In this article is able Straight Talk and Mobile Hotspot. I’ll explain to you what you need to know about Straight Talk and Mobile Hotspot and make a few recommendations. Please note though, if you are a Straight Talk customer and your mobile hotspot doesn’t work or suddenly stopped working this article may explain what happed but it will not tell you how to fix the problem, other than, switching to another wireless plan.
Straight Talk and Mobile Hotspot
In the fall of 2019, Straight Talk added 10GB of Hotspot data to their $55 unlimited plan. Only Straight Talk’s $55 plan includes hotspot, none of their fixed data plans include the feature. And according to Straight Talk, customers on the $55 plan that use Straight Talk’s AT&T towers do not qualify for hotspot.
Before fall for 2019. Mobile Hotspot was not included with any Straight Talk plan. In fact, Straight Talk’s terms and conditions of service explicitly prohibited the use of mobile hotspot.
Many people will tell me that of course Straight Talk included hotspot, that they have been using it for years. In fact, they will say it included unlimited mobile hotspot. And while I agree that may customers were able to turn on and use mobile hotspot. This doesn’t mean that it was in fact part of their plan. More about that in a few..
If you are a Straight Talk customer, and your plan doesn’t include hotspot or if 10GB of hotspot data isn’t enough for you. I recommend switching to a carrier that includes mobile hotspot with the amount of data you need. See Prepaid Wireless and Portable or Personal Hotspot.
Back To Straight Talk and Hotspot
Prior to Fall 2019, Straight Talk expressly prohibited the use of mobile hotspot. But many customers found out they could simply turn it on and it worked. When Straight Talk added unlimited data to the $55 plan, many customers thought they were in hotspot heaven. What happened though was that Straight Talk started disabling hotspot for some. Others were contacted and told their accounts were suspended or terminated for using hotspot and violating the terms of service. Some customers freaked out. They didn’t even know that using mobile hotspot was prohibited.Some of these people were using Straight Talk to replace home internet service using 100s of GB of data per month for a long time and then they were cut off.
What the ??
In Fall 2019, Straight Talk added 10GB of hotspot to the $55 plan. Normally this would be a good thing because they added mobile hotspot. However, this angered and confused other customers. Suddenly people’s hotspot would stop working. People were hitting the 10GB limit for hotspot. They didn’t know why it stopped working. Maybe that is why you are reading this.
For some reason, I hear from a number of people telling me that I was wrong about Straight Talk not including hotspot with their plans. I also hear a lot from people telling me why Straight Talk should or must provide mobile hotspot. Keep reading on if you are interested. If you just want to find a plan that better meets your needs, see Prepaid Wireless and Portable or Personal Hotspot
The Fine Print…
The Straight Talk terms and conditions of service always said that hotspot usage was prohibited.
Hotspot Works for Some Customers, But Not Everyone
As I said some Straight Talk customers are able to turn on and use hotspot while others are not. In my experience Straight Talk customers that have Android phones and use Straight Talk’s Verizon towers are the ones most likely to be able to use hotspot. This is the only combination that ever worked for me. When you sign up for Straight Talk, your phone might be using Straight Talk’s AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint towers. Also you might be using an iPhone or and Android phone, you may have bought a phone from Straight Talk or are using your now phone. so there are a manyf possible combinations that would need to be checked. I tried the four combinations of iPhone, Android, AT&T and Verizon towers, only Verizon and Android worked for me. Your experience may be different, consider leaving a reply below and share what did and did not work for you.
Here is My Advice If You Want or Need Hotspot
So you may be wondering what can you do. My advice is that you want hotspot, choose a wireless provider that includes the feature as part of their plans, or offers it as an add-on feature. I’d also recommend that you let Straight Talk know that you changed carriers because they do not have the feature and you’d like to see them offer it. While you are free to communicate as you see fit, I’d recommend you do this politely over social media. Based on the comments I have received here and on YouTube I know many people are angry and upset about losing hotspot or not being able to use it at all. My opinion that if you switch to their competitors and let them know why they may re-evalulate adding the feature to their plans. I wrote another article about prepaid wireless and hotspot, check out Prepaid Wireless and Portable or Personal Hotspotto learn about your options.
