Prepaid SIM Cards

The Nexus 4 has a whole lot of features to be excited about -- that is, unless you're on Verizon or Sprint here in the states. For reasons you can probably figure out on your own, Google has decided to only launch an unlocked GSM model of the Nexus 4, and offer it around the world. This means no LTE -- fear not, it has DC-HSPA+ 42mbps -- but it also keeps the price insanely low. At $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB) without a contract, it's an extremely tempting proposition.

But as we noted earlier, what if you're on a CDMA carrier? Well there are actually some compelling options if you'd like to "test drive" a Nexus 4 -- and GSM -- before you commit to making it your primary device.

As we've discussed before on the site, there are tons of great prepaid carrier options available to users in the U.S. market. Not only can these save you money every month if you use them as a primary carrier, they can also sub in as a secondary carrier for just a month at a time. The two leading prepaid offerings, Straight Talk and T-Mobile Monthly 4G, can both be had for a great price and without a commitment. A month with each will only set you back $45 and $30, respectively.

Step 1: Buy the phone

Starting Nov. 13, the Nexus 4 will go on sale in the Google Play Store (as well as T-Mobile retail locations). Pick one up, be it the 8GB or 16GB version. 

Step 2: Choose a carrier

If you're interested in trying out the AT&T network in your area, Straight Talk can be a good choice. A SIM and activation kit can be bought from their site for $14.99 (often on sale at $9.99) and filled with a month of unlimited service for just $45.

If instead you're anxious to try out T-Mobile's 42 Mbps network offerings, the price is even cheaper. A SIM activation kit can be bought from T-Mobile for just $0.99, and filled with 100 minutes and 5GB of data for another $30. (Straight Talk is available for T-Mobile as well.)

Step 3: See if it's right for you

For either option, just activate the SIM and you're good for 30 days of testing. Carry it around with you next to your current device, and see how it performs. Use it how you would normally. Download apps, make calls, tether, everything -- just put it through its' paces. If at the end of the 30 days you decide that the network -- be it AT&T or T-Mobile -- hasn't performed to your liking, then just let the SIM expire and toss it out. At that point you can easily sell the Nexus 4 for about what you paid (less sales tax), or at that point even get a premium tossing it on eBay. Experiment over!

But let's say that you come away surprised by the HSPA+ offerings of the GSM networks and you'd like to stay with them. Why not toss auto-refill onto that prepaid account and stick with it? Keep getting great service at a great price, and cancel your line(s) with the other carriers. Everyone will have a different experience (we don't all live and work in the same neighborhood), so don't let someone else tell you what carrier to use. What really matters when choosing a carrier is how the service works for you.

More: Google Nexus 4 Forums

 
There are 105 comments

Gekko says:

this is tempting but a concern for the T-Mobile Prepaid option is that it does not support CCF (conditional call forwarding) which is required if you want to use Google Voice "Lite" as your voicemail service which provides free transcriptions etc. which i have grown to love and can't give up.

Straight Talk scares me because of their vague data limit policies and unknown, unproven brand.

hatchetdawg says:

I felt the same way. Switched to Solavei and haven't had a regret since. It's the only pre-paid I've found that supports call forwarding so YAY google voice integration. It's data limit for full speed data is 4gb before throttle instead of straight talks 200mb-2gb before throttle.

hatchetdawg says:

If you sign up before the end of the month they waive your first month and cost of sim.
referal link if you want to give it a try-> goo.gl/yt9Es

skafri#WN says:

Quit shilling your referral link.

jonathan3579 says:

That is a simply unfounded assumption. I have used Straight Talk for over 5 months (T-Mobile compatible sim card) and average 5-7gb of data with no throttling or cutoffs.

hatchetdawg says:

Not unfounded. Multiple friends of mine are still on Straight Talk and have hit throttle at 200mb in a day w/ an AT&T Sim or with 2gig for the month on a t-mobile sim (which was my personal straight talk experience 2 months in a row). Throttling seems to be very region specific though so it's great that you've managed that much without getting throttled, but I haven't been that lucky in Columbus,OH.

montgoss says:

That's only an issue if they call your T-Mobile number, right? If they called your Google number, would they be able to leave a voicemail on Google?

wilara23 says:

Yeah but you can't reject the call. You have to let it ring until Google Voicemail picks it up. That's the only way i found it to work when i had T-mobile Prepaid

hatchetdawg says:

On t-mobile pre-paid you can talk to customer support and have them disable your t-mobile voicemail. It will then allow you to reject a call and still have gooogle voicemail take it (assuming they called your google voice number).

movielover76 says:

Straight talk on AT&T does support CCF, I use an unlocked GSM Galaxy nexus on Straight Talk AT&T for awhile because I wanted to keep Google voice as my voicemail carrier and the service works great, but after seeing the speeds friends could pull in on HSPA+42 on T-mobile I switched to straight talk t-mobile sim and haven't been happier with my cell phone service.

