Why I dropped Verizon for Straight Talk and Google Voice (No, seriously)

Someone is a little fast and loose on "progress" here.

A few weeks ago I wrote about just moving to Google Voice and VoIP for voice calls. It worked a bit, but not perfectly. So I went back to the drawing board and came up with a new plan - Straight Talk's AT&T service coupled with full Google Voice implementation. I know you are confused, this is the same guy who has insisted on every new phone, INSISTED the iPhone needed LTE (and I was right about the Verizon/Sprint versions) but now he's talking about pre-paid wireless?

Well the best kept secret in US telecom is Straight Talk. Wal-Mart's purchasing power has driven the price of every carrier's plans from well over $100+ a month, to $45 a month, unlimited. This plan provides the same data speeds as AT&T's non-LTE phones, and the exact same coverage (just none of the roaming). I can call out to whatever number Google Voice has, and it spoofs it as my phone number (the same one I've had since 2000). So just how did I pull of this little trick of voodoo? Well it was a little hairy, and I was nervous for a while, but it went off without a hitch.

My first step was to line up my Google Voice to port my current phone number from Verizon Wireless to Google Voice. When this was all set up (account information and payment squared away), I clicked go. At the same time, I had my Verizon Wireless account up and I requested a phone number change. The deal is, after you change your number (or stop paying your bill), your old digits go into limbo for 30 days. After which they start to be distributed again. So when you lose your number, it's available to grab for 30 days (just FYI). I wouldn't let much time pass however.

The next step was to get a new phone and new line of service. After a bit of research, I realized that Straight Talk had service that used all of AT&T's network, with just the buy-in cost of one SIM card and a month's service ($60). This works for any GSM phone (that runs on the AT&T spectrums). Likewise, you can choose the Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint carriers for your primary carrier (remember, no roaming though). You need to be sure of the spectrum that your phone uses (MHz) or else it will not work. Very few international phones have T-Mobile's 3G/"4G" spectrums, so if you go international make sure to select AT&T.

I made the switch a month ago and have been nothing but happy. I can get texts on any device, and likewise receives calls. It's possible for me type text messages instead of having to text them. If you are fed up with carriers, check out Straight Talk or add questions or comments below.

About Ryan Kamauff

Ryan Kamauff is a senior analyst with Crucial Point LLC. He produces technology focused content for CTOvision.com and reports on analytical megatrends at the new analysis focused Analyst One.

7 comments
Ryan 5pts

I'm curious if you're still happy with this service after a year? Ive been living abroad and am returning to the States this week. I have an iPhone 5 and am considering ST. Does it still have your recommendation? Thanks!

Ben Jamanai 5pts

I just dropped the tmobile sim that I've had for a year with horrible results for an att sim now that they're available again. No problems here.

Uptime IP
Uptime IP 5pts

I've been using ST for over 2 years now and satisfied with their overall network service. Can't beat the price and the "reliability". I haven't wanted to leave ST and as a matter of fact, I'm going to use the Home Phone service. Also, I've ported my number over from GV and it was difficult for most ST reps but I kept calling and got one who was technically incline and knowledgeable to just get it done while on the phone. Mind you, it does take couple of days for the system to register the porting number and once it does, it should be "easy". Another time, I ran into an issue with my number getting changed and again, I ran into unresolved questions and kept calling with 1 person say they can't, another saying they can but needs to send me a new SIM card and be without service until the new SIM received (a week!). With 1 oz of good nerve left, I called and viola.!. a got a smart one and he got it done over the phone and it took 10 mins total to get my ported number back. Tips: If you are porting a GV#, don't lose that ST sim card, that sim card holds the number and it will or shouldn't be released if the number should get disconnected (unless it got changed as it did for me by the automated system). Also, I believe you are able to keep the number with GV while using ST service with a fee. I haven't used this feature but I will with the number that I am considering to port for my Home service (I wonder if the GV features can be used while the number is on ST network, ie, number blocking and SMS). But more importantly, this is just in case I lose my ported GV# again. Better safe than sorry

robert elstad 5pts

can T-Mobile phone with a SIM CARD work in a straight talk phone

tem00 5pts

I have two numbers with Sprint and want to keep both.  I cant find out if I can port more than one number to Google Voice.  Any experience?

tem00 5pts

I have two numbers with Sprint and want to keep both.  I cant find out if I can port more than one number to Google Voice.  Any experience?