Using Personal Hotspot with Straight Talk


Some of the most frequently asked questions here on smartphonematters.com are about Straight Talk Wireless and Mobile Hotspot or Personal Hotspot. In this article I’ll explain to you what you need to know about Straight Talk and Hotspot.

I Don’t Know How To Fix Your Straight Talk Hotspot

Before going any further I want to make it clear this article isn’t about how to make hotspot work for you with Straight Talk. If your hotspot isn’t working, I don’t know how to fix it for you. Sorry. There may be some apps, tips, or tricks you can use to make hotspot work, lot’s of people claim they do this but I don’t have any information about that.

With that out of the way, here is what I think you need to know about Straight Talk and Mobile Hotspot.

Straight Talk’s Current Support For Hotspot

In the fall of 2019. Straight Talk finally added 10GB of mobile hotspot data to their $55 Unlimited Plan. Customers using Straight Talk’s Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint towers qualify for mobile hotspot. Customers using Straight Talk’s AT&T towers are not authorized to use hotspot. Hotspot is not included with Straight Talk’s $35 and $45 plan.

Hey,
In 2020, you have a lot of choices for prepaid wireless service. You may be able to save $100s per year and get the features you want such as Wi-Fi calling, Mobile Hotspot, and Visual Voicemail. Sound good? to learn more see, Is Straight Talk Your Best Option in 2020?

My Recommendations

Plain and simple. If you need hotspot and your Straight Talk plan does not include it or your on the $55 plan you are not able to get hotspot working, switch to a prepaid wireless carrier that includes hotspot.

I’ve tried many prepaid wireless carriers, almost every one includes hotspot and it simply works without issue. My view that as consumers we should reward the companies that offer the features we want with our business.

I don’t know why Straight Talk doesn’t offer hotspot on the $35 and $45 plans, and only 10GB for the $55 pla. Maybe it isn’t profitable for them to do so. Maybe their business agreements with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint prevent them from doing so. Who really cares? Most of their competitors include hotspot with their fixed data plans and a fixed amount of hotspot data with their unlimited plans.

Verizon Wireless Prepaid, Mint Mobile, Visible, AT&T Prepaid, and other all have better options for mobile hotspot. Be advised that most prepaid wireless carriers only offer fixed amounts of hotspot data. Few offer unlimited hotspot data and when they do, there are other restirctions on download speeds or the number of devices that can be connected at a single time.

Straight Talk’s Previous Support For Hotspot

Before the fall of 2019, Straight Talk did not include mobile hotspot with any of their plans. In fact, according to Straight Talk using hotspot violated their terms and conditions of service and was cause for them to terminate your service.

Here is the thing though. When I tell people this they get really mad at me. Turns out, that even though Straight Talk didn’t include hotspot with their plans, a number of people found out they would just turn it on and it worked! And many people used hotspot with Straight Talk for years. People with the unlimited plan used Straight Talk and hotspot to provide internet service for their entire home. People used it to download 100s of GB of data for video games and media with no issue. Some people were lucky, others not so much. Straight Talk terminated customers’ service for using hotspot. Many of these people didn’t even know that using hotspot was against the terms of service. It worked, so it never occurred to them that it wasn’t included. Can you imagine that?

The irony is that when Straight Talk finally added 10GB of mobile hotspot to the $55 plan many existing customers got angry. Why? Because some customers felt like they had unlimited hotspot and suddenly it stopped working properly. These customers would turn on hotspot and quickly use up their 10GB of hotpsot and it would stop working or become so slow it was unusable!

The Choice Is Up To You

Over the years I’ve received a number of angry and negative comments on my articles and videos about Straight Talk and Hotspot. A number of people were looking for and expected to find out how to fix or circumvent hotspot restrictions here.

Just to be clear, it make absolutely no difference to me if you decide to circumvent hotspot restrictions on any prepaid wireless carrier. That is your choice. But when I set up smartphonematters.com I decided that there would be some topics I’d cover here and others I wouldn’t.

For me, I rely on my home internet connection far too much to use mobile hotspot. Even if it was included with my plan. I would never rely on a solution that was based on circumventing hotspot. I simply couldn’t afford to have my internet service potentially stop workling! Your situation may be different.

Common Reactions and Feedback

Below are some of the most common reactions and feed back I have received.

My Phone has a hotspot option

One common response I get is why does my phone have a hotspot option in the settings or why does my phone’s manufacturer list hotspot as a feature if Ican’t use it? Many phones have features that require the wireless carrier support. Sometimes the carrier can configure your phone to hide these options, other times not. Perhaps it is confusing for some people, but in the end it doesn’t really matter.

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 are paid, and whatever remains is divided among the plaintiffs. 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 your 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.

330 Comments

  1. Heather Keller | | Reply

    I am not happy about this whole hotspot crap not working!!!

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Vote with your dollars. There are other great choices for prepaid wireless service

  2. Ann F | | Reply

    I have been teleworking for 4 months tethering my laptop to my straighttalk $55 hotspot plan with no problems. All of a sudden everytime someone uses the phone, my laptop drops connection. This also happens when I am on the cellphone, I can no longer browse the internet?

    Does anyone know why?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      What do you mean by whenever someone uses the phone?

