Android Phones on Net10(!!!), Straight Talk, and Virgin Mobile

by pbushx2 on

As surprising as it was to learn that Straight Talk was offering an Android phone when the Samsung Galaxy Precedent debuted in September, it’s even more shocking that Net10 has quickly followed suit. Net10 is now offering two Android handsets. (Note that you can order the phones now, but they won’t ship for a couple more weeks.)

LG Optimus Q - Straight Talk, Net10, and Virgin Mobile

The LG Optimus Q and the LG Optimus Net are similar in screen size and other specs. Both offer a touch screen, and the Q includes a slide-out physical QWERTY keyboard. The Optimus Net appears to be exclusive to Net10, while the Optimus Q will also be headed to sister company Straight Talk as well as pay-as-you-go competitor Virgin Mobile.

Like the Galaxy Precedent, these new offerings will run on the Sprint network, which is something new for Net10.

The Net10 phones will work only with Net10′s $50 monthly unlimited plan. This begs the question, then, of why anyone would want the Net10 version when the same phone is available on Straight Talk, where you can get a month of unlimited service for $45. Perhaps the Net10 version will be less expensive, but other than that I can’t figure out the advantage of going with Net10 over Straight Talk for this phone.

On Virgin Mobile., the phone will be available possibly with an even lower monthly, depending on how many minutes you’ll need. They have a $35 plan that offers unlimited web, data, and messaging, with 300 anytime minutes. For another $10, you can get the same plan, but this time the minutes are bumped up to 1200. And at the top of the spectrum, for $55, is unlimited everything.

I haven’t previously spent much time covering Virgin since the Sprint network hasn’t met my needs, and Virgin uses only the Sprint network. Now that Straight Talk and Net10 are going head-to-head on this network, I thought it only makes sense to at least let you know the pricing. If you are considering using a Sprint-based phone from Net10 or Straight Talk, you should also review Virgin’s offerings.

For me personally, the Sprint network is still a major disadvantage, and I know many, if not most, prepaid users are in the same boat. But if you definitely want one of these prepaid Android devices, Virgin currently appears to have the edge in offering a variety of plans. You can check out their site here.

LG Optimus Net - Exclusive to Net10

Also, by the way, I will plan to review both of these models, hopefully, but first I’ll need to sell off some of the other phones I’ve accumulated and use that cash to purchase the new Android devices. Stay tuned for more info on the LG Optimus Q review and the LG Optimus Net review.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

fsimpro October 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I’m really surprised Net10 will be getting the droids. However, are you sure they will only work with the unlimited plan? I didn’t read that anywhere on the net10 site. Can you give me a link?

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pbushx2 October 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm

You are right, when I looked again I didn’t see anything on the site either. I swear I thought I saw something about them being Unlimited only in the past, though. Anyway, I did chat with a Net10 customer service person and they confirmed that it is unlimited only. Too bad!

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Michael October 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm

It is nice to see Android to some out on Net10, Straight Talk, and Virgin Mobile. This will be interesting. Does anyone know what version of Android these phones will be running?

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pbushx2 October 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm

They will run Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) according to the phone details on the “buy phones” page. It isn’t clear to me which particular version of Gingerbread this will be.

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Jim Lloyd October 15, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Pbush, I remember when StraightTalk first came out, I checked some info and the CDMA phones did NOT roam. But the CDMA phones on Tracfone and Net10 did roam. I assumed that’s why NET10 charged $5 more for unlimited service. I have not checked this info lately, however, and also never checked it for the GSM phones. But maybe roaming has something to do with it.

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pbushx2 October 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Jim,
That’s a very good point. If that is indeed the case, it could be important.

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Dallas October 15, 2011 at 11:31 pm

On NET10′s Webpage it says the Android phones have “Phonebook with Unlimited Entries” This is impossible no phone can have unlimited phone book entries, there is a limit to how much the memory can hold.

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pbushx2 October 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Yeah, that’s really strange. Maybe it’s effectively unlimited based on the number of entries a person could reasonably be expected to have in their phonebook. But you are definitely correct on the technical aspect of that – couldn’t possibly be completely limitless!

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RFH October 17, 2011 at 8:41 am

Pbush –

Thought I’d weigh in here since I have a Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V Android phone that I bought last winter. While it’s not a bad first Android phone, the Sprint network is definitely a disadvantage. In upstate New York (Columbia County), where I spend a lot of leisure time, Sprint service is often spotty or nonexistent. I also have reason to believe the LG Optimus V’s antenna isn’t the best, but, of course, things can change from one phone model to the next — so these newer LG models may be better in that department.