Also straight talk is rather vague about data usage, but all reports indicate that as long as you stay under 2GB you shouldn't have any problems. I haven't and I've gone quite close to 2gb in a month. Their is also a lot of reports of users using a lot more data and never having an issue, but go over 2GB at your own risk, though the risk is not that bad, they give a warning before doing anything to your account.

Straight Talk is owned by Tracfone, the biggest prepaid carrier in the country, they'd aren't all that unknown.

S_C_B says:

I love my StraightTalk! I also love that I can use GVoice as my vmail, since I'm using the AT&T network.

mazzmoney95 says:

This was very helpful for me. I'm really looking into that $30 a month plan on T-Mobile. Seems almost too good to be true. Perfect for what I need. But I might spring extra money and get straight talk at&t. I think AT&T is better in my area but I'm not sure. What I want to know is when do you start to get throttled on Straight Talk. It doesnt say on their site like T-Mobile does, but I've heard from people that it starts as like 2-3 GB. Others have said it depends on the area because AT&T only throttles the top 5% of their customers. So my understanding is if you live in a place with more people who use a lot of data, your cap would be higher. Can anyone confirm this? I want to learn as much as I can before i cancle my contract with sprint.

kgeissler says:

I wonder if they will sell the Nexus 4 at t-mobile for retail price of $349. That way, I can buy it there and I don't have to wait for it to arrive from Google. :)

Beacio_mo says:

I'm wondering the same thing myself. If T-Mobile does sell it no contract for $349 unlocked, I'd rather buy it direct from them

steve0617 says:

An FYI - No roaming at all on Straight Talk regardless if you're using the AT&T or TMob network when you're at home. You can roam calls on TMob's prepaid. Not sure about data though.

duplissi says:

are you sure about that? i have att straight talk and i have seen the roaming symbol a few times when travel upstate.

my device is the play store gnex.

grayzweb says:

Thanks! I may try this because I am tired of Verizon locking everything down.

VMdoug says:

I already have the AT&T pre-paid option. This weekend I fully transferred my mobile number from Sprint to Google Voice (killed my Sprint contract). Now I just need to wait for the Nexus 4 to be available. I'm currently using an International Galaxy Note that I picked up pretty cheap online. Sprint service in the Tampa Bay area is just terrible but I've been very impressed with AT&T.

rolefourlife says:

I'm definitely counting the days til my Sprint contract is over and getting a unlocked Nexus 4.

This sounds like a great way for me to test out the coverage and speeds around here since I don't know almost anyone that has T-Mo, and zero people with Straight Talk.

In general, have you guys been satisfied with pre-pay plans on T-Mo and Straight Talk? like speed and coverage?

movielover76 says:

I've been very satisfied with T-mobile and Straight Talk, I've used both on the gsm galaxy nexus. Coverage and speed is very location specfic, but in NJ I've gotten great coverage and speed on both Straight Talk on AT&T and T-mobile.

If you have good coverage where you need it with t-mobile, speeds tend to be faster than AT&T.
I currently use T-mobile's network is Central NJ.

AT&T's speeds are good as well, I had no issues and streaming video, downloading apps and surfing websites where all very speedy. But in my area to top speed of AT&T topped out at 3mbps while T-mobile topped out at 10mbps and that's on HSPA+21, with a nexus 4 and HSPA+42 speeds should be even higher.

You got the galaxy nexus phone on straight talk ?

You got the galaxy nexus phone on straight talk ?

jdraket says:

I am very disappointed that it's not coming to Sprint at this point. So I'm looking for opinions - do you all think that what he said about selling the N4 after 30 day trial is really true? I'm skeptical... why wouldn't someone just buy it from Google instead?

"At that point you can easily sell the Nexus 4 for about what you paid (less sales tax), or at that point even get a premium tossing it on eBay."

Let me know what you all think - what am I missing here?

moises1204 says:

LG optimus g is coming to sprint is basically the same phone but with better punching power than lg nexus 4.

linh.nguyen says:

The key difference being the Nexus is a Nexus.. those software updates are important. That and the 13MP camera Sprint seemed to opt for seems rather disappointing compared to the 8MP one in the non-Sprint Optimus Gs.

bplewis24 says:

You have two questions:

1) Is it true that you can sell the phone on Ebay for almost what you purchased it for or even more?

