Update, added FAQ. Can you finally get the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on a cheap prepaid plan without having to hack your phone? Straight Talk, a prepaid MVNO that is a joint venture between Tracfone and Wal-mart, is now offering the ability to buy Straight Talk SIM cards that you can pop into any AT&T-compatible, T-Mobile-compatible, or unlocked GSM phone. They even offer a micro SIM card that is compatible with Apple iPhone 4 and 4S, for a one-time cost of only $14.99 with free ground shipping currently:
The plan is cheap too. For $45 a month you get unlimited minutes, unlimited text, and unlimited data with no contracts and no credit checks. So you can bring over any AT&T iPhone 4 that is no longer in a contract (it does NOT need to be unlocked or jailbroken!), and you’ll still be using the AT&T or T-Mobile network with 3G and even 4G (HSPA+) data speeds. You’ll need the $45 a month plan card to activate the SIM, as that is the only plan that works with the SIM card. The data plan is not truly “unlimited” if you are an especially heavy data user, but a reported soft limit of 2 gigabytes per month should be enough for casual users.
To recap (thanks to reader Ivan):
- Go to straighttalksim.com.
- Buy a SIM card (micro for iPhone 4 and 4S, regular for 3G and 3GS) for $14.99. You will also need a $45 unlimited plan card to activate your SIM, which will include your first month of service.
- Activate new sim card by calling in and getting a new number or porting old number (have your old phone company info ready)
- Install SIM on iPhone and wait for activation process to complete by giving it maybe an hour to a couple hours.
You can find cheap off-contract iPhones at Cowboom.com, such as the iPhone 4 AT&T for under $300 (also in white version) that is compatible with this plan. Also, after activating and making sure you like the $45 a month plan, you can buy a 3-months-at-once Unlimited card for $126 at Walmart, shaving another $3 off per month from the regular price.
Frequently Asked Questions
After reading the 250+ comments below, here are some common questions and answers:
Can I use an iPhone 3G or 3GS on Straight Talk?
Yes. Follow the directions above and buy the regular sized SIM card.
Can I use my Verizon or Sprint iPhone on Straight Talk?
No. Although new iPhones are dual-band and thus are technically capable of GSM and CDMA, Verizon and Sprint phones are CDMA phones in the US and are permanently locked so that you can’t use them on US GSM networks including Straight Talk. The only phones that work on Straight Talk are former AT&T iPhones (doesn’t have to be unlocked), unlocked GSM iPhones from other carriers, and also the fully factory-unlocked GSM phone bought directly from Apple.
I bought and activated the SIM. How do I get the internet and text messaging to work on Straight Talk?
If you are having issues, you will need to change your phone’s APN settings to Straight Talk settings. On an iPhone, visit the website “http://unlockit.co.nz” on your phone’s web browser (not computer!) when connected to WiFi. This will allow you to change your APN settings easily. Click “Create APN” and choose the “Straight Talk” option. You don’t need to jailbreak your phone if you are happy with having data and text messaging.
How do I activate MMS on Straight Talk?
If you want to enable MMS (multimedia messaging services) which just adds video and picture messaging, it’s a little more complicated but you have a few options. First, you can “jailbreak” your phone. This is not illegal but it will void your Apple warranty (possibly expired anyway). The details on this are constantly changing, so search on Google for the current options. An “untethered jailbreak” is preferable. Alternatively, you can manually edit your phone’s plist settings using directions provided here and here.