The Straight Talk iPhone is a tempting way to use an iPhone 5 or older iPhone without an AT&T contract, but Straight Talk is no longer offering the Straight Talk AT&T compatible SIM cards, making the service less attractive.
In late January, the Straight Talk AT&T SIM dropped off the Straight Talk website and soon after the SIM card that connects an iPhone or a Galaxy S3 to the AT&T network through Straight Talk became impossible to find at Walmart.
While the official word is that the Straight Talk AT&T SIM card is just out of stock, it looks like something bigger is brewing, and users who want to buy a Straight Talk SIM for AT&T service will need to pay up.
While Straight Talk and Net 10 no longer offer AT&T SIM cards, users who already have a Straight Talk AT&T SIM are able to use the service and connect to AT&T towers.
Straight Talk AT&T SIM Card Drama
The Straight Talk support documents refer to support for T-Mobile compatible GSM phones and Unlocked GSM phones, which means users may not be able to use an AT&T iPhone 4, iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 without unlocking the device. Previously Straight Talk AT&T SIM cards allowed users to use an AT&T smartphone without the need to unlock it.
At least one portion of the Straight Talk page gives hope that AT&T will connect with Straight Talk again. The FAQ section mentions AT&T compatible phones without the unlocked language listed on the main page.
Straight Talk’s Twitter account makes it sound like Straight Talk AT&T SIM cards are not gone forever, though it offers no details on timing or the reason for the absence.
There are still other services selling AT&T prepaid options, complete with AT&T SIM cards, and industry insiders tell Gotta Be Mobile that the switch may be due to less expensive data rates on T-Mobile or that it may be simply easier to offer a plan with T-Mobile.
Interestingly enough, there are some NET 10 AT&T Sim Cards available from Walmart for $15.
Why the Straight Talk AT&T SIM Card Matters
Without AT&T towers, Straight Talk is less attractive than competing services like Red Pocket Mobile, which we also reviewed.
Read: Straight Talk Review
There are a large number of AT&T iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 devices for sale on the secondary market. These iPhones are often available on Craigslist and other markets for less than the price of an iPhone with a new two-year contract. Unfortunately, these devices must now be unlocked to work with Straight Talk on T-Mobile. While the seller can contact AT&T for an unlock, it’s not as easy for the buyer to get a second-hand AT&T smartphone unlocked.
The second, and even more important reason for the AT&T Straight Talk service is coverage. AT&T delivers a larger coverage area than T-Mobile and in areas like the midwest, AT&T provides more reliable service than T-Mobile.
Where to Buy Straight Talk AT&T SIM Cards Today
Even though Straight Talk and Walmart no longer sell Straight Talk AT&T SIM cards, users can still buy the SIM cards if they are willing to pay a ridiculous markup.
eBay sellers are offering Straight Talk AT&T SIM cards for as much as $99.99. These cards are offered as legitimate Straight Talk SIM cards with a major markup. We’ve even found an auction with a Buy it Now price of $174.99 for one Straight Talk AT&T SIM.
Thankfully there are some cheaper options, like this AT&T Straight Talk SIM card that sits at $5.50 with 10 hours left, but most users will need to pay dearly for a SIM card on eBay.