Trying to Figure out a Straight Talk Wireless Samsung Galaxy S3

Lisa asks…

Hi there,

Okay. So. I am pretty confused right now.

I bought a Samsung Galaxy S3 from Straighttalk, at Walmart…and I just realized that I have no SIM card. I just came back from Walmart and I feel like that was a total waste of gas. The woman who worked in the Electronic section thought I was talking about SD cards when I clearly told her SIM card. I spent 20 minutes trying to explain the difference and she clearly still had no idea what I was talking about.

So, to simply my post…

What I would like to know is, which SIM card activation kit will I need to buy? Is it the STRAIGHTTALK AT&T COMPATIBLE STANDARD & MICRO SIM ACTIVATION KIT, in which is 6.99 online and 59.99 in the stores? Or will I need something else?

Please let me know as soon as you can. Thank you. 🙂

Hi Lisa,

You are correct that this can be a little confusing, but I will try to explain.

You have your phone, which you paid for at the store.  All you need to do now is activate it, select your plan, and pay for it. You can use the prepaid service cards from Walmart to pay for your monthly service, or pay by credit card on their web site.  In the package with your phone, there should be red Activation card,  you enter the number on this card on the web site.

You start here.

Read This Before You Activate

When you buy your phone directly from Straight Talk, you don’t need to buy a SIM card or network activation code separately.  Those SIM cards are for Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) customers, people bringing phones from the other wireless companies over to Straight Talk.

Not all phones use SIM cards. Straight Talk doesn’t own their own cellular network. They lease time from AT&T, TMobile, Verizon, and Sprint.  The phones that use the ATT and TMobile networks need SIM cards. Phones that use the Verizon and Sprint networks do not.

Your Samsung Galaxy S3 phone will use the Sprint or Verizon network. I can’t say for certain which network without knowing the exact model number on the package. If the phone was advertised as supporting 4G LTE, then it will use the Sprint network, otherwise its will use the Verizon network.

My recommendation, take a step back. Decide what network your phone will be on. Decide what network you would like to use.  Most people want to be on the network that works best where they  work, live, or use their phone the most. In some areas, that is Verizon and others AT&T. T-Mobile and Sprint have great coverage in some areas but not others.

Once you know what network, you want to be on, pick a phone that supports that network and then sign up for Straight Talk.   You should still be able to return the S3 if its not the right phone for you.

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.





  1. Dana | |

    My boyfriend bought a refurnished galaxy s3 for straight talk from walmart and can’t get it activated could he need new sims card?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Did it come with a SIM card? do you know the exact model of the phone?

  2. Tiffany Btown | |

    I bought my galaxy 4 from walmart online. Straight talk customer service insists that its an At&T phonr and I cannot use it in my area-trying to transfer my number and active straight talk service from mu galaxy 3. She said I need verizon in my area!!! The phone says tracphone inside and didn’t come with a sim card– what can I do now??

  3. Sarah | |

    My friend has a Straight Talk Galaxy S3 that is broken, and I gave him my old Galaxy S4 that was through Verizon. Will he be able to use it with Straight Talk? What will he need to do? Thanks.

  4. Trista | |

    I bought the same phone and was confused as well. I called to activate thinking in the very least they can use my existing Sim. If it didn’t come with it then the walmart you bought it at uses a network that doesn’t need it for this phone. My previous phone had one. If you try to activate online it tells you that it has a technology which cannot be activated in your area online. It has a spot for a Sim but won’t use it. Not even for your contacts. Really stupid to have a slot that simply isn’t recognized by the phone.

  5. bruce billips | |

    My s3 gose frome 3g to 1x and stay on 1x wen I put it in my new phone case .I can’t get on the einternet or do enythaing with my phone .I can’t figer it out can enybody help me

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Sounds like the case is the problem. I’d try a different case

  6. Chrissy nelson | |

    I want to buy a straighttalk Samsung galaxy s3 but I need to know that it will work in my coverage on fort mountain

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Chrissy,
      I don’t know where Fort Mountain is. Straight Talk Galaxy S3 phones usually use Straight Talk’s Verizon or Sprint network. If you had the choice between AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or Mobile which would you choose to use in Fort Mountain? Also are you looking to buy this phone from Straight Talk or Walmart directly? or used?
      Did you check to see which Straight Talk phones are available in your area?

