Mobile Site

Home - , - Straight Talk to Confirm Throttling and Enforce New Data Caps

Straight Talk to Confirm Throttling and Enforce New Data Caps

A Prepaid Phone News reader discovered a Clark Howard blog post that claims that Straight Talk will soon impose 2.5 GB monthly data cap. After using 2.5 GB in a month data will be throttled to what Howard calls dial-up speeds. At the 4 GB mark data will be shut off for the remainder of the month.

Interesting news but it raises lots of questions. For one, who is Clark Howard? I'd never heard of him but it turns out that he's a consumer advocate who is best known for a daily syndicated radio talk that's heard on over 200 stations. Clark is also the co-anchor of  the "Evening Express" news program on the HLN (Headline News) TV network and has a weekly newspaper column. Howard's shows and columns offer money saving tips and ways to save money and avoid rip-offs and scams.

Assuming Clark is right about the caps, major questions remain. When will the changes will occur? Will they effect Straight Talk users on all four networks that the MVNO uses? Will customers have a way to track their usage as recorded by Straight Talk and will Straight Talk modify its terms of service to allow streaming and tethering?

I don't know the answer to any of these questions. If I had to guess, I suspect that the change will occur soon, possibly early in July.

Even though Straight Talk operates totally independent services on each of the four national networks I think the caps will apply, at least on paper, to Straight Talk users regardless of whether they are using a Straight Talk's AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon or Sprint based variants. Straight Talk likes to hide the differences between the operators it uses as much as possible to present the image of a single unified Straight Talk network. Actual enforcement of the caps may vary. Currently Straight Talk's hidden caps seem to be enforced mostly against AT&T and, to a lesser extent, Verizon users. There are very few reports of T-Mobile or Sprint Straight talk users getting throttled or having their data cut off.  So even though Straight Talk will say the caps apply to all networks, enforcement may be less strict against Straight Talk Sprint and T-Mobile users.

I doubt that users will be able to track how much data Straight Talk thinks they have used. Currently, no one at Straight Talk, even at the highest customer service and technical support levels, seems to be able to tell a customer how much data they have used. I don't see that changing quickly, especially given the complexity of tracking usage on four different networks in a way that would be consistent and meaningful to users.

It would make sense to remove the streaming prohibition from the TOS. Not allowing streaming is a way to limit data usage without having a stated cap. Streaming has become a mainstream activity among modern smartphone users and prohibiting it makes the service much less attractive to potential customers. Having a cap means there's less need to block streaming so hopefully Straight Talk will legitimize it.

I don't see the tethering prohibition going away. The US operators like to charge customers extra to share the data they are already paying for with another device. I can't see them all allowing Straight Talk to give away something that's such a lucrative source of revenue to the operators.

Tags: ,

31 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. Basically what virgin mobile does, but they are wholly owned by sprint. Can straight talk still call its $45 plan unlimited, since they will state a hard 4GB cap?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would love to get some clarity either way. I will believe it when I read it on there website.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Let's see how badly Carlos Slim and America Movil can screw up Page Plus. Looks like I will be moving to Selectel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell us how Selectel goes. I am not willing to gamble with them yet, until they come off of that $30 activation fee.

      Delete
    2. Absolutely right! Page Plus is going to lose a lot of subscribers because of horrendous customer service on its way via American Movil.
      Selectel is still in the beginning stages and needs to drop that $30 activation fee. Why an MVNO charges an activation fee like that is beyond comprehension.

      Delete
    3. We do not charge an activation fee for Selectel. Those that want to be activated on Selectel call us toll free at 877-418-2411. We'll be glad to activate your service!

      Delete
  4. I wouldn't say that they try and create a unified network, they are pretty vocal about how they are using the same big networks at a lower cost. If anything they are trying to unify a brand as Straight Talk. They are kind of sparse on the details, probably for legal deals/ reasons, as to what network each phone works on. They never come out and say to public this phone works on Sprint, this one works on Verizon, this one works on T-mobile. It's deceptive advertising when your average consumer goes to purchase a phone having no idea what network it works on with some ST iPhones running on Verizon, the GS3 running on sprint, the huawei w1 running on At&t and t-mobile based sims it all becomes confusing unless you do research, which honestly the average consumer isn't going to do they're going to see a price more then likely

    ReplyDelete
  5. They will absorb page+ into their crappy,vague customer svc.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thought the gs3 ran on at&t?! I see your point.

    ReplyDelete
  7. If straight talk can monitor data for the $30 plan I don't see why they cant implement it for the $45 plan?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i wonder, is there a app for the android phones on ST to put on phone to watch usage on data? im getting my first android phone this week, and going back to ST.tks..

