Straight Talk Wireless advertises unlimited talk, text, and data packages for $45 a month. Compared to the prices charged by big name cell phone carriers for unlimited plans, Straight Talk offers considerable savings. But what’s the catch?
I’ve been using Straight Talk and their unlimited talk, text and data plan for a year now. As far as call quality and service area, I couldn’t be happier. As soon as I switched from AT&T to a Straight Talk phone that uses Verizon towers, I noticed a drastic improvement in call clarity and a decrease in the number of dropped calls. The price is also a great benefit, as I didn’t have unlimited talk or data with AT&T and was always worried about going over my allotted amount. Straight Talk only offers 3G service, but I still find that downloads are quick, though I admit I hardly ever stream music or movies. I ported my old phone number and found it easy to do following the directions online. It does take a few hours, though, so you’ll be without a cell phone for that time. As I said, you do get what you pay for. And with Straight Talk Wireless, you exchange customer service for affordability.
The biggest issue with Straight Talk’s customer service is that there are no brick-and-mortar stores to go to if you are having an issue. You have to call a customer service line first. While available 24/7, there are often very long hold times and connects you with someone in India. I’ve had to call a couple of times, and while the service representative is always very friendly and polite, I find Indian accents hard to understand. The other issue is an insane policy that requires you to be in the same zip code in which you activated your Straight Talk phone in order to have it reactivated if it suddenly stops working. They can reactivate a phone in another zip code, but it requires changing your phone number. I’ve only had this happen to me once in a year, but it was horribly inconvenient, as I waited on hold for 40 minutes at work only to find out I couldn’t get my phone reactivated. Since I now live outside of my activation zip code, I had to stop at my parent’s house, which is in the correct zip code, wait on hold for another 40 minutes and finally get my phone fixed.
The other difference between Straight Talk and the big name wireless providers are the phones themselves. Straight Talk doesn’t offer the newest phones, so if you always have to be on the cutting edge, Straight Talk won’t meet your technology needs. The other issue with Straight Talk phones are that you pay more for them than you do for the phone you get when you renew your contract with AT&T or Verizon. The benefit is that with Straight Talk you aren’t locked into a contract and you can get a new phone whenever you feel like it.
Therefore, I can only recommend Straight Talk to specific groups of people. If you are someone who travels a lot or who currently attends college far from home, you may not want to use Straight Talk. A problem with your phone requiring reactivation would result in you either having to go without your phone until you can get back to your activation zip code or change your phone number. However, if you are someone who lives and works in the same zip code, I would completely recommend Straight Talk for your wireless needs.