Yes, I can say that unequivocally that this is true. I know because I've sold plenty of GSM Nexus phones on Ebay.

2) Why wouldn't someone just buy it from Google instead?

This is something I have no answer for. It boggles my mind that in some cases I was able to sell the phone on Ebay for more than I could purchase it for from the Play store. My guess is that some of them either didn't have Google Play store accounts or simply didn't know about the price.

movielover76 says:

I agree, I sell a lot of phones on ebay, and the nexus line in particular really retains it's value. I don't know why but the nexus phones on ebay tend to sell for the same price as the google play store or often more. I can only account for this because of buyer ignorance, they must not thing to check the google play store and assume they are getting a discount on the price because it's used.

The price point for a new nexus phone is a lot lower than most new retail smartphones, so that may lead to some of the confusion. While no one can guarantee you'll get all of your money back minus tax and shipping, in my experience you will within 30 days of the nexus going on sale. At the very worst case I couldn't see you selling it after 30 days (assuming you keep it in mint condition) for any less than $279 for the 8gb version. or $329 for the 16 GB version.
$20 is the maximum I could conceive that you could lose.

lakedubvt says:

You guys should do a story on how to port a verizon number to Google Voice. I am wanting to do exactly what this article describes, but wanting to keep my Verizon line while using my old number for both phones with Google voice.

jdraket says:

I agree. This would be very useful. And for those on Sprint who use their Sprint number as their GV number (like I do).

rolefourlife says:

Agreed. I'll be leaving Sprint for this and I was curious if I could just carry over my old number or should just change to GV 100%. I get a few MMS's a month, so as long as those are easy enough to handle I'm cool with the switch.

vansmack says:

MMS is the big problem with switching to GVoice full time. On Sprint with Carrier Voice integration it was handled (Sprint handled MMS, GVoice handled SMS and Voice Mail). If you switch to GVoice on any of these GSM options, you will lose MMS that are not sent from a Sprint phone (assuming you have the email option turned on). With Apple now sending multi-party messages from iMessage as MMS, it's a bigger problem than you think.

The real topic for discussion, probably for the podcast actually, is when is T-Mo now going to get full integration like Sprint did now that they're the obvious carrier of choice in America for the Nexus 4. This is a no brainer, especially if Google wants me to use my Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 and Chromebook like I use my Nexus S4G and my Galaxy Tab 10 - text from any device, only one number (MMS still on at least one device).

mindhead1 says:

+1 on moving a Verizon # to Google Voice. What are pros and cons of doing this? Once you move a number to Google Voice could you move it back to a carrier at a later date?

Google voice seems like a good option, but what if it goes away? Will you lose your number?

vansmack says:

1) you lose incoming MMS not sent from Sprint phones
2) you can SMS text from multiple devices
3) you can port your number to and from GVoice just like any carrier for approximately $20
4) I don't see GVoice going away, but if it did you would likely be warned with enough notice to port your number to a carrier. Its much more likely that we see additional features and not its end.

d3c509b says:

+1 to this also.

my idea is port Verizon number to Google Voice (after end of contract)
then, ignore the number straight talk gives me,
and use my existing number (now a google voice number) via straight talk, with only cost of a $20 port to Google voice.

Then, it's easy to hop from carrier to carrier as necessary

dswatson83 says:

You won't be able to sell it for what you paid since they are available off contract for the same price. You will easily loose $50 on the phone when you sell it. Minimum.

jdraket says:

That's kinda what I was thinking too. I don't know why he said, "or at that point even get a premium tossing it on eBay."

gmarthur says:

Depends on supply. If the Play Store is sold out after the first month of early adopters jumping aboard then I would expect a premium to gained when you sell one. Also international bidders who can't get one from the play store could also drive the price up. If the Play Store has tons of stock you could be right though and lose about fifty bucks. Just depends on how many Google has for the first wave.

movielover76 says:

If you've done a lot of selling on ebay you'd know that's not true.
$20 max is what I'd expect to lose selling a month old nexus 30 days after release.
Assuming you keep the phone in mint condition.
I've actually sold nexus devices on ebay for more than they sold on the google play store.
Selling worldwide can help as not all places can buy from the google play store.

pinch55 says:

Great article and excellent timing.My Mopho is getting very outdated and I have another year on my contract.I wouldn't mind running 2 phones for a short period if this nexus works out. Are there any services that bounce of either T-mobile or at&t depending on service availability. I drive all over the western middle and lower of Michigan, so service is a big issue.

