posted: Nov. 25, 2012 @ 3:46a
I got this from Clark Howard and it really does work for those that have an ATT iPhone that is out of contract. Straight Talk now officially supports the iPhone effective about 2 months ago.
Straight Talk has a lot of phones and a number of plans, but I created this post for the iPhone users that want to reduce their monthly phone bill. iPhone monthly bills are usually more expensive than most other cell phone plans offered.
I would appreciate it if we could keep this thread on topic specifically regarding the iPhone for those of us that are technically challenged. There are a lot of iPhone users that have no idea how to make this happen and it will save them a lot of money. This only works for AT&T iPhones.
My monthly AT&T iPhone Bill was running about $120 a month until October. Now it's $45 a month for unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited data. (No you can not abuse the unlimited data because they will cut you off)
I've also switched over my wife's iPhone and my brothers iPhone. We all have the iPhone 4 but this will also work on the 4s and the 5 when it is out of contract. AT&T will unlock your out of contract iPhone at no charge for some reason, but your phone does not have to be unlocked to use the phone part. It will need to be unlocked to use the internet and the picture in text feature.
It takes about a week to make all of this happen so that all of the features work. Your phone number stays the same, all of your contacts, pictures, internet, apps and everything else works the same except for the voice to text feature.
Here is what you need to do to make this happen:
1. Order a StraightTalk micro sim card here:
You should pick the AT&T Compatible Phone option and enter your zip code. The sim card is $9.99 and they give you free shipping. The PIA is that you have to sign for the $9.99 sim card when the FedEx man shows up. They will not leave the package without a signature. The sim card is not available in stores. Don't waste your time looking for it. While you are waiting for your StraightTalk sim card, you will need to pick up a $45 StraightTalk refill card at Wal-Mart. Buy the first one at Wal-Mart. Make sure you get the $45 card. The $30 card will not work and you don't need the $60 international card at this time. There are some other options for future purchases.
2. The sim card will come in a couple of days and there will be some instructions on how to activate it. YOU DO NOT INSERT IT IN YOUR PHONE until SEVERAL HOURS after you have activated it. If you insert the sim card too early you will blow it and you will have to wait for the FedEx guy to show up with another one. When you activate the sim you will enter the information to PORT your number from AT&T to StraightTalk. You will also enter the refill info from the $45 card you picked up at Wal-Mart.
3. After several hours your iPhone will stop working on the AT&T system. After the phone stops working on AT&T, then you can remove the AT&T sim card and insert the Straight Talk sim card. At that point your phone will work with your old number and it will be using the Straight Talk network which also happens to be the AT&T network. The little AT&T icon at the top left hand corner of your screen will now say HOME. That will let you know you are on the Straight Talk network. Although your phone will work, your internet and picture texting will not work yet. However you can connect to the internet though wifi until you get the next part done.
4. You need to then call AT&T and have your iPhone unlocked. It can take a few days for the unlock to be completed. They will do this for you and after they unlock the phone you will do a backup and restore though your iTunes account.
5. You will then need to call Straight Talk technical support to get them to walk you through the procedure for getting the internet to work. Plan on spending about 45 minutes on this.
6. There are some hidden settings in the iPhone that can not be accessed with the AT&T or Straight Talk sim card. You are going to need to access those settings in order to get everything to work perfectly as far as the pictures to text goes. In order to do this you will need a T-Mobile micro sim card. It can be an expired T-Mobile sim card. You only need the sim card to access the hidden settings in your iPhone. You do not need to sign up for their service. When that sim card is inserted at a specific point some options come up that allow you to make the changes needed. You can pick up a T-Mobile sim card for under $4. There are some posts on FW that have these and you can find them on Amazon as well. I will put the procedure for accessing these hidden setting in another post because I don't want to confuse everyone with the technical stuff. You can also google "StraightTalk to iphone" to find the instructions as well.
The bottom line is that I have reduced my iphone bill from $120 a month to $45 a month. My wife's went from $92 a month to $45 a month. My brother's went from $130 a month to $45 a month. That is real money you are saving here every day and every month. There are also some StraightTalk refill cards on eBay for less than $45. I purchased two of them for $36.99 and they work perfectly. So if you can find one of these deals, you pay even less than $45 a month. If you buy the refill card on the StraightTalk site they charge some extra government type fees that you don't have to pay if you purchase the refill card on eBay or at Wal-Mart. There are also some longer term refill cards available at a slight discount.
The phone works the same with the same reception and same features. The only difference that I can find is that I have to dial in a code to hear my voice mail. Other than that no difference other than being a whole lot less money.
Keep in mind that with StraightTalk you are paying 30 days in advance. You must refill or renew every 30 days. You can do it with the refill cards or with a credit card on file. There are no late payment fees. There are no re-connection fees. You will pay a few dollars extra if you pay with a credit card on file. You will pay the least amount by finding the refill cards on eBay at a discount. This only works on AT&T iphones. It does not work on the others.