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
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.