Mobius360 says:

Thanks, this is exactly the type of information I need.

So just so I understand Google Voice Mail doesn't work on t-mobile?

What if I decide I like these options, can I transfer my Sprint #?

Does it make more sense if I decide I like the t-moble service to then switch over to there new unlimited plan?

30 bucks a month, damn that's tempting.

Google Voice Voicemail will only work if you decide to use Google Voice as your primary number. If you try to use your T-Mobile number with Google Voice "Lite", it unfortunately will not work.

Mobius360 says:

So on Sprint currently. I use Google Voice, people call my Sprint # and messages are retrieved via Google Voice, works like any regular voice mail.

If while testing this t-mobile sim & people still called my Sprint #, could I retrieve the messages via the nexus 4 on t-mobile through the Google Voice app?

I don't use my Google Voice # for anything. Could I setup my Google Voice # to the t-mobile sim? If I decide to leave Sprint how do I keep my Sprint # if I am terminating my contract?

HTMLSpinnr says:

Clarifying - Google Voice "Lite" works fine for T-Mobile post-paid customers. The MVNO or pre-paid solutions are what's questioned.

srosencrans says:

I use Google Voice Mail on T-Mobile, not with my T-Mobile number of course, but with my Google Voice number, works fine.

gumby32 says:

I have been using straight talk for a few months and I have been very pleased with it. I first had it with a Galaxy Nexus using T-Mobile network and the speeds were good, between 5-9 mbps in my area. In bad reception areas it would drop to 2g but that was in like two small spots where i live. I switched to the AT&T sim for my Xperia S and the speeds were between 1-2 mbps so if you live in Chicago go with the T-Mobile compatible sim. I have never gone over 2g of data usage in a month so I dont know what would happen if i do. I always use wifi when i can and I use google music to stream music to my phone.

mezsky says:

Straight Talk throttled me after I used 1GB of data in a 2 week period. I asked them why and was pointed to their terms and conditions. In that terms and conditions you are not allowed to use your unlimited data for any kind of data streaming. That means no streaming videos (Youtube and WatchESPN, which I was doing), music!!, and tethering(of course). Personally, I would prefer a 2GB data limit without any restrictions to this. That's just my experience with them. Oh, and the coverage was the same I got with AT&T in my area. Which makes sense since they do use AT&T's network.

i1der says:

i got same problem, they throttled me on first month after 4GB in 2 weeks, i understood, kinda expected(I knew it wasn't really unlimited). But on second month they kept throttling and said they wouldn't stop till second month's end, even though first info they gave was till 1st month end... I got my speed back after a lot of CS (about 6 hrs) and BBB complaint. I WOULDN'T recommend straight talk to anyone. I probably will give more time to see if we still work, probably going to T-mobile cause i know what is my limit and there is no restriction on what I can you do with my data... Sorry but I won't stop streaming... Is what a smartphone made for.

movielover76 says:

I'm sorry but the 2GB limit is pretty well known. You can't expect to use 4GB in 2weeks or what would have been 8GB in a month on a prepaid carrier and not get throttled, even on t-mobile a plan with that much data would be close to twice what your paying for Straight Talk and close to 3 times as much on Verizon or AT&T.

You can't expect truly unlimited and unthrottled service for $45 a month and their terms make that very clear, that's not what this plan is for. Switch to the $70 T-mobile value unlimited plan if that's what your usage is like and stop trying to abuse services not meant for your usage patterns and then complaining when they throttle you, which they make it clear they will.

trlovejoy says:

Somebody remind me of this when my contract with VZW is up on my GNEX :)

p08757 says:

I just calculated my ETFs, and I figure in ~ 8 to 10 months it won't hurt so bad to jump ship any pay the ETF with Verizon.

I put a reminder in my google calendar to look into this in 8 months from now.

Lets hope there is something like this 8 to 10 months from now......

Icarus4219 says:

So if I already have AT&T, I can just buy the Nexus 4 and if I don't like it, sell it?

S_C_B says:

You can also return it if you don't like it.

