Both Straight Talk and Total Wireless are from the same parent, TracFone, plus they use the same carrier network. As a potential subscriber, does this mean the operators have the same experience as well? Also, do they allow you to bring your own device to their service? And if yes, can you switch a Straight Talk phone to Total Wireless service?
Well, first things first, it’s true Total Wireless and Straight Talk share a parent and also they don’t have their own service towers. As mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), they usually resell networks from major carriers- Verizon in this case. However, their relationship ends there.
In the Straight Talk vs Total Wireless comparison review, we had the other day, we saw the former is a bit pricey. Its supposedly lowest rate plan goes for thirty dollars but includes only 100MB of data and 1500 talk minutes.
On its end, Total Wireless has the lowest plan at $25 and includes unlimited talk minutes, 1GB of high-speed data, and unlimited 2G data. So, it’s relatively cheaper and you get to call as many people as you want.
Straight Talk Can Still Be Better
Even though it’s not the lowest, Straight Talk still counts over eight million subscribers. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that it has something for everyone, regardless of the location. In other words that include:
- CDMA or GSM:
Technically, Straight Talk has made a network deal with T-Mobile and Verizon and AT&T. So, you can enjoy their services literally anywhere in the U.S., including areas with weak Verizon signals.
- Fixed or Unlimited Rate
On Straight Talk, you can choose to use the three plans with fixed high-speed data of 100MB, 5GB, or 25GB allowance. Or else the Gold and Platinum plans, with unlimited high-speed data.
- Low or High Hotspot Data
Similarly, Straight Talk plans include free mobile hotspot data with 5GB, 10GB, 15GB, or 20GB allowance. So, you’ll have a chance to share with more of your devices without using up your regular data.
- DVD or HD Quality Streaming
If you would like to catch up on your favorite shows on the go, Straight Talk has a standard video stream of (480p) DVD quality. However, some of the plans will allow you to stream in vibrant HD resolutions.
- More Room for Your Memories
Technically, both Straight Talk and Total Wireless have free cloud storage on some of their plans. However, the former has double the storage space, in which case you can store/ back up more files. Thus, allowing you to upgrade or replace your device and still have all your sweet old memories.
- Call Outside U.S As Much As You Want
If you have family or friends in North America, Straight Talk allows you to talk to them as many times as you want. All the plans include unlimited international calling to Canada and Mexico. On the Platinum plan, that mobile list extends to China, India, and over 1,000 landline destinations.
Last but not least, it’s also worth noting that some of the plans on Straight Talk have Mobile Protect. Thus, enabling you to repair or replace a phone with Asurion at discounted prices.
It May Be Time to Move On
At this point, we can agree Straight Talk plans are, no doubt, exceptionally good. However, they’re still a bit pricey, especially if browsing data is less of your concern. Even after you choose either quarterly, semi-yearly, or yearly plans, the cost is still high as the plans are for the Silver (25GB) package.
Therefore, a switch to Total Wireless might be what you need if you’re looking for the least expensive cell phone plan for seniors or yourself. The carrier, yes, doesn’t have truly unlimited plans, with uncapped high-speed data. But their basic plan starts at only $25/ mo. and you get unlimited talk minutes and text messages. The data allowance includes 1GB of high speed and unlimited 2G speeds thereafter.
Can You Switch a Straight Talk Phone to Total Wireless
If you have finally decided to leave Straight Talk, there are so many choices out there that even support BYOP (bring your own phone). Total Wireless is one of them, but, of course, not the best when you consider others like Xfinity Mobile gives the same 1GB bundle at $15.
As a matter of fact, TracFone, the parent company of Total wireless, Straight Talk, and free government cellphone companies like Safelink, is also relatively cheaper. You can get a basic (flip) phone plan for as low as $6.66/ mo. and a basic smartphone plan for only $15. Or else the basic unlimited plan, with unlimited talk minutes and texts, plus 1GB of High-speed data (with carryover) at $20/ mo.
The best part of all is that a TracFone brand phone should work with either Straight Talk and Total Wireless with no issues. You just have to make sure the device has the same cellular technology (CDMA).
More on that, the devices from the main carriers are usually compatible with the MVNOs reselling their network. So, you may not have to unlock your Verizon phone to use on Total Wireless or Straight Talk-CDMA.
But as we mentioned on the TracFone compatibility with Simple Mobile, the compatibility rule doesn’t work the other way round. In that we mean you can’t use a locked MVNO phone with the other carriers. You must first remove the carrier restrictions before you can activate the new service.