You can read my Top 5 Virgin Mobile LG Optimus V Annoyances at my blog: http://bit.ly/ph0n3gUy

Keep up the good work.

RFH

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pbushx2 October 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Thanks RFH, that info is helpful. I agree with you 100% on the spottiness of Sprint’s network.

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M October 17, 2011 at 9:45 am

What I have noticed since the new Net10 androids have come out, that the market for Net10 and Straighttalk in my area has changed. I put my zipcode in and it says: “GSM4SPR” now in the browser bar. ATT and Sprint. Up until recently we were “COGSM4″.
We have strong Verizon and ATT coverage, lesser Sprint coverage and no Tmobile in our area.
So now I only have ATT gsm and Sprint cdma models to select with my zipcode.
When I try to enter my zipcode at Tracfone.com lately, I get “Tracfone is not supported in your area”. I have had cdma (VZW) and gasm (ATT) Tracfones in use since 2000.
I sure hope Tracfone won’t use Sprint in favor of VZW now because it is surely not “nationwide”.

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pbushx2 October 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Very interesting! I didn’t notice that, but it definitely makes sense.

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pepper October 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Ok, I was just on Tracfone to activate my LG800 and they have an LG505G which looks suspiciously close to both these android phones. Maybe….could it be……these might actually come to Tracfone as well. Or is an LG505 and older model I just missed?

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pbushx2 November 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I think you probably are talking about the LG 505″C,” not “G,” which many people have been looking forward to for a while because it looks to be a CDMA touch-screen. That would be a first on TracFone. I don’t believe it is Android, though – probably a lot like STraight Talk’s 511c, but without the slide-out qwerty keyboard.

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mel November 2, 2011 at 12:25 am

i could swear that about a month or 2 ago i saw a cdma version of straighttalks t528g but it said m528c and now i cant find it anywhere. i think i even reserved one for me and my husband. am i losing it or is it the 511c that im thinking about? has anyone else seen this other than me? my husband and i were talking about it last night and he remembers me showing it to him on the straighttalk website but i cant remember what area code i searched and is the precedent a gsm version or cdma version? and are any of the nokia smartphones cdma? i have to have cdma phones and can you send me a list of area codes i could use to search with please?

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pbushx2 November 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Hi Mel
I don’t think there is an m528c for Straight Talk. I think you might be thinking of m828c, which I think is actually Samsung’s internal naming structure for the Precedent, which is on the Sprint network.
One zip that I often use to search for CDMA phones is 54747.

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JackDaniel November 4, 2011 at 10:05 am

Does anyone know if I bought the LG Optimus Q on Straight Talk unlimited and decided I didn’t like the service if I could use the same phone and switch to the Net10 unlimited service since they both offer the same phone? Sorry I’m not too technical.

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pbushx2 November 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Hi Jack
Unfortunately, that will not work as far as I know. I haven’t actually used the Optimus Q for either brand yet, but in the past it has been impossible to switch phones among ST, Net10, and Trac, even when the brand both carried the same phone.
That being said, I can’t imagine why you’d want to switch from ST to Net10 and still use the same phone. The Optimus phones on Net10 require the $50 unlimited plan, while on ST you are forced to use the $45 unlimited plan. The phones and the coverage should be the same regardless of the branding. So switching the Optimus Q to Net10 wouldn’t help you at all.

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trucker bob January 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm

The android maps for both net 10 and ST show almost the entire country blacked out for coverage area. How can this be? Is that for data and voice, or both. Anybody know?

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William February 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm

any chance them dropping the requirement of the unlimited plan? i seriously need an unlocked android phone i can put on verizon and tracfone. i only used about 400mins voice & txt last year, i figure double that for a phone like this that has web apps, gps, ect….would really like to use it on wi-fi more than tracfone time too, but wonder if it’ll be limited in function like my bluetooth on my lg290c.

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joshua October 24, 2013 at 9:32 pm

hi i want to get the lg optumis showtime from net 10 but i want to get the pay as you go plan is this possible

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pbushx2 October 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Hi Joshua
Sorry, but on Net10, if you have a smart phone, you are required to use the unlimited plan.

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