StraightTalk has become a popular alternative for those who don't need all the bells and whistles of flagship smartphones, or don't want the sometimes ruinous cost of keeping them connected. But even budget carriers move with the times, and the Wal-Mart partner looks like it's finally ready to embrace LTE. The Samsung Galaxy S III is now available for purchase on StraightTalk's website, and should be at your nearest Wal-Mart soon. The phone is unbranded and comes with a reasonable sticker price of $439.99 unsubsidized.

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There's just one fly in the ointment: It's a Sprint-compatible phone. The retail packaging for the GSIII popped up on HowardForums earlier today, and the LTE-S badge in the lower corner indicates that this model runs on Sprint's CDMA-LTE network. While most urbanites won't have a problem with that, Sprint does have a pretty poor reputation once you get outside city limits, and its LTE penetration is still lagging behind Verizon and AT&T.

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If you're wondering why this is a disappointment instead of a given, StraightTalk uses different networks for different phones - some of the models sold under the StraighTalk brand work on Sprint CDMA frequencies, others on Verizon, and still more use the ubiquitous GSM standard. Prospective StraightTalk customers can even bring unlocked T-Mobile or unbranded GSM phones in and use them with the no-contract StraightTalk SIMs, though obviously they won't operate on the MVNO's licensed CDMA bands. GSM-LTE phones can't take advantage of the higher LTE speeds, at least at the moment. It looks like if you want LTE on StraightTalk, you've only got one choice for the time being.

StraightTalk's Galaxy S III comes in the standard blue and white colors, and is only compatible with the $45 Unlimited plan or $60 International Unlimited plan.

HowardForums via PhoneNews

Thanks, myl35!