Will My Straight Talk iPhone from Walmart Get 4G Data?

A reader, Mitchell, asks:

I bought a iphone 5 from wal mart and it has always been a straight talk iphone. Is there any way I can get 4G ? Thanks

Hi Mitchell,
Your iPhone 5 will not get 4G LTE using Straight Talk. Your iPhone 5 will get 4G HSPA+ if you switch from the Straight Talk Verizon network to the Straight Talk ATT network. The status bar will still only display 3G.

Let me explain.

Your Straight Talk iPhone from Walmart is a 4G LTE phone, but it won’t get 4G LTE on Straight Talk. Your iPhone uses Straight Talk’s verizon network, and that network is 3G only. Verizon doesn’t let any prepaid company use their 4G LTE network, even Verizon’s own prepaid network doesn’t support 4G LTE.

Straight Talk’s ATT and TMobile networks support both 4G HSPA+ and 4G LTE. You can use a Straight Talk ATT or TMobile SIM in your phone, but you won’t get 4G LTE because the radios in your iPhone 5 only support 4G LTE on the Verizon network. The radios in your iPhone 5 will support 4G HSPA+. HSPA+ is faster than 3G but slower than 4G LTE.

Straight Talk made a change last year. The iPhone status bar used to show 4G when you had a HSPA+ connection, now it shows a 3G when you have either a 3G connection or a HSPA+ connection. So you don’t really know when you have a 4G connection. Depending upon where you live, it would be most of the time.

So, should you switch from the Straight Talk Verizon network to the Straight Talk ATT network? That depends. First, you want to check if the ATT network works well where you use your phone. In some areas of the country, Verizon is the only carrier that has coverage. Second, check your current speeds. Download speedtest from the app store, and run a few speed tests. You can let me know your results and we can try to figure out if Straight Talk’s ATT network would be faster.

I hope this helps.

29 Comments

  1. Kurt | | Reply

    So things have changed a little with Verizon and Straighttalk – straighttalk now offers 4G lte through the verizon network. I own an Iphone 5 cdma purchased from straighttalk. I spent an hour on the phone having a tech support lady tell me the phone doesn’t use a sim card and it is not capable of LTE service. Is there anything with the phones radio that would prevent it from working with the 4G LTE network? Can a sim be added to the phone to make it work with 4G LTE? Or am I just stuck in 3G. I realize this post is almost a year old, but no one else seems to have anything to offer for help on the internet. Much appreciated.

    Kurt

  2. jeet | | Reply

    Hi im useing straight talk since 2012 its 3g lg phone its anyway i can use 4 g on my this phone

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Jeet,
      I am not really sure what you are asking. I think its.. Can my straight talk lg phone that is currently 3G get 4g?
      I can t answers that without knowing what model phone it is and what network you are using… My guess would be no, you can’t get 4g

  3. Parker | | Reply

    I have an iPhone 5 I bought from straight talk, with straighttalk service, and am getting only 3G. It averages only about 1.5 mb down .7 mb up. I’m not throttled. I’m in northwest Arkansas. Should I switch from verizon to att like your article says or what to do? If so how?
    Thanks
    Parker

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Parker,
      Maybe. Is the ATT service in your area any good? Ask your family, friends, and neighbors if they are using. There are a number of readers on smartphonematters that have done just this. Do a search on the site for Grant and read about his experiences.

      Note that your iPhone 5 will still show a 3G connection on your iPhone but you should see faster speeds. You won’t get a 4G LTE connection, but you should get a 4G HSPA+ connection.

      what wireless company do most people use where you live? If possible try running a speediest comparison with a friends phone on att and your phone on Straight Talk verizon.

      Transferring your service isn’t too hard, See Transferring Your Existing Straight Talk Service to a New Straight Talk Phone or SIM

      Regards
      Bob

  4. Doug | | Reply

    Thanks for the great article! My wife has a iPhone 5 we got from wal mart for straight talk (cdma) We are planning on switching from straight talk. My question is can we use her iPhone on Verizon 4g network? it is truly locked to 3G with all networks?

