Using Personal Hotspot with Straight Talk

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.

In 2020, your options for prepaid wireless service have never been better.

AT&T, Verizon, Mint Mobile all offer plans that could save you $5, $10, or more per month. Many of these services offer most requested features such as Mobile Hotspot, Wi-Fi calling, and Visual Voicemail.

To learn more see, Is Straight Talk Your Best Option in 2020?

I encourage all my readers and viewers to make sure they shop around to find the best plan for their needs and get the most value for their money.

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.

See the fine print on the page below, before you purchase a phone… (click the image to enlarge)

It’s also stated in the terms and conditions of service, section 7. (To me, this was obviously written by lawyers), Click the image to zoom in.

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.

More details

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.

Prepaid Wireless in 2020

In 2020, the prepaid wireless market is very competitive. I encourage all my readers and YouTube viewers to periodically review their prepaid wireless plans and compare their needs and plan costs with other providers. Review how much data you use, don’t pay for data you don’t need. Many prepaid carriers now offer the features people want such as Mobile Hotspot, Visual Voicemail, and Wi-Fi calling. Two of my favorite choices today are Verizon Wireless Prepaid and Mint Mobile. See my recent reviews:

Mint Mobile Prepaid Wireless Review June 2020

Verizon Wireless Prepaid Review March 2020

I discuss some of these points in this older YouTube video but this article is newer and more up to date.


  1. Allie | | Reply

    This is odd…. I’ve had straight talk for a while, had the cheapest phone through them for a while too, had the mobile hotspot feature, just updated to a galaxy j3 luna pro still a straight talk phone but do not have the feature now. I see that it said it’s prohibited but I guess I am wondering why the basic phone let’s you but this one wont. Seems kind of silly. I’m tempted to turn my old phone back on and just use this for apps and just hotspot, and use the other one for calls and texts… side note have been on the new unlimited the entire time!!!!!

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Most Android phones using Straight Talk’s Verizon towers seem to work with hotspot even though it’s against their terms of service. Not sure why. It’s possible that your J3 is not using their Verizon towers or the version of android on the J3 has disabled the feature. Is your J3 using the Verizon towers?

  2. Allie | | Reply

    This is odd…. I’ve had straight talk for a while, had the cheapest phone through them for a while too, had the mobile hotapot feature, just updated to a galaxy j3 luna pro still a straight talk phone but do not have the feature now. I see that it said it’s prohibited but I guess I am wondering why the basic phone let’s you but this one wont. Seems kind of silly. I’m tempted to turn my old phone back on and just use this for apps and just hotspot, and use the other one for calls and texts

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Since Straight Talk uses the ATT, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint towers I assume their business agreement with those companies does not allow hotspot. Or at least ST doesn’t want to pay for hotpsot.

  3. Jake mullin | | Reply

    lol they’ll cancel that plan fast as hell. Heck if you start to download to much with just your phone u’ll soon find that throttle.

    Worse now as thx to our wonderful pocketed represenetives it’s legal.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I’d say don’t assume you’ll get more than 60 GB on the unlimited plan. Were you using more than this. I had one reader state he used more than 60GB just on this phone each month and they kept suspending him.

  4. martin | | Reply

    straight talk let me down. if they dont change that stupid rule i will change to metropcs. they do have personal hotspot

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      If hotspot is a feature you want or need, then yes consider a prepaid carrier that does. And you should tell Straight Talk your reason too.

  5. Jody | | Reply

    I had the $45 10 gb plan through straight talk. My internet was down for a while so I started using my iPhone 6 as a hot spot for light browsing and a bit of streaming. It worked great but of course, ate up all of my data. I switched to the unlimited $55 plan so I could internet a little bit more. Immediately after switching, I was unable to tether to the internet. It says it’s connected with internet. But my browser says ‘this site can’t be reached. I’ve tried with multiple browsers. No internet. My data still works well perfectly on my phone. Why is this? And is there a work around?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      As I said in my article, Straight Talk does not support hotspot and I don’t have any tips or tricks to enable it if it doesn’t work for you.

