Pre-paid smartphone users were in an uproar a few months ago when Straight Talk stopped selling AT&T SIM cards to new customers. At the time, all we were able to ascertain was that the cards were sold out online, but a few retailers like Walmart still had some in stock. Well, they're back – in a limited sort of way.

2013-08-07 21_17_02-Choose Your SIM card

When you go through the sign up process, the website will only show you T-Mobile or AT&T cards for a given ZIP code. Straight Talk seems to prefer T-Mobile in many areas where both are available, though. For example, in my ZIP code AT&T and T-Mobile both have good coverage, but I only see T-Mobile SIMs after inputting the ZIP. Check 95616 for Davis, CA, and it's only AT&T. This probably has something to do with a higher cost for Straight Talk to use the AT&T network compared to T-Mobile (at least in some markets).

If you want to skip the ZIP code game, this link should take you right to the AT&T mini and micro SIM cards. It looks like anyone can order them, but make sure you have AT&T service in your area. It seems like Straight Talk is just trying to limit the number of AT&T SIMs it sells for the time being.

[StraightTalk Facebook]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Matthew Merrick

    wait, TRULY unlimited AT&T data? o_O

    this seems too good to be true

    • Ryuuie

      It's not unlimited.

      They throttle your connection after 2.5GB of data is reached.

      • Justin W

        That number isn't made clear though - I've been throttled after 1GB of data over the course of 24 hours (streaming music and tethering), while only using a total of 2GB that month. It happens seemingly randomly, and they don't clearly define it.

        • Ryuuie

          It depends on where you live and how much data is being used by your area. For some people it's 1GB, for others (such as a writer for Android Central, Jerry, I think), it's 5GB/mo.

          For me, it's about 2 - 2.5GB.

          • ladypoet nfaith

            Ryuuie I think your right. why else would they require your zip code upon signing up. They claim its to see if the service is compatible... you can determine that from the type of phone IMEI and the previous carrier I am switching from! Yeah, your dead on with that statement. They determine how they want to curb your data based on where you live. It is still not fair that some people get to utilize more data than others. After all we are all paying into their network and should be given the same air time privileges.

        • DirkBelig

          Jerry Hildenbrand at AC said he uses 4-6GB a month without a problem. I think Straight Talk's criteria is that as long as you're not being an entitled jerk about your usage, they won't choke your flow. I wouldn't blame them if they thought guzzling a gig of data in a day while tethering and streaming (which they specifically prohibit on their TOS) is a little excessive.

          • Brandon Jiang

            see I think this is the problem, jerry h says he uses 4-6 gb which is pretty damn good. then you got people using 1 gb or less and getting cut off, 2 gb and getting cut off, etc.
            they should just have an exact number so people can manage accordingly. I know how to manage my data, but only when I know what the threshhold is.

            ST is a very enticing carrier, but until they clear this up.....

      • Brandon Jiang

        i wish this were true. but they are sooo shady. no video streaming, no audio streaming, if they find you using "excessive data" they will cut you off without warning. this can vary greatly from a couple hundred mb to a few gigs.
        Justin ninja'd me lol. but he said it well

        • Ryuuie

          It's in their TOS that you're not allowed to stream video or audio. It's also in the TOS of pretty much every MVNO that's not run by or connected to T-Mobile or Sprint. It looks like AT&T's AIO Wireless allows streaming though.

          But, as I said before, it all depends on your area and your area's usage.

          • Brandon Jiang

            I hear the t-mobile side of ST is more lenient... but idk. and yeah it's in their TOS but what they should do is set an exact limit to throttle or cut off (like virgin mobile, 2.5 throttle, 4gb cut off). and just let people do whatever they want with those gb. it doesn't matter HOW you use their data, it matters HOW MUCH you use. which is why this policy never makes sense to me

          • ladypoet nfaith

            gotcha! It would make marketable sense to let the users know what the cut-off limit is. I guess if they did that, there would be hardly any customers buying their service. They are marketing the price coupled with the supposedly unlimited service which includes internet. That's an eye opener for anyone that is used to paying 50-100 bucks per month for one line of service.

          • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

            I'm guessing AIO gets special treatment since it's a subsidiary of AT&T.

          • ladypoet nfaith

            hmmmm... can I use AIO with a tmobile device? I was leaning towards the new pre-pay AIO. I do look at videos from time to time and download music to save to my device's MP3

          • http://nopenopenope.nope Ryuuie

            Only if that T-Mobile device supports AT&T bands.

