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Thread: Straight Talk Home Phone and the end of Verizon 3G?

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    Straight Talk Home Phone and the end of Verizon 3G?

    New guy here so please be gentle!

    Okay, so I have not one but two Huawei H258C boxes (or Straight Talk Home Phone). I know that the Verizon sunset for 3G is approaching soon and I don't want to lose my current services. The Straight Talk Home Phone operates through Verizon and I pay $15 and some change for one month of service and it works well for me. Been the VOIP route and it was completely worthless in a power outage while my current cellular service works great. So I don't want to lose it.

    I have contacted Straight Talk and Huawei directly to ask if the Huawei H258C boxes I have will work past the Verizon 3G sunset and neither could answer the question. Customer service communication is a nightmare with both. I even contacted Verizon to see if they could even approach the question in some way and met another roadblock.

    Straight Talk doesn't sell the Huawei H258C anymore. They haven't in over a year. Now they offer the ZTE Z723EL box (new or reconditioned) on their website. It is my understanding that the ZTE Z723EL operates on 3G or 4G. So I am assuming that's why they are actively selling them in mid-October 2019 with just a few months to go before Verizon turns 3G off.

    So can anyone tell me for sure, is the Huawei H258C on 3G or 4G? And if you have any experience with the ZTE box, what can you tell me?

    Thanks everyone!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkNC View Post
    New guy here so please be gentle!

    Okay, so I have not one but two Huawei H258C boxes (or Straight Talk Home Phone). I know that the Verizon sunset for 3G is approaching soon and I don't want to lose my current services. The Straight Talk Home Phone operates through Verizon and I pay $15 and some change for one month of service and it works well for me. Been the VOIP route and it was completely worthless in a power outage while my current cellular service works great. So I don't want to lose it.

    I have contacted Straight Talk and Huawei directly to ask if the Huawei H258C boxes I have will work past the Verizon 3G sunset and neither could answer the question. Customer service communication is a nightmare with both. I even contacted Verizon to see if they could even approach the question in some way and met another roadblock.

    Straight Talk doesn't sell the Huawei H258C anymore. They haven't in over a year. Now they offer the ZTE Z723EL box (new or reconditioned) on their website. It is my understanding that the ZTE Z723EL operates on 3G or 4G. So I am assuming that's why they are actively selling them in mid-October 2019 with just a few months to go before Verizon turns 3G off.

    So can anyone tell me for sure, is the Huawei H258C on 3G or 4G? And if you have any experience with the ZTE box, what can you tell me?

    Thanks everyone!
    As the manual states the H258C is cdma only. So after the shutdown it will cease to work

    And the zte uses volte so it’ll still work


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    Quote Originally Posted by hyelton View Post
    As the manual states the H258C is cdma only. So after the shutdown it will cease to work

    And the zte uses volte so it’ll still work

    ##

    Thanks a lot for the quick reply! Straight Talk just updated their website and they offer the refurbished ZTE models for $19.99, so I'm going ahead and order two and get started replacing these Huawei boxes. Guess I can use them as paperweights now!

    Do you have any idea if the Straight Talk ZTE units will still operate on Verizon? I'm assuming they will. AT&T is non-existent at my house and the only thing that works here is Verizon and Sprint.

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    Straight Talk Home Phone and the end of Verizon 3G?

    Per FCC website on original Huawei model’s FCC ID: QISF256-BVW

    https://apps.fcc.gov/eas/GetApplicat...tml?id=2222796

    Unless the FCC ID changed due to a revised model, the FCC only tested CDMA bands 0 and 1.

    From that information, when Verizon disables CDMA access mid-to-late next year (Straight Talk say cutoff is June, but that may change), this device will not work.
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    The "shutdown" has been pushed out into 2020. Read around the forums a bit for details. Or someone who has the details top of mind can chime in. MVNOs are not being too specific about an absolute date, while Verizon Wireless proper is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whacker View Post
    The "shutdown" has been pushed out into 2020. Read around the forums a bit for details. Or someone who has the details top of mind can chime in. MVNOs are not being too specific about an absolute date, while Verizon Wireless proper is.
    Thanks so much!