  3. PandasSoul | | Reply

    I have a Verizon phone also an android. Hot spot is through my Verizon thus never should work with straight talk. I don’t know how unless you’ve unlocked the phone you would get it to work since it goes through my Verizon only and my phone also does NOT have a way to set up a physical connection for sharing data. Please note that it is a lie that Verizon lets it work since Verizon cellphones use my Verizon even when in setting to set up a hotspot.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to share but I really understand what you are saying.
      It is entirely possible that some Android phones that Verizon sold have custom software that would disable or prevent hotspot from working with Straight Talk’s Verizon towers. I haven’t tried any so I can’t say. Almost all, if not all Verizon phones, are unlocked so I don’t see how unlocking the phones would make a difference.

      I wouldn’t choose a Straight Talk plan myself if I required mobile hotspot.

      In my opinion Straight Talk has really poor support for hotspot and I have not seen a clear explanation from them as to why some of their customers are able to use hotspot and others are not.

      I’m also unclear who you think is lying to you. If you believe something in my article is factually incorrect that is one thing, but I’d object to any claim that I am intentionally making false statements to deliberately deceive people.

  4. La Moody | | Reply

    Received a text from Straight Talk I’m not authorized to use hot spot. I paid my 55.00. So i chatted with straight talk and found out my hot spot would work if i had a T-Mobile SIM card. I fought for this at&t sim card because nothing else works. I’ve had metro it didn’t work in this area. I won’t be paying anymore but i do have good service otherwise. Just pissed that the card was sold I’ve used the 55.00 plan for months nothing ever happened. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      You should really check out AT&T prepaid. There current $50 unlimited plan may be a better deal for you.

  5. IT Guy | | Reply

    I switched to Lineage OS years ago so that I can hotspot on Straight Talk – I can hotspot on $35 plan if I like. When my son went to college I bought him an android phone with latest snapdragon processor that I knew I could root (overseas market phone supporting needed GSM bands), however, android configuration was already where I needed it to be so no need to root. Perhaps only phones made for dumb american consumer has hotspot turned off or traceable by default. I don’t abuse it though may hotspot a few gig a few times a year while on site with a client – use in the car on trips, etc. Over the years I have probably saved a few thousand dollars not having to follow american model of pay for phone data and also pay for hotspot data. I recall having to flip a flag in android build.props file. Hotspot still alive and well 5/23/2020 with two phones on Straight Talk AT&T though understand I don’t go crazy with hotspot and watch movies and download XBox games.

  6. Angel Villers | | Reply

    You know, if ST doesn’t allow BYOP customers using AT&T towers and service (and to boot, an iPhone) the use of 10GB of hotspot data as it offers for the other BYOP carriers, shouldn’t it be a special price for those BYOP AT&T customers who are currently paying 55$ plus tax fees and aren’t allowed the option for hotspot use? So, for 55$ plus taxes and fees, everyone using ST branded phones (which by default are provided service through Verizon’s towers), Verizon BYOP, T-Mobile and Sprint BYOP customers are all getting their money’s worth; however, just the AT&T BYOP customers are excluded but are still paying for UNLIMITED talk, text, 4G LTE data, and 10 GB of Mobile Hotspot use!! That’s asinine and should be BOLDLY posted to inform those particular customers on the site, on the physical refill cards, and/or by text message BEFORE a customer buys the airtime (esp since airtime is non-refundable). And… for those customers who actively have a ST account set up, with particular details about each customer’s device, SIM status and carrier, and other details, there’s no excuse for ST to lackadaisically fail to mention this little exclusion detail—esp when that customer is refilling their service plan and attempting to buy the 55$ UNL plan that’s supposed to include 10GB of hotspot data that most people tend to choose that plan specifically for that service option. Otherwise, the majority of people that I have known and personally in the past, would just buy the 45$ UNL plan that doesn’t include hotspot use and 25GB of data is always sufficient enough for 30 days of use. This is a perfect example of misleading and deceitful misrepresentation on ST part and I am not even a current ST customer, but I am nonetheless upset for the customers that fall into this category.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thank you for sharing your opinion. I think it would be better if Straight Talk included a fixed amount of hotspot data with all their plans. Carriers can choose to offer hotspot to not, that is there option. The market is competitive, and as consumers we all need to make informed choices. I don’t know why ST excludes AT&T customers from hotspot. I can only speculate that either their business arrangement with AT&T prohibits it or that including it would be economically inviable.

      I’d don’t necessarily agree with some of your other statements.
      Consumers should not assume any service includes the features they want without verifying before buying. Ideally the information should be available in an FAQ or detailed description on straighttalk.com but Straight Talk does a bad job at that. . Other prepaid carriers do a way better job at that than Straight Talk of a least including the details somewhere.

      Straight Talk clearly states on their plan page “Plus 10GB Hotspot data – (Hotspot not authorized with AT&T compatible SIMs). This isn’t any more or less than AT&T prepaid or Verizon prepaid disclose on their prepaid plans page.

      Whether or not ST customers on the $55 plan should be getting a discount because hotspot isn’t included is a more interesting point. A number of prepaid carriers offer two unlimited options a less expensive one without hotspot and usually more restrictions and a more expensive one with hotspot Rather than offer a discount to AT&T BYOP customers, perhaps they could offer a $50 unlimited plan without hotspot. for all customers and then only customers with that can actually use hotspot could opt for the $55 plan.

