TracFone vs straight talk: Which Should You Choose as Your Next MVNO

As we were talking about phones compatible with Simple Mobile, I may have mentioned TracFone as its parent company. We didn’t get to discuss the topic in-depth since it was not the focus subject at the time. But because I’ve got the time today, let’s open up its treasure chest and see the goodies it has got. However, we’ll be comparing TracFone vs Straight Talk to see who’s truly the best choice- the parent or daughter?

That’s right. Straight Talk is yet another brand under TracFone Wireless, and, surprisingly they’re all on the same carrier network. But since they all come to you as individual brands, let us see how the experience will be with either.

TracFone vs Straight Talk: A Quick Perk on the Mobile Virtual Network Operators

FeatureTracFone WirelessStraight Talk
Founded19962009
Carrier NetworkT-Mobile/ Verizon/ AT&TT-Mobile/ Verizon/ AT&T
TechnologiesGSM & CDMAGSM & CDMA
Basic Smartphone Plan$15$30
Unlimited MinutesYESYES
Unlimited dataNOYES
Carry-OverYESYES (add-on data)
Family PlansNONO
Free Mexico/ Canada PassN/AYES
Mobile HotspotNOYES (Varies)
Video StreamingYES (up to DVD quality)YES [up to HD quality]
   
   

TracFone Wireless

TracFone Wireless is one of the best prepaid mobile phone providers here in the United States. It’s also one of the largest MVNO (if not the largest), with over 25 million subscribers in all of America.

Nonetheless, all these subscribers have not directly registered with TracFone but also its subsidiaries. The provider does have several other prepaid and even free cell phone service providers under its wings. Simple Mobile and our Straight Talk are good examples.

As a service of its own, TracFone focuses on low-end consumers, whereby it offers affordable rate plans that are also easy to customize. You can get basic phone plans, the kind to use on flip phones, from as low as $19.99 for a 3-month cycle. Then, the basic smartphone plans, with 500 minutes and texts, plus 500MB high-speed data at $15/ month (30-day period).

Furthermore, TracFone does sell cell phones in case you would like to upgrade or join with a brand-new model. Of course, the catalog isn’t the best there’s, but you can still grab a decent device at less.

Straight Talk

Meanwhile, Straight Talk is still a subsidiary of TracFone as I mentioned. As an MVNO, the carrier also aims at providing affordable cell phone service, in particular for smartphone owners. Indeed, the plans are a little expensive than its parent company, but they do come with a few extras in return.

For instance, Straight Talk provides monthly data with up to unlimited high-speed allowance. Then, the plans include additional data for mobile hotspots at a range of 5GB to 20GB. Thus, enabling you to carry on with your work, study, or streaming on a larger screen wherever you’re.

Better yet, Straight Talk does have a phones department, where you can shop for your first or an upgrade device. And if you can’t afford to pay in full, you can check out with the buy now pay later financing over up to 24 months.

More on that, continue reading the comparison review below.

TracFone vs Straight Talk: Comparing the Features and Perks of the Cell Phone Operators

The following are the six key similarities and differences between the two mobile virtual network operators.

Carrier Technology

In general, this is a win for TracFone and Straight Talk as well. They both have partnered with all the three major carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. So, you can opt for either of the services, with either of the network based on the most reliable in your location.

In other words, you can choose TracFone service that uses AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile towers. Or else Straight Talk service that uses AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile.

Note, the two services can also share devices of the same carrier. For example, you can use a TracFone locked on Verizon-CDMA network with Straight Talk-Verizon SIM card, TracFone locked on T-Mobile-GSM with Straight Talk- T-Mobile SIM, and so on.

Free 5G Coverage

Similarly, the two MVNOs bring you both 4G LTE and 5G services in all the plans. So, you can enjoy faster browsing speeds and crispier call quality with your devices. Even better, the carriers don’t charge you extra fees, unlike Cricket Wireless that has 5G coverage on only the Cricket More and Simply Data plans.

But as was mentioned on Visible vs Total Wireless, you’ll need a 5G-capable-device to access either of the 5G spectrums. And this applies to our TracFone and Straight Talk networks as well.

Cell Phone Plans and Pricing

Similar to other carriers, the main difference between Straight Talk vs TracFone is visible in the rate plans and pricing. In fact, in this case, there’s quite a big difference, considering the basic phone plans for those who don’t browse much.

In these plans, TracFone allows you to choose a fixed minutes allowance that you can use for talking and texting. You can get 60 Minutes for 90-day cycle at $19.99, 200 Minutes for 90-day cycle at $39.99, 400 Minutes for 365-day cycle at $99.99, et cetera.

If you do Browse, game, or stream, TracFone also does have smartphone rate plans as depicted in the chart below.

