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Straight Talk and Net10 add SIM-only option

Both Straight Talk and Net10 have added a new option for phone owners. Instead of the normal process, which involves purchasing a phone directly from the company, they are allowing customers to bring their own devices. There are a number of restrictions involved, however, so anyone interested should read on to determine whether or not they are eligible.

For starters, this obviously only works with phones that contain SIM cards. Phones that operate on Sprint’s or Verizon’s CDMA networks do not have SIM cards. That means only AT&T and T-Mobile phones will work. By extension, this also means that service is only available on these networks. You need to check with Straight Talk or Net10 to find out if they have AT&T or T-Mobile coverage in your area.

Second, the GSM phone has to be unlocked. That is, you can’t just take a phone that once worked on T-Mobile or AT&T and bring it directly to Net10 or Straight Talk. You have to first unlock the phone. If you are a former AT&T or T-Mobile customer, oftentimes you can call customer service for an unlock code. Otherwise, there are many online services that sell unlock codes. The other option is to purchase an unlocked phone directly; eBay usually has a wide selection of them from various dealers.

Third, this only works with the $45 unlimited plans that Straight Talk and Net10 offer. Any lesser plans do not qualify. That makes the deal pretty restrictive overall. You have to have a certain network’s coverage in your area, you need an unlocked phone, and you need a certain tier of service. Additionally, you cannot use BlackBerry devices, nor can you use TracFone-branded handsets (this includes its subsidiaries of SafeLink and, yes, Net10 and Straight Talk). Still, if these criteria seem fine to you, you can use a phone you already have with the service, which can save you some dollars.

The SIM card itself will cost $15, and will soon be available at Straight Talk’s website and Net10’s website.