  7. Bessie | |

    i bought an white straight talk samsung galaxy s3 off of the walmart website. i was wondering i had to get sim card for it or if i don’t have to have one at all. or if i can just use an sd card for pictures and all of the other storage stuff.

    • Bessie | |

      the model of it is S968C

      • Bob Thompson | |

        If the phone did not come with a SIM card you don’t need one. I am pretty sure that this phone will use Straight Talk’s Verizon network. Was it advertised as supporting 4G LTE? If not, it might not be the best choice. I think the s968c only supports 3G. This means your data will be slower than a phone that supports 4G LTE. If your going to sign up for the 45 dollar plan, I’d pick a phone that supports 4G LTE. your data connection will be faster.

  8. Lee ann | |

    Can the Samsung Galaxy s3 s968c work with a sim and on the Att towers

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Lee Ann,
      This model is a for the Verizon 3G network only. Borrow a ATT SIM from a friend and try it it the phone and see if it works, I doubt it will

  9. Nim | |

    I have a (Straight Talk / (white) Samsung galaxy S3 that works off Verizon towers.Bought the phone at Walmart. The Box the phone came in had a red map indicating it works on Verizon towers.
    Model number is: SCH-S968C only the white one is Verizon. i looked behind my battery and there is a sim slot. i have no idea if the slot would work if i put a sim in it.
    Hope this helps.

  10. zachary | |

    I let a friend of mine borrow my phone for a day and when I got it back nothing on the phone work there is a outline in green around the screen anytime I need to dial a number I have to double tap every number but its hard for me to hit the numbers because the screen rotation is crazy and it will not stay still I’m not I’m not able to use the drop-down menu at the top of the screen and wont even let me double tap that to drag it down so in reality there is little that I can do I can’t even change settings I’m just wondering if there’s anybody out there that’s got any ideas for me

    • Bob Thompson | |

      sounds like your phone is broken. You can try backing it us and doing a factory reset, but this sons like a hardware problem.

  11. Karlie | |

    I have a Galaxy s3 from Straighttalk themselves, they are telling me I need a new SIM card to transfer number back over from broken phone. Where would I locate SIM card area? It is not underneath battery and slot space there is for micro SD and there is no slot by battery. What do I do?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Karlie,
      what is the model number of your S3? But I don’t understand. Is the S3 a new phone and you are trying to move the service from a broken phone to the S3?

    • Dave | |

      I know the problem she is having. Myself and my mom bought 2 StraightTalk branded Galaxy S3s 2 years ago. They ran on Sprint’s network, and also do not use a SIM Card. When we first set it up 2 years ago, it was a breeze. Transfer Service > Enter IMEI > Select phone to transfer the service from > BADA BING BADA BOOM!

      Two years later (Today): We upgraded to 2 Verizon Galaxy s5’s, and used the BYOP kit for Verizon Phones. Now true, Verizon phones are CDMA, but this kit includes a network access code, and a sim card for 4G LTE. That’s all the sim card does on Verizon phones is the LTE connection. So now we have 2 perfectly good Straighttalk branded S3s for sell.
      The guy I sold the first one to had difficulty setting it up, but he was using a phone browser, so I invited him over and we’d get it done on my computer. Wow. Straight Talk added another step to activating a straight talk phone. Enter sim card number. There is no sim card, so there is no sim card number. Here’s how it went:
      Transfer Service > Enter IMEI > Select phone to transfer the service from > Takes you to a new screen that asks for SIM Card #
      That is where the story ends. The guy had called Straight Talk tech support and they told him he needed a sim card. He tried to explain, it does not take a sim card, there’s no where to put a sim card. But they are sending him one for free anyhow. I refunded his money.
      But now, I got 2 worthless phones because they are Straight Talk branded and therefore will only work with Straight Talk, but thanks to the new step in activation, they can’t even be setup on Straight Talk.
      So aggravated.

