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Thread: Using Straight Talk phone in area of Roaming Continuously in Rural Area?

  1. #1
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    Red face Using Straight Talk phone in area of Roaming Continuously in Rural Area?

    Okay folks, so here's potentially a new, original question that I need help with :-)

    I live in Eastern Kentucky, and am currently on a 2 year contract with Verizon's network. I am looking for a much more reasonable alternative, by way of Straight Talk. I've seen the commercials online, and the local WalMart does carry their phones. But there are some questions about that. First, does anyone know how the phone works as far as roaming goes by way of roaming on other networks' towers that Verizon has a "rent" agreement, so to speak, with? Here's the thing, my Verizon phone technically should not work in my area, because the nearest actual Verizon network location is in a city over an hour away from me (Ashland, Ky.). However, I believe that Verizon has a deal worked out with the local contract provider (Appalachian Wireless) to use airtime off of their towers in order to gain a greater customer base, such as in a "out-in-the-sticks" area such as mine.

    My issue is, I would LOVE to get on the Straight Talk network, but I'm afraid that even though the local WalMart carries their phones, that they will not work in my area due to this fact of Verizon customers in my area having to "roam" in Appalachian Wireless's towers for the most part. I'm assuming from my research, regrettably, that Straight Talk works ONLY on Verizon's networks (except for perhaps some phones with the GSM network and SIM card application, where they'd use Cingular Wireless/T-mobile as their providers, both of which are essentially absolutely useless in the Appalachian mountainous regions like where I live), and that Straight Talk itself does not have the same sharing deal as Verizon itself does with smaller cellular companies in rural areas.

    Any suggestions or answers regarding these queries is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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    Does your current Verizon phone show "Extended Network" or "Verizon Wireless" at home?
    T-Mobile’s new marketing campaign for Vermont and Western New Hampshire:
    “Try T-Mobile’s blazingly fast GPRS data network. We’re faster than iDEN and TDMA combined!”

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    Straight Talk actually uses 3 networks, Verizon, ATT and TMobile, to provide service to a wide base of customers.

    The catch is that it doesn't roam, or even switch between the 3 networks...it uses native coverage for each network, exclusively. In other words if you have a Verizon based phone, it will use towers which Verizon considers native coverage, only.

    Is any of those 3 networks well represented in your area? If so, you could go with the appropriate phone, and have great coverage.

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    As far as the "Extended Network" or "Verizon Wireless", I'm pretty sure the screen doesn't show "Extended Network" on the display, but will have to verify that when I see my g/f again and check out her phone (haven't gotten one to replace my broken one yet).

    As far as any of the three networks being represented in my area, I can only honestly say I'm sure ATT is, but it's coverage is spotty at best. I've been told the only reason Verizon works in my area is due to their usage of the local wireless service's (a solely Eastern Ky. provider). Apparently they have a running deal w/ them to use their CDMA coverage, because they are a CDMA provider in this area. My phone number had to come from Ashland, Ky. as they had no number in my region (I'm over an hour away from the nearest Verizon "base station").

    So, I'm not sure what to do. I find it odd that even though when I search Straight Talk's website, and it shows that for any of the nearby 4 or 5 zip codes I request, it still has several available phones as options (Including the top-end Nokia E71 and 6790), and so does the Walmart website when I input the zip code to find what items are in stock in my local store (which I verified by going to the store and seeing the Straight Talk plans), but as soon as I click on one of the phones for ST on the Walmart page, I get a notice saying that phone will not work in my area. Lol, it's ridiculously confusing.

    If I end up having to go the route I may have to, it will be to go with a GSM/SIM-based phone, and at least have the city coverage from ATT. No ATT user can get service in the hollow where I live, but ATT users receive decent coverage in town and the outskirts of the towns nearby, I just happen to be out in the boondocks a bit, lol. The irony however, is that Appalachian Wireless (the local provider) has a tower directly on the hill a few homes above my house, and so since I'm on Verizon I'm assuming that's how I am able to get coverage at home. But if I have to go this way I will just end up getting a majic jack for home phone usage, and have a cell running on ATT for mobile usage.

    If I have to go that route, does anyone know which phones ST has available in the GSM network setting? I noticed most of them tend to be CDMA (which would usually be what I'd be looking for, but under these circumstances I may not be able to go that route). Thanks for the quick responses guys! Your advice is coming in handy!

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    If you are in Eastern Ky then you will have to get a GSM Straight Talk Phone because the CDMA phones will not work over there. Straight Talk CDMA phonee use the Verizon network exclusively and will not roam onto App Wireless. As far as the model numbers for GSM straighttalk phones they wil end with a "g" such as the LG620g. Also the two nokia smartphones will work there too as they are GSM phones. Sorry that AT&T has weak service in your area but that is your only Straight Talk choice or go to App Wireless directly and get service but I think they are more expensive.

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    If you look at the phone model numbers, you will see either a "C" or a "G" at the end indicating CDMA or GSM, respectively.

    For the GSM phones, they could run off of AT&T or T-Mobile, the way to tell the difference is look on the bottom of the box the phone comes in for a large "A" or a "T", indicating which service provider. T-Mobile is well known for having horrible coverage in rual areas, so you want to make sure you get a GSM phone with a "A" on the bottom of the box so you will be using AT&T.

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    Thanks flrjr42501 and spekkio for the replies!