  6. Ozzy R. | | Reply

    Hi. I have been using straight talk for 3 months now and have always used the unlimited $55 plan. In the first month I went well over 300 Gb’s and didn’t have a problem. In the second month they cut me off for using my hotspot and the lady said I “Abused” it. The next day my data was turned back on after I reset my phone and attempted to get on google again. Today (4\28\18 month 3) it has been cut off again at 249 Gb’s used. I am honestly only buying their service for the high speed internet since I live in an area where internet naturally is always buffering netflix and Hulu. I have a brother living in the same house as me that goes well over 400Gb’s a month on online gaming that has never been cut off. We are both android users and run with straight talk towers so I don’t understand why it’s as if I am a target but he uses more.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thanks for sharing. And your story is similar to other commenters. They seem to be selectively enforcing these policies. We don’t know how they monitor their subscribers to detect as they say… At 60 GB, we reserve the right to review your account for usage in violation of Straight Talk’s terms and conditions.. Perhaps the cost of suspending too many customers at once is too high. I am not sure. Have they threatened to permanently cut you off?

  7. Scott | | Reply

    I just got my data suspended because I was using my phone as a hotspot. I live in an area where wi-fi is spotty at best, even when using satellite internet, so that’s why I was using my phone as a hotspot. You should be able to use your mobile device as a hotspot in areas such as that. Honestly I’m mad. I use a Verizon tower phone.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Scott,
      I’d love it if all carriers supported hotspot. Unfortunately they don’t. As a consumer all of us need to make informed choices. I recommend choosing a wireless carrier that supports portable hotspot if you require that feature. If the Verizon network works well for you, check out Verizon prepaid. If you decide to leave Straight Talk for good, let them know why you left. I’ve been using Straight Talk for a long time but I don’t require hotspot. If I did, I’d definitely switch.

  8. angela kirkbride | | Reply

    My autistic son just had his terminated over using the hotspot and we explained it to them that we told him he couldnt use it and he agreed to it and they still would not give him his service back, they shouldnt put there names on phones that have hotspots if they dont want people to use it…..

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Was it only one month that they terminated his service? Did they say how much data he used? Most people seem to get a warning. If you want to continue to use the service you may be able to appeal it to their executive resolution department.

      • angela kirkbride | | Reply

        The suspension was for the remaining 17 days of his service and he used 100gb.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Ok. So they didn’t terminate his account. Your data was suspended for the remainder of the service plan. That would be more consistent with what I have heard from other people.

  9. Jon | | Reply

    My wife and I have both been using straight talk’s unlimited plan and we’ve been using our hotspots to link to the tv and watch Netflix and stuff for the past few months. Now that my wife has been on maternity leave, she has been using her hotspot just about all day. Her current plan’s data was disabled after 17 of the 30 days and having used about 350 gigs in that time, 307 of which was through the hotspot. Previously, I had used 270- 280 gigs in a month through my hotspot with no consequences, and I’ve been using mine for a little longer than she has. So, either this is a highly selective process of their’s or their threshold for data usage is around 300 gigs and dammit if you cross it. Maybe it raises some red flag in their system. It does clearly state in the terms and conditions that using your hotspot is a violation, so they could suspend your service at any time without warning or notice.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thank you for sharing. I don’t know why some people are getting flagged at 50 to 60 GB and others are using 100’s of GB without issue. They could be looking at the traffic. It could also be that Verizon is flagging the usage to them based on geographic area of more likely network utilization. They don’t share their policies. I’m curious did you have and drop home broadband to just use hotspot or just never had internet at home.