      • Bob Thompson | |

        What is the model number of your S3 phones? I think the ST Sprint S3 supported LTE, but the Verizon one did not.

        • Dave | |

          Yes, the s960l (I’m pretty sure, at work right now) does include 4G lte, but it is not through a SIM card. If there is a sim card in it, then you’ll have to take it apart to find it. It’s not anywhere visible around the battery compartment.

          • Bob Thompson | |

            Hi Dave,
            I think these phones have an embedded SIM. Check the label under the back cover and see if the ICCID is listed in tiny print. Also look for it in the Settings. Probably under about phone.

          • Dave | |

            Thanks Bob. The ICCID looks like a SIM number. I sold the phone and provided that number as the SIM number. They were supposed to let me know, but it’s been over a week and I still have not heard from them. Thanks for your help.

          • Bob Thompson | |

            Thanks for the update. I am sure someone else will ask the same question again.

      • Trista | |

        Hi, I had also tried the online thing. It actually won’t activate online. And the “sim” it’s asking for, if you go back and re-fill it out on a computer it will change and ask for the activation numbers from the red paper. This seems like a website error on their part but even if you fill that out it will say that it cannot be done online (if CDMA). But if it does use a sim maybe it will let you, but I would say just try to call straight talk. I had to call twice to get the same answer as I got from the original posting. They have to do a set up like any other CDMA phone where if you’re switching it can take two days for your old phone to stop working. Anyway, good luck!

  12. Carin | |

    I have a Galaxy S3 from Straight Talk. It runs off Verizon. I have no service in some areas I travel to in rural areas. I know at&t works in these areas. Can I switch this straight talk phone to run off straight talk at&t? If so, how? Thank you

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Michelle
      To use a sprint iPhone 4s with straight talk, the phone needs to be eligible with straight talk’s sprint network. You can check that here

      If you called straight talk ask they already told you the phone isn’t eligible, there is little you can do. The byop Starter kit does not unlock the phone. Id return the starter kit to Walmart.
      How much did you pay for the phone?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      what is the exact model number of the phone? It might have some compatibility with the ATT network.

  13. Rosemarie | |

    I just bought a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime from straight talk at Walmart and had my number transferred from my other straight talk phone. I couldn’t receive messages at first and then after calling the company it finally worked. Now I can only receive pictures from some people but not from others. I don’t understand why, but I want to be able to receive all pictures. Can you help me figure this please??? I called the company twice and they reset my entire phone but still nothing. The phone came with a sim card already installed.

  14. Ira | |

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S3 on the Straight Talk network, I purchase straight talk cards for service. Their service seems to be getting worse as time goes on and my connection no matter where I am is next to nothing. There is an empty SIM slot in it, can I buy a Verizon SIM card and purchase their time cards to use their network? Would that even work or would I just be putting it in and still purchasing Straight Talk time cards? I really want to keep the phone but ditch Straight Talks terrible service.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Ira,
      What is the model number of your S3? If you bought the phone from Straight Talk, it’s either using the Verizon or Sprint network.

      It’s unlikely that you will get the a Verizon SIM to work in the phone. Many customers using the Straight Talk Verizon iPhone 5 have told be they wanted to switch to using the ST Verizon SIM so the could go from 3G to LTE, but Straight Talk tells them the phone is eligible.

      Once we know what model phone you have we can figure out what networks it is compatible with.


  15. ted | |

    I bought my straight talk galaxy s3 used and I’m not sure if I get the 45 dollar card or if I have to get the byop sim card kit.. the phone is straight talk but it had a sim card when I got it do I need the sim card? Or can I just get the prepaid card to activate it?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Ted,
      Did you buy this phone new or used? What is the model number of the phone?

