Saturday, January 19, 2013

Save $1,000 a year by buying a Nexus 4 and moving to Straight Talk. Step 2 - porting your number.

Imagine you have the very best smartphone available... the highest quality display, with an up-to-the-second current version of Android, and the snappiest UI available! Now, imagine that AT&T has just offered to cut your annual bill by $1,000 while still giving you unlimited data, and then throwing in unlimited text and talk just for good measure?  Too good to be true?  Not if you have a Nexus 4 and have moved from post-paid AT&T to Straight Talk.

Chris over at TechCrunch called the Nexus 4 almost perfect, and after having lived with it for more than a month, I have to say that I'm agreement.  The phone is a piece of craftsmanship, and plenty of folks put it through the paces already, so I'm not going to try to convince you to get one.  It's a nice phone, that even a non phone-geek can appreciate.  But if you're like me, you're really here to save $1k by ditching your post-paid major carrier contract and moving over to an MVNO like Straight Talk.

So I'm not going to walk you though the sign-up process over at Straight Talk.  But I am going to explain the transition process.  Assuming you've already got a Nexus 4 (or other carrier unlocked phone), head on over to Straight Talk (and don't forget to grab some frequently available free shipping).  Do the obvious...

  1. Click Shop>Sim Cards>Please choose the type of phone you have, and selected "Unlocked GSM phone".
  2. Select an AT&T compatible Straight Talk Micro Sim if you have a Nexus 4.
  3. Get the "AT&T Compatible Micro SIM + Unlimited* Plan".  As a heads-up - when you receive your shipment, check carefully through all of the envelopes that Straight Talk sends for the ugly green card that has $45 stamp, and has a bar-code and a scratch-off section on the back.
  4. Finish your order and wait a few days to receive your shipment.  And yes, FedEx/UPS will require someone to sign for it.
After you receive your cards, you'll need to follow the instructions that come with the card.  With your current phone powered on and working correctly with your old AT&T post-paid service... get started... 
  1. Go to Straight Talk and select Activate/Reactive">Transfer Number>Activate my Straight Talk Service with a number from another Company.  
  2. Straight Talk will next ask for you AT&T login information, account number, and the last 4 digits of your security code (Remember, your AT&T account number is located at the top of your last invoice - it's NOT your phone number).  
  3. If you haven't already done so, now might be a good time to print out any records or invoices you might need for taxes or reimbursement.  Because after you transition your phones, you'll no longer be able to login to the AT&T site.
  4. At this point, you still have your Nexus 4 with the old AT&T SIM card installed and you're just waiting.  According to Straight Talk this can take days.  And a skim of various forums suggests that hours is common.  I was moving 2 phones (1 at a time), and slower of the two was the second one, which took a full 5 minutes at around 7:00pm Eastern time mid-week.
  5. Make certain you setup Auto-Fill now backed with a credit card so you don't risk loosing your phone number.
How do you know when the number is ported?

If you left your phone on, and working... you'll notice the signal bar has dropped to zero.  And if you try to hit a 3G data network, you wont get a response.  Or if you just want to reboot the thing after waiting a few minutes, you can do that too and see if you have no service.  As soon as service is down and you can no longer make calls, you're ready to finish the process.  

Power off the phone.  Remove the old SIM card, and put the new Straight Talk SIM into the phone, and turn it on.  You should should now be able to place phone calls.  Data doesn't work yet though, on your Nexus 4 you'll need to go to Settings>Mobile Networks>Access Point Names> New APN.  I recommend you go to Straight Talk and make sure you using the latest APN settings, which I'll also post for Good Measure:

Name: Straight Talk, APN: att.mvno, Proxy: Not Set, Port: 80, Username: Not set, Password: Not set, Server: Not Set, MMSC:, MMS Proxy:, MMS port: 80, MCC: 310, MNC: 410, Authentication Type: Not Set, APN Protocol: IPv4, APN roaming protocol: IPv4, Bearer: Unspecified).

Are you ready to save $1,000 a year by switching to an MVNO?  Stay tuned, as I'll be reviewing total costs, service quality, and more in an upcoming article.

Click here if you'd like to be notified when our Straight Talk Ebook is released!


icycle said...

Nick, thanks for the info. Does Straight Talk tack on FCC fees, taxes, etc on top of the $45/mo or is the $45 all-inclusive?

Nick said...

There are still additional fees... but it seems that they're fewer, and of a lower magnitude than my AT&T service. A recent bill totaled $48.93 after fees.