I cut my cell phone bill in half, got twice or three times the functionality from my phone, and I have to say, Wal-Mart’s Straight Talk is legit, and yes, I do feel richer.


When I first saw FLW Tour Team Straight Talk’s Scott Canterbury and JT Kenney’s boats and trucks, I was curious about what this ‘Straight Talk’ is and wanted details about what Wal-Mart was doing in the telecom game.   So after some months of research and procrastination, and just letting a ‘new’ technology get some time on the market, I recently made the switch from AT&T to Wal-Mart’s Straight Talk.   Let me just summarize this briefly and say, go ahead and make the switch.  Wal-Mart’s Straight Talk is a solid and legit cell phone and plan, and I get a kick out of their ‘feeling richer’ slogan, because I went from paying $90/month for a basic phone and text plan thru AT&T to now paying $45/month for an unlimited phone, data, text plan AND now I’m running an Android powered smart phone, so I have access to 1000s of apps and downloadable tools, and my phone quite simply provides me an excellent mobile web browsing experience.


The LG Optimus Zip Phone I bought as part of my switch has a full QWERTY keyboard slide-out, which means I can type super fast and be efficient. Notice how well southernswimbait.com displays onscreen. Among other things, I can run an app that allows me to manage my website/blog via the phone, which is just fabulous.   Facebook, Youtube, Gmail, Google, and GPS/Mapping, what else do you need?


Getting Started:

I paid $175 for my LG Optimus Zip Phone, and an additional $45 for the first month of the unlimited phone/data/text plan.  So, the cost of entry to the Straight Talk phone for me, was approx $220.   Understand, that depending on what phone you have, you can just purchase a Straight Talk SIM Card, and turn your existing phone into a Straight Talk phone, you are just switching your service providers.    Once you purchase the Straight Talk Phone and Unlimited Plan, the setup was very easy and straight forward.  You create an online account, provide account information from your previous service provider (my AT&T account info, PIN, etc was required to insure I had control of my phone number to make the switch).    Once I filled out the required information, which is very clearly and simply documented in the box that came with the phone, and also online at straighttalk.com, the phone was activated, and I haven’t looked back since.   I was able to create an auto-draft from my bank account for $45/month and now I just enjoy having a smart phone with unlimited everything, like it should be.

The Skinny:

Unless you really need an iPhone or require 4G bandwidth for your phone, you probably will like Straight Talk just fine.  Straight Talk is a 3G network (but of course, will progress like everything else, just understand it’s a slightly slower network that what is available at a premium from other providers).   Straight Talk phones are running older versions of the Android Operating System.  For example, my phone is running Android v2.3 out of the box, while the current version of Android is 4.X.    The system resource (ie, processor, memory, CPU, etc) are not as strong and robust as the premium phones out there in the world, but then again, I haven’t found anything my 3G Network based LG Optimus Zip cannot handle.   The websites I visit, like Facebook, YouTube, FLW Outdoors, Google, Gmail,  etc all come up quickly and there is no issue with performance in my web browsing experience.    With Straight Talk you are basically either using a phone that is using AT&T’s network or the Verizon Network, so you are piggy backing off the big carriers, you just aren’t paying the premiums for usage that you would be.   My phone has had one or two bars better coverage everywhere I’ve taken it the last month.  The reception, service, and performance are great.



Don’t let someone tell you the Straight Talk Service Plan is half baked and the phone doesn’t roam or otherwise have good reception.  Hogwash created by the other big telecoms to slow the impending exodus of customers from their over inflated service plans.  Notice how Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are all scrambling to come up with their answer to Straight Talk.  It’s hard for them to justify 2-3X monthly costs for service that is far from 2-3 X as good.   The one real drawback to Straight Talk is customer service.  What happens when your phone has a problem or issue?  With Straight Talk you don’t have a nice store with 10 sales reps ready help, sell you a new one or warranty your old one.  Now, you can purchase insurance on your Wal Mart Straight Talk phone, just being real here, you probably aren’t going to receive the same customer service from “Steve” in the electronics department of Wal-Mart as you will in a Verizon or AT&T store.   Not an issue to me.  If my phone gets dropped in the lake, off to Wal-Mart to buy a replacement and have my number switched to the new phone.  You pretty much have to have the mindset you just buy a new phone (however, you can purchase insurance thru Wal Mart, just like any other cell phone insurance plan provided by the major carriers) or use web or call in based customer service for help.    You can walk into any Wal-Mart for help, but of course, it’s not the same as walking into a Straight Talk store where every person there is expected to be a resident Straight Talk expert sort of thing.


Go ahead, make the switch to Wal-Mart Straight Talk.  Choose a ‘smart phone’ from LG, Samsung, or the like.  The Smart Phones are going to cost >$100 generally, but without a smart phone, you aren’t going to do much with the unlimited data you get as part of the Wal Mart Straight Talk Service plan.   Dumb phones make web browsing a chore, so if you plan on getting online and making the most of your browsing experience and capabilities, buy the more expensive phone and maximize your ability to use the data plan.   Or if you are a person who just needs a phone and text device, you can do that too, and likely cut your cell phone bill in half too.  I went from $90/month to $45/month and now have 3X the functionality with my phone, and I’m just stoked about it.   I give the FLW Tour Straight Talk Team’s JT Kenney and Scott Canterbury credit for making me aware of the service and offering, and am so pleased to find the service and phones legit.  Anytime I can support the companies that support the FLW Tour I’m all for it.


At $45/month, I’ll save enough money between now and the end of 2013 to pay the entry fee on one Everstart Tournament, or put a deposit down on one FLW Tour Open event. That is significant, not to mention, I have things like Google Maps and Earth at my fingertips while on the water, which makes me a better fisherman too.



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