Home - , , , , , - Updated: Straight Talk Caps "Unlimited" Data at 60 GB

Updated: Straight Talk Caps "Unlimited" Data at 60 GB

Straight Talk Ultimate Unlimited Plan

A couple of Straight Talk $55 Ultimate Unlimited plan customers posted on Reddit this week that Straight Talk had cut off their "unlimited" data for violating Straight talk's Terms and Conditions.  Their data use wasn't just throttled, it was totally blocked. A Straight Talk representative pointed one of the Redditors to this line in the terms; "We will presume you are engaging in an unauthorized use in violation of these Terms and Conditions, if in our sole discretion, you are using more than 60 GB of data in a 30-day period...". That sentence was added to the ToS fairly recently, it's not in the Internet Archive's copy from October 4, 2017 which is the latest version available on the archive.

I can't say that I'm surprised that Straight Talk is capping unlimited data at 60 GB. MVNOs like Straight Talk don't have their own networks, they resell data service from a mobile operator, in Straight Talks case, either AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint. Traditionally mobile operators have charged MVNOs for data by the MB or GB. As far as I know, no operator offers MVNOs unlimited data at a fixed price per customer. On an unlimited data plan, the more data the customer uses the less money the MVNO makes. Customers who use more than a certain amount of data end up costing the MVNO money. MVNOs selling unlimited plans are counting on the average user not using too much data. They discourage high data usage by blocking hotspot and throttling video, but ultimately they must have a way to kick off unprofitable customers or block their data use.

I think the real question here is an ethical one. Is it right for Straight talk to advertise Unlimited Data in a large font on their home page and point of sale signage and then hide a 60 GB cap in the terms and conditions fine print? Shouldn't Straight Talk and other operators be advertising plans based on the amount of data they will actually allow you to use? Would a $55 60 GB Plan sell as well as a $55 Unlimited Data plan? Probably not. I doubt that we will ever see real truth in advertising. Unfortunately it's up to consumers to read provider's terms and conditions and do their own research to find out the true meaning of "unlimited".

Straight Talk is a TracFone brand. Two other TracFone brands, Simple Mobile and Page Plus, offer unlimited data plans, but neither mention a 60 GB or other cap on their respective terms and conditions pages. Does that mean their unlimited data is truly unlimited? I  don't think so, both brands T and C's say that they will cancel or suspend your service if your data use is "abnormally high".

Update 5-Mar-2018: Since this article was published, the Straight Talk website's Plans page has been updated to include the words "At 60 GB, we reserve the right to review your account for usage in violation of Straight Talk’s terms and conditions." in the description of the $55 unlimited plan. Hopefully other mobile operators will fillow Straight Talk's example by disclosing the limitations of their "unlimited" data plans more clearly.

Sources: Reddit (1), (2), Straight Talk

70 comments:

Comment Page :
  1. This is a case where business needs to regulated or at least punished by the government, specifically in regards to truth in advertising. The business must lie in their advertisements are else they will lose sales to other business that lie in their advertisements. There is no possibility of self-regulation here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well there is one carrier that truly does mean unlimited when they say (unlimited) and I'm talking about Verizon prepaid it is $80 a month but my wife has actually used as of right now 129 gigs of high speed data so I really does work and it is truly UNLIMITED!!! AND BY THE WAY LAST MONTH SHE USED 163 GIGS!!!!!!!

      Delete
  2. Just more reasons why I will never use this brand!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dennis, I think it would be better if they just outright said 60GB and gave customers a reasonable option to purchase extra data. Drop the unlimited plans and sell large top ups (e.g 20GB for $25) instead of $15/GB overages and 2G throttling. Their own Total Wireless brand does exactly this, $10 for 5GB, it's much more reasonable. Fact is, these guys want you to pay the higher price for "unlimited", but still use 2-5GB/month. They can't have it this way.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 60gigs isn't generous enough? Lol...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not at their price! This is 2018, large volume data needs to priced less than 50 cents a gig to be competitive. For low volumes, say less than 5 gigs, 2 to 3 dollars per gig is reasonable provided that the plan is not hard capped. No matter how much these MVNO's want to, they can not go back in time to high priced data!

      Delete
    2. 60 gigs? I can burn through that in under 5 days.

      Delete
    3. 60gbs is not ok when labeled as "Unlimited" I went over the 60 in like a week watching movies with my kids. These are glorified scam artists. .