  5. Shoe | | Reply

    Thanks for the info. I have the iPhone A1429 on the Verizon 3G network through Straight Talk. I have a Straight Talk ATT nano sim. Will Straight Talk unlock my phone and transfer the service to ATT 4g HSPA+? I know this is a better question for them, but every time I call, I’m on the phone for hours. I’ll make the call if I know they’ll do it. Thanks.

      • Shoe | | Reply

        Thanks for the quick response. I read the article and have another question. I’m already using the phone with Straight Talk, so will they allow me to add the ATT SIM and move the phone from the Verizon network to ATT? Can this be done on their site or will I have to call?

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Hi Shoe,
          you can do this online. Basically you activate the SIM by transferring your current service (balance and phone number) from your current phone, the iPhone A1429, to your new phone, the Straight Talk ATT nano SIM. Once this is done, put the SIM in your iPhone and you should be good to go. I have had a number of readers do this.

          See Transferring Your Existing Straight Talk Service to a New Straight Talk Phone or SIM and Switching from Straight Talk’s Verizon Network to Straight Talk’s AT&T Network and Comparing Straight Talk and Verizon Options in Miami

          Regards
          Bob

          • Shoe | |

            Great, this is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks! Straight Talk previously told me that the A1429 was locked to only work with CDMA. Is this true? Will I have to have them unlock it first?

          • Bob Thompson | |

            Hi Shoe,
            Your phone is already unlocked.
            All Verizon model iPhone 5,5s, and 5c are SIM unlocked. As part of licensing LTE spectrum, Verizon is required to not lock these phones.

            If you have a friend with an ATT iPhone 5 model, see if you can borrow their SIM and put it in your phone. If it works, you should have no problem. I have many readers like Grant that have done this. I have had a couple of readers report issues getting their Verizon iPhones recognizing the ST ATT SIM. One of those readers ended up getting Apple to replace the phone, because it wasn’t unlocked. You can read through the comments on the articles I sent you to get a sense of other people’s experience.

            Regards
            Bob

          • Shoe | |

            Thanks again. I have a sim, so I’ll give it a shot and report back.

          • Shoe | |

            I’m following the steps and at one point, it says “The remaining benefits from your existing phone cannot be transferred to your new phone since it can only be Activated with an Unlimited Service Plan. If your existing phone is enrolled in Auto-refill keep in mind that this service will not be transferred. You will need to enroll your new phone in Auto-refill after this transaction is completed. If you have an Unlimited Service Plan at this time, enter it below. However, if you do not have one, you may call our Customer Care Center at 1-877-430-2355 to complete this process with a credit card.”

            Does this mean my remaining service, which lasts until March, won’t transfer? I do have a service card I can add, but want to make sure I don’t lose what I’ve already paid for.

            Thanks again for all of your help!

          • Bob Thompson | |

            Hi Shoe,
            I have never read that before. What type of service plan do you currently have?

          • Shoe | |

            It says “Unlimited 1 year” on my account page. I ended up calling. After an hour on the phone, they started the process to port the number to the new sim. They said it should take 2 hours, but that was 10 hours ago. Crossing my fingers. Last time I switched phones with them, it took several very long calls to get it done.

          • Bob Thompson | |

            Hi Shoe
            OK. You are the first reader to report that message from the Web site. Most people don’t use the 1 year service activation, even though you save a few more dollars. 10 hours is kind of a long time. Is your iPhone still active on Straight Talk verizon? I think Straight Talk is a great deal for price. Signing up, support, and account changes can be time consuming and require patience.
            Regards
            Bob

          • Shoe | |

            The phone is still working on Straight Talk Verizon. I used their online chat support and they said the port ticket is in and I just have to wait. I have a feeling it will take another phone call though. I’ve learned to accept the occasional frustration with their customer service to get the better price. If you haven’t seen it, they have a promo code (stwb20off) to buy a SIM and 30-day unlimited plan bundle and get $20 off. There’s a limit of 5 per order, but bought a bunch of them for me and my wife.

          • Shoe | |

            Took about 24 hours but it ported successfully. I did lose about 45 days off of my service end date though, so I will have call or do live chat to get it fixed. Thanks again.

