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Friday, August 10, 2012

My first month with Straight Talk

My first full month with Straight Talk.

I started Straight talk on July 12th. I can't believe how fast one month has past and I look forward to using this service more. I am using the T-Mobile network sim, but Straight Talk also offers use of the AT&T network if T-Mobile coverage is not as good in your area.

For those that have not read yet, here is a link to my post about straight talk and their service.

Read more after the break.

The first things I noticed

After cutting my ties with Verizon, whom I was a loyal customer for almost 8 years, I have come to a moment of clarity. WHY HAVE I WAITED THIS LONG!

That answer is simple. I was not aware of my options. I, like other consumers, thought the only way I could have good cellular service was to get a phone subsidized with a 2 year contract. This was actually a case for the longest time. Back in the days of Nokia and Motorola Razrs, the major companies dictated what could go where. Prepaid was pretty much limited to tracphone which I always thought was for seniors who barely used their phones for more than emergencies.

I also have enjoyed being free from minute allotments and the overages that would follow if I went over. Goodbye 40 to 45 cents per minute overages. Ridiculous! No more worrying about what time I call somebody or how long a conversation goes on because I only have 450 anytime minutes to use. Quite a freeing experience.

Was there down time or dropped calls?

I had 2 dropped calls in 20 minutes, but I was in a 1 bar service area, so I consider that forgivable. Out of over 200 individual calls this came to about 1% of calls were dropped. Not bad in my book (about what happened on Verizon). I used about 700 minutes over the month and every call was clear and connected quickly.

I had no network connection problems either. I would say 90% of the time, traveling around from North East Pennsylvania to as far south as Richmond Virginia, I had good HSPA+ connections with great speeds. In between that I had EDGE speeds (which are super slow) but I found I didn't really need the fast data then and had access to Wifi if I looked for it.

My data usage

So for the first full month I used about 1.2 GB of data. Not too bad considering the supposed 2 GB data cap for the month. I read somewhere that if you exceed even 100mb in a single day, they will warn you and/or slow down your data. This did not happen to me even on the one day where I used 200mb in about 30 minutes. My heaviest app used was Speedtest, since I have been trying to sample the actual network speeds as I go around. This accounted for the largest chunk of data used over the month. I feel that when I stop using it my overall data usage will go down.

To keep data usages low, I made sure that all auto uploads and updates are only done on a Wifi connection, which proves to be the smarter way to do things. I don't need my photos to be instantly uploaded when I take them. If I want to share a picture I simple snap it and share it immediately. I will worry about sharing the rest of my pictures and videos after I have thoroughly enjoyed whatever I am doing.

Minor Annoyances

This really was not a huge problem for me, but it may be for some users. I received about 6 SMS from Straight Talk promoting their different services (Reserve, which allows you to buy time and place into holding until the end of your cycle and have it ready when service ends, their auto replenish service that will charge a debit/credit card of your choice at the end of your month, and their multi-month plans that cost less per month overall).

These SMS ended up being about 0.3% of my received messages and are not really a bother. I did not feel like I was inundated with Straight Talk trying to tell/sell me stuff. The good side being that it was not advertising for other products from another company....which would actually tick me off.

On the off chance that Straight Talk is reading this. Please use the word "your" not the the letters ur  when sending me text messages. It just makes you look incoherent.  2 more letters wouldn't be that difficult to add.

Would I recommend this?

Most certainly. My sister has been on the service for 2 months. She loves it. I have used it now for 1 month and it is easily growing on me.

For those that want to save a significant amount of money each month on cell service, and get good coverage/service, I will tell you to at least give it a try. With the ability to bring your own phone and not be subject to a 2 year contract/upgrade schedule is one of the biggest benefits of going prepaid (specifically the GSM prepaid carriers).

Keep reading for more information on other carriers as I research them. If you have any questions about my experiences, please do not hesitate to contact me or comment.

Thanks for being awesome supporters!



  1. Great update - totally appreciated. I'm considering a Google Nexus phone and the straight talk service. Do you use Google Voice by any chance?

  2. Hi gmoore,

    I have messeda round with Google Voice, but I have not used heavily. It does work well :)

    Nexus and Straight talk is pretty darn awesome. Keep watching for future updates and I will be posting one soon about a new discount straight talk is offering.