After being rumored for the past few months after the resounding success of the GSM powered BYOD program, StraightTalk representatives have confirmed via its Facebook page that it will officially debut CDMA BYOD service powered by Verizon Wireless on Tuesday March 26th.
The CDMA BYOD service will function differently to the activation service provided by Page Plus, as StraightTalk will require a one-time $14.99 “Network Access Code” that will need to be used during the activation process before it can be activated on StraightTalk, as well as a monthly airtime purchase of either $45 or $60 depending on the desire for international long-distance service.
Beginning on March 26, 2013, the BYOP Program will now include CDMA (Verizon) phones. Customers will be able to bring their Verizon certified phone to Straight Talk by simply purchasing a Network Access Code, for $14.99 plus tax, and an Unlimited or Unlimited ILD Airtime/Service Card. Note: The Network Access Code will serve as a key to load and identify the Verizon phones in the system.
The service also comes with the following caveats:
Any phone can be eligible provided that it has not been activated outside of the Verizon network including Androids and iPhones (iPhone 5 model is not compatible, other CDMA carriers: Sprint and Metro PCS, 4G LTE technology phones), our branded phones (TracFone, NET10, Straight Talk, SafeLink, or Telcel America) and Blackberry, iPads, or tablets.
With StraightTalk opening up CDMA BYOD service, this goes directly after Page Plus as the bulk of that virtual operator’s business lies with BYOD service and its recently realigned service plans also reflect the increased popularity of flat-rate monthly unlimited service over its previous Pay As You Go bread and butter. This also addresses the apparent elimination of AT&T service on StraightTalk, as that service has been pulled from the majority of the StraightTalk service area, save for select markets where AT&T service is the only option for cellular service.
The addition of CDMA BYOD is also sure to make Verizon nervous as it has been making its own moves to make its prepaid service more appealing to customers in recent months by also offering increased data access rates and flat-rate service, albeit for much higher rates than StraightTalk and equal to PagePlus with less monthly data access per month. This will also address the paltry Verizon-powered device selection on StraightTalk, as customers will be able to purchase devices with clean ESNs on Ebay and Craigslist, provided they meet the aforementioned requirements.
For the time being, there is an unpopulated domain for the new offering at (http://www.straighttalkbyop.com/) and StraightTalk reps also made the mistake of initially directing customers to the domain for more information in an attempt to help customers, not realizing that the domain was not active yet. The initial mistaken direction to the domain led to the official confirmation of the offering on Saturday afternoon.
For reference, the supported device list is expected to resemble the one posted below which is taken from PagePlus’ own permitted device list. The device list also reflects Verizon’s own device list, which was recently updated to include the iPhone 4/4S and excludes the Verizon iPhone 5 MEID block, as ST sells its own iPhone device lineup powered by Verizon Wireless with its own MEID block:
Apple iPhone — Any VZW CDMA model prior to iphone 5
HTC Incredible 2
HTC Trophy (Windows Phone 7.x)
LG Enlighten (slide out hardware keyboard-update of the Ally)
LG Ally (slide out hardware keyboard)
Palm Pixi Plus
Palm Pre Plus
Palm Pre 2
Motorola Droid (commonly referred to as the Droid 1) The Droid 1,2, & 3 have slide out keyboards
Motorola Droid 2
Motorola Droid 3
Motorola Droid X (predecessor to X2, slightly lower specs)
Motorola Droid X2
Motorola Droid Pro (portrait keyboard)
Any/all Windows Mobile phones like HTC Ozone, Samsung Omnia series, Palm Treo Pro
As can be noted from the list, the Verizon BYOD service will be limited to 3G devices only and LTE devices will not be allowed to be activated, as Verizon is actively restricting LTE service to postpaid and select hardware.
Update: StraightTalk representatives have confirmed that the offering has been delayed from today’s intended launch, but the offering will still launch sometime later this week.