Icarus4219 says:

I was wondering about that, but since the article didn't mention it at all, I figured something must be wrong with the idea.

sly says:

Google Play Store: 15 days to return it. Looks like they'll whack you with a 15% restocking fee also:

http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2661524

T-Mobile: 30-days for full price phones and possibly some restocking fee:

http://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-2624

MERCDROID says:

At&t is unlikely to get a carrier version. So, if he buys it from Google, there is (likely) no returning it. On the other hand, if he buys it from T-Mobile, then he has up to 14 days (correct me if i'm wrong) to return it for whatever reason.

steve0617 says:

Unless the Nexus 4 is somehow not included in this, Google offers 15 days to return. http://goo.gl/iHyN2

Whyzor says:

Just FYI, for selling it later, it'd be very hard to charge higher than original cost + shipping available at the play store later (if price doesn't already drop). Plus figure in ebay & paypal selling fees. From the point of view of a buyer, why would they want to pay a higher price than they can get on the play store for a new phone (instead of used) with original warranty.

moosc says:

I refuse to give into Google and buy a lesser network technology phone. If googles to scared to step up and confront the carriers then so be it. They should take a marketing lesson from apple.

orlanka says:

Agreed and tired of hearing excuses and apologists for why this is supposedly OK.

skafri#WN says:

Wait, what?

Talking about lack of LTE.

Ryuuie says:

"Lesser network technology"? Uh, you DO know that GSM is a GLOBAL standard, right? We users in the US are BEHIND when it comes to phone technology. VERY behind.

LTE means nothing when you carrier is constantly screwing you without lube just to get a taste of it.

DirkBelig says:

You have no idea how business works, do you? You're just another ignorant, spoiled child who thinks that all that needs to happen to make you happy is for one company to stand up and bully some other companies and then your every wish will be fulfilled.

What lesson can Google learn from Apple? Make a product that MILLIONS of insane people will line up for days to buy? I'm sure they'll get right on that. You may not know this because you were in kindergarten at the time, but there was a time when Apple had to beg carriers to take the iPhone because Steve Jobs attached a rather hefty condition to getting the iPhone: The carrier would have to kick back a hefty sum per month off of every contract. (IIRC, AT&T was giving Apple $13 or $17 per month for EVERY iPhone contract in exchange for years of exclusivity.) Verizon passed; Sprint couldn't afford it; T-Mo wasn't a player; only AT&T had the money and desire to pay for the privilege of the iHerds crushing their network.

How is Google supposed to boss anyone around when the Nexus line sells a fraction of what Droid-branded phones or Samsung or HTC does? Here's the deal, with the exception of something crazy like the iPhone, CARRIERS DO NOT NEED ANYTHING ANY HANDSET MAKER MAKES and thus has little incentive to bend to any demands handset makers want to make upon them. Google may make some cars, but Verizon et al own the roads and no one is going to tell them to change their roads to accommodate their new car that's two feet wider or something.

Let's imagine Google gets all macho like you want them to and goes after Verizon. It'll probably go like this:

GOOGLE: Hey, Big Red, we've got a new phone we want to put on your network.

VERIZON: And?

GOOGLE: We want you to support LTE and pass along software updates as soon as we release them.

VERIZON: That's nice. We want ponies that don't poop. Everyone wants something. So?

GOOGLE: We're standing up for our customers and going to tell you how things are going to be. Understand?

VERIZON: (laughing) You're cute when you're trying to be bossy.

GOOGLE: We don't like what you did with the Galaxy Nexus, stripping out Wallet and delaying Jellybean.

VERIZON: And we don't like when birds poop on our freshly-washed Mercedes. What of it?

GOOGLE: Well, things are going to be different.

VERIZON: How so?

GOOGLE: You're going to carry the Nexus 4 and not load it up with your V-bloat.

VERIZON: And how is that going to happen?

GOOGLE: How is what going to happen?

VERIZON: Us taking anything from you under your terms.

GOOGLE: Because it would be the best for our customers.

VERIZON: Your customers? We're not in the business to make YOUR customers happy. Heck, we don't care about OUR customers' happiness. Yeah, see, here's how it looks from here: You WANT us to carry your new phone, but we don't NEED any new phones.

GOOGLE: Sure you do.

VERIZON: Not from you we don't. We've got HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola - don't you guys own that now? - Sony, Sanyo and Pantech bringing us phones day and night. No one tells us what we're going to take. The only reason we gave Apple a pass is because they're friggin' APPLE and they move products in unprecedented quantities. You guys are a pimple on Apple's butt in comparison.

GOOGLE: But, but...

VERIZON: But what?

GOOGLE: But the Nexus 4 is the fastest phone available. Don't you want that?

VERIZON: Sure, but under OUR terms, not YOURS. Can we load our brand-enhancement apps on it and have approval over updates?

