The Walmart based Straight Talk prepaid cellular provider offers what would seem to be too good to be true. After three years of use, I can honestly say their service is second to none, but certainly is not for everyone.
This is where straight talk surprised me, and why I still use the provider. Their coverage map is very accurate, and actually exceeds expectations with most phones. (More on phones later)
Instead of relying on company provided stats, I will give you examples of real world comparisons. During the time I have used straight talk, I have also had a business line with AT&T and T-Mobile. My wife still uses Metro PCS.
Straight Talk far exceeds the reception of any other carrier I have used. For example, I often have to travel through the North Georgia mountains. When I had separate business lines, I was constantly forced to use my Straight Talk personal line because the other providers had no signal. This applied to data as well. I found my Straight Talk had 3G when others barely had service.
Metro PCS does not even compare, although they never claim to. They have limited areas, and any family trip usually leaves my wife’s phone with severely limited capabilities.
The relatively small selection of phones is a major draw back for Straight Talk. The line up consists of mainly older model phones. They recently added an Android phone, but it runs Android 2.2. This means newer apps may not run at all.
I would also express caution to those who suffer from phone envy. If your phone is somewhat a status symbol for you, then you will want to avoid Straight Talk. Their phones are outdated and can be easily spotted as a prepaid.
Despite relatively high phone prices, Straight Talk users will find it pays for itself when using the $45 per month unlimited plan. Since I use my phone for both business and personal, I tear through talk minutes, texts, and more data than most contract providers allow. This means the initial investment in the phone paid for itself in three months easily.
AT&T GoPhone (Straight Talk’s closest competition in coverage area) is only $5 more per month, unless you use a smartphone. You might miss in the fine print that smartphones require a separate data package making it much more expensive.
Straight Talk provides excellent service and coverage area for an affordable rate. I highly recommend it to anyone who has heavy phone use but a light budget.