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Walmart to begin direct iPhone 5 sales with no-contract Straight Talk prepaid plans

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
Big box retailer Walmart announced on Tuesday that it will be selling Apple's iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 on Jan. 11, with no-contract plans furnished by cell provider Straight Talk Wireless priced at $45 per month for unlimited talk, text and data.

Walmart


While the $45 flat rate pricing is enticing, Walmart's handset selection will be limited to the 16GB iPhone 5 and 8GB iPhone 4, which are priced at $649 and $449, respectively.

"We believe customers shouldn't have to choose between saving money and having the latest technology," said Seong Ohm, senior vice president of entertainment for Walmart. "Now customers can have the coveted iPhone with unlimited talk, text and data without a contract for $70 a month thanks to our exclusive Straight Talk plan and industry first financing offer."

Ohm is referring to a financing program aimed at making the high up front hardware cost somewhat digestible. The program, which requires a Walmart Credit Card, allows customers to pay off their iPhones for $25 a month on top of the $45 unlimited prepaid plan.

In addition to the $45 no contract plan, Straight Talk also has a $60 option that adds unlimited international calling to more than 1,000 areas in Mexico, Canada, India and other countries.

The program will roll out this Friday at over 2,000 Walmart locations across the U.S. as well as the company's online store.
post #2 of 49
Curious as to what network this will include. Do you get data and voice together, at the same time?
post #3 of 49
Is it 3G only? What about LTE?
post #4 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Now customers can have the coveted iPhone with unlimited talk, text and data without a contract for $70 a month thanks to our exclusive Straight Talk plan and industry first financing offer."
Ohm is referring to a financing program aimed at making the high up front hardware cost somewhat digestible. The program, which requires a Walmart Credit Card, allows customers to pay off their iPhones for $25 a month on top of the $45 unlimited prepaid plan.

Isn't $25 a month on top of $45 a month um … $70 a month? I guess the difference is that $449 for an iPhone 4 would be paid off in 18 months (plus some extra time to pay the credit card interest for carrying a balance?).
post #5 of 49
So in other words, it's like a conventional 2-year contract where you get a free phone and pay it back in higher monthly fees.

And then, once you've paid off the phone... you STOP paying for it. The price of the phone itself is not infinite.

That's so crazy it just might work!
post #6 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Bonner View Post

Curious as to what network this will include. Do you get data and voice together, at the same time?

At&t,yes
post #7 of 49

Straight Talk uses both Verizon and AT&T. Unless they've explicitly stated which iPhone they picked…

post #8 of 49
So all this only works if you can qualify for a Walmart credit card... derp.
post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Bonner View Post

Curious as to what network this will include. Do you get data and voice together, at the same time?

It's on AT&T. The question is when will they add visual voicemail. Otherwise it's a great thing.
post #10 of 49
I use Straight Talk and haven't upgraded to an iPhone 5 partly because it's not yet supported. They don't even have the nanoSIMs that the iPhone 5 requires. Even today, there's no nano-SIM on their web site.

I guess that's going to change soon.

I like Straight Talk. I don't see any difference from when I was using AT&T in terms of performance (not surprising since I'm on the AT&T network). You only miss a couple of things:
1. No visual voicemail. There are third party options if you really need it, though.

2. Setup is sometimes a pain if you're using iOS 5.x. I had to jailbreak my iPhone 4S to make it work. However, when I upgraded to iOS 6, jailbreaking was no longer necessary. I don't know if that's universally true or not - you might need to futz with it a bit, particularly to get MMS and data working.

Overall, I'm very happy with the service - considering that it costs me half of what I used to pay.
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post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Straight Talk uses both Verizon and AT&T. Unless they've explicitly stated which iPhone they picked…

 

They also use T-Mobile, which includes T-Mo partners.

post #12 of 49

How did you get MMS and Data working on ios6? My nephew is still using jailbroken 5 because you have to have access to cellular data settings to change the APN to straighttalk's settings, otherwise MMS won't work.

post #13 of 49
Do I need to buy from them? I am curious if i can bring my own unlocked phone and just pay the $45 per month for unlimited talk, text and data.
post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

How did you get MMS and Data working on ios6? My nephew is still using jailbroken 5 because you have to have access to cellular data settings to change the APN to straighttalk's settings, otherwise MMS won't work.

