Where is Straight Talk Available?
Straight Talk is an American mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) owned by TracFone Wireless. It is a wireless company that offers the latest phone models by the most reputable brands, flexible and affordable no-contract plans, a responsive customer support service, and nationwide coverage.
Straight Talk’s services are available throughout the entire country – in all states and territories, as Straight Talk operates on numerous nationwide networks.
What Towers Does Straight Talk Use?
As an MVNO, Straight Talk does not have its own network towers, instead, the company uses network towers from other larger carriers.
Now, what towers does Straight Talk use? While most MVNOs use the network towers of only one carrier, Straight Talk has agreements with all three of the largest carrier companies in the country – T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon. This is one of the company’s largest advantages and selling points, because not only does the company provide the best coverage for each customer, but it also avoids carrying the costs of building and maintaining the towers and redirects its resources into creating better services for its customers.
What Network Does Straight Talk Use?
As we have established above, Straight Talk runs on the nationwide networks of T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon. However, depending on the customer’s location and device, each customer can only receive access to one of the three networks – the one that offers the best coverage in the customer’s area.
T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon offer the best coverage and network in the country. All of these carriers offer nationwide coverage that is available in all areas of the country. However, as the original carriers offer their nationwide services at relatively high prices, at Straight Talk, customers can experience the same perks for a fraction of the price. In fact, according to some estimates, you can save up to $600 a year by opting for an MVNO instead of a large carrier.
Moreover, while T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon’s customers will only have the option to access the carrier’s own network, Straight Talk’s customers can choose either one of the three largest networks, depending on the customer’s living area, device, and other needs. For example, if you decide to bring your own phone to Straight Talk, you are likely to be activated on the same network that you used before. If, on the other hand, you decide to buy a new device, you should expect to get access to the network that performs best in your area.
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How Good is the Straight Talk Network?
Considering the fact that Straight Talk not only runs on the networks of all the largest carriers in the country (for a lower price), but that the company also provides each customer with access to the network that offers the best coverage in the customer’s area, it’s safe to conclude that Straight Talk’s network is one of the best in the country!
All of the county’s three largest carriers that provide a network to Straight Talk (T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon) offer nationwide 4G LTE coverage. See the 4G and 5G network coverage for all three main carriers in the table below.
|Carrier||4G LTE coverage||5G coverage|
Verizon offers the largest 4G coverage and the smallest 5G coverage, while T-Mobile offers the smallest 4G coverage and the largest 5G coverage. However, as you can see from the numbers above, all of these carriers offer impressive coverage due to their numerous network towers that are located throughout the country.
As the carriers’ towers are unevenly distributed, Straight Talk makes sure to figure out which network has the best coverage in a certain area and then offers its customer the network that may be the best fit for them.
Is the Straight Talk Network Reliable? How Reliable?
As you can see from the previous chapter, Straight Talk offers one of the best and thus most reliable networks in the country, simply because it offers the network of not one, not two, but all three of the country’s largest carriers. As each lucky customer gets to choose from all three networks and will most likely receive access to the one that offers the best coverage in the customer’s area, when it comes to network coverage, Straight Talk will evidently not let you down.
Nevertheless, you should keep the following in mind.
First, all of Straight Talk’s carriers offer good coverage in urban areas, however, in rural areas, their coverage may be patchy and unevenly distributed. If traveling to the remotest areas, you may experience poor coverage on all of the networks, as you won’t be able to switch to another carrier as you please. You will, however, have the opportunity to change your carrier within Straight Talk permanently if the original network turns out not to work.
Secondly, while generally Straight Talk’s customers can enjoy the same coverage as the original carriers’ customers, in times of congestion, the original carriers’ customers tend to have priority.
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Straight Talk Coverage Area
Given the fact that Straight Talk’s coverage area is actually the sum of all the largest carriers’ coverage areas (even though one customer only gets access to one of those networks), Straight Talk’s coverage area is huge and simply spectacular! In fact, Straight Talk’s network officially covers 99.6% of the country.
You can see Straight Talk’s current coverage map at straighttalk.com/coverage-map. To check out the company’s coverage in your area, simply enter your ZIP code or address in the provided search box and you will see exactly how good Straight Talk’s network coverage is where you tend to spend most of your time.
What Other Carriers Use the Same Network?
Straight Talk is one of the very few elite MVNOs that run on all three major American networks – T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon. In addition to Straight Talk, all major networks are used by:
- Red Pocket
Straight Talk Network GSM or CDMA?