      I don’t use Straight Talk either. Their plans do not match my needs regardless of whether or not hotspot is included. I meed a less expensive plan with way less data. In the past, Straight Talk was very competitive with the amount of high speed data they included. In 2020, the market is way more competitive.

      This seems to be an emotional issue for a number of people. I hear from a lot of people who are upset and and angry. I hear a lot of comments about carriers “ripping people off”, “fraud”, “scam” and “they suck” comments about all the different prepaid carriers. I switched to prepaid to save some money each month. To get those savings requires some effort. In the end the savings need to justify that effort. Ideally switching to prepaid should require little to know effort. My message to people(not necessarily you) is If a prepaid service doesn’t meet your needs, move on and focus their energies on finding one that does rather than on anything that doesn’t help meet their goals.

  7. Anthony Reid | | Reply

    I used hotspot and TOLD straighttalk I was useing the $65/month plan for unlimited high speed FOR the hotspot WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR INTERNET FOR PHONE AND JNTERNET FOR HOME AND INTERNET FOR EVERY PHONE U GET FOR UR FAMILY WHEN AMERICANS PAID FOR THE INTERNET JUST LIKE AMERICANS PAY FOR ALLL NASA TECHNOLOGY! SO IM FOR HOTSPOTS FOR ANY AND ALL INTERNET DEVICES IT SHOULD BE THE LAW!

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      If you believe that the government should better regulate wireless carriers, by all means contract your congressman or senator and ask them to do something about it. you can also work at the state and local level for low cost municipal broadband.

  8. Dale Mikel | | Reply

    Been buying the $55 plan for sale because it says it includes 10 gigs of hotspot.. so what’s up with that. I use an Android Galaxy S7 plus Samsung

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      The used to not include hotspot with any plan. Now they include 10GB with the $55 plan (since Fall 2019).

  9. Chad Morgan | | Reply

    You’re completely right about the verizon towers and android combo. I always used a galaxy phone with a BYOP (bring your own phone) from verizon. I always got over 300gigs a month for ages. Now I’m screwed. I live out in a very rural area that has no options for decent internet.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      That is unfortunate. It was good while it lasted I suppose. I am hoping in 2020 to take a harder look at options for people in your situation. I’ve heard a similar story. While I don’t know for sure, I suspect that offering 100s of GB of 4G LTE data for hotspot is not economically viable for carriers. Otherwise we’d see more options for this. Still some carriers are beginning to offer more options for cellular home internet. Assuming to could get cellular home internet cellular service seperate from your cell phone, what would you be willing to pay per month?

  10. Trenton Bingler | | Reply

    It’s a rip off!I have an iPhone 8 and it’s never worked for me.

  11. Jessie | | Reply

    Can I download some kind of app that will allow teethering ( hotspot ) ?

    • Jessie | | Reply

      Also what if you buy the 90$ 2 unlimited card for 2 phones. Will we still recieve the 10gb of data for hotspot?

      • Bob Thompson | | Reply

        I don’t know, ask straight talk. use their online chat. consider leaving the comment on one of my YouTube videos someone actually using the multiline plan. Straight talk’s reps many not have accurate info. I’d think the $90 is two $55 plans.straightalk.com does not say hotspot is included.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I don’t know. If hotspot is important, make sure to choose a plans that offers the amount of hotspot you need. check out Verizon wireless prepaid or Visible.

  12. arbolden jenkins | | Reply

    nice shill article, but i got a $55 card with hotspot data but my old plan had 3 days left and i don’t know how to cancel it and my hotspot won’t work. try something legitimately helpful in the future.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Get over yourself and your sense of self-entitlement. You don’t even comprehend what a “shill” is.

  13. Michael | | Reply

    Thanks. I’ve been trying to figure out why my hotspot keeps stopping. I didn’t realize I only had 10 gigabytes. Do you think when everything goes to 5G that that might solve this problem?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hey glad it cleared up that point. It’s hard to say right now what the long term results of 5G wireless will look like. I’m not sure if 4G LTE technologies lived up to their expectations. The problem you want to see solved is unlimited high speed wireless data for use with both phone and hotspot for $55 per month or less available to consumers across the United States. . It’s not clear to me that within the next five years that will be a commercially viable business model for carriers. For you today, you might want to check out Visible mobile service which has unlimited hotspot but with restrictions. If you are willing to spend for separate wireless home hotspot service NetBuddy could be an option or T-Mobile’s recently introduced home networking service.

      • Michael | | Reply

        Hey just wanted to say thank you for the advice.l switched to visible. Saving 20$ a month and can tether one device as much as I need to. Seem like it’s just as good of service so far. Thanks

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Cool. If you get a chance, let us know how it is going in a few months.It will help other readers here make an informed choice.