I set up my mother in laws iphone 4 with ST. Getting MMS to work was a 3 hour trial and error, but was able using the unlocker.co.nz. Believe me, I wanted to throw the phone out the window several times.
post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by IsmOfAm View Post

Do I need to buy from them? I am curious if i can bring my own unlocked phone and just pay the $45 per month for unlimited talk, text and data.

Will only work on an unlocked AT&T phone, but yes. Personal experience.
post #16 of 49
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post
Will only work on an unlocked AT&T phone, but yes. Personal experience.

 

The Verizon iPhone 5 is unlocked at purchase. 

post #17 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

The Verizon iPhone 5 is unlocked at purchase. 

 

I spoke at length with 2 different reps at ST.  They both told me that VZ isn't supported, only ATT phones.  I understand that the iPhone 5 is unlocked due to their agreement with the FCC, but I can't confirm that the VZ iPhone 5 will work on ST.

post #18 of 49

Lots of helpful information posted here, but what about LTE?

post #19 of 49
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post
I spoke at length with 2 different reps at ST.  They both told me that VZ isn't supported, only ATT phones.

 

Same bands. How could it not be?

post #20 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

I spoke at length with 2 different reps at ST.  They both told me that VZ isn't supported, only ATT phones.

Same bands. How could it not be?
Incorrect. Verizon unit is a different model than AT&T version.
post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Bonner View Post

Curious as to what network this will include. Do you get data and voice together, at the same time?

 

Straight Talk buys service from AT&T and T-Mobile so you should get both together. 

post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by NormM View Post


Isn't $25 a month on top of $45 a month um … $70 a month? I guess the difference is that $449 for an iPhone 4 would be paid off in 18 months (plus some extra time to pay the credit card interest for carrying a balance?).

 

 

Yes, but only if you choice to pay the minimum. You could pay it all off in a month or two. 

post #23 of 49

Quote:

Originally Posted by jason98 View Post

Is it 3G only? What about LTE?

 

It works on AT&T and T-Mobile's network. AT&T and T-Mobile use different technologies currently in terms of their independent high speed networks. On T-Mobile you would get its version of 4G, and on AT&T you'd get LTE. However, straight talk throttles the high speed connection after an unknown amount of data. So, you will get high speed 4G or LTE for a little while, then it will get slowed down to another speed. 

post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Straight Talk uses both Verizon and AT&T. Unless they've explicitly stated which iPhone they picked…
For the BYOP plans, they run on GSM networks, so AT&T or T-Mobile only. My iPhone 5 is unlocked and running on Straight Talk via AT&T. I had to cut down my SIM to nano size.

I'm really hoping this means Apple will finally allow owners of unlocked iPhones to access and change APN settings easily. This SIM swap trick is B.S. and grows old when it needs done after every OS update. I've emailed Tim Cook about it, but didn't get a reply. Surprise.
post #25 of 49
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post
Incorrect. Verizon unit is a different model than AT&T version.

 

Same bands of the phone that matter. There's no LTE on Straight Talk, so it doesn't matter that those are different.

 

You can run a Verizon iPhone on AT&T and have everything but LTE. 3G even works.

post #26 of 49

This plan of Walmart sort of emulates what T-Mobile already does. T-Mobile finances your smartphone for you on both its no contract and value plans. You pay a monthly fee on top of your monthly rate for the phone, but when it is paid off your phone bill drops. With T-Mobile this is convenient because it is all in the same bill. You can pay it off as quickly as you can. Here you get two bills. 