  16. Robert | |

    I am looking at getting a samsung galaxy s3 (verizon). It does not come with a slim card.I want to use this phone using pay as you go tracfone. Are there any problems with not having a slim card in the phone! And will all the features work without a slim card.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Robert,
      You mean tracfone, not straight talk, right? If so, yes it should work, provided that you check the phone’s MEID with trscfone to see if the phone is eligible. There are several models of the S3, if you find a verizon model that supports 4G LTE, you should be able to use that on tracfone’s 4G LTE network. They now offer SIM cards online.


  17. mary | |

    How to change galaxy s3 straight talk to att

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Mary,
      What is the model number of the phone? And are you trying to go to ATT the company, or Straight Talk’s ATT network?

  18. Ashley | |

    Question-I bought a galaxy s3 from ST last year and though the ST website says it is 4g capable, it only ever displays 3g, is generally slow, and only gets 1 bar of 1x or no service at all in areas where other 4g devices get full 4g LTE service. It has a sim slot in the back-would I be able to put a sim in it to get the 4g service? It doesn’t matter whether it would be ATT or Verizon 4g… But Sprint probably won’t cut it. Thanks!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      hi Ashley,
      If your phone isn’t using a SIM, it likely using the Straight Talk Verizon or Straight Talk Sprint network. Do you remember what number you dialed to activate the phone? What’s the model number of the phone? If we know the model number we can see what networks the phone is compatible with.

      • Ashley | |

        I believe it was 22890, and the model # is SCH-S968C (GP).

        • Bob Thompson | |

          Hi Ashley,
          This specific model phone is 3G only and will only work on the Verizon network. Straight Talk also sold the SCH-S960L. If the phone has a SIM slot, you can try borrowing a friends ATT SIM and putting it in the phone to see if it works. The SIM would need to be the correct size, I am guessing the S3 would use a micro SIM. You would then need to set up the APN to test to see if the data connection is any better.

          • Ashley | |

            Okay. Thanks!

  19. jill | |

    I have an ATT Samsung Galaxy S 3 that does not have a contract service anymore.The phone was given to my daughter from my son as he upgraded his Galaxy. Model #SGH-1747… 16 gb. The sim is clearly an ATT and the back of the phone says AT&T right on it. Can you please tell me where to buy and what kind of pre-paid service is available to me and also what I have to do. Obviously I do not know much about these phones and pre-paid services. Thank You

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Jill,
      You can use most prepaid services that uses the ATT network with this phone. Prices range from $100 a year to $70 a month depending on what and how much service you want. For example, do you want unlimited talk and text? data? unlimited data? or do you just need enough service to have a working phone for emergencies?

      If you read through some of the back articles on smartphonematters I have written about the various options in the past.
      Take a look through that any if if you have idea about how much service you want or how much you want spend a month let me know.

    • Karen | |

      An AT&T phone is compatiable with tracfone, Bring your own phone. I checked into it.

  20. CSB | |

    I have a samsung galaxy S3 I cannot send or receive pictures. Help

  21. jeoy | |

    I own a galaxy S3 but it is only 3G. I have visited Walmart and I have found an activation kit that says you can bring your own phone and this activation will make your phone 4G. I was wondering if this will work with my phone even thought it has already been activated?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      If your phone is using Straight Talk’s verizon neteork then no. If it’s on Straight Talk’s Sprint network, maybe.

  22. robin | |

    I bought galaxy s 3 around Christmas time I have straight talk I have no service on my new phone except the town I live in y

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Robin,
      Did you buy your S3 from Straight Talk? Do you live it a rural area? what wireless company do most people use it your area?

  23. maggie | |


    I just purchased a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S III SGH-I747 AT&T Straight Talk- 16GB phone. Sim Card NOT included – This is a GSM device that will work on AT&T Straight Talk Network ONLY. I already have straight talk. I brought my own phone to the plan earlier and purchased the activation kit and am using that phone now. The phone I have now is an HTC inspire 4g and is on the att network. Can I just use the same sim card I purchased in my old activation kit and simply switch it out, or how should I go about switching to my new(ish) s3?


