Straight Talk, Wi-Fi Calling, and AT&T Microcells


A reader, Beth Ann asks,

I also live in a rural area (zero service). I’ve had AT&T with a microcell until now. It died. My current phone is not wifi call capable, so I’ve ordered a Moto G6. Is there any way to discern whether Straight Talk will make wifi calls in my area prior to signing up?
My new phone is a factory unlocked GSM device. I didn’t get it from AT&T. AT&T is the best choice in my area where service is available. I’m just trying to finally ditch their ridiculous rates. And the microcell is in the recycle bin.
2 or 3 GB is plenty.

Just to make sure I understand:

  • You are currently are an AT&T customer
  • You rely on a microcell at home for coverage, but it broke
  • You ordered a new G6 from AT&T
  • You are considering switching to Straight Talk

Unfortunately, no, I don’t think its possible to tell if you’ll get Wi-Fi calling. In my case, I turned it on and eventually it started working at a latter time, others report just getting an error trying to turn it on.

Several readers have stated that Straight Talk services will work with microcells however. Straight Talk doesn’t offer microcells, but apparently some are using AT&T or Verizon microcells with Straight Talk phones that use the respective towers.

AT&T prepaid supports Wi-Fi calling so that may be an option for you.

If your current Moto G6 supports WiFi calling then you should be able to use it with WiFi calling on a prepaid service that uses the ATT network as long as that service has Wi-Fi calling disabled.

As you have stated that the the AT&T network has the best coverage for where you are able to use your phone and that 2 or 3GB per month of data is enough for you I recommend you check out Net10 Wireless and Cricket Wireless.

Net10 Wireless is owned by Tracfone just like Straight Talk and the service is basically identical. Tracfone had Net10 but created Straight Talk because Walmart wanted and exclusive prepaid wireless plan. I’ve used both, and other than the plans being different, to wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Check out their $20 plan with 1GB of data or their $35 plan with 4GB of data. You can add 1GB of data to Net10 for $10 and that data doesn’t expire so that may be a better option for you. The $35 plan drops to $31.50 for 4GB of data when you let them charge your credit card each month. The only issue is that you can’t confirm you’d get WiFi calling before signing up.

Also check out Cricket Wireless, uses the AT&T network costs $30 for a 2GB plan, all taxes and fees included. See my reviews, my wife used it for a couple years and was happy with it. They do support WiFi calling.

If Cricket looks good, go with that. If Net 10 looks better, you’ll need to find out if Wi-Fi calling works for you in your area. You could activate a new line for $20 and try it, and if it works transfer your phone number in or activate a new line with your new number. While some people baulk at doing this, I advise people to consider their total spend when switching. Spending $20 to find out if something will save you $100’s is not a bad trade off.

Hope this helps and let me know how it goes.

5 Comments

  1. Beth Ann Roth | | Reply

    No it doesn’t. SMS yes, but not MMS. Lots of articles out there on the subject. Most articles assume the user has some level of mobile data, which I don’t have at my house. I just need them to hang out in space until I can retrieve them.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Ok well I tried to help you. But since you already know your answer…

  2. Beth Ann Roth | | Reply

    Per your recommendation, I went with Cricket. Good call. It works with wifi calling like a charm. The only issue is that no carrier supports mms over wifi, unless you have an iPhone. Without getting too deep in the weeds, is there a way to adjust APN settings to keep mms messages from timing out? I’m usually in range of a tower every couple of days. I’m using WhatsApp with close friends abd family, but I still get plenty of group texts I can’t receive.

  3. Beth Ann | | Reply

    Wow thanks for all the detail! AT&T prepaid might be my safest option. Thanks for confirming that prepaid supports wifi calling. Not sure what I’ll give up from postpaid except $$$.

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