        • DirkBelig

          I use TuneIn Radio to listen to talk radio shows streaming without a problem. Then again, in 10 days of this cycle I've used a whopping 60MB on that. I've streamed a couple hundred megs of Play All Access by accident and didn't get cut off. As I replied to Justin, I suspect the people who are complaining about getting throttled/cut off were abusing the service. Yeah, it says "unlimited" but that doesn't mean you get to tether your house onto your phone and torrent Blu-ray rips.

          • Joseph Bekedam

            I normally use around 1.7GB a month,with roughly 70% of that from Google's All Access. I've never been throttled, even the one month I used 5GB. As long as you don't download 1GB in a day or seed linux ISOs all month you should be fine.

          • ladypoet nfaith

            I am thinking about trying them out and seeing what all the rave is about. However, I am wondering if I can switch back to my prior service provider if i do not like the service (keep in mind service also includes customer service, data, internet and feedback from rep's).

          • Brandon Jiang

            I don't even use ST. there are just so many horror stories it's kept me away.
            the least they could do is set a certain number. I'd much rather prefer they say, "1 gb and we cut you off" than "you can probably use 2 gb, but I'm not so sure about that"

          • ladypoet nfaith

            Brandon, I would probably just keep a look out after I reach 1GB. To most ppl their technology devices are their lifelines and if this is the case, they may want to sign up with a reputable service like att or tmobile

          • ladypoet nfaith

            True, dirkbelig. I guess it is a service to be used in moderation. Either that or use the government specialty phone with no internet access. LOL

    • Brandon Jiang

      straight talk has never been truly unlimited. if you google "straight talk data" there are a ton of posts online about how ST is being shady

  • Josh

    Thanks for the heads up.

  • Carl Williams

    I am confused on the business model they use. I have a T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 521 for instance. Am I limited to the T-Mobile sim card through Straight Talk or can I buy an AT&T one and enjoy the much better coverage they offer?

    • Ryuuie

      You can use both if your phone supports the AT&T bands and AT&T works in your area.

      • JJCommonSense

        and if your t-mobile phone is unlocked.

        • Carl Williams

          I talked with a rep at T-Mobile, they will give you the unlock code after 90 days of service (or you can pay $50 to a third party and get it). I have two more weeks before my 90 days is up so I will be switching soon.

          My phone, the Lumia 521, shows AT&T and T-Mobile towers as available to me. 2 AT&T and one T-Mobile. I will let everyone know about my experience when I can switch around carriers.

          • JJCommonSense

            Cool.. actually u know what? I found out that u can unlock your own galaxy s4 yourself.. without paying anybody... I did it myself yesterday on my tmobile gs4 and popped in an at&t card... the card didnt get rejected but it wasnt activated.. I have to try with an activated card to see what happens.. but it was fairly simple

  • Bob G

    Davis represent! What! What! lol

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Fun fact: David few up in Davis.

      Another fun fact: I am a UC Davis grad.

  • turdbogls

    question for ST users about data speeds.
    with a T-mobile sim do you get H+ speeds?
    same with ATT, do they have H+ or just H or is it only 3G.

    • Scott

      H+ speeds on ATT and Tmobile.

      • Darrien Glasser

        Keep in mind however, that the H+ for the two networks is not one and the same.

        With a T-Mobile SIM, you get HSPA+ 42, whereas in most places, you only get HSPA+ 14.4 on AT&T with the occasional HSPA+ 21.

        • turdbogls

          excellent....thanks guys. I am in the orlando area and i believe H+21 and 42 are here. this is good stuff.

  • theiowakid

    ST is the shadiest MVNO out there. They are under a class action law suit as we speak. Take it from me, save the time and avoid them. My father got throttled and he only used 80mb in 17 days! Try explaining that to a 67 year old man who doesn't even know what streaming is or how to do it. Let alone tethering. Evil, evil company.

    • Scott

      I find that hard to believe.

      • theiowakid

        Well its a good thing I didn't come here for your sake then, Scott. You clearly haven't done much research about this sh*tty company. People claim to have used 20+ GB while others get throttled for nothing. This is one of the main reasons theres a lawsuit. Here is an article that explains some of the class action that's not behind a pay wall on a legal site. http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/07/29/59757.htm

        • Rob

          Been using ST for well over 6 months and haven't had a single issue. Data usage 5 to 15 gigs a month.

          • theiowakid

            On at ST At&t SIM, I highly doubt that. In fact I would say you are lying unless you are trickling that in on throttled service and not full HSPA+. ST T-Mo SIM, yes.

