We've been hearing for the past few days that users have been unable to get new AT&T-compatible SIM cards from Straight Talk and Net10 websites. The only option seems to be the T-Mobile SIM. This was causing quite a bit of consternation as the Nexus 4 is finally starting to ship again. The complete absence of AT&T SIMs from both sites led many to wonder if AT&T service was no longer being sold by these Tracfon-owned entities. Well, we've investigated and there appears to be no cause for alarm.
Straight Talk and Net10 are mobile virtual network operators (MVNO). That means that neither company runs its own towers – they just buy access from the big carriers. In this case, the two main GSM carriers in the US, T-Mobile and AT&T. Most of the time you can order an AT&T or T-Mobile network SIM when you sign up for the MVNO's prepaid service. The issue is occurring on both sites because both are owned and operated by Tracfone.
What we have here seems to be a combination of high demand and poor website design. We have confirmed the AT&T cards are simply sold out in the online stores, so the sites don't offer AT&T as a signup option at all. Yes, this is a little misleading. However, you can still buy the Straight Talk and Net10 SIMs from various other retailers like Walmart and Amazon. This is definitely an inconvenience if you were planning on getting a Nexus 4 in the mail this week, but things will be fine after the supply gets sorted out.