  24. Jason Morrison | |

    I boughy a tracfone galaxy s3 from walmart. It runs off 3g. Sometimes. It drops down to 1X quite often and will not let me recieve mms. Wont even show that one is coming in. Any ideas on how to recieve them? And there is no setting to let me change the APN.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Jason,
      Sounds like your S3 is using either the Straight Talk Verizon or Straight Talk Sprint network. Do you know which? Do you know if Sprint and Verizon work in your area? What service do most people use.

  25. Brittany ledford | |

    How do you know if your straight talk samsung galaxy s3 runs off the Verizon or sprint network

    • Bob Thompson | |

      hi Brittany,
      That is a good question. It’s not easy to figure out… what is the model number of your S3? Do you have a 3G, 4G, or LTE connection.(look in the status bar), what was the activation number you dialed when you activated your phone? Was the phone advertised as supporting 4g LTE?


  26. DP | |

    OMG. I’ve just purchased a Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy S3 – AFTER Straight Talk’s rep ASSURED ME several times by phone that this particular phone, from Walmart, WOULD USE THE AT&T network. Needless to say it does NOT. It uses Verizon. 🙁 After ordering online, waiting for it to arrive for pick-up & changing over info from my old phone it will NOT work in the new area that I’m moving to. That area needs the AT&T network. Could you PLEASE LMK the BEST WAY to get a Samsung Galaxy 3 (or very SIMILAR phone) & be able to use the AT&T network through ST. Talk? or perhaps through AT&Ts Go phones or similar plan? — A NO-CONTRACT phone which uses the AT&T network. ?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi DP,
      You can simply transfer your service from you current straight talk s3 to a straight talk Att sim. You can then use this phone in any phone that uses the Att network. You’ll need to buy. The sim from straight talk. You’ll need the correct size sim. Most modern smartphones use a micro sim. Some still use a standard size SIM. The iPhone 5 and 6 models use the nano SIM.

      See Transferring Your Existing Straight Talk Service to a New Straight Talk Phone or SIM

      You’ll need a phone. If you are willing to buy used, you can look on ebay for an Att unlocked s3 or s4. Make sure you buy the correct model. You can also try to buy an Att network phone from straight talk. But you have learned it’s hard to figure that out, you can ask me to check the phone you want to buy and I can try to figure it out.

      There are a lot of other awesome new android phones out there. The moto x, the nexus 5 and 6. A company called blu sells many nice affordable phones. If you can afford it, buy a phone that supports 4G LTE. What’s your budget?


  27. Stewart Robinson | |

    My samsung s3 wont take talk talk sim card why that

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Stewart,
      I would like to help. I don’t understand your question. You have a Galaxy S3? what model is it? Do you know which Straight Talk SIM card you have? The ATT or the T-Mobile one?


  28. Larry Ferrari | |

    I purchased a Samsung Galaxy SC (Model SCH-S968C) running Android 4.1.2 from a guy at a flea market. It was (is) a StraightTalk phone). Sadly, StraightTalk refuses to activate the device without the original packaging and sales receipt. I’m guessing that they are afraid it is stolen. Can anything be done to get this new Samsung to work or did I buy a brick???

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Larry,
      Sounds like it. Did you try to activate it online using the straight talk website? See if you can. Did you get a network access code with the phone? Either way try activating it from the web.

      Your phone uses the Verizon network. If you can’t activate it with straight talk, you may be able to activate it on Verizon prepaid or another prepaid company that uses the verizon prepaid network.

      Check to see if your phone has a bad ESN. Sometimes these wireless companies mark tje electronic serial number as bad, when a phone is listed lost or stolen. You can search google to find some web sites where you can check ESN for free.

      Let me know how it goes.

      • Larry Ferrari | |

        Thanks, Bob. I was right — I have a $200 brick. As you suggested I checked the ESN at the Verizon website. It was reported as a valid serial number. I went to a Verizon store today. What the online comment meant was that the phone was not lost or stolen. But it could not be used on the Verizon network. At the Verizon rep’s suggestion I tried TracFone prepaid since they supplied the hardware to StraightTalk. TracFone traced the MEID to StraightTalk and then kicked me out. last gasp was PagePlus prepaid network. The Galaxy S3, however is a 4G LTE device requiring reprogramming to be compatible with PagePlus. I’ve got some feelers out, but it doesn’t look good. One mis-step during reprogramming and the phone becomes a zombie anyway. I’m SOL. To the landfill goes a brand new $200 phone. Thanks again for the advice….