      • Zinda | | Reply

        I was using between 20gb to 80gb per month for a year through hot spot and USB connection to my home computer and a few other tablets…. Never had any issues and even made sure I bought phones that had that feature available. The only time I had a problem was with an LG Verizon based phone that always switched to a message saying I needed to set up hot spot service with verizon even though I was using straight talk service. But my Verizon tablets had no issues nor did a cheap lg straight talk based phone, I also picked up a Moto G6 and it worked but then it was cut off, I only used about 20gb of hot spot and USB that month! The most I ever used in any given month was always less than 100gb total combined regular use and hot spot.
        I keep reading about others using 400gb per month and never have any problems, my speeds are so slow most of the time, even if I left it connected 24/7 and used a torrent program It would be hard to break the 100gb barrier in 30 days. That’s with the $55 plan.
        I even called and asked why they advertise speeds that are considered to be “high speed data’ but never publish what is considered to be high speed data. So I asked for a straight answer and of course they would not give me a number but kept saying it was whatever was available to me at the time. So I looked on the net fir a number that is considered to be HSD and I asked the rep if he thought that speeds of 0.7 to 2.7mbs was considered to be high speed? Of course not, but that’s what I was averaging. He gave me some new settings to try but they either were slower or I lost my connection.
        I reset everything and noticed a slight gain in my speed for a few days, then it was low again. I told the rep that after 2 years of buying their $55 plan I feel like I was getting ripped off and deserve done kind of compensation since I was not getting HSD and was not going to be buying that plan anymore. I tried the $45 plan and could not hot spot! So I bought another $55 plan and 1 week later my hot spot was no longer working! Since then I’ve only paid for $45 plans and looking to get service elsewhere now.

  10. Diane DiLeo | | Reply

    Isn’t it illegal on this day and age to block data usage such as the hotspot?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Several people have stated this before. The only reference I can find is to a 2012 ruling that was against Verizon but not other carriers. It isn’t clear to me how such a ruling would apply to a 3rd party prepaid wireless provider, like Straight Talk, that uses the Verizon network. Interestingly enough, Hotspot does work with Straight Talk’s Verizon network with Android phones.

  11. Avari | | Reply

    Can I use personal mobile hotspot on straight talk iPhone 6. If so how

  12. Tracy | | Reply

    I am using a Straighttalk Verizon tower phone, & an Android. I have the $55 “Unlimited”plan. I have used the hotspot for a few months now. 2 of those months I streamed Netflix everyday without difficulty with my service. The following 2-3 months I have had difficulty from Straighttalk. They have disabled my data service twice. I have spoken to customer service & had service restored. The last month I have streamed Netflix to my phone & they let the high usage slide since I was watching on my phone this time. I have noticed that they have recently changed their “Terms & Conditions” to allow them to disable after using over 60gb in a 30 day period but was not worded as such a couple months ago when they attempted to disable my data & I informed then they could not do so. At that time they did not have in writing anywhere that there was a data cap/limit to their “Unlimited” plan. I also reminded the customer service staff at that time that they had already lost a class action lawsuit in regards to their data in the past. Selling plans under false pretenses as they were doing at this time would cause another loss to them. They shouldn’t be selling “Unlimited Plans” & placing a cap on them. This company irritates me when they do stuff like this. So far I haven’t had too much difficulty but you never know when they will harass you. There is also a clause in their Terms & Conditions that is “(except for use with Hotspot applications)” so my interpretation of that clause is I can utilizemy HotSpot application. Also my argument!

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Tracey,
      Thanks for sharing. I’m hearing from a number of people. Some claim to be using 100s of GB of data per month ad hotspot without issue. Others say that once they hit 50 to 60 GB their account gets reviewed and their data gets suspended even though they don’t use hotspot. When they came out with the unlimited plans I did a video and commented on the lack of any disclaimers or fine print on the plan description. I think I said “we will see”. Every carrier uses the term unlimited, and in their TOS places limitations on users. It’s annoying. Personally, I just expect it. I’ve heard from readers using hotspot /tethering to replace the wired internet connection in their home so some people will take every liberty they can.

      I had a different interpretation of the terms of service.

      (vi) access to the internet, intranets, or other data networks except as the device’s native applications and capabilities permit (excluding all hotspot applications),
      (vii) any applications that allow your phone to act as an internet access point or Wi-Fi for other devices and computers unless such use is allowed under your Plan.

      I interpret the “excluding all hotspot applications” as saying you can’t use these features even if they are part of the devices native applications and capabilities
      I am not saying I am correct. Obviously the TOS was written by their legal team. There are a few catch all phrases in their to suspend your service as they see fit. They also have the right to change their Terms of Service at any time. One person I spoke with that kept getting suspended switched to Sprint and was pretty happy with it.

  13. Krystal | | Reply

    My boyfriend used his hotspot and it disabled his internet on his phone.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Seems to happen for some, but not others. It is against their terms of service so it is within their right to do it.