  6. Hazzanahamed | | Reply

    How change the iphone 5 4g enable

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Your Straight Talk iPhone 5 from walmart uses straight talk’s verizon 3G network. It will not get 4G LTE with straight talk. If you transfer your service to a Straight Talk at SIM you might get 4G HSPA+, but the status bar will show 3G.

      Regards
      Bob

  7. Mitchell | | Reply

    Awesome, thank you so much for the information and getting back to me so quickly. You have no idea how many times I have contacted Straight Talk by email and by phone and nobody that worked there could give me a real answer. It’s nice to actually understand what’s going on and it’s nice to have someone take the time to tell me. Now, I am thinking about leaving Straight Talk. I have heard many people tell me that my iphone 5 is factory unlocked even when it’s using Straight Talk service. I watched a video on youtube and someone had the same phone as me and it said TFW. He put in a T-Mobile sim card and he was getting T-Mobile service but the video was made before 4G or LTE were being widely used. And I’m sure that the T Mobile sim was activated and he had already pre-paid a month of service. And he didnt have to get anything unlocked. So if I go and buy a T-Mobile sim card and use it on the prepaid account and pay for a month of service just like I’m doing on Straight Talk, will that get me 4G or LTE? Or how about a AT&T GoPhone prepaid sim? Which do you reccomend, and will that give me the answers I’m looking for? Thank you so much for the help and going into so much detail. It’s really appreciated. Thanks again!

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Mitchell,
      I think the bigger issue is your phone. The Verizon iPhone 5, A1429, doesn’t support LTE on ATT or TMobile networks.You could start by transferring your Straight Talk service to a Straight Talk ATT SIM which will cost you $7 for the nano SIM. The ST ATT 4G HPSA+ network might be faster than the ST Verizon 3G network. I’d guess it is.

      If you want LTE consider selling your current phone and buying a new one. If you get an iPhone 5c, 5s, or a A1428 iPhone, you should get LTE.

      I’d guess that the LTE speed of Straight Talk’s ATT network and ATT Pay N Go would be similar. I had a Straight Talk T-Mobile SIM for a while and I did not get LTE in my iPhone. My Nexus 5 android phone got very fast 4G LTE with the Straight Talk TMobile SIM. My iPhone 5s didn’t recognize that the Straight Talk TMobile SIM was LTE. I made a video about it
      Using Speedtest on the iPhone 5s to Test Straight Talk Wireless’ T-Mobile Compatible Network

      Now, replacing your phone sounds like a pain in the butt, and it is, but it’s not that bad. The goal would be to sell your iPhone 5 A1429 and replace it with an A1428 for ATT or an unlocked model. If you buy and sell on ebay, ebay will take about 14% of your sale between ebay and paypal fees. So, to break even, you need to sell your iPhone 5 more than the one you replace it with.

      I hope this helps.

      • Mitchell | | Reply

        Okay, thanks again for all your help. So if I go to Wal-Mart and buy a Straight Talk iPhone 5c or 5s, those will be LTE? I guess the best thing to do would be just to wait for the iPhone 6. But Straight Talk might not start selling those right away. My iPhone 5 on 3G and WiFi is pretty fast, I just always hear people saying LTE is really fast and I wanted it too. I went to imei.com I think was the site name and I entered my IMEI, and I took a screenshot of the information it gave me. Is there a way I could send you that picture? Thanks again.

        • Mitchell | | Reply

          Sorry, I meant to say this is the comment I just left. Also I have screenshots of speed test results if I could show you those as well. Thanks.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Hi Mitchell,
          You can email me at bob at the name of this web site dot com. The Straight Talk iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c should be LTE. They use either the tmobile or att network depending on your area, you have to ask at Walmart if they know which network.

          I wouldn’t buy a new 5c or 5s from Straight Talk or Walmart unless there was a significant discount. You can buy a new unlocked iPhone 5s or 5c in any Apple store and do a BYOP. Also, after the iPhone 6 comes out, you could either buy an unlocked iPhone from Apple. After the iPhone 6 comes out, Straight Talk might have a deal on the 5s and 5c. That happened with the iPhone 5.

          • Mitchell | |

            Okay cool, thanks again. Ill email you those pictures. They will be from MiamiPlaya. Thanks for everything.

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