        • Bob Thompson | |

          Hi Larry,
          Sorry to hear that. It might be possible to use the phone with the ATT or T-Mobile network. I am not sure if it will get 4G LTE but it still might work. Also, your phone still has value. Check on eBay. Many people by and sell phones that can’t be activated, more parts, use overseas, or whatever.

          While I myself don’t have a lot of experience with reflashing phones for PagePlus, many people do. Did someone tell you that flashing a phone is risky or prone to bricking the phone. BTW.. PagePlus is also owned by tracfone too.
          I think I had a reader here who reflashed phones, I’ll check the comments.

          • Larry Ferrari | |

            Thanks, Bob…
            I’ve heard from two sources that flashing a 4G LTE device carries grave risks. I don’t know for sure, so I have no choice but to believe them. PagePlus website has a store locator function. But all the ones in my northeast Florida area are for refill only. I found a place in Raleigh NC that is apparently not limited to refill, but no answer to me email query. Perhaps ytou’ll have some luck with a search of archives. I can get $40 for this boat anchor as is. That’s probably the way to go….

  29. marissa | |

    My friend gave me her old straight talk phone which is a samsung galaxy s3, right now I have an at&t go phone.. will I be able to keep the same number when I transfer phones? Do I need to purchase a straight talk sim card, or will it work without?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      You should be able to transfer your number. You’ll need your ATT account number and your account PIN. You can get this info from ATT.

      If your friend bought the S3 from Straight Talk, its using Straighht Talk’s Verizon or Sprint networks. You are currently on ATT. Do you know if Verizon and Sprint work well in your area? You want to make sure before you switch.

      Do you really want to go to Straight Talk? Or do you just want to use this S3 because it is a better phone. What do you pay a month for your Go Phone? Do you currently use talk, text, and data?

      • marissa | |

        I pay $60 a month for my at&t phone but I don’t get good service where I live. Verizon and sprint work well around the area, that’s why I’d like to switch over to Straight Talk.

        • Bob Thompson | |

          OK.. good. The phone isn’t currently active is it? You have an interesting case… You want to Bring Your Own Phone, but your phone is a Straight Talk phone.

          Go to this page, and enter your zip code and the MEID of the phone. What does the page say?

  30. Holly | |

    I have the samung 3 on the straight talk on the verizon net work. Why do some pictures that are sent by text to me have to be down loaded and most of the time the down load fails.

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Holly,
      I don’t know what the issue is and why some people have a problem. I think there is an option to automatically download the images, do you have that enabled. Does you phone should that any Android updates are available?


  31. Lisa | |


    Thank you for taking the time to explain how the micro SIM cards work. As I have told the woman who works at Wal-Mart, I transferred my number to the S3 and I just needed to know more about the micro SIM cards. I’m sorry I didn’t put that in the first post, but really my main question was just simply which SIM cards did I need. I’ve read the reviews for the AT&T SIM cards and I ordered it just now. I will come back to you if I run into any other problems. I thank you again. You’ve been very helpful.

    Thank you!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Lisa,
      You don’t need SIM card. That is what I was trying to explain. If you activated your s3 already, is it working? Putting the SIM card in isn’t going to help


      • Dean Monroe | |

        I also want to thank you for your answer. I just bought the S3. When I opened it I was confused, saw the SIM slot and thought to myself “This is a CDMA phone. I shouldn’t need a SM card. Or did they change something?” I stumbled across your answer in a Google search. Seriously, where would we be without Google?

        So it seems I’m good to go.


        • Bob Thompson | |

          Hi Dean,
          I am glad to hear the answer helped you out. Thanks for taking the time to comment. If you use social media, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube. In addition to keeping up with latest updates at smartphonematters you would be helping us launch social media efforts. click here

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