      Delete
  5. Straight Talk has been caught again with their pants down. I seem to remember there was a successful class action suit brought against them some years ago for false advertisement of unlimited. Yet another reason why I won't touch an America Movil company.

    ReplyDelete
  6. All carriers need to get rid of unlimited plans unless they are true unlimited plans

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of them are true unlimited plans, with the catch that if exceed a certain amount they may throttle your data speed in high populace areas, this has to do with bandwidth. With straight talk its just straight up false advertising, they also word it as "At 60 GB, we reserve the right to review your account for usage in violation of Straight Talk’s terms and conditions." which in the terms they straight up say its a violation of the terms and conditions.

      Delete
    2. I just thank it's funny how they thank the creat gigs and it's cost the money to make gigs is the gigabit a straight talk patent, for all I'm concerned it's no different than the air we all breath. Next thank there gonna sell them s unlimited arie you can only brathb 60breaths a month and if you go over well it's the gas chamber for you. Like some one said stop advertising unlimited when clearly it's not. Just thank how much money they would get if it was truly unlimited everyone would buy it and keep calling mmimg back because it's the best, but sadley there a bunch of liying good for nothing better to do B.S scammers, I bet I'm not the only customer they lost or will lose in the future because of all there B.S

      Delete
  7. Boost Mobile is an MVNO of Sprint and there are many customers that have the 4 or 5 for $100 plan and combined data usage easily exceeds 60GB per month for all 4 or 5 lines. Boost Mobile has not cut off data services for any of its unlimited customers with excessive usage, there are customers on Boost Mobile that stream all day and use over 500 GB per month so the reasoning that MVNOs are paying the main carriers for data usage would result in high expenses for Boost Mobile?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boost is not an MVNO; it's owned by Sprint.

      Delete
    2. "The Telstra Exchange commenced operating on the Boost Mobile network in North America in January 2016. Boost corporation is a subsidiary company of TelstraAir. Financial holdings of State run telco services are held in government capital markets. Boost mobile services were marketed and distributed through the international technology group Sprint Corporation."

      Delete
    3. The above "The Telstra Exchange commenced operating on the Boost Mobile network.." is from from the Boost Mobile Wikipediapage. I believe it is nonsense.

      The Boost Wikipedia page was extensively edited (see Boost Mobile: Difference between revisions - Wikipedia) in November to add that text. The user who edited the page gave "Company profile was totally fabricated" as the only explanation for his change.

      I've been unable to find any information confirming that the "Telstra Exchange" has anything to do with Boost Mobile in the US, which has been owned and operated by Sprint since 2006.

      The only Telstra Exchange I've been able to find is this tech news site Telstra Exchange | Technology news, Innovation, Telstra news which is a tech news site published by Australian Mobile operator Telstra. Boost Mobile Australia is an MVNO on Telstra so maybe that's where the confusion comes from.

      Delete
    4. "Boost Worldwide, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sprint that provides nationwide, prepaid wireless voice, messaging and broadband data products and services to customers in the continental United States under the Boost Mobile brand. The services are provided as an MVNO hosted on the Sprint-owned CDMA, EVDO, WiMAX, LTE, and now the Sprint LTE Plus Network." Is Boost Mobile an MNVO of Sprint subject to limits on its data it can provide to its customers? There are no published complaints of Boost Mobile customers being limited on their unlimited data usage plans

      Delete
    5. More missinformation from Wikipedia. Boost is wholly owned subsidiary of Sprint and uses the Sprint network. It is not an MVNO, which by definition is a virtual operator without a network of its own.

      Delete
    6. I can clear this up. The Boost relationship is very similar to Virgin Mobile.

      Sprint owns the customers and network for both Virgin and Boost. Both brands began as separate/partner MVNOs, that Sprint then bought out. However, as part of the acquisition, the originators (Telstra for boost, Virgin Group for Virgin Mobile) maintain ownership of the trademarks.

      Sprint has free reign to use the brands for some long-term period, but there may be poison pills that this arrangement ends if Sprint were to be bought or merge (say, with T-Mobile). So we don't know what the future of Boost is - but it is Sprint-owned, just licensing the name/brand.

      Delete
  8. Dennis - like the Reddit comments say, this is a violation of the 2015 court order.

    Tracfone/Straight Talk is required to mention all limits on "unlimited" data plans on the same exact webpages that the plan is sold. And in their TV ads, they have to mention the limits in video (prominently) and audio (comprehensible). Even their hard-copy, in-store paper promos have to mention the limits (prominently).

