Dear Forum members, i thought this will be helpful to clarify basic questions, and will update thread for any other suggestions to be added on to. I think this will be a good starting point for all of those who are looking at St given the new BYOD, I know there is a wiki, but i thought a thread will be more readily read. This is collected wisdom, from too numerous to name forum members, you know who you are.. Thanks.
FAQ’s for Straight Talk.
1. What network does it run on.
- ST is a MVNO(Mobile Virtual Network Operator) that means it leases the networks built by other like AT&T, Tmobile, Verizon etc., so it buys minutes, and dat from them in bulk and resells them to us branded as ST, It has devices that run on all 4 networks, except for the GSM devices the CDMA are restricted to only one network without roaming. ST also sells sim cards(Bring your own device- BYOD) that will run on either AT&T or TMobile only.
- Phones branded as Straight talk usually have a G or C at the endo f them these mean G=GSM- could be AT&T or TMobile, C is Verizon native network Only, There are 2 “branded” Androids (galaxy precedent and LG optimus Q) and these run on native sprint network(the same as virgin mobile).
2. Is there Roaming?
- Straight Talk/Tracfone has individual roaming agreement with independent GSM networks both regional and national, so yes there will be more roaming outside of AT&T and Tmobile native networks, but think of these as the primary networks, coverage viewer maps are below in Q4.
- When you buy a phone, your phone is on one of the primary networks, for GSM phones it is either AT&T or T Mobile, that means this will be the primary network on which the phone will work, and will roam in other areas, refer to ST maps for more info in Q4.
- The only problem is that your phone will not pickup a different cell tower just because it has low signal, ex- if have a Tmo sim/phone, it will not transfer to ATT because of low T Mo signal in the guest bedroom, you need to be in an area designated by Tracfone/ST as roaming to be able to roam.
- Voice and texting seems to work across all the roaming networks, but data works in some roaming areas and not in others, you will know about your area by only trying for yourself.
3. Should I let ST choose the network or should I choose between TMo and ATT.
- ST will choose the network that is the most profitable for itself, usually translates to TMo, so you will be better served by deciding for yourself what network will work better for you instead of trusting ST. Ask family and friends to decide who has the better network in your area, remember Verizon having excellent signal in Alaska is not going to help you in North Carolina. So actual people using phones are helpful in this situation for workplace and home.
4. Where do I find Coverage maps.
- For AT&T, click on the link below, this the native coverage map, which means that the phone will have more coverage than this on ST, enter your actual address to see how the voice signal is, then see what data coverage(click on data above map) you have in your area. The last link is for the actual ST maps.
- For TMobile, click on the link below, this the native coverage map, which means that the phone will have more coverage than this on ST, enter your actual address to see how the voice signal is, then see what data coverage(click on data coverage above map) you have in your area.
- Verizon uses only the Straight talk branded phones, no BYOD allowed, no smartphones sold or allowed. This is native coverage which means NO roaming allowed for these phones.
- Sprint is only for the 2 branded Android phones(samsung galaxy precedent and LG optimus Q) sold by Straight Talks and uses native sprint network only, ie NO roaming outside the network.
- The below is the ST map for all its networks, as you can see the maps are broader than ATT and TMo bcoz of roaming.
5. Would GPS work on my phone.
- Yes, GPS uses satellites and doesn’t depend on your cell phone network, most smartphones have A-GPS, that will help the phone lock your position faster by getting some data through the cellphone network. When you are driving, and have preloaded maps then you will use no data, but if you use Google maps or another program that downloads the maps as you drive, then data will be used, this is not a big deal and you don’t need to worry about it, because it falls under the data limit.
6. Is the data plan unlimited?
- No, it is not. The fine print will tell you that it is for unlimited browsing and use with apps, but no streaming which consume a lot of data. And St literally means unlimited for most people.
- ST will not give you a number for the data limit, unofficial speculation is that it is north of 100mb/day and 2 Gig/month. Once again this is speculation and these are limits at which, people haven’t gotten trouble into.