    Been skimming the forums like you advised but there is so much conflicting information. I use Verizon for my mobile phone so that doesn't worry me there. But I still like having a home phone and really want to keep my Straight Talk home phone. The $15 and some change for it is much better than the $35+ that AT&T charges for the old copper line.

    You're exactly right about the MVNOs being vague. I called Straight Talk twice and go absolutely nowhere. Nothing of value through chat either. Verizon just referred me back to Straight Talk and I understand that. Huawei US was worthless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkNC View Post
    Straight Talk just updated their website and they offer the refurbished ZTE models for $19.99, so I'm going ahead and order two and get started replacing these Huawei boxes. Guess I can use them as paperweights now!

    Do you have any idea if the Straight Talk ZTE units will still operate on Verizon? I'm assuming they will. AT&T is non-existent at my house and the only thing that works here is Verizon and Sprint.
    The ZTE Z723EL is even found in some Walmart stores. There was a Franklin Straight Talk home phone announced, but never showed up in the stores or online. Also at Walmart is the Ooma Phone Genie that runs on Sprint. I see this one as possibly having an advantage, having a separate antenna and base unit. Antenna in the best reception location, and base unit where convenient.

    https://www.ooma.com/home-phone-service/phone-genie/

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    Quote Originally Posted by loboheeler View Post
    Also at Walmart is the Ooma Phone Genie that runs on Sprint. I see this one as possibly having an advantage, having a separate antenna and base unit. Antenna in the best reception location, and base unit where convenient.
    This is a fair point. LTE on some of the bands have less propagation in some terrain compared to CDMA and, due to various reasons including equipment placement. It isn’t a lot to my understanding, but indoors it may make a difference having an antenna that reaches outside vs. one that has to stay near the unit inside.

    Though this is the only benefit I see the Ooma has, as Sprint is not really the best provider as far as coverage is concerned. Sprint is also in a holding pattern because of the potential effects of the TMUS merger attempt, so that device may not last more than a couple years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haas_Dave View Post
    Per FCC website on original Huawei model’s FCC ID: QISF256-BVW

    https://apps.fcc.gov/eas/GetApplicat...tml?id=2222796

    Unless the FCC ID changed due to a revised model, the FCC only tested CDMA bands 0 and 1.

    From that information, when Verizon disables CDMA access mid-to-late next year (Straight Talk say cutoff is June, but that may change), this device will not work.
    If you look at the ZTE Z723EL on the FCC site which I have over a year ago, it says that the ZTE Z723EL has VoLTE, and has no CDMA too. So it is CDMA-less device.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Haas_Dave View Post
    Though this is the only benefit I see the Ooma has, as Sprint is not really the best provider as far as coverage is concerned. Sprint is also in a holding pattern because of the potential effects of the TMUS merger attempt, so that device may not last more than a couple years.
    The Sprint/T-Mo merger has just been approved by the FCC. Hard to figure what it will evolve into. Those networks are incompatible. When T-Mo bought MetroPCS a few years ago, the CDMA was shut down after a while.

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    Okay guys, just an update on my question on the Straight Talk Home Phone and the Huawei box becoming obsolete with the Verizon sunset and the new ZTE Z723EL with voLTE.

    I went ahead and ordered the ZTE on Thursday and arrived today (Saturday). I got the reconditioned model on their website for $19.99 (plus a $15 monthly service card). Called Straight Talk to switch the service from the old Huawei to the ZTE and it went without a hitch. The total switch time took less that 15 minutes. The ZTE comes with the nano sim already installed. Not a single cosmetic blemish on it anywhere.

    It took it to the second story of my house and found a location with 4 steady signal bars. The old Hauwei only got two to three bars. So I plugged it onto the phone jack so all of the phones will ring in the house. Works great. The signal is much more steady than the Huawei CDMA signal. Not one dropped call or fade out in the testing of calling people. Everyone said I sounded great.

    The only drawback is that the internal volume on the ZTE seems lower than the Huawei box. I increased the volume internally in the ZTE and on my phones, but it still seems a little lower than the old box. You can hear the people on the other end normally, it just seems lower to me. I'm just wondering if it is a change in the technology that may make the volume seem a little bit lower. Anyway, I can live with it and for the purpose of having a home phone (emergencies) - it will work fine. I use my mobile phone for most of my calls anyway.