    Time for a federal smackdown?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Federal smackdown, HA! Have you looked at the makeup of the federal government lately?

      Delete
    2. Never gonna happen under this administration. Why do you think they're pulling this crap now?

      Delete
  9. America Movil are cheats and thief's. A federal/civil fine/penalty is just routine cost of (monkey) business to them just like a prison sentence to a repeat petty thief.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This change is excellent. The network seems faster today.

    ReplyDelete
  11. No one can ever offer true "unlimited" without some caveat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then no one should advertise "unlimited" as unlimited.

      Or at least hard capped limited as unlimited. But is it hard capped, with no exceptions? Probably too early to tell; maybe the people getting their accounts canceled are in markets where the MNOs are slammed.

      Delete
  12. I think 60gigs is a lot of data to use in a month. I stream and download Netflix and Amazon Prime movies on a regular basis but I have never crossed 60gigs of data in a month

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How nice for you. Everyone should be just like you, huh? Get real!

      Everyone's usage will vary. Never mind that "regular basis" means different things to different people. Some people live their lives on the internet via the phone. Just because you don't doesn't make you the standard bearer. If they offer "unlimited," then that's what it should legally be required to be. Period.

      Delete
    2. I think many folks with "unlimited" mobile data choose not to use WiFi when it's available to them, so that's why "unlimited data" customers get upset when they realize there is no such thing as unlimited mobile data at the moment. Across my phone and iPad I use about 2 GB of mobile data per month, but I also use more than 200 GB of WiFi in the same month. If all of that was mobile data that would be ridiculously expensive for an MVNO to provide.

      Delete
    3. Not using Wi-Fi because you have unlimited is a wise thing. And it doesn't cause any problems at all.

      Delete
  13. >I think the real question here is an ethical one. Is it right for Straight talk to advertise Unlimited Data

    I think "ethical" is overrated, as both sides are "unethical." Is it ethical for sites like SlickDeals/Reddit/Howard's Forum to allow consumers to exploit loopholes and extract discounts larger than intended? We always want the other party to be "fair" and "ethical," while we downplay our own behavior.

    In any case, survival trumps ethics. If your competitor advertises "unlimited," you have to as well, or else you'd lose business. Some folks call for govt regulation, which is a dumb idea, as govt isn't the catch-all solution to myriad of "unethical" issues we face every day. We don't live in a nanny state, nor do we want one. The solution is to educate oneself, and be aware of the caveats.

    >I think it would be better if they just outright said 60GB

    Better for you, worse for the provider, as people will just take their money to "unlimited" providers. That's real life. Honesty/transparency is usually a bad policy. Would you be honest and tell your wife/SO that she's getting fat?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a difference between a "nanny state" and "make up whatever rules we want when we want state" - the latter just leads to chaos and lawlessness. Or are you a proponent of anarchy?

      Delete
    2. >There's a difference between a "nanny state" and "make up whatever rules we want when we want state"

      People like simple binary arguments--for/against, good/bad, us/them, etc. Real-life is more nuanced. Most situations, and people, are never black or white, but are in varying shades of gray. Not telling the truth doesn't equate to telling a lie. Not liking a nanny state doesn't equate to liking anarchy.

      Yes, there should be regulation for advertising, and there is. But advertising is the art of stretching the truth without lying, and there will never be a way to regulate every "unethical" advertisement, because "stretching the truth" is fundamentally "unethical." There is a fine line, but calling for govt intervention for every petty instance is idiotic. The cure would be worse than the disease.

      Providers have been advertising "unlimited data" since forever, which usually means a softcap at basically unusable speed. The advertising stretches the truth, but it's not a lie.

      Straight Talk's stipulation of a 60GB limit in its ToS would appear to step over this fine line, and one could conceivably complain to the pertinent govt agency to get the clause rescinded. But practically speaking, there is no difference between a hard cap and a softcap of unusable speed. ST can throttle it to 32Kb/s to satisfy the "unlimited" stipulation.

      Delete
    3. Why shouldnt our government regulate them? They are good at trying to control everything else... Why shouldnt they control the lies these companies are telling?

