ in the plan prices, add ons, and in some cases features so in some cases switching from one to the other is a better deal.

      If you are using Straight Talk and the Verizon towers, I say check out Verizon Wireless prepaid. More features, the support isn’t as good as Verizon post-paid. See Using Personal Hotspot with Straight Talk and Verizon Prepaid Unlimited Talk, Text, & 15GB Data for $45 Feb 2019. Oh and Verizon is shutting down their CDMA network in 2020. To continue to use the Verizon towers you need a phone that support Voice over LTE, I think the S5 does.

  2. mike | | Reply

    Not very useful information
    what we want to know is, if the phone is unlocked or if it can be unlocked easily.
    2nd does it have a sim card compartment that will enable it to be used with T Mobile, at&T or Metro pc, if it does not have the compartment then it can only be used with Verizon or sprint.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      All iPhone 5s models have a SIM slot and are compatible with AT&T and Sprint. The phones however are activation locked. The phones can be unlocked after one year of service on Straight Talk. They may not be eligible for use on Verizon afterwards though.

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