  14. Zinda | | Reply

    I’m going to buy another st phone now that my hot spot has been disabled, I’ll see if the new sim will once again allow me to hot spot. I’m pretty sure they just cut off your sim from hot spotting. Ordering a new sim through them would be pointless since they’d just block it using your account info but buying a new phone and using that new sim will distance you from the old phones IDs and that old SIM. I used to transfer the sim between 6 devices. I’m no longer going to try to use the new sim in any of those devices and I’m not sure if they will be able to check my computer’s if I tether it.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I think you are fighting a losing battle and would be better off looking for a service that supports your needs.

  15. Gerald | | Reply

    Hi yes my name is Gerald I have been using straight talk hotspot for about three years and yesterday they cut mine off completely and when I talk to customer service at straight talk they informed me that they was cutting all hot spots off of every phone except for iPhone 6 and up and I wonder what is so special about the iPhone 6 and up that they will allow them to have hotspots but no other phones and they will cell phones through them that has hotspots built in to me that wouldn’t be right I have had straight talk for a long time and I’ve used the $55 unlimited plan with Auto refill each month and never had a problem until yesterday now I think I use a moto E4 from Verizon and I reckon the towers will be Verizon to not really sure

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      As I said in the article, up until maybe a month ago, Straight Talk did not include hotspot on any plans. The fact that it worked at all for you was lucky for you and a problem for them. Now they include 10GB of hotspot. Wait until your plan renews and I bet it will work again for 10GB of data. I don’t know why they told you it will only work with iPhone. If you need hotspot consider another prepaid wireless carrier. Visible might be a good choice for you.

  16. Holly C | | Reply

    I have an Android and I believe it’s either ATT or Sprint or both. I have had the phone for a year now and had used hotspot the whole time, up until a couple weeks ago after they announced the addition of the 10gigs. I had been streaming video on my laptop one evening and the next morning I was shut down saying I used all of my 10gigs. Very infuriatingly called CS but to no avail. Thanks for your post, I have been biting my tongue trying to figure out what the situation was and why I had unlimited and now don’t.
    Happy Holidays!
    Holly

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      At least now you know the situation. Glad the article explained that at least. Happy Holidays to you too!

      • Lori Dennis | | Reply

        Thank you for the article. I had switched to Straight talk just for the unlimited data and had been using the hot spot ALL the time until refilling my plan at the end of October 2019.. now after 10GB of hotspot are used, that’s it..was awesome while it lasted!! Thanks again for the article

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Thanks. And yes, I think the i”t was good while it lasted” is a best way to think about all this.. Check out my articles and videos on visible, it may better meet your needs.

  17. King | | Reply

    You did an amazing job. I personally like straight talk but the hotspot ordeal is silly and sketchy if you ask me. Thankyou for this article. I read the ENTIRE THING btw.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thank you. I think Straight Talk should just provide a fixed amount of hotspot with all their plans so that they are competitive with the other companies. What they do now is confusing

  18. Jessica Cornstubble | | Reply

    I’ve been using mobile HotSpot on my phone since the day I bought it, for over a year. I have a Samsung Galaxy S8 Edge. I would hook it up to my smart tv and my kids used it for their tablets, to save me some money! A few weeks ago, it just stopped working! I tried it again a couple of weeks later and it randomly started working again, then stopped and hasn’t worked again since. I figured it had something to do with the service area or maybe even my phone since I had accidently cracked the screen some. However, then today I received a text saying that from now on I will have 10GB of “HotSpot” added to my plan. I was confused, and very irritated because how would I be having 10GB added to my plan when I already have “UNLIMITED” I thought, (considering I used my HotSpot EVERY day since I got my phone without any supposed “warning” or notification telling me it was restricted). So I called straight talk, that’s when I found out that apparently Straight Talk doesn’t offer unlimited hotspot automatically when you have the unlimited plan, in fact, they didnt offer mobile hotspot AT ALL from your mobile device, until now when they decided to add 10GB to the plan. EVEN THO I had been using it EVERY SINGLE DAY!? Am I aggravated, pissed off about it? Yup. Most definitely! Looks like the only thing that there is to do however, is to change companies all together! 🙁

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      While you might find little consolation in this, think of it this way, you got a year of hotspot because Straight Talk wasn’t able to stop you from using it. I’m not aware of any carrier that offers truly unlimited hotspot without restrictions.

  19. CJ | | Reply

    I had hotspot with Boost mobile, but where I am staying, boost has absolutely no service there, but straight talk does. So i switched. Now i have no hotspot. Highly irritating as my husband is a trucker and now we cant get on line together and shoot zombies or play other games

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I learned yesterday that Straight Talk may be adding a fixed amount of hotspot to their unlimited plan. (10GB). I don’t have details though.

  20. Joe Shmoe | | Reply

    Using Straight Talk AT&T on a non-rooted, unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9 SM-G960F. I can use hot spot. However, I only use when needed. I don’t typically use while streaming video. Rather to check email or browse the web since it uses less data.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I think if you avoid using large amounts of data you may fly under the radar for some time.

  21. Crystal Dixon | | Reply

    I paid $50 for a 5 GB of data with strait talk and I use it for college classes in just a few days it was empty. I am not on it all the time because I also work. I cant believe how fast this has ran out on me. I am definitely looking for something else.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      As stated, Straight Talk phone plans do not include mobile hotspot. It never should have been available on your phone in the first place. Check out visible, that might serve your needs.