      Delete
  14. Even at 60gigs a month on the Verizon network is a pretty good deal. I think some people are forgetting its on the Verizon network. If it were on Sprint or T-Mobile networks then I would reconsider.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been using Straight Talk on Verizon Network and it has been awesome. On average, I get speeds between 15mbps to 30mbps. Coverage is awesome. I never had a problem. I always had problems with T-Mobile network but since I moved to Straight Talk Verizon, I have been so so happy:)

      Delete
    2. Exactly. 60 gigabytes on Sprint is it worth much at all because Sprint hardly Works anywhere.

      Delete
  15. Sean, 60gb's on Verizon? Straight Talk is an MVNO so you will not get the same priority as a post paid Verizon account holder. It is not the same experience.

    Dennis, I think you nailed on the wiki confusion. Boost Mobile Australia is a totally different animal than Boost Mobile USA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually Total Wireless, a division of Tracfone (similar to Straight talk) on the Verizon network is awesome. I get the same speeds as a post-paid account holder. i've seen speeds up to 56mpbs here locally.

      Delete
  16. " Boost Mobile Australia is a totally different animal than Boost Mobile USA."

    Yeah, for one thing, it is a marsupial.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow! I have Inner Circle by Virgin Mobile USA and I'm lucky if I even consume more than an average of 8GBs in a month. I do believe I read a while back, the average American cellular consumer uses between 12-15GBs in a month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd be lucky too. I've been on Virgin and found a few places with as high as 3 mbps download speed, and most places had no data at all. It's hard to use a lot of data on a network that won't let you use any data at all in most of the US.

      Delete
    2. Obviously, Sprint doesn't work for you. That's not true of everyone else.

      Delete
  18. Kewl! I thought Straight Talk would've slowed the data down to something like 128kbs after 22GB or so. Their allowing 60GB at full (MVNO) speeds? That's awesome ! Bet there's no hotspot though.

    But if they are NOT saying "Throttling after....GB" or "Deprioritizing after...GB" then I agree Straight Talk should be penalized.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They recently changed it to add that. Also they no longer hide the hotspot which makes it easier to claim you broke the service agreement if they choose.

      Delete
  19. Limiting data use to 60 GB is perfectly reasonable. Those who consume that much data are abusing the network by using their cell phone service as a wireline replacement. If everyone used more than 60 GB per line the cell networks could be like Sprint circa 2010. Cellular bandwidth is a limited resource. A small handful of users that consume 10 times as much data as everyone else shouldn't get a free ride off the backs of people who are not abusing the system. They are the ones that threaten the sustainability of unlimited data plans for the rest of us. Just because something is digital doesn't mean that it is unlimited to the point of absurdity or should be free unlike what many whiners with an entitlement mentality believe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not reasonable with the push to 4K. I can blow through 60 GB quickly. You must think they should put the 4K genie back in its bottle! While you are at it, why don't you force everyone back to 2g flip phones. That would save a lot of data and we could have super fast cell networks for your own selfish use.

      Delete
    2. Anon at 2:46 - You act like everyone lives in the city with access to gobs of wireline options. Can't wait until 5G, so we can "legitimately" use wireless for wireline replacement. If it's marketed as such, it should be used as such. Unlimited should be unlimited. Period.

      Delete
    3. Here we go again...

      If ST doesn't want >"a small handful of users" using 60GB, they should stop selling plans that allow 60GB of usage. Oh, and STOP MARKETING IT AS AN UNLIMITED PLAN.

      Delete
    4. There you go again. Unlimited is defined in the ST TOS. If people don't accept those TOS they should go elsewhere instead of whining. Ignorance is never an excuse, even though some may have been in bliss before ST told them exactly what to expect.

      Delete
    5. "Anonymous March 5, 2018 at 10:18 AM
      There you go again..."
      Distorting the facts. ST changed the TOS recently, AFTER most had already subscribed under TOS without 60gb wording. They have a legitimate complaint.
      The complaint that something marketed as unlimited data to new / potential subscribers is actually NOT & is actually hard capped is deceptive & false advertising regardless that they "tell" you buried in 100's of lines of fine print boilerplste TOS.

      Delete
    6. "Unlimited" is defined in the dictionary. That's is what matters more than a TOS. If people don't like this, they should not ignore everything but pressure the company to live up to its advertising and claims.

      People have every right to "whine" if a company advertises a specific product and has something buried inside the TOS that contradicts how the product is advertised.

      The only ignorance here is the occurrence of what specific words mean, such as the word "Unlimited".

