Straight Talk Capped My Data!

A reader Carlos, recently commented…

Hi Bob,
Thanks for all your posting. They have been helping me to understand more about APN and cellphones set up. I have a problem with my iphone 4 (5.1.1 9B208). It is with ST and my data has been suspended because, they said I have used too much data. It has been almost two years since I use ST and never have an issue before, but I dont know how to overcome this problem. I really need cellular data on my phone. What do you recomend in this case?. Should I change any APN settings? Should I update my iPhone to iO 6.1.3? How can I avoid my service beeing suspended every month ?
Thanks a lot for you help

Hi Carlos,
Thanks for taking the time to comment. Sorry to here about you losing your data every month.  Let’s answer your technical questions first and get that out of the way.  You cannot change  your APN settings or any other configuration information in the phone to get around the data limit.

The only thing you can do is limit your data usage.  You said  you have been on Straight Talk for two years but now suddenly ST says you are using too much data. Have you started using an new apps recently? Streaming music, online video, others.? Do you have any new apps that might be downloading a lot of data in the background?  Do you use your cell data all the time or do you take advantage of Wi-Fi networks at home and work? Finally are you using the  ST AT&T or T-Mobile SIM?

Now that is out of the way…. In theory, Straight Talk’s plan is supposed to be unlimited. I personally, dont believe there are any truly unlimited plans on any carrier. Use enough data and you will be cut off or your connection throttled to slow you down.  I am surprised to hear that ST told you you were cut off. Did they say you violated their terms of service? I found them on the web site.

 

6. STRAIGHT TALK UNLIMITED TALK, TEXT AND MOBILE WEB ACCESS PLAN INTENDED USE: Straight Talk Unlimited Talk, Text and Mobile Web Access Plans may ONLY be used with a Straight Talk handset for the following purposes: (i) Person to Person Voice Calls (ii) Text and Picture Messaging and (iii) Internet browsing and ordinary content Downloads. The Straight Talk Unlimited Plan MAY NOT be used for certain unauthorized uses that adversely impact our service. Examples of unauthorized uses include, without limitation, the following: (i) continuous uninterrupted mobile to mobile or mobile to landline voice calls; (ii) automated text or picture messaging to another mobile device or e-mail address; (iii) uploading, downloading or streaming of uninterrupted continuous video; (iv) server devices or host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine-to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing; or (v) as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections. A person engaged in unauthorized uses may have his/her service throttled and/or terminated. Customers will be provided notice and an opportunity to take corrective action with respect to unauthorized uses before their service is terminated.

Unlimited voice services may not be used for monitoring services, data transmission, transmission of broadcasts, transmission of recorded material, interconnection to other networks, telemarketing activity or autodialed calls or robocalls. Straight Talk reserves the right to cancel or deactivate service, and/or reduce data throughput in order to protect the Carrier’s network from harm due to any cause including, without limitation, the excessive and/or unauthorized use of Straight Talk service. Straight Talk reserves the right to limit or reduce data throughput speeds or the amount of data transferred, and to deny or terminate Service, to anyone Straight Talk believes is using the Straight Talk Unlimited Talk, Text and Mobile Web Access Plan in an unauthorized manner or whose usage, in Straight Talk’s sole discretion, adversely impacts the Carrier’s network or customer service levels. Straight Talk will presume you are engaging in an unauthorized use in violation of these Terms and Conditions if in Straight Talk’s sole opinion, you are placing an abnormally high number of calls, or repeatedly placing calls of unusually long duration, or if your talk, text or Mobile Web usage is harmful or disruptive to the Carrier’s network or service levels. If we determine, at our sole discretion, that you are using an unlimited service in violation of the Straight Talk Terms and Conditions of Service, or in any other manner that we deem to be unreasonable or excessive, then we may terminate individual calls, terminate or reduce the speed of data connection throughput, Mobile Web Access or terminate your service, decline to renew your service, or offer you a different service plan with no unlimited usage component.

Straight Talk may discontinue providing Service to you, discontinue your account, terminate data connections and/or reduce data throughput speeds for customers whose usage, in the sole judgment of Straight Talk: (1) appear likely to generate abnormally high call volumes or Mobile Web Access and data usage and/or abnormally long average call lengths or Mobile Web Access and data usage as compared to the usage of other Straight Talk customers; (2) may be harmful, disruptive, or interfere with the Carrier’s network, Straight Talk’s service or the ability to provide quality service to other customers. For a detailed description of activities that could result in reductions in data service speeds or service interruption or termination, see paragraph 7 and the section entitled “Straight Talk Features: Intended Use” under the Mobile Web Services Section below. By initiating Service and placing or receiving calls, you acknowledge and agree to Straight Talk’s right to terminate your Service under these circumstances.

Straight Talk may modify or cancel any Service or take corrective action at any time without prior notice and for any reason, including but not limited to your violation of this agreement.

7. STRAIGHT TALK UNLIMITED PLANS CANNOT BE USED FOR: any applications that tether your device to a laptop or personal computer other than for the use of Wireless Sync. IN ADDITION TO THE DISCLAIMERS SET FORTH IN THE AGREEMENT, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE USE OF THE STRAIGHT TALK MOBILE WEB SERVICES IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK. THE SERVICE IS PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. STRAIGHT TALK MAKES NO WARRANTY THAT THE STRAIGHT TALK MOBILE WEB SERVICES WILL (i) MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, (ii) ALLOW ACCESS TO ALL THIRD PARTY SITES, OR (iii) BE UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY, SECURE OR ERROR FREE. NO ADVICE OR INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM ANY OTHER SOURCE SHALL CREATE ANY WARRANTY NOT EXPRESSLY STATED IN THE AGREEMENT OR THE STRAIGHT TALK MOBILE WEB SERVICES TERMS OF USE. You are responsible for all activities undertaken by you using the Straight Talk Mobile Web Services, including without limitation, the use of email. You shall not use, nor permit others to use, the Straight Talk Mobile Web Services in a manner or for a purpose contrary to this Agreement.

I am not a lawyer, but when I read those terms of service it seems to me that all Straight Talk needs to do is claim that your data usage is harmful to their service and limit your data. My guess is that for each billing cycle, they will cap your monthly data claiming you are disrupting the network.

So your options are to:

  • use less data
  • switch to a mobile carrier with a better unlimited plan/li>
  • switch to a mobile carrier that will let you pay for more data.

We discussed the first option above. T-Mobile I think has better unlimited plans for prepaid but is probably not a great choice for your iPhone(only 2G data in many areas). Finally, ATT has a $60 a month plan with 2GB of data and you can buy more data per month if you need it. Checkout the AT&T site for details.
Regards
Bob

2 Comments

  1. Howard Carter | | Reply

    Most “unlimited” services aren’t really unlimited; they have a soft cap along the way where your data speeds get throttled. Straight Talk starts out with a straight lie, as it doesn’t mention caps or throttling anywhere on its website, promising only ” unlimited everything .” That compares poorly to T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile, both of which make it clear how much full-speed data is included in each “unlimited” plan.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Howard,
      Yes. The use of the term unlimited is misleading. I wish companies would just be clear.
      Regards
      Bob

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