Carrier The CDMA iPhone 7 IS compatible with Straight Talk's Verizon-based LTE Network

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by damian, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. damian, Sep 16, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016

    damian macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    #1
    Question: Is the CDMA iPhone 7 compatible with Straight Talk's Verizon-based LTE Network?

    [Answer: Yes, it is. Skip to the "Update #3" section of this post for tips and an explanation of how to use a CDMA iPhone 7 on Straight Talk's Verizon-based LTE network.]

    The answer to this question may seem like it's obviously—almost tautologically—yes, but according three out of three Straight Talk representatives (all of whom claim to be supervisors), and one out of one Apple representatives, it's not necessarily so.

    They all said there's no way to know, without the phone's IMEI, whether it's compatible with Straight Talk's Verizon-based LTE/CDMA network.

    I told them I don't understand how a CDMA iPhone 7 could possibly not work on Straight Talk's Verizon-based LTE network, if I were to try to activate it with a Verizon-based sim card from Straight Talk. None of these reps could give me a clear answer. They all just said the only way to check is to give them the IMEI number.

    I said I don't have the IMEI number, because I haven't purchased the phone yet, and my whole point in calling is to see whether I should buy this phone, because I can't risk buying it, only to find out it's not compatible. In other words, I feel like I'm stuck in a Catch 22.

    Why don't I just buy it, and return it, if it's not compatible? Because I'm planning to use my $1000 Paypal line of credit to buy Target electronic gift cards online, and use the gift cards to buy the iPhone, since I don't have $1000 cash. So if I return the phone, I'll be stuck with $1000 worth of non-returnable electronic gift cards (which I don't need), a thousand dollar balance on my Paypal line of credit, and no iPhone 7—not a situation I want to find myself in.

    (I'd buy the phone directly with my Paypal line of credit, but Target doesn't allow customers to pay with Paypal in-store, and I have to pay for the iPhone in-store, since I pre-ordered it for in-store pickup. I would have prepaid for the phone on Target's, Best Buy's, or Apple's site, but so far, the only way to do so, is to sign up with one of the big four carriers [which I don't want to do], or to already have an account with one of the big four carriers [which I don't have]. Meanwhile, the "sim-free" [i.e., not linked to any carrier] iPhone 7 is not yet available from Apple, or anyone else, with no word on when it will become available.)

    Between my girlfriend and I, we have a CDMA iPhone 6S and a CDMA iPhone 5C, both of which work on Straight Talk's Verizon-based LTE network, so I have trouble imagining that the iPhone 7 wouldn't. However, even Apple's website isn't clear on this issue, as http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204039 shows that Straight Talk supports LTE, whereas http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/ shows that Straight Talk supports LTE on the iPhone 5C/5S/6/6S, but doesn't list LTE support for the iPhone 7.

    Straight Talk told me that even if the CDMA iPhone 7 doesn't end up working with Straight Talk's Verizon-based TE network, it should at least work with AT&T's or T-Mobile's network. However, AT&T's and T-Mobile's coverage sucks, where I live (as does Sprint's), so I really want it to work with Verizon's network.

    Can anyone confirm that the CDMA iPhone 7 will work with Straight Talk's Verizon-based LTE network, or suggest how I can get around this vexing conundrum?

    UPDATE #1:

    I stopped by the Apple store this morning, and got an IMEI number from a brand new, not-yet-activated-or-registered CDMA iPhone 7, from an Apple store employee. I gave that number to a Straight Talk representative. At first, she said that the IMEI was coming up in her system as not-yet-activated-or-registered, and therefore wasn't eligible for their Bring Your Own Phone program.

    When I explained the situation, however, she said there is a workaround: She said if I bring the phone to my local Walmart, they can marry the SIM card to the serial number, using their WARP system. She did not know what WARP stands for. According to http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/...vation-made-easier-with-simplexity-technology, it seems to stand for Simplexity's "Wireless Activation Retail Platform," which Walmart acquired in mid-2014. She said that if the Walmart employee isn't able to do this, I can call Straight Talk, and they can make it happen. She said that once that marriage has occurred, they can then activate the phone with Straight Talk.