    • jet sfc

      Definentley,im an associate at Wal-Mart in entertainment and I personaly know that it is very possible,after listening to a straight talk rep telling me that they cut off a customers data for excessive use from the 45 unlimited plan!! they told me that theyre going to have to change there advertisement to "near-unlimited"áfter getting angry and talking to múltiple supervisors, the last supervisor hung up on me!! I sell pre paid phones daily and since then ive been informing customers about my experience!!Straight talk is dishonest and is exclusivley through Wal-Mart and I would never recommend them,not even to my worst enemy!!!

      • william harrison

        There data plan for 45 dollars last upto 2GB then they throttle.

        • db

          Yup, Been with them since February. I have a Galaxy Note 2 that uses WiFi first then switches to data if it can't find a WiFi connection. Under this method, I have NEVER exceeded 700MB, until this month when I turned off WiFi for testing a music web app at work. I was throttled back after 4GB's so I flipped the wifi back on and now no problems. ST is an excellent service and I have both my kids on it now without issues. With WiFi active, you will rarely hit 500MB's and that is running iHeart Radio every day, using GPS Navigator app everyday and watching Netflix from time to time. When the net goes down here at work, I tether the GN2 to my laptop and BAM! I'm still working without issue at 4G speeds without missing a beat while everyone else is down. (We have a tower on the roof of my building). I work in St. Paul MN but live in B'ville where I get consistent 3G Speeds. Love ST. I had to cut down the TMobile sim to fit the AT&T slot, but that was easy with a pair of scissors. Am going to order the AT&T sim linked above to see if there is any performance difference in speed. iPhones work great too. My daughter is using a 4s. Consistent 3G speeds everywhere. iphone also prioritizes Wifi over data.


        SEND YOUR CUSTOMERS MYY WAY 501 316 8133

  • Rob

    For T-Mobile customers just go get a $30 prepaid T-Mobile Walmart card. You get 100 minutes (which may not be enough), unlimited text and up to 5GB of 4G data. You can't get this plan via t-mobile.com.

  • DocW

    After the comments on here I thought I would give me input. I haven't been throttled on ST but I've also never went over 3GB in one month. I'm usually around 2. I get 4G data. Regarding them being evil and etc. - I've been with ST for about a year and I'm happy thus far. I was paying much more for our family plan on Sprint and I constantly had problems, especially with billing. A little research about every company will tell you that many people aren't happy whereas some are. It's always a risk and some people have good experiences and some have terrible. I personally like ST and when the cards weren't being sold many of my friends and family that were on other plans wanted to buy them and were jealous of my setup, being able to use my Galaxy ATT phone with 45 dollar plan with 4G connection. Even after explaining a possible cap around 2.5GB of data they didn't care one bit and still wanted the sim. Good luck no matter who you choose.

  • #MEATLOAF 2.0

    They're not "shady." You're just idiots. There is No TRUE unlimited plan with ANY carrier. Trust me, I've been booted by several. I've been with S/T for over 6 months and havent had ANY problems. $48 bucks after taxes is >>>> than $100+++ even if there is a little throttling. The people complaining are probably pissed that they're STUCK with their 2 year plans with no hope of escape. I've had AT&T in the past and there is ZERO difference that I've seen. Stop being fanboys to corporate American companies. THEY DONT CARE ABOUT YOU, WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT THEM?

  • ToxicRainbow

    Ok, well I'm completely confused. Is ST good or not? I have an iPhone 4 && it's AT&T prepaid right now. Don't really like that I have to pay 60-70 dollars just to get 2 gigs of data. I was thinking of switching to ST cause its 45 with unlimited data, but now I'm seeing that you only get 1-2 gigs. But some are saying 4-5. You can't listen to music or something like that. It's very aggravating. I just want a prepaid plan where I ACTUALLY 100% get everything unlimited (like they advertise). But now I'm seeing that's pretty impossible at this point...

    • Jimmy Sledge

      I had Straight Talk 45/unlimited plan for about a year and never saw a issue with it. I am not a giant data user however. (1.5 Gigs a month typically) A couple of things happened, not related to ST service, and I switched to TMobile. I am now about to switch back to a ATT sim with ST. TMobiles network is simply not expansive enough for me since I use my phone for work and I get dropped calls in TMobiles "satisfactory" coverage areas.

      For me the ATT/ST union fills my needs more than TMobile. This of course is my observation and others will disagree.

    • ladypoet nfaith

      Toxic, i am following in your footsteps. It seems as if nothing is as advertised. I guess you cannot get everything in one plan and expect to access it the way it should be. Old saying, "you get what you pay for" probably should be kept in mind when shopping for phone service.

  • Donald Hurst

    Can I turn my AT&T LG escape into straight talk?