  22. Angela Pellar | | Reply

    I am so thankful you posted this information! I use straight talk a few years ago and I was always happy with them but moved and have been using other plans until now. I was expecting to do hotspot and I saw a prepaid card for it on their website, but I must have misread it. Just got everything set up today and 20 minutes ago I started looking at how to use my phone plan and new phone for hotspot. I’m so glad that I didn’t have time to get frustrated before I read your post. Thank you again! Now I use metro PCS the quite some time when I lived in New Orleans and it was relatively inexpensive and it wasn’t expensive to use my phone as a hotspot. It wasn’t that long ago and I believe it was only about $10. Not more than 20.
    Well I’m not sticking with straight talk and I will let them know why. I will do proper research before I go to another prepaid plan. Thank you for making my life much easier. The information you have was well-put and very knowledgeable. Don’t quote me LOL

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thank you for the comment Angela, I am glad the article saved you some time and frustration.

  23. John | | Reply

    I can only thing that puzzles me is that i was using my hotspot on a verizon Android brought to straighttalk. Then one day recently i no longer have a hotsop . It disappeared from my phone . I cant find it. Strange.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Most phone software (iOS and Android) allow carriers the ability to configure some features of phones. My guess is that Straight Talk and / or Verizon updated this to reflect that your plan doesn’t include hotspot.

  24. Holly M Grier | | Reply

    I was led here by the fact that my husband has had Hotspot service on his Smart talk cell phone for a couple of years now and it has suddenly stopped working. I’ve tried for hours to remedy the issue technically, and he’s called straight talk directly, we were left utterly confused when we were told they don’t provide Hotspot service and never have!? We have even had an instance when, while on vacation, the kids needed his Hotspot and he enabled it again by paying for the unlimited plan that month (he had only paid for the lessor service that particular month)… which may have led to the demise of the Hotspot in hindsight. My gripe is, when you’ve been provided a service for so long, and have paid extra for said service, to have the service terminated without warning, then to have customer service basically call you crazy because they don’t provide that service is near maddening. Thank you so much for providing this information in an understandable manner! We will be taking our cell business elsewhere and letting Straight Talk know EXACTLY why they are loosing our business!!

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective. It’s unfortunate that 1. they aren’t effectively blocking hotspot from the start, and 2. The script for their customer service doesn’t acknowledge that hotspot may have worked on your phone before being blocked is aggravating to customers. If you would like to discuss other prepaid options that support hotspot let me know the details of how many lines you need, networks you prefer, and how much data you need.

  25. Tony | | Reply

    Straight talk should not sell phone that haves hot spots on them if they can not let people use the hot spots

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      From many the comments, I have received it certainly does confuse and anger their customers. Personally, I think it’s better to just switch to a service that does include hotspot, and not worry about what Straight Talk does or doesn’t do.

  26. Michael Pruitt | | Reply

    i really dont like them knowing so much about my phone and what i use it for. seems like an invasion of privacy to me

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I value when me readers share their opinions and perspectives here, and there are many. Your cellular carrier, internet service provider, and the content providers you use know a lot about you. Heck even most banks want to sell information about you. In this case, they are detecting that you are using hotspot and are using that information to warn or terminate you for violating the terms of service. I am sure every wireless carrier tracks if and how much hotspot their customers use to enforce quotas, manage network traffic, and for network resource planning.

  27. Allan | | Reply

    Im not sure if this was already posted but why is it even a stock feature in a brand new phone SOLD BY straight talk if they don’t support it? I’d understand if it was a downloadable app but it’s not. Again… It’s stock.
    Is straight talk not responsible for the features of the phones that they sell?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I’d say no.
      A number of people have made this point, but the fact that a phone has a feature doesn’t change the terms and conditions of service you agreed to. For example, you could use the built in phone dialer to call a number and create a continuous month long connection and that would violate your terms of service. Pretty much all iPhones and Android phones have hotspot as a feature in the phone’s software. In some cases, the carrier can disable it through configuration. For whatever reason, on some combinations of phone and Straight Talk towers they don’t seem to prevent this up front. I tried four out of the at least 8 different combinations of towers and phone OSes, and hotpsot only worked on one.

      Personally, I think that fact that hotspot works at all on some of their phones not only costs them a lot of money, but also a huge amount of resentment from their customers. Believe me, I’ve heard it from many.

      More to your point, If Straight Talk was trying to criminally prosecute customer for “theft of service” for using hotspot, it would be a different story. You could easily show that given the feature works on said phone and that they didn’t more clearly communicate that hotspot isn’t included it would be hard to justify such a “theft” claim or a civil liability claim . But this isn’t a criminal or even a civil matter, they are simply terminating their business relationship with their customers.

  28. Elle Bea | | Reply

    Thank you for this explanation. I didn’t even know the hotspot wasnt included in their plan. Shouldve read the fine print, I guess. I never got a message or warning or anything about the hotspot being disabled, but that would explain why it spontaneously stopped working and no fixes I’ve tried have worked. Ah well. Time to go with a different service and let them know they lost another customer.

    Thanks for the article! Answered a lot of frustrating questions.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Elle,
      Thanks for the comment. It’s refreshing to get a rational response. If you require unlimited hotspot, check out visible. See my video.
      You’ll have more options if you only need a fixed amount of data.