GSM and CDMA are two types of technologies used in cell phones designed to help fill the gap when 4G coverage is not available. While older mobile devices are only compatible with one technology, modern cell phones are likely to be compatible with both technologies, wherefore they make it easier to switch carriers.
As Straight Talk runs on all three major carriers (T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon) and as two of these carriers offer GSM networks (T-Mobile and AT&T) and the third (Verizon) uses CDMA technology, Straight Talk supports both GSM and CDMA devices.
How Can Straight Talk Coverage Compare With Other Prepaid Providers
Now that we have established that Straight Talk runs on all three major U.S. networks, let’s compare MVNO’s coverage to the coverage of its individual carriers (T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon).
4G LTE Coverage
Verizon’s 4G LTE Coverage Map With Straight Talk
When it comes to the 4G LTE network, Straight Talk’s customers who have access to Verizon’s network have the best coverage. Verizon namely offers its customers a huge coverage that covers 70% of the country. While its coverage is the strongest and most reliable in urban areas, Verizon also offers the best coverage in rural areas, where AT&T and T-Mobile are less successful.
AT&T’s 4G LTE Coverage Map With Straight Talk
AT&T offers the second-best 4G LTE network in the country – it provides 68% coverage. The carrier will not disappoint its customers living in metropolitan areas, where it has excellent coverage. However, the company’s rural-living customers may be less pleased. As such, make sure to check the coverage before committing to it.
T-Mobile’s 4G LTE Coverage Map With Straight Talk
Lastly, T-Mobile (even after its merger with Sprint in 2020) has the smallest 4G LTE network coverage among the largest carriers – it only covers 63% of the country. While T-Mobile’s urban customers will experience reliable 4G coverage, its rural clients may experience patchy coverage. As such, before committing, make sure to check the map.
When it comes to 5G coverage, it is vital to understand that this information is only relevant if you have a newer and relatively advanced mobile device that actually supports 5G networks. If your phone is unable to connect to the carrier’s 5G network (which offers slightly faster speeds than the 4G network), the following information is irrelevant to you.
Verizon’s 5G Coverage Map With Straight Talk
While Verizon offers the best 4G coverage and T-Mobile comes last on that scale, it is actually the other way around when we’re talking about 5G coverage. Indeed, Verizon only offers an 11% 5G coverage, which sounds very low. However, Verizon’s 5G coverage is available in most large cities, therefore, it is enough to say that the carrier offers ‘nationwide’ 5G coverage as well.
AT&T’s 5G Coverage Map With Straight Talk
AT&T once again earns second place – this time for its 5G coverage. The carrier’s 5G network currently covers 18% of the country. Most of this coverage is situated in urban areas. The rural 5G network, on the other hand, is very limited.
T-Mobile’s 5G Coverage Map With Straight Talk
In terms of 5G coverage, T-Mobile is the leader. By covering 41% of the country, the carrier is completely outperforming its competitors. T-Mobile is really doing its best to provide the best 5G coverage, therefore, the company already made sure that its 5G network is available in most urban areas. The carrier’s 5G coverage is also the best in rural areas, however, it still has a long way to go to cover the entire country.
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Pros and Cons of Straight Talk Network
At least in theory, Straight Talk’s network is the best in the country, as it actually consists of all three largest networks. However, like everything else, the company’s network also comes with its advantages and disadvantages.
- Straight Talk runs on all three largest carriers in the country and it enables each customer to select the network that has the best coverage in their area.
- Straight Talk offers 99.6% coverage.
- The company offers the best nationwide coverage.
- Like all other MVNOs, Straight Talk has a natural disadvantage over the original tower owners in times of congestion. This may cause slower data speeds, call interference, and other issues.
- As Straight Talk doesn’t own its towers, it has little to no control over the coverage.
What Carriers Are Compatible With Straight Talk
As Straight Talk offers a ‘Keep Your Own Device’ program that enables customers to bring their own phones to the company, it is important to know which carriers are compatible with Straight Talk. After all, customers are only allowed to bring carrier-unlocked devices and phones that were provided by compatible carriers.