GOOGLE: We'd prefer not. We want our users to---

VERIZON: Blah-blah-woof-woof, your users. Who cares? Listen, we've got our morning session where we swim around in our vault full of money coming up now, so we're going to have to ask you to leave. See the receptionist to get your parking validated. See ya, kids.

GOOGLE: But...

VERIZON: You still here? Do I have to call security?

Aaaaaannnnnd SCENE!

Yeah, Google's going to boss the carriers around. And after they pull off that trick, they'll go punch out God.

randyw says:

+1

kramerica says:

I have a hard time reading stuff like this when one person slaps another person because of a comment, BUT, that is friggin funny! I had such a hard time reading it, I read it twice.

movielover76 says:

+10000000000

The Google nexus will never have a big enough user base to push Verizon or AT&T to sell it without carrier bloat or delayed updates.

Verizon and Sprint have already proven to be a no-go when it comes to timely updates to nexus devices, this is partly due to inherit roadblocks that the cdma portion of the phone of imposes on it, with carriers needing to approve updates, they will never be able to provide updates on a nexus timeframe.

AT&T would he easier to get a LTE nexus on, but AT&T has historically shown little or no interest in the nexus phones, they allow the phones to be sold by third parties and used on their network, which with 3G is enough. But LTE is very new and testing AT&T LTE compatible radios would be nearly impossible without any AT&T support.

My prediction, we will get LTE support on the next nexus device after, T-mobile deploys LTE, T-mobile has always supported Google's Nexus program better than any other carrier and allowed Google to directly control the nexus devices they sell. Maybe we'll be lucky and get LTE support on AT&T as well as LTE chips should have matured more by then, but I wouldn't count on it.

It's much better that Goggle only release completely Google controlled nexus devices, so we can voice scandals like the Verizon and to a lesser extent the Sprint Nexus devices slow updates.

As a T-mobile customer, I'm just thrilled to be getting HSPA+42 in this release.

nickacs says:

As a VZW long time customer, I've been thinking of jumping ship next month when my contract is up and going to AT&T because of our nice corporate discount.

So, what's the different between the Straight Talk AT&T and just "regular" AT&T?

Why can't you just buy the Nexus 4 and use on "regular" AT&T carrier? If Straight Talk is using AT&T network, I don't see the difference?
Or is it because "regular" AT&T doesn't offer a monthly contract, just their subsidiary Straight Talk?

Thanks!

steve0617 says:

If you had a regular old locked AT&T smartphone and account now with and just wanted to change phones to the Nexus 4, no problem.

The issue is, their prepaid option is $80 a month for smartphones. And this article was how to cheaply test out GSM if you're currently on a CDMA carrier.

nickacs says:

Hmm, thanks, but I still don't think I understand. I'm asking why can't just buying a Nexus 4 outright work on plain 'ol AT&T network? Why do I have to go through Straight Talk? Is it just because of the lower monthly/no contract price? Because that doesn't matter to me as my corp discount for myself and family jumping ship from crappy VZW to AT&T is a very viable option right now.
I keep seeing the Nexus 4 is a TMobile phone, but still works on AT&T network, just not VZW/Sprint. So I still don't get why I can't use it on AT&T without Straight Talk, just get the phone and buy a plan/data pkg with AT&T only.

Maybe I'm missing something?? Thanks..

MBSMD says:

You can. Buy the phone, pop in AT&T sim and go.

nickacs says:

Ok, coolio, thanks!

shamatuu says:

If i use Att sim card will it pick up their LTE network or only 3G which i don't want to do?

jebr says:

Only the HSPA+ network. It's "3.5G" (faster than 3G networks, but slower than LTE in most places.) However, I'm wondering why, exactly, LTE feels so necessary. HSPA+ has always been fast enough to do streaming audio/video.

shamatuu says:

How good is T Mobile's coverage because i live the US in a city called milpitas?. Also is their service good in L.A?

movielover76 says:

coverage is extremely region specific, you best best if to check out the coverage map on t-mobile's website.

Their coverage maps are much better quality than AT&T and Verizon's who give no information on signal strength and just blanket most of the country in blue or red

Mobius360 says:

Currently this particular phone (Nexus 4) doesn't have LTE.

Suntan says:

I know it is rather against the grain around here, but really the N4 isn't doing a whole lot for me.

As a VZW customer getting unlimited LTE, the GS3 has more to offer me, imo.

-Suntan

Mobius360 says:

Personally if I was grandfathered into unlimited Verizon I would stay put. Their LTE is pretty much perfect in all the areas I'm frequently in. It is a bummer if you want the Nexus 4 obviously. There's plenty of great phones on Verizon though.