    She said it's also important that I get a special type of SIM called a SOMM (SIM out multi-mode)—which is necessary for the 6/6S/7 iPhones—rather than a standard Straight Talk SIM.

    When I called back and spoke to a second Straight Talk representative, she confirmed what the first representative had told me.

    They both told me that this is a "new process" that they haven't actually seen done before, not only because the process is new, but also because it's such an unusual situation (i.e., most Bring Your Own Phone customers bring phones that have already been activated/registered with another carrier), but they are confident that it will work.

    Is anyone able to explain the whole "marry the Sim card to the serial number" process, in plain English, so that I can understand this situation better?

    Fingers crossed that it actually works!

    UPDATE #2:

    I just got off the phone with a Walmart wireless salesperson. He said I could buy an iPhone 7 from Walmart (using electronic gift cards I buy with my Paypal line of credit), without signing up with one of the big four carriers, then he could marry the SIM card to the serial number using the WARP system, and activate the phone with Straight Talk, all at once. That seems like the simplest, quickest solution, assuming I can find a Walmart that has one in stock. Walmart's site seems to list stores that have them in stock, though the store I called had only the 32GB model, so I guess I'll have to keep calling back, until I can find the 256GB model.

    UPDATE#3:

    It worked.

    I'm not exactly sure how, because getting it to work involved at least a dozen calls the Straight Talk, and a couple of trips to Walmart. But in the end, it worked. My new iPhone 7 works perfectly on Straight Talk's Verizon network.

    Key points:

    • Despite what multiple Straight Talk representatives told me, using Walmart's WARP system was both unnecessary and impossible. When the Walmart wireless salesperson tried to register my phone using WARP, they received unresolvable error messages, presumably because I didn't buy the phone from Walmart. Even scanning the box with the proper UPC code didn't help, because WARP didn't recognize it as a valid UPC.

    • I did not need a "special" SIM card from Walmart. However, I can't tell you whether I needed a "special" SIM card or not, because I ended up having a SIM card mailed to me from Straight Talk (for free), and I don't know whether that SIM card was "special." Why did Straight Talk mail me a SIM card? Because I bought a regular SIM card from Walmart, and a Straight Talk representative mistakenly associated that SIM card with my old phone, rather than my new phone—which took hours to discover, and turned out to be irreversible. That may explain why I ended up spending over a dozen hours, on multiple days—between visiting Walmart and calling Straight Talk—getting it set up, rather than doing it in a few minutes. However, I'm not certain that that was the only problem. When I suggested to one of the many Straight Talk representatives to whom I spoke that I just buy another regular SIM card from Walmart—or get one of their "special" SOMM SIM cards, which they keep behind the desk for new iPhones, and don't sell independently, but gave me for free, out of pity—she said that either way, she couldn't guarantee that the SIM would be compatible with the phone. The only way to guarantee compatibility was for her to mail me one.

    My advice to anyone trying to use an iPhone 7 on Straight Talk's Verizon network:

    • Don't let them tell you the CDMA iPhone 7 isn't compatible with Straight Talk's Verizon network. It is. Tell them you know someone (i.e., me) who got it to work.

    • Once you have the phone in hand, call Straight Talk, and ask them to mail you a compatible SIM. If they tell you to just buy one from Walmart, tell them you've been told by someone who went through this that that person was told by a Straight Talk representative that it's not clear whether the SIMs they sell at Walmart are compatible with the iPhone 7.

    • If they tell you you need to activate the phone using Walmart's WARP system, tell them they are mistaken, because you know someone (i.e., me) who got a new CDMA iPhone 7 activated without Walmart's WARP system, and besides, WARP was not able to register the phone.

    • Be prepared to get a different answer from every Straight Talk and Walmart representative you speak to, and be prepared to spend hours on the phone with Straight Talk or at Walmart.