    Yeah I was afraid of that, sounds like you know your stuff about rural eastern kentucky flrjr42501, and you're right, that pretty much confirms my fears of AT&T's towers being my last/only hope. But that's cool, glad to know the smartphones are at least covered under the GSM deal...and btw, would one of you guys happen to know how I would go about determining what carrier the phone would come with if I purchased a phone direct from the ST website? Would I need to preference that I need an "A" code phone for AT&T so they don't send me one with the "T" for T-mobile?

    And btw, you're correct about App. Wireless...they're the reason I switched to Verizon in the first place...couldn't afford their security deposit of $250 PER line since I've just recently begun building my credit. At least Verizon was fair enough to see what credit I did have built and didn't require the security deposit, but I'm tired of blowing $175 per month on two lines, even if I do get total coverage at my home. I think I'll end up getting the Nokia 6790, anyone have any pro's/con's to that particular handset? Let me know if so =)

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    It has no wifi...the other Nokia is the more sophisticated smartphone and has wifi capabilities too.

    But the touchscreen is cooler.

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    The Nokia 6790 is a decent phone, it was offered in a former life as the "Surge" for AT&T postpaid customers. It is a great texting phone, has a full HTML web browser and runs 3G speeds where available. Plenty of reviews out there for it so you can read up on the pros/cons.

    If you do get the 6790, it will run off AT&T's network so you don't have to worry about getting a T-Mobile phone. The E71 will also be AT&T only. Other GSM phones from ST could be T-Mobile or AT&T, and there is no way you can specify which one you want if you order online. That is why I usually recommend that someone with a preference buy the phone in person from a Wal-Mart store so they can check the box before buying. Overall MOST ST GSM phones are AT&T, but it would be a hassle to order one online and it come as a T-Mobile phone that won't work anywhere but near major highways and metro areas and then have to send it back, etc....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knowzbetter88 View Post
    Thanks flrjr42501 and spekkio for the replies!

    Yeah I was afraid of that, sounds like you know your stuff about rural eastern kentucky flrjr42501, and you're right, that pretty much confirms my fears of AT&T's towers being my last/only hope. But that's cool, glad to know the smartphones are at least covered under the GSM deal...and btw, would one of you guys happen to know how I would go about determining what carrier the phone would come with if I purchased a phone direct from the ST website? Would I need to preference that I need an "A" code phone for AT&T so they don't send me one with the "T" for T-mobile?

    And btw, you're correct about App. Wireless...they're the reason I switched to Verizon in the first place...couldn't afford their security deposit of $250 PER line since I've just recently begun building my credit. At least Verizon was fair enough to see what credit I did have built and didn't require the security deposit, but I'm tired of blowing $175 per month on two lines, even if I do get total coverage at my home. I think I'll end up getting the Nokia 6790, anyone have any pro's/con's to that particular handset? Let me know if so =)
    No problem glad to help. Yeah Verizon is pretty easy on giving phones with no deposits. App Wireless is alot like Bluegrass Cellular here, they are hard sometimes with their deposits. Up in E KY you really dont have much to choose from and they know that. At least here in Somerset we have T-mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Bluegrass Cellular and Verizon so the competition is better and we also get more prepaid goodies here too. If you order from the website im sure they will give you an AT&T based phone. It should ask for your zipcode and since T-mobile is nowhere to be found over there surely they wont send a T-mobile sim. Are there any walmarts around there that you can go buy one at? That would be the best bet so you can be sure its AT&T based. Good Luck!

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    True, and I agree, they have a greater hold on we who have few options, but hopefully more towers for different providers will be built in our areas and us have more alternatives and possibly better prices. That's a good point about ordering online, I actually hadn't thought of that, but even Walmart's website will tell me which phones will work in my area based on zip code (the CDMA phones of which I just figured out tonight are the only one's that will not show as working in this area, but the GSM phones do). And yes they do carry ST phones now at several of our local Walmarts, but currently they only have the cheaper models in stock, I'm definitely going to either go with the E71 or the 6790, just haven't figured out which one is best for what I want yet. I didn't realize the E71 has wifi and the 6790 does not, and considering I'm most likely in an area where 3G isn't as compatible, that wifi might come in handy. I just rather like the slider style phone vs. the old "candy bar" type, but idk, there are more features to be had on the E71...

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    Yeah I think the E71 is the better choice because of the Wi Fi and better camera. Yeah there is no 3G in Eastern Ky except around Ashland. We have it here so Wi Fi isnt as big as concern for me but one cool thing is there is a mobile hotspot app for 10 bucks that comes in handy when your out somewhere with no Wi Fi coverage. I use it myself alot. If it wasnt for that I wouldnt even need the Wi Fi. Either phone would make a great choice.

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    Dealing with Walmart on a return is soooo much simpler than dealing with Straightalk, no matter what the reason for the return.

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    Do tracfones or net10 CDMA phones use app wireless?
    I know Tracfone has roaming agreements with a lot of carriers.
    trying to come up with better signature.......

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    Im not for sure if they do or not. I know CDMA Tracfones will work on Verizon, Sprint, Us Cellular, ect whereas Straight Talk CDMA strictly uses Verizon Network. As far as using smaller carriers like App Wireless and Bluegrass Cellular Im not for sure. I cant find a CDMA tracfone coverage map.

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