So, in our case, you may be able to switch a Straight Talk Phone to Total Wireless, which by the rule should be after unlocking it.
Straight Talk/ Total Wireless Family Ties
Even before you unlock your Straight Talk-Verizon Phone, though, there’s a neat trick we’d like you to try. The trick is to type the IMEI of that device into the online checker on the Total Wireless site.
Once you’ve entered the device ID, chances are you’ll get a response like “ESN already in our system”, or something similar. This is so as TracFone normally uses the same firmware across its brands. Hence, the reason you’ll also notice your Straight Talk or Talk Wireless phone showing TFW (TracFone Wireless) on the status bar.
**Yes, for some reason, TracFone has been using one carrier settings bundle for all its three prepaid brands. So, the TFW you see doesn’t mean you have changed carrier, rather you’re on a brand of TracFone Wireless.**
Anyway, back to our topic, your Straight Talk (Verizon-CDMA) phone should be compatible with a Total Wireless service. But then, in CDMA networks, you can’t just swap the SIM to any cell phone and expect it to immediately make calls.
Indeed, some existing (already-activated) Total Wireless users have been able to swap the SIM to a compatible phone. However, it’s usually best to go through the customer service to ensure you don’t lose any of the service features- especially data. And in that case, the manufacturer requires you get a new Total Wireless SIM card before you can transfer your service to the new phone.
Switch to Total Wireless as a New Customer
If you’re switching to Total Wireless as a new customer, the process is also a walk in the park. It even becomes easier if you’re switching from Straight Talk CDMA network as you won’t need to purchase a new device.
As we’ve just mentioned, the device can accept to work with your new Total Wireless SIM card while still carrier-locked. However, it’s not all phones that will work this way, in which case you may need to unlock it before you can use it.
According to the TracFone unlock policy (applies to Straight Talk), you won’t need to pay any fee if you are a current or former customer. However, you must have activated your phone on Straight talk for at least 12 months and redeemed a plan for the same period.
Note: If you’re neither a current nor former Straight Talk customer, you can as well grab one of their phones, perhaps when on Sale. Nonetheless, the provider may charge you a minimum fee when you request them to unlock.
Straight Talk Cell Phone Deals in 2021
Here are some of the best Straight Talk phone deals in case you missed out…
|Cell Phone Brand||Regular Price||Straight Talk Deal||Key Features|
|Apple iPhone SE (2020 Edition)||$399.00||$199||4.7” capacitive display, A13 Bionic Chip, 12MP single camera, IP67 Weatherproof, & 64GB built-in memory|
|Apple iPhone 12 Mini||$729.00||$499.00||5.4” capacitive display, A14 Bionic Chip, 12MP single camera, IP68 Weatherproof, & 64GB built-in memory|
|Samsung Galaxy A21 Smartphone||$249.00||$149||6.5” capacitive display, fingerprint reader, 16MP quad-camera system, & up to 512GB MicroSD support|
|Samsung Galaxy A11||$179.00||$99||6.4” capacitive display, 4G LTE network, 13MP Triple-Camera system, & 512GB MicroSD support|
|Samsung Galaxy A51 128GB||$379.99||$199||6.5” capacitive display, 48MP quad-camera system, NFC support, & 128GB built-in memory|
|Apple iPhone XR 64GB||$349.00||$299||6.1” capacitive display, A12 Bionic chip, 4K video recording, NFC support, & 64GB built-in memory|
|Motorola Moto E 32GB||–||$59.00||6.2” capacitive display, 4G LTE connectivity, 13MP dual-camera system, & 32GB built-in memory|
|LG K31 Rebel 32GB||–||$39.88||5.7” capacitive display, 4G LTE connectivity, 13MP dual-camera system, & up to 32GB MicroSD card|
If you’re still wondering whether you can switch a Straight Talk phone to Total Wireless service, well, the answer’s a Yes. However, Total Wireless operates on only Verizon’s CDMA network. So, the phone you’re bringing from Straight Talk also has to be supporting CDMA technology.
Of course, that shouldn’t be an issue if you have a 4G LTE or 5G device since most support dual-band technology. But even then, you’ll need to contact the carrier to activate the phone on Verizon’s CDMA for you.
In any case, we hope our article has been helpful so far. As for the TFW icon that keeps on showing on the left corner of your iPhone device, that’s just normal with all TracFone prepaid brands. So, it necessarily doesn’t mean you’ve been switched to another network.