    So there you go. Just a little update in case anyone is curious. By the way, thanks to everyone who answered my questions. Appreciate all your help!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkNC View Post
    Okay guys, just an update on my question on the Straight Talk Home Phone and the Huawei box becoming obsolete with the Verizon sunset and the new ZTE Z723EL with voLTE.

    I went ahead and ordered the ZTE on Thursday and arrived today (Saturday). I got the reconditioned model on their website for $19.99 (plus a $15 monthly service card). Called Straight Talk to switch the service from the old Huawei to the ZTE and it went without a hitch. The total switch time took less that 15 minutes. The ZTE comes with the nano sim already installed. Not a single cosmetic blemish on it anywhere.

    It took it to the second story of my house and found a location with 4 steady signal bars. The old Hauwei only got two to three bars. So I plugged it onto the phone jack so all of the phones will ring in the house. Works great. The signal is much more steady than the Huawei CDMA signal. Not one dropped call or fade out in the testing of calling people. Everyone said I sounded great.

    The only drawback is that the internal volume on the ZTE seems lower than the Huawei box. I increased the volume internally in the ZTE and on my phones, but it still seems a little lower than the old box. You can hear the people on the other end normally, it just seems lower to me. I'm just wondering if it is a change in the technology that may make the volume seem a little bit lower. Anyway, I can live with it and for the purpose of having a home phone (emergencies) - it will work fine. I use my mobile phone for most of my calls anyway.

    So there you go. Just a little update in case anyone is curious. By the way, thanks to everyone who answered my questions. Appreciate all your help!
    Thanks for the info and update.

    I have been interested in one of these for a while, but was dragging my feet about paying the full $50 price. I had not seen the $20 refurb when I checked. When I checked yesterday, they had the refurb. It appears to come and go, based on available units I guess.

    The online order errored out when I submitted it, but a few minutes later I received an email that the order was accepted. Today I received a message that the unit has shipped.

    I had wondered how this would handle 911 as a landline replacement. The notes say, "The GPS chip in the Equipment will operate only if you place the Equipment near a window or other opening to the exterior of the premises. In the event of an emergency call to 911, you must be prepared to provide your address and exact location inside the premises as the 911 call center will NOT have your physical address and may not be able to determine your location...."

    This is the same situation as using a cellphone. I have no idea if my PSAP can handle the GPS info. I do know that when I called 911 with an AT&T cellphone from home it connected to the next county over. They were able to transfer me quickly to my county.

    IIRC, somewhere up the topic someone mentioned that this unit does not operate when the electric is out. That is not correct. The unit has a battery. The specs say that, on battery, it will function for 13 hours of standby and 3 hours of talk. Of course it would require using a phone that does not need external electric to function.

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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    Thanks for the info and update.

    I have been interested in one of these for a while, but was dragging my feet about paying the full $50 price. I had not seen the $20 refurb when I checked. When I checked yesterday, they had the refurb. It appears to come and go, based on available units I guess.

    The online order errored out when I submitted it, but a few minutes later I received an email that the order was accepted. Today I received a message that the unit has shipped.

    I had wondered how this would handle 911 as a landline replacement. The notes say, "The GPS chip in the Equipment will operate only if you place the Equipment near a window or other opening to the exterior of the premises. In the event of an emergency call to 911, you must be prepared to provide your address and exact location inside the premises as the 911 call center will NOT have your physical address and may not be able to determine your location...."

    This is the same situation as using a cellphone. I have no idea if my PSAP can handle the GPS info. I do know that when I called 911 with an AT&T cellphone from home it connected to the next county over. They were able to transfer me quickly to my county.

    IIRC, somewhere up the topic someone mentioned that this unit does not operate when the electric is out. That is not correct. The unit has a battery. The specs say that, on battery, it will function for 13 hours of standby and 3 hours of talk. Of course it would require using a phone that does not need external electric to function.
    Glad you got the refurbished unit! And I went through the EXACT same thing with the error message when I submitted my order. I went to my bank app and saw where the charge for the unit and the service card went through. Then about an hour later, I got two emails, one where the charge went through and then where my order was received. As I said, I ordered it Thursday and it arrived this past Saturday.

