A reader, Sable asks,
I have a Sprint 4s — I tired of paying close to $130.00 for cell phone service each month. Saw that straight talk
advertises if you bring your Sprint iphone cdma phone over they can activate it . Charging $15.00 network access code then paying $45.00 a month unlimited. Not sure If I have to buy the sim chip ? Has anyone gotten a Iphone 4s Sprint phone to work on straight talk. The lady from Straight Talk stated this was brand new starting in Feb. 2014. Anxiously awaiting to find out if anyone had success.
I have never set up a Straight Talk Wireless BYOP using a Sprint phone. I too noticed that they advertise this option on straighttalk.com.
I can share with you what I know. Your Sprint iPhone 4s does not need a SIM, only ATT and T-Mobile iPhones use a SIM. When you move your Sprint iPhone 4s to Straight Talk, they check your MEID to see if they can register your phone on their network. If they can, you’ll pay a $15 fee to do this instead of buying a SIM.
Afterwards, you would continue the process to sign up for Straight Talk and port your phone number to Straight Talk. Its not clear to me how well this works. If you were porting your number from AT&T, its different. Your AT&T service is associated with your ATT SIM. You would activate your Straight Talk SIM and be assigned a temporary phone number until your AT&T number was ported. At that point, your AT&T account is closed because you ported your number.
If you were trying to use a Sprint iPhone that was not currently in use on the Sprint network, I would think it would work exactly the same way. For example, you had two iPhones. One currently on Sprint, the other Sprint iPhone is the one you are activating on Straight Talk. The Straight Talk iPhone would activate with the temporary number. You existing Sprint phone would deactivate after the port completed.
In your case, your iPhone is active on Sprint. What I don’t know is what happens if you sign up for Straight Talk and try to port your number. Your iPhone would need to be deactivated on Sprint and activated on straight talk after the port completed.
Maybe it all just works. I was going to buy a used Sprint iPhone and activate it on Straight Talk to write a guide for doing this. I realized that wouldn’t be enough though. Most people would be like you. They have an active Sprint iPhone and want to move to Straight Talk and port their number.
I will also mention if you Google for information about this, you’ll read about using a SIM unlock called a GPP adapter. It allows you to use the Straight Talk ATT or TMobile SIM in your iPhone. I think its a overly complicated solution to the problem unless you are a technical person, pay someone to set it up for you, and can live with the limitations around iOS software updates (new updates can break the unlock).
Take a step back and look at the entire issue. You want to pay less money per month, so prepaid is a great option. Do you want to stay on a sprint-based network? Do you know if AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon networks have better service where you live, work, or plan to use your phone most?
You can always sell your used Sprint iPhone and buy a new or used iPhone.
If you are paying $130 dollars a month you have a lot of options to save money or get more for your money. You are paying $1560 a year. If you went to Straight Talk you’d be paying about $600 a year. You could switch to Straight Talk and buy a new unlocked iPhone 5s or iPhone 5s and still spent less! or sell your old phone and replace it with a used one and bank most of that $960!
I hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions, and I would love to hear back from you.