A reader, Karen, asks…
I am currently with Straight Talk, but my phone desperately needs to be replaced. I’m planning to buy a new phone from Straight Talk. The old one is a Samsung Galaxy 7 Edge, and the new one I’m eyeing is the Samsung A50. I’m pretty sure I came over on the AT&T towers, since I was with AT&T before I came to Straight Talk.
Here’s my question(s): Their website says I have to buy a plan with my new phone, but my old plan doesn’t expire for another week. Will the new phone force me to use the new plan and I’ll lose the last week? Or can I finish up my old plan then change to my new phone? Or does getting my new phone take so long that this won’t matter??? (Any idea how long a phone takes to arrive at their new owner?) Also, you said something in the article that has me concerned: Will my new phone really be “locked” to Straight Talk? I am planning to pay for the phone outright, so I won’t have monthly payments on the phone, so will that not apply in my situation? (Why doesn’t Straight Talk answer the questions I have on their phone-buying site?)
After you buy a new phone from Straight Talk you’ll need to activate it. During activation, you’ll be asked if you want to use your current number or get a new one. Once you provide your number, Straight Talk will recognize you are their customer and walk you through transferring your service from your current phone to your new phone. During this process, your phone number and service balance will be transferred. The new plan should be added into your account as a credit or reserve.
If your phone is in stock it should arrive in in a few days to a week. The actual shipping is fast, it’s a matter of how long it takes for them to ship it.
When Straight Talk sells phones at a discount, they require you to buy a plan. Straight Talk only wants to sell phones to new or existing customers, not just anyone looking to buy a phone.
Please note that I haven’t been a Straight Talk customer for a few years. As I don’t currently have an Straight Talk phone number I can only check out the “new customer” options on straighttalk.com. I ordered some phones from them along time ago. They used to put a plan card in the box, now the plan might be automatically added to your account when the phone is activated.
Yes, your new phone will be locked to Straight Talk. Their terms are service is that the phone is locked for one year. I don’t know how reliable they are at honoring unlock requests. Even though you are buying the phone outright Straight Talk will still lock the phone. Many of Straight Talk’s phone’s are discounted so I can understand why they would lock some phones. For example, they sell the Apple iPhone SE for $149, that is 50% off what the $399 that Apple sells it for. However, some phones they sell are not discounted but still locked. If your not getting a deal, consider buying an unlocked phone and using it as Bring Your Own Phone.
One thing to note is that the new A50 will likely use the Verizon towers. If you are using Straight Talk’s AT&T towers you may notice a change in the quality of service. It could be better or worse depending on the AT&T and Verizon coverage where you use your phone. You can contact Straight Talk via online chat, give them your phone number and ask what towers your phone is using. You can also give them your zip code and ask them what towers the phone you want to buy uses in your area. To contact Straight Talk customer service by chat, see https://www.straighttalk.com/wps/portal/home/support/contactus. During call center business hours, a “Chat with Us” button will appear on the page.
As to why Straight Talk doesn’t answer these questions themselves. I don’t know. Back when I switched to prepaid eight years ago, I tried Straight Talk. I had some trouble getting my iPhone to work with their BYOP kit. I decided to post some clear instructions for others. Now, I have a smartphonematters.com and a YouTube channel too!
The prepaid wireless market is competitive. If you are switching to a new phone, you might want to review your other options.
Consider which network you want to use (AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile), how much data you need, and what other features you want (hotspot, wi-fi calling, etc).
As a shameless plug, I’ll point you to my Straight Talk Latest Deals and Promo Codes for May 2021 page. You can check out the latest deals. They used to give me promo codes, but stopped a long time ago because of pressure from Walmart.
I hope this helps, if you get a chance let me know how it goes.