Features$15 Smartphone Plan$20 Smartphone Plan$25 Smartphone Plan$30 Smartphone Plan
DevicesSingle LineSingle LineSingle LineSingle Line
Talk Minutes500UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Text Messages500UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
High-Speed Data500MB1GB2GB3GB
2G Unlimited DataN/AN/AN/AN/A
Mobile HotspotN/AN/AN/AN/A
Video Stream ResolutionN/A(480p Quality)(480p Quality)(480p Quality)
     

Note, TracFone Wireless has relatively low data allotment on its regular phone plans. That must be the reason they had been against streaming and device tethering via hotspot.

However, the company has a supposedly new plan, with unlimited minutes and texts, plus 8GB of high-speed data. In this case, you can also share the data via the hotspot feature, though you also have to part with forty bucks.

Straight Talk Could Be much Easier

That’s right. If you’re hoping to game online a lot, browse, and stream movies or conferences on the go, Straight Talk has much better data plans. Of course, you might find the service a bit expensive, but it may be all worth the while.

For instance, the Straight Talk Bronze plan includes unlimited talk and text, 5GB of high-speed data, and 5GB of mobile hotspot data. Even better, the carrier’s Gold and Platinum plans include unlimited high-speed data. Thus, enabling you to use your device as many times as you want during the 30-day cycle.

Here’s an outline of the various Straight Talk cell phone plans and features.

Features$30 Basic Phone Plan$35 Bronze Plan$45 Silver Plan$55 Gold Plan$65 Gold 2-Line
DevicesSingle Line (Basic phones)Single LineSingle LineSingle LineSingle Line
Talk Minutes1500UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Text MessagesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
High-Speed Data100MB5GB25GBUnlimitedUnlimited
2G Unlimited DataN/AYESYESN/AN/A
Mobile HotspotN/A5GB10GB15GB20GB
Video streamN/A(480p Quality)(480p Quality) (480p Quality) (HD Quality)
Extra PerkN/AN/AN/AN/A100GB of Cloud Storage
      

Unfortunately, Straight Talk doesn’t have family plan discounts, just like TracFone Wireless. However, there’s a two-line Gold plan, which you can get at $90/ mo.

Also, the provider does have the silver plan on a quarterly, semi-annually, and yearly basis. So, you can also use it to save a few coins along the way.

Deprioritization and Throttling

Usually, most people, including even myself, often use the two words interchangeably. However, deprioritization is where the carrier temporarily slows down your data when the network is too busy, like during congestion. Then, throttling happens when the carrier slows down your data speed after you’ve depleted your monthly allowance.

In our case, with TracFone and Straight Talk, the latter takes the points on both the deprioritization and throttling. It not only has higher high-speed data allotments but also the capped packages has access to unlimited 2G speeds. True, many people find these slow speeds unusable, but they can come in handy in some scenarios.

As for TracFone, the carrier doesn’t support throttling. Its data plans are also significantly less. So, you may experience less deprioritization, but still won’t be able to make the most on the web.

Free Mobile Hotspot Data

The points here will also go to the Straight Talk service. Why is that?

For one, this carrier has free mobile hotspot data on almost all the plans, including the Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Gold 2-Line. Secondly, the Platinum Unlimited plan has up to 20GB as mobile hotspot data. Thus, enabling you to share the internet connection with multiple devices at a high 4G LTE/ 5G speeds.

When we come to TracFone, you probably have noticed by now that the carrier is more focused on basic phone users. The data allowance in all the plans is nothing to smile about, not even for the $40 (8GB) plan.

Video Streaming Quality

Yet again, Straight Talk will bag the points here for two main reasons. First, it has more data, including 25GB of LTE/ 5G and “truly” unlimited allowance. Thus, you may have a chance to stream your favorite shows on the go throughout the month without issues.

Secondly, Straight Talk has a standard 480p video stream resolution, but some plans also support HD quality. Thus, making it possible to watch your videos in vibrant quality and on slightly larger screens without excessive pixelation.

Meanwhile, TracFone does support a 480p video stream on some of the plans, but the data allowance is still too low. So, the feature may not be worth it at all.

A Few Extras For Loyalty

In truth, neither TracFone nor Straight Talk has great perks to brag about here. As a matter of fact, TracFone doesn’t have either except the fact that your unused mobile data can carry over to the next month.

If you decided to choose TracFone, there are a few extra features you can access, other than calling, texting, and browsing locally. They include up to 100GB of Cloud Storage, a free call pass to Mexico/ Canada, and mobile protection.

If You’re wondering, the Mobile Protect is more like cell phone insurance against spills, cracked screens, and other mechanical/ electrical issues.

But, anyway, you’ve seen the daughter company has beaten her parent company flat in terms of features and the overall experience. Data, mobile hotspot, cloud, mobile protect, as well as video streaming. These are all important mobile phone features in the digital world. So, choosing a provider like Straight Talk who has them is surely worthwhile.