  14. Darrell Wolfe | | Reply

    It’s because straight talk hates apple and therefor doesn’t offer hotspot except to those who buy the latest androids. Customer support is not going to help you, in fact if they know you got an apple device they will hang up. Try it 😀

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Using Hotspot is against Straight Talk’s terms of service regardless of the phone you are using. Given the number of iPhones they sell, and the number of BYOP customers that use iPhone I’d say iPhone is great for their business. Even though I disagree with your opinion, I appreciate you sharing it.

  15. Tim | | Reply

    Ive had the lg stylo 3 from straight talk for about a year it has the hotspot on it works very well, benn running between 175 to almost 300 gb a month on it and no issues from straight talk yet thank god. Except one month i was in the 400 range but still nothing. What i think they really can catch u on is how much data ur pulling in at one time. For instance my mother was doing it but they caught her with the first month she had it she reached around 230gb, but she had it running for like three days straight when she forgot it was on. So i think they caught her on how long the term of her data was running and pulling in. So if you do use it u need to restrict how long ur running it at a time.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thanks for sharing. I’m hearing stories from people using 100s of GB with no issues and from people getting blocked after 50 to 60 GB. Are you streaming Netflix or some other service to your TV?

  16. Kimberly A Adams | | Reply

    It’s March 20 and yesterday my hot spot on straight talk suddenly stopped well until this article n thread I thought all straight talk phones had hot spots….because I typed it n Google showed me several see I was using it to stream my TV Roku n kit Roku son’s phone Pandora n Liv room TV until they “throttled”? Me on the “ultimate unlimited”….I am more apt to pay my xfinity bill n use that internet connection for paying like eighty a month typical of internet but also a text now app is freeb

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Thanks for sharing. Yes a lot of people are rightfully confused about Straight Talk and hotspot because it works for some customers but they also say its violates their Terms of service. For home use something like Xfinity or Verizon fios is a more reliable solution. It does make sense to look at your total home internet and mobile plans and bills and try to pick the plans to balance the cost of your overall needs. I dropped all my home phone service a few years ago and when we upgeaded my wife to a smartphone plan.

  17. Josh | | Reply

    I’ve been useing my straight talk phone ( ZTE Max Blue) for about 4 months now. The first 2 months I used hotspot and nothing happened. I was averaging 120-130 gb a month. Last month I hit 180 with 7 days left on my plan and they shut off my data. This month I hit 196gb and they shut it off. I use hotspot only for my tablet. I watch alot of Netflix on my phone and tablet. Next month I am going to not use my hotspot and try to use as much data on my phone alone to see if they shut me down. Interested to see if they are o ly looking at numbers.

    • admin | | Reply

      Josh, thanks for sharing. Wow, that is a lot of data! I’m surprised they keep letting you renew the unlimited plan. They have told others that if you continue to renew you’ll pay the full price and still have no data. Its possible they watch the data to try and detect your using multiple devices and hotspot. But with that much data usage the may just be looking at the total volume too. Please let me know what happens!

  18. Jade | | Reply

    StraightTalk, Verizon towers
    Unlimited Data plan,No throttling
    Service Day #34. 168gb used.
    No root. Apps/drivers for tether.

    Phone is used for home network. Got hotspot and usb teather. 24/7 Steady signal, Avgering 30mbps download.

    No warnings from ST. I’ll update post if they do.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Jade. cool. Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Brandi Hodges | | Reply

    I was wondering if I BYOP my old AT&T phone, will Straight Talk disable my hot spot, tethering, and mirroring options?

  20. Mitch adkins | | Reply

    The one model of zte from straight talk has a useable mobile hotspot in itself and it does work

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      With the Verizon towers, correct?

    • Brandi Hodges | | Reply

      What model ZTE do you have? I only want to tether or mirror my Netflix from my tiny phone to my Smart tv….

  21. Bobby | | Reply

    I had a ZTE majesty pro for 6 months out of the box for straight talk verizon towers it worked and I streamed movies and all sorts of stuff to my tv tablet and other phones no problems . now I have a verizon lg v20 that had a hot spot on verizon and once I went to straight talk with it it got disabled and will not turn on .

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      That is unfortunate. Do you still have your old phone? try the SIM from the V20 in the ZTE and see if hotspot still works. That will tell you if it is the phone or SIM that had hotspot disabled.