I'm on Sprint and have yet to really understand why I stayed with them. I mean I don't hate their service or anything but data speeds are so poor now I can't even barely stream music without skipping. Video forget it. LTE is coming but no concrete time frames. I can always come back to Sprint down the line is what I'm thinking.

Suntan says:

Well, the point was that I don't want an N4. Yeah it has a stupid fast soc, but otherwise it doesn't really have anything over a rooted GS3. At least imo, the other aspects that it leaves out are more important.

-Suntan

movielover76 says:

It's probably a step down from a Verizon LTE device, I was a Verizon LTE subscriber until the share everything plans came around. I just couldn't justify paying full price for a phone and $100 a month to keep unlimited data so I went to HSPA+ and Straight Talk and I'm very happy.

Of course their are positives, you will never get the quick software updates and vanilla nexus experience on a Verizon LTE phone, in fact one big factor that made switching easier was the fact that I was tired of Verizon's notoriously slow software updates, and at this point in Android smartphones, when it comes down to it the software updates deliver a lot more improvement to my smartphone experience than the hardware improvements.
Battery life is more than 100% better than LTE draining Verizon phones.
No contracts and commitments. Cheaper service.

So with a Nexus device I don't have to buy a new smartphone every 6 months to a year just to keep up to date with the latest Android version, that doesn't matter to everyone, but to dedicated nexus buyers like me it does.

Clak says:

Have you all looked at T-Mobile's coverage map lately? So many white spots it looks like it's snowing.

niteryder says:

Since this is not an ATT specific phone you can also use the prepaid unlimited plan with att. Go sweet talk an att sales person into selling you the sim (say you got a go phone off craigs list). Trim the sim down, enter in the custom apn and your done. No silly straight talk proxies and data caps.. Not to mention it's only $50/mo.

be808 says:

this phone should be free with 2 year contract on any carrier...

randyw says:

Carriers just screw up the Nexus Experience. Just ask those who bought a Gnex on Verizon or Sprint. No sense having a Nexus when the Carriers have to test and re-test every update and delay them for weeks if not months.

movielover76 says:

Agreed, and phone subsides the deal American's think they are, you wind up paying more for your phone than if you bought it outright and went prepaid.

Erckul says:

just bought a micro sim card online from T-mobile.

DC Damien says:

I started my experiment yesterday when Sandy closed the city down. I cut off my mobile data and have been using wifi only for 36 hours. 8.49 down; 2.06 up. The key being that if the phone works fine at home and at work that's 75% of the worry about a new carrier.

nctrnl says:

I also use GV Voice Mail on Solavei (on T-Mobile's network) using conditional call forwarding. It works the same as it has on Sprint and Verizon when I was on those networks.

stogie5150 says:

I think this is a LOT of the reason people are so disappointed with Google. They go through all the trouble to build and market a product PERFECT for prepaid in the US (data capped, throttled, or whatever...), and they leave out the most important thing people with limited bandwidth NEED! STORAGE! I am on ST with a Note, and its perfect for me, I don't stream music or video, but I DO keep 32GB of music on an SD card at ALL times, and have a set of ear buds on me at all times. Its maddening because all we prepaid folks only have Samsung to choose from, everyone else has went the way of Google. Think it might be a coincidence that Samsung is kicking ass and the rest of them can barely turn a profit? I don't think it is, Samsung gives us what we WANT. Something Google just cant seem to wrap its mind around. Apple TELLS its customers what they want, Google was supposed to be the antithesis of that, but they are going down the same road. Stock android and prompt updates will only take you so far.

movielover76 says:

Google releasing one line without sd cards is not telling you what you want.
It's offering one device geared towards what google does best, cloud services.
If anyone is responsible for the lack of sd cards in the Android phone market, it's the average consumer. Phones without removable batteries and without sd cards, which make the phones cheaper and thinner are what is selling.

If google removes SD card support from Android itself, then it will be telling you what you want.

The nexus phones are sold worldwide, they aren't exclusively designed with the prepaid market in mind, if anything they are sold with t-mobile in mind, the company that supports the nexus line to most and also still provides unlimited data and much cheaper data tiers.

Kamin says:

Thanks for the great info Andrew! =)

gravage says:

So, your advice is to buy one, try it for a month, and then sell it on Ebay? Genius! No one would have ever thought of that without reading this article.

I was expecting something along the lines of: Google has a 30 day return policy or something.