      ST is clearly running a bait-and-switch scam.

      I suggest you find a dictionary.

      Delete
    7. "Unlimited" is defined in the dictionary. That's is what matters more than a TOS."

      No, we are talking about your 'contract' with a carrier, which is contained in the TOS. The only definition that matters, the legal definition, is the definition of Unlimited in the TOS. Read your contract.

      Delete
    8. Unlimited should be unlimited, I've been a straight talk customer for awhile but since they've started doing this I think I'm going to go to Boost Mobile or Cricket

      Delete
  20. >Is it right for Straight talk to advertise Unlimited Data in a large font on their home page and point of sale signage and then hide a 60 GB cap in the terms and conditions fine print?

    The 60GB limit is now prominently posted in the link to the Ultimate Unlimited Data plan:

    http://straighttalk.com/wps/portal/home/shop/serviceplans

    "At 60 GB, we reserve the right to review your account for usage in violation of Straight Talk’s terms and conditions."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, they did. That's a step in the right direction.

      Delete
    2. But they say "review your account" . Does that mean there's a chance of not getting capped or throttled if u didn't violate the terms and conditions ?

      Delete
    3. Ive used over 200 and 300 gigs each month since going to the unlimited plan. No joke. No limit. The speeds vary greatly but the only tower accessible in my area is very old and needs upgrading. I have no speed issues when on another tower.
      Ive truly used hundreds of gigabytes each month.
      Dont tether ... Dont use the phone as a constant feed camera and its all good.
      Ive used Straight Talk for about a decade. The only legitimate complaint is the customer service operators have seem less than informed and more of a time waster. Ive learned to ask for tech support .. Not customer service.

      Delete
  21. Big Slim's at it again.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have the unlimited plan and I did get truly unlimited data for awhile, however as soon as they started this 60 GB cap, I noticed at 30 GB my data has been slowed down alot.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love all these internet lawyers that act like they are on the ST payroll, or at least like they are footing the bill for users going over 60GB. When a plan is purchased without the ">60GB clause" in the ToS then the ToS gets changed afterwards, at minimum the plans purchased prior to the ToS changes should not be affected by the new ToS.

    As many have said before, if ST doesn't want complaints/confusion/whining, they should not falsely advertise data limits in hopes of making a few bucks off of people that won't hit this limit.

    As others have said, many people live in areas where 3mb DSL or Satellite Internet are their only options. It seems all the ST supporters on here think everyone has fiber and cable modems.

    ReplyDelete
  24. All these Satellite and broadband providers should atleast give half the data that xfinity comcast internet provides. I live in town right now but will be moving to a remote area where there is no cable or fiber internet providers....so ill be stuck with this crap...atleast with xfinity i pay pretty much 50 bucks a month for 12mbps at 1024gb cap...why cant satellite or broadband meet atleast 300-500gb a month.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I have Straight Talk "Unlimited", and it is, kinda. Absolutely awesome during the day, but come 7:30 p.m. your download speed can drop to 0.03 mbps and upload as slow as 0.24 mbps. So what that means is that when you are home, good luck streaming or anything else unless you tie into WiFi.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Because we really need unlimited cell phone plans. Truly unlimited plans. Even the majors are offering 22 GB at a slower, throttled speed, calling it high speed then pushing you down to 128 kbps after that 22 GB and call it deprioritization. T-Mobile is a little more generous, at 50 GB, but are they capping your speed in that 50 GB? It is absolutely ridiculous.

    Cell phones should be unlimited at like 2 mbps or something and if people want faster than they can pay more, but still unlimited, no soft caps and no hard caps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm on unlimited w/Sprint. Have used nearly 300gb so far this mo. Speeds are the same today as day 1. I MAY be subject to deprioritization but have not been yet. YMMV

      Delete
  27. They just cut mine off after 250gb lol they're getting a lil better. Lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But it is prepaid, so what is stopping a person from signing up again?

      Delete
  28. I have used 112 GB from straight talk this month and my phone tried to cut me off but I just bypassed it

    ReplyDelete
  29. I have used over 300GB before but try to stay in the 60 to 70GB in a week. They have and will shut down internet on your phone if you go over somewhere between 80GB to 130Gb within 7 days without a break.

    ReplyDelete
Comment Page :


All comments must be approved before they will appear. The following types of comments will not be approved: off topic comments, insults or personal attacks directed at other commenters, bigotry, hate, sexism and profanity.