  29. Brandon | | Reply

    I have a very critical internet business. Losing internet connection even for a couple of minutes could cost me thousands. Lately my modem has been crashing. I have the dreaded frontier. It’s my only internet option. However, my phone has speeds of up to 80mb and is a very reliable connection. This compares favorably to the choppy frontier connection of 10mb tops. What is the best company for tethering? I think the tower here is Verizon but not sure.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Ok. So it sounds like you want to go wit Visible. Keep in mind that their unlimited plan’d hotspot id 5mbps down and allows one device to use hotspot at a time. I don’t know if they enforce that or not.

      If AT&T has service in your area, a company called net buddy has unlimited hotspot only service.

      Here is tip about frontier though. If you are using their DSL and you router / modem is really old the crashing may be caused by overheating. I replaced one in one case and it solved that problem. Frontier is also rolling out fios in some areas. There are federal mandates / incentives to improve broadband connectivity in rural areas.

  30. Brandon | | Reply

    After reading all the comments I decided to switch to VISIBLE. Now I’m going to save $22 a month and get unlimited hotspot! They turned off my hotspot feature after having it for a year I use mine for Netflix, Vudu, gaming and etcetera. Looks like they will be at the bottom like someone else said. F*** them and I just took my business somewhere else and saved money as well. Oh yeah, they offer free next-day shipping and they give you a free phone to if your phone is not compatible with their service!!!!###

  31. Brianna | | Reply

    I was cut off today after 6 months. I had a cheap android phone from straight talk that I was using just for the hot spot.I dont know who the carrier was. My primary phone is on Verizon and you only get 15gb before you’re throttled and that goes fast with them. Wish I would have seen this article sooner

  32. Brooks Johnson | | Reply

    The only thing straight talk is going to do is loose all there customers for taking our stuff away I know me and 5 others are going to boost mobile because straight talk is a dirty scum. Taking our hotspots away .we will only stay as customers only if we get our hotspots back

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I would encourage you to choose a carrier that offers hotspot and the other features you need. Vote with your business. You might be interested in Visible, see my video https://youtu.be/C6AlXyS93B4

  33. Mark McGee | | Reply

    I have a Straight Talk Android and I buy the $55 month plan, using AT&T tower and the hotspot works. I used my hotspot to watch movies and shows on my smart TV. After using it for 2 months, I got a warning from Straight Talk stating if I continued to use my phone a hotspot, they would cancel my service… Straight Talk sold this phone with the hotspot option and i pay for the service, my question is, how the hell can this be legal?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I’m not sure why it would be illegal. Straight Talk doesn’t include hotspot with their plans, they prohibit its use in their terms of service. The fact that it worked on your phone isn’t really relevant. You could make a phone call and leave it connected all month or maybe install an app on your phone that sends automated text messages both of these activities would violate your those terms and they could cancel your service.

      When you signed up for Straight Talk, you agreed to the terms of service. your two choices were to agree and pay, or don’t agree and choose another service. Of course I think it would be better if Straight Talk included hotspot with their plans. I don’t know why they don’t. I don’t know what business arrangements they have with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Perhaps those carriers have prohibited it as part of their agreement or the cost to Straight Talk is too high.

      Many other prepaid wireless services included a least a fixed amount of hotspot with some of their plans. The only company I am aware of that offers unlimited hotspot is Visible which restricts the speeds to 5Mbps per second and only allows one tethered device. The other companies typically only give you a fixed amount of GB for use with hotspot.

      All this said, Straight Talk should make it much clearer that their plans do not include hotspot. Both AT&T and Verizon prepaid offer FAQ sections on their websites that describe the features included, Straight Talk does not.

      Based on my understanding the 4G LTE networks in the US are not set up for consumers to use their cellular data to replace home broadband connections. From what I’ve read, this quickly saturates cell towers and degrades service for all. I don’t know how much data you expected to use with hotspot, but I regularly hear from consumers who expect to replace their homebrand band connection an use 100GBs of data per month over hotspot. To me, I don’t see how would be a viable business, with the existing technology.

      As far as I know, the terms and conditions of Straight Talk’s plans do not violate any consumer laws or government regulations. They might, they were sued in the past, for not making it clear enough that the data speeds on their unlimited plans was reduced to 2G speeds after using a fixed amount of data. People sued and won a class action law suit, many consumers received a $7 settlement check.

      In my experience most phones that Straight Talk sells use the Verizon towers, but it is possible in your area they sell phones that use the AT&T towers. I’ve only every seen hotspot work on Straight Talk’s Verizon towers with Android phones. Never worked with ATT towers for me.

      If you need a hotspot for home, a company called net buddy offers a $60 unlimited hotspot service, it doesn’t include phone service, just hotspot but it does use the AT&T network.

  34. Charles | | Reply

    Just got cut of after using it for over 2 months on a galaxy j7 crown. I called because it wasnt working. thanks for the free netflix cheap bastards.

    PS: dont know what tower I’m using. If someone can show me how to check that would be awesome

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      If you bought the phone from Straight Talk its likely the Verizon towers, the easiest way to know for sure is to ask Straight Talk in an online chat. Tell them your phone number and ask which towers it users.