Since Straight Talk runs on all three largest carriers in the country, its list of compatible carriers and devices is much larger than the list of other MVNOs. Not only is Straight Talk compatible with T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon, but it is also compatible with all of their MVNOs, including:
- Net10 (all three)
- Red Pocket (all three)
- TracFone (all three)
- Consumer Cellular (AT&T, T-Mobile)
- US Mobile (T-Mobile, Verizon)
- Ting (Verizon, T-Mobile)
- Twigby (Verizon, Sprint)
- Wing (AT&T, T-Mobile)
- FreedomPop (AT&T, T-Mobile)
- Gen Mobile (T-Mobile)
- Google Fi (T-Mobile)
- Metro by T-Mobile (T-Mobile)
- Mint Mobile (T-Mobile)
- Simple Mobile (T-Mobile)
- Ultra Mobile (T-Mobile)
- Boost Mobile (T-Mobile)
- Tello (T-Mobile)
- TextNow (T-Mobile)
- Republic Wireless (T-Mobile)
- Cricket (AT&T)
- FreeUp Mobile (AT&T)
- Good2Go Mobile (AT&T)
- H2O Wireless (AT&T)
- Xfinity Mobile (Verizon)
- Visible (Verizon)
- Spectrum Mobile (Verizon)
- Page Plus (Verizon)
- Pix Wireless (Verizon)
- Credo Mobile (Verizon)
- Reach Mobile (Verizon)
- Total Wireless (Verizon)
Is Straight Talk LTE Coverage Good?
As you can conclude from the fact that Straight Talk’s coverage is the sum of the coverage of all three major carriers and as you can see from the company’s coverage map at straighttalk.com/coverage-map, Straight Talk’s coverage is excellent. At least in theory, it is even safe to say that with a coverage of 99.6% the company offers the best coverage in the country, which is definitely its largest advantage.
Nonetheless, as discussed before, Straight Talk’s coverage also comes with certain downsides, such as the fact that the coverage is deprioritized in comparison to the original tower owners in times of congestion and that the company has very little control over the coverage and is thus unable to offer much assistance to its customers in that particular area.
How Fast Are Data Speeds on Straight Talk Network?
Straight Talk offers both 4G LTE and 5G data speeds on all three networks (T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon). However, it has a natural disadvantage over the tower owners, which tend to prioritize their own customers, especially in times of congestion.
According to some measurements, Straight Talk’s average LTE speed is 31.1 Mbps for downloading and 15.6 Mbps for uploading. The company’s 5G speeds are somewhat faster.
How Can I Get Better Signal With Straight Talk?
If you need to speed up your internet or get a better signal with Straight Talk, you must update your tower settings. To do so, use a custom APN and update your Preferred Roaming list and carrier settings.
To configure on a Tracfone network, go to Settings, Wireless and Networks, Mobile Networks, and Access Point Names. Choose to add APN and type in the following:
- APN: tfdata
- Username: (leave this blank)
- Password: (leave this blank)
- MMSC: http://mms-tf.net
- MMS Proxy: mms3.tracfone.com:80
- Max Size: 1048576
- MMS UA Prof URL: apple.com/mms/uaprof.rdf
Leave the other fields blank and save the APN.
To configure an APN on an AT&T network, type in the following:
- APN: att.mvno
- Username: (leave this blank)
- Password: (leave this blank)
- MMSC: http://mmsc.cingular.com
- MMS Proxy: 22.214.171.124:80
- Max Size: 1048576
- MMS UA Prof URL: apple.com/mms/uaprof.rdf
Leave the other fields blank and save the APN.
To update your Preferred Roaming List, dial *22891 on your phone.
To update your carrier settings on an Android phone, open the Settings app, choose About Phone, and press Update Profile or System Updates. You can also check under Settings, More, Mobile Networks, Carrier settings, and Update Profile.
On an iPhone, connect to your Wi-Fi, dial ##873283#, and the phone will begin updating your settings.
How Do I Check if Straight Talk is Available in My Area?
To check whether or not Straight Talk is available in your area, follow these simple steps:
- Visit straighttalk.com/coverage-map.
- Enter your address or ZIP code in the provided search box. Press enter.
- The system will not only tell and show you how good the coverage is in your area but also which speeds are available.
Straight Talk Plans That Use Other Networks
Straight Talk offers several monthly service plans and all of them can run on either one of the big three carriers. Therefore, the plan does not determine your carrier, nor do plans vary depending on the networks they use.
Otherwise, Straight Talk plans include the following:
- Platinum Unlimited for $65 a month. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited high-speed data, 20 GB of hotspot data, 100 GB of cloud storage, and Mobile Protect.
