“Coincidentally I’m looking into this topic as well these days. I’m trying to figure out what the downsides are for the Walmart / Straight Talk system that provides data plans for about 1/2 the price of anyone else, given that you pay full price for the phone. Have you heard of this?”
I have an opinion – not on the “Straight Talk” plan form Wal-Mart* – but on the idea of freeing your phone from your carrier.
Mobile phones have developed to the point where they’re now miniature computers. Having a computer that’s tied to your data/voice carrier is like having a home computer that’s tied to your internet provider: it’s unacceptable for the customer, but a great deal for the carrier. After all once they have your hardware and your data, you can’t go anywhere without loosing a lot of valuable information and your expensive phone. This is not at all cool, in my opinion. While there are some ways to protect your data, the techniques don’t cover everything.
Would you let me know if you go for it and what your experience is?
* Not only do I have no experience with the Straight Talk plan, I do have experience with Wal-Mart. The experiences I had with Wal-Mart were to overpay for extremely poor quality merchandise, so I don’t plan to do any business with them in the future.