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Some, Possibly All Straight Talk iPhones Use the Verizon Network

The big question about Straight Talk Wireless's soon to launch iPhones has been - what network (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint) do they run on? Straight Talk uses all three (as well as T-Mobile, which doesn't have the iPhone yet) and the iPhone is available on all three. Most of the early predictions favored AT&T, but Verizon and Sprint were certainly possibilities.  Today we finally have an answer.

The iPhone for Straight Talk doesn't officially go on sale until tomorrow, but some Walmarts apparently jumped the gun and started selling it today. An iPhone buyers posted on Howard Forums that their new Straight Talk iPhone is running on the Verizon network.

If this initial report is to believed the Straight iPhone's SIM slot is unlocked! One new user tried using At&T and T-Mobile SIMs in his device and they worked!

Unsurprisingly, 4G LTE data is is not available when using the Straight Talk iPhone on Straight Talk service.  But the person who tried the AT&T and T-Mobile SIMs also tried with an activated Verizon post-paid LTE SIM and says that he was able to get LTE data.

Update: The Howard Forums user "t6821hn" who initially reported LTE working with an LTE SIM has posted an update saying he was mistaken:

"Inserting a Verizon nano sim DOESN'T get LTE as previously commented. The toggle button for the LTE appears and the carrier banner changes to Verizon but the data service never changes to LTE. The phone features 3G service only. Field Test Mode confirms EVDO."
t6821hn also says that visual voicemail doesn't work and the hotspot feature "turns on" although he doesn't say if it works or not.

A single forum post by an essentially anonymous user is hardly convincing proof. But there's more. Straight Talk has posted the image above on their official Facebook page. The coverage map in the picture is identical to the Verizon prepaid coverage map. The distinctive square non-coverage area in the middle of Wisconsin belongs to regional carrier Element Mobile, which Verizon prepaid doesn't roam on. In addition, Straight Talk uses a red coverage map on its phone packaging to signify a Verizon based phone.

It's possible, perhaps likely that not all Straight Talk iPhones use Verizon. The report on Howard Forums came from an iPhone 5 user and the image from Straight Talk explicitly says iPhone 5. Maybe the iPhone 4 is on a different network. Straight Talk attached a status message to the image that says "The iPhone on Straight Talk runs on America’s most dependable networks." Plural networks! That suggests that some Straight talk iPhones run on a network other than Verizon. Perhaps the iPhone 5 is on Verizon and the iPhone 4 on AT&T or Sprint? Or maybe both iPhone 4 and 5 are available for multiple networks. The mystery deepens. If any new Straight Talk iPhone users are reading this, please leave a comment indicating which network yours uses and whether it's an iPhone 4 or 5.

10 comments:

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  1. This is big news for straight Talk and is a better deal than Page Plus. I wonder why straight Talk is getting all the good phones, like this and the Showcase, while Net10 has had no big announcements since the Proclaim. I might have to switch.

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  2. WalMart's website shows TEN different iPhone models including the 4, 4S and 5. It also states that the financing offer ends April 3.

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  3. Iphone 5 will be on the AT+T network and the Iphone 4 will be on the Verizon network.

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  4. http://www.walmart.com/cp/Apple-iPhone-Now-on-Straight-Talk/1101612?povid=cat3944-env435594-moduleB011113-lLinkZone2iPhone5

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  5. The Straight Talk website has both the Iphone 4 & 5 for my zip, and both show Verizon prepaid coverage (big gaps in Oklahoma).

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  6. http://blog.laptopmag.com/iphone-5-now-on-walmarts-straight-talk-45-for-unlimited-everything

    Giga and ZDnet received warnings when the exceeded 100mb per day and 2gb per month with StraightTalk.

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    1. Outdated article. ST does not terminate service anymore they throttle you. As far as the Verizon network goes, I have used 3GB in one month and 2.5 in another month and was not throttled. I have used over 100MB in a day on many occasions with no problems. You cannot go crazy with data use but there seems to be a reasonable tolerance in my experience. Best deal there is.

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    2. The article is dated 1-10-13, and the two tests were done in May, 2012.
      $450-$650 is a lot to risk based only on the experience of one person.

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    3. I think the Virgin Mobile $40 iPhone plan with 1200 minutes and (more) unlimited data is a better deal if Sprint coverage works for you. (Register your credit card for renewals and get a $5 discount/month.)
      If it doesn't, just pack an unlocked GSM phone with Tru SIM as backup when you are out of range. Service never expires if you send a 10c text every couple of months to be sure (not enforced yet, but why risk it?).
      You can also use a Spot SIM for $5 every 3 months ($1.67/mo), but you lose the free AT&T voice and data roaming.

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  7. Tethering is not allowed.

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