Should You Use Your Hotspot If It Works..
Many people ask me if they should use their hotspot if it works. Others are adamant that they will use hotspot for as long as it works. The choice is up to you and hopefully you can make an informed decision after reading this article. Just know that if you rely on having hotspot, it may eventually end up disabled. You may be warned, suspended, or terminated. If your hotspot doesn’t work, Straight Talk’s customer service will not assist you. When I tell some people that it violates the Straight Talk’s terms of service agreement, they assume I am implying they will be sued or arrested, it’s not the case. You a violating the terms of a business agreement, not criminal law. I’ll add the usual, “I am not a lawyer” disclaimer here.
For the remainder of the article I want to share some additional information. Note that is 2019, I do not use Straight Talk personally. Straight Talk’s plans offer a large amount of fixed or high speed data at competitive prices, but I only need a limited amount of data so it’s no longer the right choice for me.
Straight Talk has not told us why they do not include hotspot with their plans. It’s my opinion that is is a business decision on their part. We don’t know the terms of their business arrangements with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile and those companies might contractually prohibit its use. It’s possible they need to pay for all the data their customers use, and when customers use more data with hotspot, those customers become unprofitable, and operate at a loss.
Most prepaid wireless companies that do offer hotspot only allow for a fixed amount of high speed data usage with hotpsot (5GB, 10GB, 15GB, for example). I regularly hear from Straight Talk customers using >100GB of data per month, using their hotspot to replace home broadband connections. Many people use it for gaming, which often requires huge downloads. Other customers tell me they live in rural areas without many options for broadband services at home, so they use Straight Talk with hotspot.
In addition to the costs of providing “unlimited” hotspot, there is also a performance impact on the cellular network. My understanding is that each cell in a 4G LTE network can only handle a relatively small number of devices. The 4G LTE network isn’t set up for offering home broadband connections and using it that way impacts the performance of the network. Again, this is my understanding base on what I’ve read online, I do not have a background in wireless telecommunications.
Also, a number of people believe that Straight Talk is “ripping them off” by not including hotspot and believe because they paid for a plan they are entitled to hotspot. I understand that many people feel this way, but it isn’t how this works. Straight Talk offers the plans and when you sign up you agree to their terms and conditions of service. You agree and pay, or you don’t sign up. This angers some people, but I wish consumers would realize the amount of power you have as the paying customer. They want your money. When enough people take their business elsewhere, they will get the message. You have the money, they want it. Exercise your power as the consumer.
No Support for Hotspot Is Ilegal!
I also receive a fair number of comments telling me that it “illegal” for Straight Talk to prevent you from using hotspot. I am not aware of any such law. Most comments never provide any details or references to said laws or rulings. Based on my research I believe they may be referring to a consent decree between Verizon and the FCC. You can read more about that here FCC to Verizon: Don’t block tethering apps. Verizon settles for $1.25M. It’s not clear how this would apply to Straight Talk or any other wireless carrier.
While I am not aware of it, it is entirely possible that Straight Talk’s terms and conditions of service do violate FCC regulations or even consumer protection laws. Even if this is true, what recourse does the average consumer have? I suppose you could start a class-action law suit, and if successful, Straight Talk customers would have access to hotspot and may receive a few dollars each in compensation. The law firm handling the case would take 30% to 50% of the settlement off the top, then the bills and expenses paid, and whatever remains is divided among the plantiffs. That is my limited understanding of class action law suits. To me, it isn’t worth my time or effort, but you may feel differently.
If you have any additional questions or have some information to share, leave a reply below. Also feel free to check out the comments left by other readers and Straight Talk customers.
You Are Still Reading This?
If you made it this far, I’m impressed. I hope that if hotspot is important to you, you choose a prepaid service that includes it. Let Straight Talk know why you left. I know many of you are rightfully annoyed that it wasn’t clear to you that hotspot was not part of your plan. You probabally signed up for prepaid wireless to save a few dollars compared to post-paid service. Rather than spending time being angry, focus you energy on finding the carrier that is right for you and get back to the rest of your life. At least that is my take on all this.
I discuss some of these points in this older YouTube video but this article is newer and more up to date.