    I've been testing it since I got it all connected. The unit sits on the second floor of my house on a shelf next to my office window where I'm getting 4 constant bars of service. The voLTE call quality is much, much better that the Huawei unit I had which is CDMA. In the calls I've made or received, not once has it dropped out or have I lost the conversation. My unit is plugged into a wall outlet and it rings the phones all over the house (I have two cordless units with multiple phones all over the house- 3 stories). Years ago, I made sure the phone company's connection to my house was disconnected first (BellSouth used plugs which I just popped out) before I connected my Straight Talk service.

    And you're right, the battery will hold a charge even in a power outage. Just need to keep an old fashioned phone handy.

    After you get yours connected and operating, give me an update. I'd love to hear what you think. $20 for the unit is a steal especially when it works as well as a brand new one.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkNC View Post
    Glad you got the refurbished unit! And I went through the EXACT same thing with the error message when I submitted my order. I went to my bank app and saw where the charge for the unit and the service card went through. Then about an hour later, I got two emails, one where the charge went through and then where my order was received. As I said, I ordered it Thursday and it arrived this past Saturday.

    I've been testing it since I got it all connected. The unit sits on the second floor of my house on a shelf next to my office window where I'm getting 4 constant bars of service. The voLTE call quality is much, much better that the Huawei unit I had which is CDMA. In the calls I've made or received, not once has it dropped out or have I lost the conversation. My unit is plugged into a wall outlet and it rings the phones all over the house (I have two cordless units with multiple phones all over the house- 3 stories). Years ago, I made sure the phone company's connection to my house was disconnected first (BellSouth used plugs which I just popped out) before I connected my Straight Talk service.

    And you're right, the battery will hold a charge even in a power outage. Just need to keep an old fashioned phone handy.

    After you get yours connected and operating, give me an update. I'd love to hear what you think. $20 for the unit is a steal especially when it works as well as a brand new one.

    Good luck!
    I will post a review after I check it out. I plan to disconnect the phoneco at the network interface box and run it over the house wiring.

    I just wanted it as backup for my Obi system. That does not work when cable or electric is out, which is a common occurrence here.

    I will try it with my alarm system. They say that these don't work for alarms, but all my alarm system does is send Touch Tones to "dial" and play recorded audio. Anyone know what systems like ADT do?

    I will try it with my fax just for fun. I don't expect that will work.

    I have had pretty good luck with refurb items - a Dell i5 notebook for $150, Lenovo i5 desk computer for $125, Velocity LTE hotspot for $30. A Netgear router did not work and was returned. These homebase units are probably returns that were just tried for a few days, so they should be low risk.

    I don't buy $100 bottles of wine either. Don't even want to think about refurbed wine though. ;~>

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by bobdevnul View Post
    I will try it with my alarm system. They say that these don't work for alarms, but all my alarm system does is send Touch Tones to "dial" and play recorded audio. Anyone know what systems like ADT do?
    I will try it with my fax just for fun. I don't expect that will work. I don't buy $100 bottles of wine either. Don't even want to think about refurbed wine though. ;~>
    My alarm system would not work with the Huawei box from Straight Talk. Worked fine with Time Warner's home phone VOIP, but it would not dial out on Huawei. The alarm system was old anyway so I replaced it with a refurbished unit (yep, another bargain) from SimpliSafe. It is cellular too (through Verizon) and I pay $15 for monthly monitoring. That's $10 cheaper than I was paying for monthly monitoring so it was a bargain.

    Don't know about a fax machine. When I dropped TW's digital home phone, I completely disconnected the fax machine I had. I read on one of the threads that someone was using their fax machine on the Straight Talk home phone service so it can't hurt to try. These days I use FaxZero or GotFreeFax which allows you to send free faxes with attachments.

    Oh, I don't buy refurbished wine either. But when I'm having get-togethers by my pool in the summers, I do buy the $3.00 bottles of wine from Lidl. It's not that bad.

    Good luck with your ZTE and I'll be watching for your review!

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