I'm not sure why GSM is such a big deal. Sprint's 3G network is laughably slow and Verizon's is barely faster. They have better coverage, respectively, but unless you live in no man's land, GSM carriers have pretty good coverage and the data speeds are pretty good, on par with the lower end of LTE. In Austin, TX, I regularly see 6-8 Mbps on HSPA+. Considering that Sprint tops out at around 1 Mbps and Verizon maxes at around 2, I'll be sticking with GSM for the foreseeable future.

ryanf says:

T-Mo network can do 42MBPS but what about the AT&T network with Straight Talk? What about using this with Solavei or SimpleMobile? What would the max network speeds be? I'm new to the GSM/HSPA world as I've been on Verizon since what seems like the dawn of time. Still love the network but very tired of the prices.

vansmack says:

At&t does not have DC-HSPA+ and is thus limited to 21mbps on they're HSPA+ network.

jeffreytz says:

I did this exactly with the Galaxy Nexus earlier in the year and have never looked back, taking it a step further and permanently porting my Sprint number to Google Voice when I decided I was done with Sprint. T-Mobile is my primary network, but I have a Straight Talk AT&T SIM as well and use it during the summer months when I spend a lot of weekends in the rural Mid-West at race tracks. AT&T has much better signal coverage in those areas than T-Mobile, and it's nice to have a no-hassle option for guaranteed coverage.

guenth says:

I would love to do this. Now that you have permanently ported your Sprint number to Google Voice, what happens when you are sent an MMS ? It doesn't make it through?

I would do this in a HEARTBEAT if not for the ETF on Verizon. I dont know what it is, but I'm sure it's obscene.

trivor says:

ETF on Verizon starts at $350 and goes down by $10/month (yeah, I know that's only $240 after 24 months) until it disappears at 24 mos. You make your money back quickly IF TMo or Straight Talk works well in your area - up to you how the financing works out. I wish I had an option but Verizon is the ONLY carrier with decent coverage in my small town.

movielover76 says:

I switched with $8 months left on my verizon plan, at the prices I was paying verizon I broke even after 4 months and saved quite a bit of money by the 8th month. You have to compare the cost of the device, upgrade fees on your existing network. and the difference in your monthly bill for the length of the rest of the contract in order to determine when it's financially viable to leave Verizon or any other carrier.

Touchpaddle says:

What if at the end of the experiment that I decide to love the LG Nexus 4?

How the heck am I suppose to use it on Verizon's network?

Was this article written as endorsement for T-Mobile and/or AT&T?(or StraightTalk)

Both T-Mobile and AT&T are fine networks. Unfortunately, T-Mobile coverage in my
city is still stuck at 2G. Yes, I said 2G.(that's TWO-G) It's inexcusable for a
city with 200,000 population. AT&T only has 3G.(but at a very respectable 1.7mbps
when I last tried it) On the other hand, my Verizon Galaxy Nexus always gets more
than 10mbps on the 4G LTE network.

(just to be clear, I absolutely hate Verizon and will jump ship, as soon as
T-Mobile upgrades to 3G or 4G... or AT&T to 4G)

MBSMD says:

N4 is a no-go on VZW (or Sprint). GSM-only.

movielover76 says:

Prepaid isn't without it's limitations, and compromises, that's why they suggest you try it.
I was Verizon with 15 - 20 mbps+ speeds but left for T-mobile which gets 3-8mbps average in my area for the cost savings. It's a balancing act everyone has to figure out for themselves.
That's why they are suggesting you try it first before switching, because it's not for everyone.

I think this isn't an article endorsing any carrier, just showcasing the cheaper bring your own device prepaid plans that are more than sufficient for a large number of the population.
With the hspa+ speeds I get in my area on T-mobile I rarely notice the difference between HSPA+21 and LTE and it will be even less noticable when I upgrade to HSPA+42.

Many may even be perfectly statisfied with the 1.7mbps you get in your area. That's fast enough to do pretty much everything on a smartphone, even video streaming.

Todd Liddick says:

So will the Nexus 4 work with Straight Talk?

Omar Garcia says:

Yes! That's the whole point of the article...

So. T-Mobile has no service in my area, at least no 3/4g, only 2g and lower. If I went with the straight talk for att which has great service in my area would I still be able to get up to 42mbs with HSPA+? Or will the HSPA+42 only work with T-Mobile? I am confused on this. I keep seeing HSPA+21 and 42+ being tossed around. I was under the impression that HSPA+ covered from 15-42mbs regardless? Can someone clarify for me what this would mean since I can only use straight talk att sim option. thanks in advance.