    If you do end up trying a SIM card from Walmart—either a regular one from the packet, or the special iPhone one they keep behind the counter for new iPhones—please let us know in this thread whether it works. (I would like to know, for if and when I buy another iPhone, in the future, whether I can just get one from Walmart—and if so, which one I need to get—or whether I need to wait for Straight Talk to mail me one.)
     
  2. Mikedave macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    #2

    Hi
    I would wait for sim free edition it will be open to all networks cdma and gsm
     
  3. damian thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    #3
    That would be the simplest option, Mike—indeed—but I'm impatient :)
     
  4. Mikedave macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    #4
    Hello again
    Then get Verizon version it should work with CDMA without any problem, last year iPhone 6s worked on all the network, just make sure Verizon is off contract
     
  5. damian thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    #5
    Yes, that is my plan. I just wanted to make sure it would work. My off-contract iPhone 6S from Verizon also works with Straight Talk, so it makes intuitive sense that the iPhone 7 would work as well. I just didn't want to make any assumptions.
     
  6. damian thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    #6
    UPDATE:

    It worked.

    I'm not exactly sure how, because getting it to work involved at least a dozen calls the Straight Talk, and a couple of trips to Walmart. But in the end, it worked. My new iPhone 7 works perfectly on Straight Talk's Verizon network.

    Key points:

    • Despite what multiple Straight Talk representatives told me, using Walmart's WARP system was both unnecessary and impossible. When the Walmart wireless salesperson tried to register my phone using WARP, they received unresolvable error messages, presumably because I didn't buy the phone from Walmart. Even scanning the box with the proper UPC code didn't help, because WARP didn't recognize it as a valid UPC.

    • I did not need a "special" SIM card from Walmart. However, I can't tell you whether I needed a "special" SIM card or not, because I ended up having a SIM card mailed to me from Straight Talk (for free), and I don't know whether that SIM card was "special." Why did Straight Talk mail me a SIM card? Because I bought a regular SIM card from Walmart, and a Straight Talk representative mistakenly associated that SIM card with my old phone, rather than my new phone—which took hours to discover, and turned out to be irreversible. That may explain why I ended up spending over a dozen hours, on multiple days—between visiting Walmart and calling Straight Talk—getting it set up, rather than doing it in a few minutes. However, I'm not certain that that was the only problem. When I suggested to one of the many Straight Talk representatives to whom I spoke that I just buy another regular SIM card from Walmart—or get one of their "special" SOMM SIM cards, which they keep behind the desk for new iPhones, and don't sell independently, but gave me for free, out of pity—she said that either way, she couldn't guarantee that the SIM would be compatible with the phone. The only way to guarantee compatibility was for her to mail me one.

    My advice to anyone trying to use an iPhone 7 on Straight Talk's Verizon network:

    • Don't let them tell you the CDMA iPhone 7 isn't compatible with Straight Talk's Verizon network. It is. Tell them you know someone (i.e., me) who got it to work.

    • Once you have the phone in hand, call Straight Talk, and ask them to mail you a compatible SIM. If they tell you to just buy one from Walmart, tell them you've been told by someone who went through this that that person was told by a Straight Talk representative that it's not clear whether the SIMs they sell at Walmart are compatible with the iPhone 7.

    • If they tell you you need to activate the phone using Walmart's WARP system, tell them they are mistaken, because you know someone (i.e., me) who got a new CDMA iPhone 7 activated without Walmart's WARP system, and besides, WARP was not able to register the phone.

    • Be prepared to get a different answer from every Straight Talk and Walmart representative you speak to, and be prepared to spend hours on the phone with Straight Talk or at Walmart.

    If you do end up trying a SIM card from Walmart—either a regular one from the packet, or the special iPhone one they keep behind the counter for new iPhones—please let us know in this thread whether it works. (I would like to know, for if and when I buy another iPhone, in the future, whether I can just get one from Walmart—and if so, which one I need to get—or whether I need to wait for Straight Talk to mail me one.)
     

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