 

Moreover, I probably wouldn't go for this Straight Talk plan if you wanted the iPhone now. You can currently buy any Apple GSM phone you want unlocked. You can already charge it and make monthly payments. If your credit is good, you might even get a better monthly interest rate than is offered here. Moreover, you don't need to have another line of credit. 

 

Further, this probably isn't a problem very often, but you don't get roaming on Straight Talk. It uses T-Mobile and AT&T's networks, so roaming probably isn't necessary super often, but occasionally for me it is. 

 

Finally, I would probably go with T-Mobile directly, which offers similar no contract and value plans. The difference is with T-Mobile you get roaming, and it is upfront about when it tethers your data. For example, with its 50 dollar a month unlimited everything plan, you only get 4G speeds for the first 100 MB of data. Then it switches to 3G. For $60 a month you get 4G speeds for the first 2 GB of data. To make money Straight Talk has to limit the amount of data the user uses, which it in turn has to pay either T-Mobile or AT&T for. So, you can bet the data tethering isn't going to be better than what T-Mobile itself offers on its comparable plan. T-Mobile also has a much more variety of plans, and unlike AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint, will actually let you buy a plan with no data (for people who are usually by wi-fi). T-Mobile also has a lot of stores were you can actually go talk to people if you have a problem. T-Mobile also said it will offer the iPhone directly this year. 

 

Straight talk does give a bigger discount if one prepays for several months at a time. 

post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

You can run a Verizon iPhone on AT&T and have everything but LTE. 3G even works.

 

That is only true for the iPhone 5, correct? 

post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

 

I spoke at length with 2 different reps at ST.  They both told me that VZ isn't supported, only ATT phones.  I understand that the iPhone 5 is unlocked due to their agreement with the FCC, but I can't confirm that the VZ iPhone 5 will work on ST.

 

It would work, it is just with Verizon you don't need a SIM card. You'd have to get a Straight Talk SIM card. 

post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedGeminiPA View Post


For the BYOP plans, they run on GSM networks, so AT&T or T-Mobile only. My iPhone 5 is unlocked and running on Straight Talk via AT&T. I had to cut down my SIM to nano size.
I'm really hoping this means Apple will finally allow owners of unlocked iPhones to access and change APN settings easily. This SIM swap trick is B.S. and grows old when it needs done after every OS update. I've emailed Tim Cook about it, but didn't get a reply. Surprise.

 

Amen. According to the Apple support forums I've plowed through trying to figure out a better way of doing this, access to the Cellular Data control panel in Settings is dictated by the network SIM inserted, which gives the networks control over it. It's the same software mechanism that allows or locks hotspot functionality and FaceTime over cellular. I can understand this for locked phones on contract, but on unlocked phones this is complete, inexcusable BS. The same goes for wifi+cellular iPads, which are by their very nature Unlocked, unless you buy one on contract through AT&T.

post #30 of 49
Originally Posted by TBell View Post
That is only true for the iPhone 5, correct? 

 

Correct.

post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...a financing program aimed at making the high up front hardware cost somewhat digestible...

 

Speaking generally I would have thought that an upfront cost with a lower recurring cost is a lot more digestible than "free" upfront with a higher recurring cost that never goes down even after you have fully reimbursed the company for the cost of the handset.

post #32 of 49
Starting with the ST sim card in and the phone on, go to settings and open up the menu, remove st sim insert a t mobile sim card (doesnt have to activated, just a card) (only until new menu opens- then take it out immediately) reinsert the ST sim card go to the bottom of the menu and hit reset- the att settings will come up- if they don’t hit reset again. once they are up use the ST setting by typing over the one that are there. If you just fill in blanks it will never work you need to see the old setting before you proceed.
post #33 of 49

So the Straight *Talk* plan includes data? 

post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

How did you get MMS and Data working on ios6? My nephew is still using jailbroken 5 because you have to have access to cellular data settings to change the APN to straighttalk's settings, otherwise MMS won't work.