- Ultimate Unlimited Nationwide for $55 a month. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, unlimited high-speed data, and 10 GB of hotspot data.
- Unlimited Nationwide for $45 a month. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, 25 GB of high-speed data, and unlimited 2G data.
- Unlimited Nationwide for $35 a month. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, 5 GB of high-speed data, and unlimited 2G data.
- Unlimited International plan for $30 a month. The plan offers international calling and nationwide calling.
- Extended 1-year plan for $495 for 365 days of service. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, 25 GB of high-speed data a month, and unlimited 2G data.
- Extended 6-month plan for $255 for 180 days of service. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, 25 GB of high-speed data a month, and unlimited 2G data.
- Extended 3-month plan for $130 for 90 days of service. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, 25 GB of high-speed data a month, and unlimited 2G data.
- Data plan for $75 a month. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 20 GB of monthly data.
- Data plan for $50 a month. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 10 GB of monthly data.
- Data plan for $40 a month. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 8 GB of monthly data.
- Data plan for $25 a month. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 4 GB of monthly data.
- Data plan for $15 a month. The plan offers unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 2 GB of monthly data.
Important Things About Straight Talk Coverage – Are There Any Limitations of Straight Talk Which You Should Know About?
In theory, Straight Talk’s coverage is the best there is. After all, it consists of all three major networks in the country. However, as we have already discussed, it also comes with certain limitations.
- For one, Straight Talk does not own any of its towers. Instead, it uses the network towers owned by other companies. As such, customers of the tower owners may get better coverage, higher data speeds, and better reception, especially in times of congestion.
- Secondly, as Straight Talk does not own the towers, it has little to no control over the coverage. As such, if there are any issues, the company’s customer support team will be unable to help much.
- Each customer only gets access to one of the networks. As such, it is important to choose the network wisely. Still, if you are planning on traveling, you may visit some areas where your network coverage is weak and you may get limited to no reception. If you visit a place outside of your coverage area, you may not be able to make emergency calls.
- As is the case with all networks (both MVNOs’ and carriers’), your coverage is also influenced by several other factors, such as your device, network traffic, the terrain, proximity of the towers, proximity of buildings and other obstructions, the weather, and other conditions. Under bad conditions, you may experience slower speeds, call interference, and no connectivity.
What to Know Before Signing Up for Straight Talk
Before you sign up for Straight Talk, make sure to take the following factors into consideration:
- Check the company’s coverage in your area. To do so, visit straighttalk.com/coverage-map and enter your ZIP code or address.
- Consider whether you wish to buy a new phone or bring your own one.
- If you wish to buy a new phone, see the company’s phone selection to make sure they sell a device that fits your needs.
- If you are planning on bringing your own phone, make sure the device is unlocked and compatible with Straight Talk. Do so at straighttalk.com/whyst/keep-your-own-phone.
- Check the company’s plans to make sure one fits your needs. Do so at straighttalk.com/all-plans.
- Check out the company’s other services to make sure they fit your needs.
How Can I Switch to Straight Talk?
Switching to Straight Talk is as simple as it gets. After all, Straight Talk is compatible with so many other carriers and MVNOs and it uses both GSM and CDMA devices, as such, you can easily bring your own phone and transfer your services to Straight Talk.
To switch to Straight Talk, first, make sure you have paid all your dues with your previous service provider. If you are planning to bring your phone, also contact your provider and ask them to remotely unlock your device.
Then, contact Straight Talk’s customer service and explain that you wish to switch to their services. If you wish to transfer your number, make sure to mention that as well, and do not cancel your service with your previous provider until you have contacted Straight Talk, as this way you may lose your number. The representative will walk you through the switching process.
Straight Talk Network Related FAQ
How Do I Reset My Straight Talk Network Settings?
You can reset or update your Straight Talk network settings by dialing 22891. You can also send a text message to 611611 with the text ‘APN’.
Does Straight Talk Have Better Coverage Than T-Mobile?
In theory, yes! Straight Talk’s coverage is the sum of T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon’s coverage.
Who Does Straight Talk Piggyback Off of?
Straight Talk piggybacks on T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon’s networks.
Does Straight Talk Have 5G?
Absolutely! It offers 5G on T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon’s networks. However, to connect to a 5G network, your phone must support these speeds. If your phone is 5G compatible, it will automatically switch between 4G and 5G networks depending on the performance.