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Old 12-21-2012, 04:14 PM
 
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Hello,
I plan to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note II and switch to Straight Talk. I live in San Jose, CA and mostly need high speed data but not lots of it. I easily keep my data consumption below 500 MB. Right now on Verizon LTE I get close 10 mbps. Does anyone in San Jose know the network speed of Straight Talk. I know it is on ATT network but can't use ATT 4g services. So will I get 3G HSPA+ speeds? Can anyone post speed test results? Will a high end device like the Note II be wasted on a network like StraightTalk?
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Planet Earth
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I'd be interested in hearing why you are planning on going with Straight Talk. (I have nothing against Straight Talk, I'd like to know your reason for going with them.) I've been thinking about going with a smart phone (finally, 5 years later) and have been leaning towards "MetroPCS" - another "pay as you go" and/or "no commitment" provider that has unlimited everything plans. They appear to have good coverage in the SF Bay area, and since this is their first real foray into "4G", they are installing "LTE" at a furious rate. That's what I've *heard*, I don't know if its true or not.

I'd love to hear people's opinions (with the logic behind them - a simple "they suck" isn't going to be very useful for me )
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Old 12-21-2012, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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AFAIK Straight Talk is 4G.
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:28 AM
 
68 posts, read 139,070 times
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Well. I am sick of my current phone which is very slow, so I was looking to upgrade. Verizon doesn't let me upgrade till my contract runs out and I wanted to check out my options. Does Metro PCS have the Samsung Note 2?
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:20 AM
 
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I'd be also interested in knowing this. I am currently using Straight Talk and will be moving in to the area first of january. But AFAIK, ST uses AT&T and T Mobile. So you'll get the same speeds as what other ATT and Tmobile users get.
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Old 12-22-2012, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Planet Earth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salilsurendran View Post
Well. I am sick of my current phone which is very slow, so I was looking to upgrade. Verizon doesn't let me upgrade till my contract runs out and I wanted to check out my options. Does Metro PCS have the Samsung Note 2?
I'm sure that info is on their web site : MetroPCS
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Old 12-22-2012, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Planet Earth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drover View Post
AFAIK Straight Talk is 4G.
Well so is LTE - which (apparently) MetroPCS has installed in the bay area, and is frantically installing elsewhere. (I'm not a telecom geek, but 4G LTE is supposedly the "latest and greatest" in terms of data speed, and everybody using GSM-type networks is installing it as quickly as possible). Looking at MetroPCS's map, they have pretty darn good (4G) coverage in the large CA metro areas : the "greater SF Bay area" (from Salinas & Monterey in the south and up to Santa Rosa in the NW), the entire "N central valley" (from Los Banos in the S all the way to Redding in the N, including ALL of anything less than an hour from Sacramento) as well as I-80 and US-50 all the way to Tahoe, and US-101 all the way down to San Luis Obispo/Santa Maria and a huge blob around Bakersfield. All of the previous are areas MetroPCS says are declared "4G LTE" coverage areas - there's more data coverage (not LTE) along all the major freeways. Los Angeles basin and Orange County are about 50-50 whether the data is LTE or not, and same for the roads to Las Vegas.

Now, I'm *not* a reseller for MetroPCS! It's just that I am seriously considering getting a 4G smart phone in the near future, and since I live in the bay area, MetroPCS seemed like a cheap choice with unlimited talk, text, and data with fantastic coverage anywhere I go 98% of the time : the entire greater bay area (14-15 counties, all the major freeways withing 200 miles, anywhere relatives or friends live). Now, the week point is that the coverage along the coast (highway 1) absolutely blows unless you are in or very near a city - not even talk, not even paying "roaming" apparently. That *has* given me pause. But I also have a T-mobile pay-as-you-go phone (just for talking) which I've had for years and I've gotten to "platinum customer" level (spent more than $100 with them) so that ANY money/minutes I add to my phone doesn't expire until 365 days later, even if it's the $10 level which usually expires after either 15 or 30 days (I can't remember). So I would have a back-up phone on another completely different network for emergency phone calls.

The negative of MetroPCS is the coverage OUTSIDE of their few "home areas" : the CA metro I just described, most of Florida, NE Texas, a big splotch around Atlanta, Philadelphia-to-NY corridor, greater Boston (most of Eastern MA, parts of Conn, major freeways/tollroads up to and between Manchester {NH} and Portsmouth {Maine}). Those are the only 4G-LTE areas that MetroPCS has *now*. Thier non-LTE data networks are more or less in the same areas, they extend a little further out on the edges (?50 miles? 100?), and fill in the areas between major freeways - but it's basically the same areas, so their data coverage for travelers isn't great. Since I don't travel out of state very much (heck, I hardly travel outside of the Bay Area-Sac-Reno corridor!), not having LTE (or even data) except in those areas doesn't bother me much, but it certainly could be a deal breaker for someone who travels more than a couple of times a year and really has to have data 24/7. (If one has a phone that switches to WiFi when available, then even in those "data-free" areas you can use the smartphone for data in WiFi hot-spots, or when visiting companies, or in your hotel.) MetroPCS also has what they call "extended home area" (free phone and texting, but no data) over most of the US east of the Mississippi, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, metro Texas, the bigger western metro areas (like Denver, Phoenix, etc) and along many of the western interstates that join the large cities (but not I-80 from Reno to Salt Lake City except at the end-points, strangely enough). Then they have "traveltalk" which in "MetroPCS-speak" means what people used to call "Roaming" - it costs 19 cents a minute, texts are still free.