I upgraded to iOS 6 and then applied unlockit (unlockit.co.nz) to change the APN. It worked for me the first time and I didn't muck about with it. I have MMS and data with no problems. I can't guarantee it will work for you - with iOS 5, there was no standard fix. Most things worked for some people, but not others. It involved a lot of trial and error.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

It works on AT&T and T-Mobile's network. AT&T and T-Mobile use different technologies currently in terms of their independent high speed networks. On T-Mobile you would get its version of 4G, and on AT&T you'd get LTE.

I don't believe that's correct. My understanding is that Straighttalk has not licensed LTE from AT&T. There is a great deal of confusion, though, and I don't think the answer is completely clear. I expect that they'll eventually offer LTE, but I can't find any confirmation that it currently works with an iPhone on AT&T.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post

That is only true for the iPhone 5, correct? 

No. Other than LTE (see above), I can't find any limitations that affect my 4S. I have full 3G speeds on Straight Talk.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

So the Straight *Talk* plan includes data? 

Yes. Unlimited. www.straighttalk.com
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post #35 of 49
Quote:
Like other prepaid plans such as Virgin Mobile, users must pay full price for their iPhones without having them subsidized by the carrier. Unlike Virgin Mobile, Walmart is offering holders of the Walmart credit card a no-interest fixed payment plan for $25/month. This allows customers to have a unlimited talk, text and data plan for a total of $70/month before taxes and fees.

http://www.macrumors.com/2013/01/08/walmart-and-straight-talk-wireless-now-carrying-iphone-5


If the above is true, and you can bring your own iPhone you have some flexible and attractive options.

We have AT&T family plan (unlimited voice/text) with a mish-mash of individual data plans and contracts..

We average about $50/month per iPhone for 5 iPhones (2 adults, 3 teenagers).

One grandson used $500 of data in one month before we detected it (online games). So we turned data for the two youngest... That disables Find Friends/iPhone tracking -- the main reason we got them iPhones.


It would be great, not to have to worry about data plans or contracts and have a fixed monthly cost -- and an annual savings to boot!


This could be the camel's nose under the tent -- it could break the stranglehold the carriers have on the US phone market.
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post #36 of 49
Dunks View Post

Speaking generally I would have thought that an upfront cost with a lower recurring cost is a lot more digestible than "free" upfront with a higher recurring cost that never goes down even after you have fully reimbursed the company for the cost of the handset.

It ultimately comes down to US consumer culture, wanting something now without having to plan ahead and save a bit of cash first, mixed with a dash of good old stupidity (iPhones being luxury items notwithstanding). Same as the people who set up their income tax to get a big refund every year, even though that means the government is holding an extra bit of your income interest-free all year, when you could have been investing or banking it. Consumer culture is a whole other bag of cats... If we weren't so susceptible, things like credit cards, stock exchanges, and "zero money down" deals wouldn't exist.

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post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

So the Straight *Talk* plan includes data? 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Yes. Unlimited. www.straighttalk.com

 

I was mocking the name Straight "Talk", albeit mildly (and clearly not very effectively). :)

post #38 of 49

Is this still a marketing ploy of Walmart to get people in their doors? Or is it part of a growing business sector for them?

post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


I don't believe that's correct. My understanding is that Straighttalk has not licensed LTE from AT&T. There is a great deal of confusion, though, and I don't think the answer is completely clear. I expect that they'll eventually offer LTE, but I can't find any confirmation that it currently works with an iPhone on AT&T. . . 
No. Other than LTE (see above), I can't find any limitations that affect my 4S. I have full 3G speeds on Straight Talk.
Yes. Unlimited. www.straighttalk.com

I read Straight Talk is supporting LTE, but the article was recent. Perhaps, it hasn't rolled it out yet. Straight Talk's website is pretty vague on the speeds it supports. The more interesting question is at what point does it tether the speeds?

post #40 of 49
Good! I detest the major cell companies, Sprint, Verizon and ATT for price gouging.

May be Walmart could get into the Cable business, too! 1smile.gif
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