For a while now I have been analyzing my budget and thinking of ways to save money on my biggest monthly expenses. Going line by line in a budget can be eye-opening as well as disheartening, as there are usually items that you pay too much for – but truly feel you can’t live without. My wireless bill is one of those items.
I no longer have a home phone, because I cancelled this service about 7 years ago when I went ‘wireless’ only, so my only means of phone communication is through my cell phone – thus I feel like a cell phone is a must have.
Using my phone for texting has also become a must have, as I now communicate with my family and friends through texts more so than even a phone call… But now for my confession, I also have to have internet as I am an iPhone junky. Yes, I could give this up – but it has become a multi-tasking powerhouse for me that I use for a lot more than checking Facebook or my favorite stock.
I’ve had a number of different wireless plans over the last 15 years and have used every major carrier from Sprint, to T-Mobile, to Verizon, to AT&T. All four of these carriers are unique in their own way, but none of them really offer a low cost option for the smart phone user. You are almost always paying close to $100 (or much more) if you desire a smart phone that contains wireless, texting, and internet. As a frugal person, I felt pretty much ‘hosed’ in this area, because I wanted to be current in the wireless world – yet not pay the price.
But finally after 15 years, I believe my search is over with Straight Talk wireless. I have recently switched over to them and have been more than happy with my experience. Let me explain…
Why Straight Talk
My search started about 2 months ago when my wireless contract was ending. I was already using an iPhone 4 with minutes, texting, and internet and my bill was coming in over $100 a month – and as you know already I was annoyed by this expense.
Now that my contract was ending, I searched the major carriers, but none of them offered any significant cost savings from my current carrier. In short, they were all expensive in my mind. That was until I found Straight Talk Wireless. (I’m sure glad I did)
The first benefit to Straight Talk is that there are no contracts whatsoever. You are billed on a 30 day basis and can cancel at any time. This was very appealing to me for two reasons. First, there was no risk in trying them out. If after 30 days I was displeased with my wireless service, I could cancel… simple as that.
The second benefit of having no contracts is that if 6 months from now I needed to get out of the contract for some ‘unknown’ reason I didn’t have to pay a billion dollar wireless company $250 to cancel. This was a huge benefit for me, because I’ve been through this in the past when one of the major carriers burned me with a $700 bill by changing the structure of my ‘mobile to mobile’ plan. (but this is a blog post for another day)
Anyhow, I think you get my point that I hate contracts and not having one was a huge benefit to my psyche.
As I looked a little further, I found the biggest benefit to Straight Talk wireless and probably the reason they are growing at ‘Ferrari’ speeds.
They are cheap, I mean really cheap. My monthly wireless bill was essentially cut by 60% by switching over to them, from $105 a month to $45 a month – a $60 a month savings and I still receive all the benefits of minutes, texting, and the internet on my iPhone.
It is an awesome feeling to bank an additional $720 a year with absolutely no difference in my comfort and service – but surprisingly Straight Talk wireless provides this benefit.
You’re probably thinking that this is all well and good, but not much benefit if the features are sub-par I was thinking the same when I first investigated Straight Talk, but I quickly learned that this is not the case. $45 a month provides me ‘unlimited’ nationwide minutes that runs on the same network as AT&T wireless. It also provides me ‘unlimited’ texting which has worked amazingly well so far. In addition to this, it has also given me ‘unlimited’ data. All three features I was searching for in a plan.
Now, there is a lot of debate across the internet on what ‘unlimited’ data actually means with Straight Talk. Some people report the loss of some data services, but I have not experienced this at all. My speeds are limited to approximately 7mb, but since I usually run on Wi-Fi – I haven’t noticed any real issues with using Straight Talk’s data plan when I have to jump on the internet and don’t have a Wi-Fi connection.
(However, I’m very interested to hear from other users to get their experiences. Please comment below if you’ve found the data plan to be sub-par)
One of my big concerns with switching to Straight Talk was the reception on my cell phone. I was concerned that there would be dropped calls, or just plain crappie reception when driving through town or on my couch at the house.
I figured there was no way to test this out without signing up and trying it. In my mind, it was a risk I was willing to take. If after 30 days, I found that I disliked the reception – then I could always go sign up with another carrier and chalk it off as a something I tried, but didn’t work.
Thankfully, my wireless reception is just fine. Straight Talk runs on the AT&T network, so from what it appears so far, my reception works the same as an AT&T cell phone. This does appear to be the case, because my reception has worked extremely well since I switched over. Straight Talk works in my house and town, but I’m guessing every location will be different and this is one area I cannot guarantee will turn out the same for you. (Please check your own wireless availability before switching over.)
My Plan going forward
So my one month trial is now almost over and I am planning on signing up for another 30 days of straight talk. Frankly, I’ve signed up for the automatic 30 day refill which will keep me on the Straight Talk plan until I decide to cancel, which at this point it looks like I will be with Straight Talk for some time.
In my opinion, you can’t beat the price of Straight Talk Wireless. I can run my iPhone 4 with unlimited calling, texts, and data with no problem whatsoever. The reception is great, and I’m a happy camper. For me, It’s a no-brainer – Straight Talk is King.
Ask the Readers… Have you tried Straight Talk wireless? If so, how is your experience been? If not, why not?