Again, I don't travel much at all so the above limitations are pretty much moot for me. If YOU spend 95% or more of your time in the Bay Area M-PCS might be good for you. If you spend less time here and more time traveling, then going with a more national carrier might be a better choice (even just 10-15% of the time out of data areas could really be annoying).

MetroPCS has "no contract, no cancellation fees" policy (I think - they used to). They have a $40/mo plan where the first 250MB is at LTE speeds, and if you go over then data for the rest of the month is at "reduced speeds". Their $50/mo plan includes 2.5GB per month of LTE data, then slower. So if you want to stream movies on your phone, probably not a good plan. If you are just looking up crap in a browser, checking traffic maps, or checking e-mail, then maybe.

Anyhow, this went on longer than I expected, sorry for the ramble (but since I typed the damn thing, I'm posting it!)

I haven't spoken with anyone who has HAD MetroPCS recently (or HAS it now) so I don't know anything about their customer service, or if their coverage maps are accurate or pure BS. Or how fast their 4G network really is.

And since I'm not a "smartphone geek" I don't know if their phone offerings are good phones or out-of-date crap. Or if the phones are reasonably priced, "full price", subsidized, or cheap. Or if 250 MB is enough for a month (since I don't know WHAT I'd be doing with the data pipe).

As I said in my first post in this thread I'd love to hear people's opinions (with the logic behind them). If you know people who have had good or bad MetroPCS experiences (recently - 3 or 4 years ago is ancient history in the cell phone/data network world). If you know of limitations of MetroPCS (besides the "data use limited to a few "home area" zones or any other detail I mentioned above already). If you know of "gotchas" when shopping for a smartphone or "keep on the lookout for". If you think there's a better or cheaper or faster "smartphone network" provider in the Bay Area. etc.

Please, chip in, informed smartphone users - I'm going to get a smartphone soon, and the more info, the better.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:20 AM
 
Location: Planet Earth
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Doing some research, I see that there is a planned merger between T-mobile and MetroPCS.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:56 PM
 
Location: A bit further north than before
1,631 posts, read 3,427,013 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salilsurendran View Post
Hello,
I plan to buy a Samsung Galaxy Note II and switch to Straight Talk. I live in San Jose, CA and mostly need high speed data but not lots of it. I easily keep my data consumption below 500 MB. Right now on Verizon LTE I get close 10 mbps. Does anyone in San Jose know the network speed of Straight Talk. I know it is on ATT network but can't use ATT 4g services. So will I get 3G HSPA+ speeds? Can anyone post speed test results? Will a high end device like the Note II be wasted on a network like StraightTalk?

StraightTalk lets you chose either a Tmobile or an AT+T sim card, and whichever you chose you'll get access to their HSPA network. You'll be able to voice roam, but won't be able to data roam or use LTE.

AT+T has better coverage outside of urban areas, but only offers HSPA. Speeds seem to max out around 5mpbs down. T-Mobile gets a little skimpier once you get out of populated areas, but HSPA+ speeds can easily go over 10mbps. As always, the speed you actually get in any particular location varies.

Straight Talk is good because you can chose between both carriers, and with a bit of work switch between the two relatively easily. However, they also have a 'soft' data cap - it's advertised as 'unlimited' but they have the option of throttling you or even cancelling your account if they feel you're abusing it. Seems to happen at about 2gb per month, but some people get hit earlier, some can use all the data they want and never get dinged.

Metro PCS offers fast LTE service, but has a lousy footprint and you have to pay full retail prices for 18 month-old mid-level phones. A Metro PCS phone is going to be creaky out of the gate and positively ancient within the year

LTE versus HSPA/HSPA+ is more about marketing than reality for what the average person uses a smartphone for. Unless you're streaming HD media all day long or playing cutting edge online games, anything over 4 or 5mbps is going to be fast enough. It might take an extra second or so to render big pages or a couple seconds to download and install apps, but nothing that would make you hate your phone either way.

PS - these are all 3G technologies, no-one in the US offers 4G speeds. They ADVERTISE as 4G, but the speeds are only 3G. The carriers get away with it because the standards authority retroactively caved and redefined what is considered 4G in the US.
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:10 AM
 
Location: A bit further north than before
1,631 posts, read 3,427,013 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcopolo666 View Post
Please, chip in, informed smartphone users - I'm going to get a smartphone soon, and the more info, the better.

You've done the hard work already, you know what carriers have the best coverage in the areas you frequent the most Most people chose their phone first and then get stuck on a carrier that doesn't work for them, good job!

Next, decide if you want to buy a phone at full retail and pay less per month, or buy a subsidized phone and pay a higher monthly cost. Note that the subsidized phone ends up costing you many hundreds or even thousands of dollars more over the 2 year contract, but not everyone can swing $500 or $600 up front for a phone. Also, remember that a subsidized phone locks you in to it for at least 18 months, should you get tired of it or want to upgrade sooner you're SOL unless you sell it and buy a new phone at full retail.

Once you've figured that out, just go into the retail stores and try the phones out. Ergonomics are very important, the phone has to fit your hand and feel right if you're going to use it every day.

Oh, and despite how hard some carriers push 'unlimited' data plans, the fact is that most people barely crack 1gb per month and few ever pass 2 gb unless you never connect to wifi and spend a lot of time streaming video.
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