Carrier What IS straight talk anyhow?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by seiyamaple, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. seiyamaple macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2013
    #1
    Okay, this is me. I am going to the U.S. for college, and all I want is an iPhone 5, with unlimited texting AND calling. I don't even mind having no data at all.

    I've gone throught all the contract ones, the unlocked ones, and I came across straight talk through a friend that lives in the U.S.. But I find it very confusing, after lots and lots of search, I cannot figure out what it IS, or how it's set up.

    Can I just buy a unlocked iPhone 5 from apple, then just buy a straight talk micro sim and BAM it will be there? How do I pay the $45 dollars a month? Why do I find so many people talking about AT&T straight talk, Verizon straight talk, Sprint straight talk. What's the difference? And my friend said the iPhone HAS to be AT&T for me to use straight talk, is it so?

    Thanks for answering all of those.

    Repeating, all I want is the best deal on an iPhone 5 with unlimited calling and texting.
     
  2. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #2
    StraightTalk is AT&T's value brand, much like Sprint's is Boost Mobile. Same network, different price points and type of service.
     
  3. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    #3
    Not sure where you're from, but prepaid in the US is much different and less convenient than in Europe. Straight talk uses 3 different carriers to providers to give mobile service, and you have to choose one of the three. In the US, we have both GSM and CDMA carriers. Only GSM ones, you can use any unlocked phones. CDMA carriers are much more locked down and you have to buy the phone from the carrier itself.

    Straight talk has 3 different carriers:
    1) Verizon CDMA - slow 3G only, you must buy full priced CDMA phone from straight talk.
    2) AT&T - 3G speeds only, but probably 1-3 mbps max. You get throttled or service cut after 1-2 GB data use.
    3) T-mobile - 3G and edge speeds only, slower and worse coverage than at&t.

    For #2 and #3, you have to buy different SIM cards from straight talk. All 3 levels of service are 3G speeds or slower, even though all three carriers have either LTE or hspa+. You also should not buy the unlocked iphone from apple, because if straight talk ever gets LTE service, the unlocked phone doesn't support the bands AT&T and T-mobile require. It's better to buy the full price phone from AT&T or T-mobile and use it on straight talk.

    In the end, straight talk is poor customer service and slow 3G speeds. They don't have their own stores where you can get support, and I think they don't really support visual voicemail. I highly recommend going with at&t prepaid or t-mobile prepaid, which is slightly more expensive, but will give you unlimited talk and text with reasonable 4G LTE data for about $50-$60 plus tax.

    Btw, if you go the postpaid route, you will get an iphone at a big discount, around $200, but your monthly bill will be higher. The postpaid route requires a 2 year commitment, but you can always break it early and then you basically end up paying close to the full price of the phone, around $600 in US.

    To pay for straight talk, I think you can use a credit or debit card. For the other carriers, you can pay online with credit/debit or mail them a check every month.
     
  4. 617aircav Suspended

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    #4
    Actually atts value brand is aio wireless. ST uses att towers but it's not owned by att.
     
  5. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #5
    Straight Talk is an MVNO (leases wireless spectrum from major carriers). They're not an at&t company from what I can tell but a brand belonging to TracFone which is itself a subsidiary of América Móvil.
     

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