  35. Ernest Perry | | Reply

    Get ready to be at the bottom of the food chain because everyone loves to use hotspot from there phone and for you not to support hotspot is really saying that you just don’t want to have happy customers

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I’d encourage you to share your opinion with Straight Talk. I doubt they even know about smartphonematters.com, much less read the comments here. Most other prepaid wireless companies allow a fixed amount of high data with some if not all their plans.

      The only prepaid company I am aware of that includes unlimited hotspot is Visible and they set restrictions on the download speed and only allow one device to be connected at a time.

      Straight Talk still may be a viable option for people who don’t want or need hotspot, many people don’t

      If you do want hotspot, choose a carrier that offers the feature.

  36. Lisa Mitchell | | Reply

    I have a lg stylo 4 with straight talk I just bought this phone last month still new I was able use my mobile hotspot but now I can’t it shows on my phone that the device is connected but on the device says it connected but no internet how can I fix this problem?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Lisa,
      As stated in the article. You signed up for a service that doesn’t include mobile hotspot. For whatever the reason, it they were unable to block you from using the feature on your phone when you bought it but know Straight Talk has corrected their problem. You can read through the remaining comments on this article and my Youtube videos to see if someone has shared a way to do it circumvent this or search the internet but I am not aware of one.

      My recommendation would be to use a service that includes hotspot, which unfortunately isn’t Straight Talk.

  37. Cheryl Johnston | | Reply

    I have a Android rebel 4 phone was using to play fortnight on PlayStation 4 been using for about a year play 2 hrs weekdays off an on not everyday consistently and about 4 + hours on weekends all the sudden not able to reach severs with playstation I initially thought an outage but no can’t be I have 55$ unlimited plan answer I assumed sense it was connecting and not disabled in someway it was fine but I believe I’m gonna find another carrier my self apparently cause they say non refundable and they Jack your minutes trying to enable old phone number it’s ok to steal money that way but at least know who not to use for phone service any more unlimited does not mean unlimited even if it is declared on the service card in big bold writing which is deception

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I encourage all my readers to carefully review the features and terms of service of any prepaid wireless service they sign up for. Many prepaid wireless plans include a fixed amount of high speed data with there plans. I am not aware of any company that offers truly unlimited use of high speed data with hotspot. The closest I have seen is visible wireless but they restrict the speeds to 5Mbps and other allow one tethered device at a time. The only other alternative I am aware of is net buddy.co which offers an unlimited hotspot service for $60 per month but it is a hotspot service, and does not include phone service.

  38. DOUGLAS H HAMNER | | Reply

    Technically by doing this Tracfone is violating FCC guidelines regarding net neutrality and the freedom to use personal phone features and purchased data. Verizon already has been fined for doing this.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thanks for the comment
      Several people have stated this before but never includes a link to information supporting that claim. I did some research on it once, and all I could find was that in 2012 the FCC ruled that Verizon had could not charge extra for hotspot because it violated the rules for the C Block spectrum they licensed. not sure if, how, or why that would apply to other carriers.

  39. Swim | | Reply

    J3 orbit works

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Yes some work, use excessively and you may hear from ST.

  40. TomO | | Reply

    The mobile providers have specific devices and plans for hotspot or tethering. Verizon will cap at 15 GB then throttle you to 600K speed when data > 15GB. Even if you have unlimited.

    Bottom line is there is limited band width for cellular network. The capacity < demand. It has to be governed. Partly because of the laws of physics, Packets must ultimately pass through cables and chips on their journey between source and consumer. And partly because of cost to cover peaks and valleys of demand.
    5G should help remote last mile users, but until then it will be expensive to get hotspot for 24/7 use-cases for entire month cycle.

    Hotspots are routed differently, When tethering your phone, the route is different than if you are viewing the web site on you phone. This helps cell phone provider manage cellular traffic more efficiently. This is how caps can be enforced too.

    I think half the problem is the content providers and advertisers assume unlimited and infinite capacity. To many pages are flooded with video ads which go 90% unviewed yet fill the limited bandwidth. This creates needlessly low data caps or worse cause user to quick use-up their limits.

    I live in rural area where my only option are Hughsnet or Verizon hotspot. Both are expensive above 15GB. If I move my 'browsing' to my phone instead of tethering, I am OK but do not like small screen. At some point 5G will rescue us 'last-mile' remote users but until then we have to live with caps and by movies on CD.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Some good points. A number of the people commenting here expect to get unlimited hotspot data on the Straight Talk plan. Even Verizon prepaid removed hotspot from their newest unlimited plans where they previously had unlimited 600kbps. I’d be pretty bummed out if my neighbors were using hotspot for home use on the same cellular network as me.

      I hope 5G solves this long term. I have my doubts. Residents of rural areas have it tough. I’ve watched a few stories about people with line of sight setting up long distance Wi-Fi links and even one story about a guy who built his own wireless ISP. Not an option for those in the wilderness unless you have line of sight to hills.

