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Straight Talk Network Usage

With all of the reduced-rate smartphone plans now available on Straight Talk, it can be confusing how they work and what network’s coverage towers are being used. Ultimately, the network you are using depends on what smartphone you have, and where it is homed.

A phone is homed in a network based on which network sells that particular model of phone. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is sold at both Sprint and T-Mobile, but the two networks have slight differences in what phone model they sell. If you buy the Sprint model, you are homed in the Sprint network, and Straight Talk borrows coverage from Sprint’s towers. However, if you have the T-Mobile model, you are homed in their network and borrow their coverage.

Oftentimes, when you are buying a phone online from Straight Talk, they will ask for your zip code in order to determine which network has the best coverage in your area. They will then provide you with the options of whatever phones are homed in that network.

If there is a specific network you prefer to use, the best way to guarantee you get that network is to buy a phone that is homed in that network. If you want to use AT&T, buy a phone that is currently offered in AT&T stores. You must be careful with the model, however, as different networks can sometimes carry the same phone under a different model number.

There are a few tricks to figuring out which model is homed in which network. For the iPhone, AT&T will usually have the most recent iteration, and Verizon will have the other previous iterations that are still on the market. Androids are a bit trickier, and vary phone-to-phone. The best way to select the phone with the network you want is to do a little internet research to see what phones are being sold in the network that you want. Write down that specific model number (as phones like the Samsung Galaxy can have varying model numbers) and search for it on Straight Talk’s website.

Straight Talk doesn’t use just one network, but borrows coverage from several of the larger networks. This guide should clear up some of the confusion of what network is used by which phone.