      Delete
    2. Thera are many data monitoring apps for Android. Onavo Count and 3G Watchdog seem to be the most popular. Also, Android 4.0 and latter have a built in data monitor

      Delete
  8. Just because the selectel wireless website charges does not mean dealers such as myself do. I charge my customers nothing for activations or port ins

    ReplyDelete
  9. udont know clark howard u must live under a rock

    ReplyDelete
  10. people commenting that 2.5GB isn't alto are just plain looney . This is for your phone ! Whenever i hear my customes complain ,I educate them. Phone internet is for emails,music perhaps,SOME video watching and general browsing. its NOT for tethering your home devices to watch Netflix or play Xbox live.I use my phone internet all the time (browsing,emailing ,list video watching,Pandora all day and even shopping),and I never pass 2GB. Never! the issue always is: people want to take advantage. I own 2 wireless stores and i educate my customer. The data caps are a psycological/perception issue. Net10 is awesome service and I push it because its coverage and data speeds are superior. 1.5GB cap? fine with my customers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I disagree. From July 6-18 I've used 3.57GB of data. I don't even stream radio. I just watch some youtube,kik,Facebook, download some songs & that's pretty much it. But I already passed the 2.5GB of data. I have a Lg optimus Showtime.

      Delete
    2. People like you, Santos, should not be on a prepaid plan. That is a huge amount of data and is WAY above the average. I would not consider your experience typical in any way.

      Delete
  11. So was reading this and other articles - I have an AT&T iphone 4 (unlocked) with a SIM card from Straight Talk and the past 2 months when I refilled my service, my data doesn't work. Customer non-support was totally useless, and told me my phone must not really be unlocked (bought it unlocked at Apple store, and has worked fine for the last 8 months). Last month I refilled, and phone/text works but no data. This month I refilled, and phone/text works but no data. Last month, I waited a day and a half and it just started working again. My reserve plan kicked in today at midnight, and so far no data...but it's "only been" 13.5 hours. ??? Suggestions??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are using a Straight Talk AT&T SIM, double check that your data APN is still correct. Apple has pushed several over the air carrier updates to iPhones recently. The updates set the APN back to the AT&T setting of "phone" which doesn't work with Straight Talk. To fix the APN:
      1. Connect to WiFi and go to http://unlockit.co.nz/ with Safari on the iPhone.
      2. On the Unlockit site, tap "Create APN".
      3. Choose County: United States, Carrier: Straight Talk and tap the "Create APN" button.
      4. Tap "Install".
      5. Turn the phone off and on and test that the web works.

      If data still doesn't work repeat the steps but use http://iapnupdatetfdata.straighttalk.com instead of unlockit.co.nz. The two sites send different APNs (att.mvno vs. tfdata) each of which works with some Straight Talk accounts but not others.

      If you have a T-Mobile Straight Talk SIM the APN should be wap.tracfone. It's unlikely to have been changed but if it has you can edit it in Settings > General > Network (Cellular on iOS 6.0) > Cellular Data Network.

      If the APN settings are right and data still doesn't work it's a Straight talk issue and you are going to have to deal with CS to get it fixed.

      Delete
    2. if u have airplane mode try turning it on, wait a second or two and then turn it off. Works for me everytime. Sorry this is so late but just seen the post.

      Delete
  12. Perfect! Thank you so much, I had the unlockit.co.nz, but those OTA updates must have changed something. I used the iapnupdate and it works now. Thank you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. My gf has had her straight talk phone service practically turned off for the last couple days due to updates from at&t anyone else have that problem? By turned off I mean she cant make or receive calls and her wifi is ify.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What kind of phone Android or iPhone?

      If it's Android and the update was an Android system update it's often necessary to do a hard reset after the update to get every working right.

      Before you reset, be sure contacts and calendar are synced with Google and all music and photos are on the memory card or copied to a PC because a hard reset will delete everything on the phone and return it to the factory fresh state.

      Delete
  14. Ive watched about an hour worth of youtube and mabey an hour of pandora downloaded 5 -6 apps done email and all this in 10 days added up to 1.5 of data doesent seem like over use to me.....

    ReplyDelete
  15. I started using Google Play Music... ughhh... what a bandwidth hog. I rarely broke the 1GB mark on data use for a month. Last week I did 2.5 in just a few days streaming Google Play All Access for about 1-2 hours per day. Looks like I might be dropping my subscription and going back to Pandora.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yea o have to say my lg showtime used 3.25g of data in a month and all i did was watch about anhour of utube and 10-12 hours of radio plus standered web browsing and 16 days into my month i was throttled down to almost nothing for remander of month...doesent seem like over use to me its not like i teathered what a bunch of bs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get a real phone plan then. Don't complain, at least it saves you money. What does the name "straight" Talk mean to you? Your phone is ment to be just a phone. Not an amazing rocket ship tethering 5 devices and streaming netflix along with pandora and youtube, while downloading 5 apps at the same time.

      Delete
  17. What people who are saying "sign a contract" don't get is the least straight talk could do is send out a warning text saying "in 1gb more u will be throttled/data shut off" but they give NO warning FOR UNLIMITED DATA customers.

    ReplyDelete
  18. yes this is BS by all means there is a class action suit against ST if I can find it I will post here

    ReplyDelete
Comment Page :