  41. Bane | | Reply

    Seems to me ST is more aggressive this year on the unlimited plan users. But I’ve noticed something. Seems to me that those who get shut off or get a warning text happens between 8am-11:45pm Est, and if they’re currently using hot-spot when that happens. I’ve received a warning between those hours. Since then I’ve been only using hot-spot outside of those hours. Decided to test this out after reading YouTube comments. So far so good. For now.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I’ve seen a bunch of theories, you could be right but I suspect that it’s more complicated then that. I would not be surprised to find out that the methods for detecting hotspot are provided by AT&T, Verizon, and T-mobile and change over time.
      And after usage is detected Straight Talk probably have their own systems for taking action with the consumer.

      • Bane | | Reply

        Yeah, most likely, but right now I’m in a testing phase. Don’t know if this’ll actually work. I know I’m on their radar, or at least I think I am. Worth a shot.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          I think if you look through the comments here and on my two youtube videos other people share some of their thoughts on this.

  42. Lacy | | Reply

    Not only that, but they suspended my service today under the premise that I had been using mobile Hotspot. I’ve NEVER used any device that I’ve owned, off or on their network as a Hotspot. The only thing that I can think of is that they are viewing my Bluetooth connected watch as using the phone as a hotspot… And I’m not even sure how they would do that. I’ve used a whopping 4 gig of data since my service plan started 3 weeks ago.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Sorry toi hear that. Thanks for sharing this . I have wondered about this. When I read the terms of service, it could be interpreted in such a way that you couldn’t connect a watch to your phone. It is surprising however that you are being suspended when you have used so little data. My I ask, what functions you are using from your watch? So they completely cut you off? Or you have no dat until the next month?

  43. Tony Garcia | | Reply

    Can ST actually tell if you’ve used hot-spot when they review your account after using 60 GB? Or will they just assume you’ve been using it?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      There are ways to tell. Some here have claimed they were falsely accused after consistently using more than 60GB.

      • Tony Garcia | | Reply

        So in some ways they can’t actually tell. They just go by if you’ve consistently been using more than 60 GB. Because a few days ago they sent me a warning during hot-spot use when I haven’t even reached 60 GB yet. I think they can see if you’re currently using it, but can’t 100% tell if you’ve used it at all. I have this theory that I’m working on. I’ve been using hot-spot during non operating hours a few days now and I’m still here.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          If you are not using a VPN, it’s a pretty easy to detect. If you are it’s harder. Some one in the comments here or on YouTube had all sorts of theories about this. Personally, I’d say if you need hotspot choose a carrier that offers it.

        • Jessica | | Reply

          I can go look under my data usage and see exactly what I have used for mobile data, wifi, mobile hotspot, and bluetooth tethering on my phone. So I’m sure straight talk can tell what is used where. I didn’t have any issues using mine for months until I finally went over 60 GB and now my hotspot turns on, but devices say no internet. I’m not mad though. It clearly states in their agreement it’s not supported and your service could be terminated. Do I think it should be supported, yes, but i don’t run the company & personally for me they have had the best service. If I go to a provider that supports it but I don’t get good service that kind of defeats the point.

          • Bob Thompson | |

            Jessica,
            Props to you for understanding the concept of “terms of service”. Check out my videos and articles on visible.

  44. Regina | | Reply

    When I was at Walmart I specifically asked if I could use Straight Talk as a mobile hotspot and they said yes. That was a waste of money. I was told by the fake tech support that they did not allow that because they did not know what people was doing on their laptops.

    EXCUSE ME? What I do on my laptop for school is none of their business. When I told the fake tech support that it was fraudulent by not putting the information on the box of the phone, she said goodbye. Before she hung up I called her a Bitch and she said that I was not allowed to use profanity and I told her that she was not allowed to practice fraud and I hung up.

    I will not be renewing my service with Straight Talk again. According to this fraudulent company, that is ok with them.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      You did the right thing by asking the Walmart employee if the plan you were buying included hotspot. Unfortunately, it seems that all not all walmart employees are educated on these plans. I’d report it to the the head of the electronics department in that store. However, I don’t agree with most of what else you have to say. Not listing unsupported features on the box isn’t fraud. While you are free to treat people however you want, I am often shocked by the comments I read from people describing how they treat customer support people.

      The fact is that Straight Talk doesn’t offer hotspot. I encourage anyone needing that feature to give their business to prepaid wireless company that does.

      That said, I see you have a “mean girls” vibe going on there. Maybe you can add Straight Talk to your burn book.

  45. BlakHawk | | Reply

    I also just today after years of hotspot usage out of the blue received a text from straight talk that my data was going to be disabled. I took this plan as I live in rural mountainous region of the country and have no access to affordable high speed. Recently we purchase another smart device for my 12 yo step daughter and she connected to my hotspot on my plan running my data from 20 gig a month up to 60 gig and getting me on the radar.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      That’s unfortunate. If AT&T has coverage in yoyur area, look at me video about netbuddy.

  46. Alex W | | Reply

    I also just got a warning text today from straight talk about my hotspot, it’s strange that this is the first time I’ve seen them do this in general. Before they’d cut people off, I’m literally on my last day of this plan and hesitant on getting next months for the fact of them outright disabling my data at the start and I lose $60 for nothing.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Consider switching to a prepaid wireless service that supports hotspot if you need that feature. Did they cut you off?

    • Antonio Jesus Garcia | | Reply

      What time of day did you get that warning? Approximately.

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