  22. Patrick | | Reply

    Extremely helpful video. Thanks.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      thanks. I’ll be doing an update soon.

  23. Eric | | Reply

    Hi. Total Wireless does not allow personal hotspot as far as I can tell. It’s against their terms and I believe they disable it on iphones.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Total Wireless, like Straight Talk, is owned by tracfone and basically have the same terms of service. Verizon Prepaid supports hotspot.

  24. anthony | | Reply

    ive been using the straight talk service with att service, with an U.S. Celluar branded phon. i have the samsung galaxy s8 edge, ever since they have offered the ultimate unlimited data for $55 ive been able to use as data for up to 10 devices from just my phone and they all recieve the 4g speeds like i do on my phone. even been streaming netflix all day on my smart tv lol. so far my max data usage was 600gb and never has a lagging moment

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      That seems to be the case for many people now too. I checked the terms of service and the language changed but still says hotspot is not allowed. I’ll have to update my article and video. In the past I could only get Hotspot on Android using the Verizon towers.

  25. Emma | | Reply

    If I call straight talk to unlock my phone and switch to a carrier that offers hotspots, will I then be able to use my current phone as a hotspot (galaxy s6) even though currently the phone doesn’t show hotspot as an option, or will I have to purchase a new phone?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I am not sure. It could be the version of Android on your phone that is the issue. You can test this out yourself without switching. Borrow an AT&T or Verizzon SIM from a friend and put it in your phone. If the phone doesn’t work, it’s locked. Request an unlock and repeat the above. If the phone is unlocked it will work. Then with the AT&T or Verizon SIM in your phone see if you have the hotspot option. You don’t need to switch before trying all this,

  26. Brandon | | Reply

    I bought a temporary phone from walmart LG something like 100 bucks that was straight talk branded and the mobile hotspot worked right out of the box and it works like a dream. I have had straight talk for about 3.5 years now.

    • Brandon | | Reply

      Also I would like to add that it will not work on my IPhone 6S Plus. Which was ATT branded.

      • Bob Thompson | | Reply

        I couldn’t get it to work with the iPhone on either network

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      In my video I show it worked for me with an Android phone on Straight Talk’s Verizon network. Was your phone using the Verizon or AT&T network?

  27. Phillip | | Reply

    Thank you for the video share. I just wish I would’ve seen this earlier. I was wondering why I couldnt find the tethering option on my iphone7plus.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      you are welcome. glad it helped.

  28. Suzanne | | Reply

    Hi! My husband and I have been using Verizon Straight Talk through Walmart for several years. We’re on the road alot and our phones have always sufficed when it came to using the internet. Recently we needed something more and bought a “hot spot” plan. First purchased 2 gigs, then 5, and 5 again. We are already down to 800 mb’s on this 3rd purchase…all in a span of less than a few weeks!

    My question (and what led me here) is ‘what is taking so much data/bandwidth?’ And, ‘Is there a better way??’

    We’re both using the Galaxy Grand Prime phone and seem to have always been able to watch as much video (not whole movies or anything) as we like, listen & download many podcasts, shows (audio) etc etc with never any over-use issues. He uses a Surface Pro and I a large HP laptop. Other than email, Facebook (I am the only one on it), news, amazon & craigs list browsing, articles/blog reading I can’t think of what’s taking all our data so quickly…we could have $200 into this in less than a month.

    Sometimes I’ll have many tabs open, is that a data-sucker? Does leaving the hotspot on all the time somehow suck data? Could there be a program running in our computers backround having an effect?

    Thanks so much for any advice, or just pointing me in the right direction to figure this all out! 😀

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Off the top of my head, if you are using windows 10, set you internet connection as metered.

      Unlike a cell phone, I don’t think windows has a centralized place to track data usage by app. Check to see if your browser has a prefetch feature and make sure it is off. If you use dropbox, online backup, or some other file sync make sure that is off too.
      See if that helps. Are you connecting the two phones and two laptops to the hotspot? Your phone will also think they are on an WiFi connection so you need to make sure they aren’t downloading stuff in the background too.

  29. Tom | | Reply

    I had windows phone for a while and it worked flawlessly out the box with ST. now I got iPhone and no luck

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      They claim not to support it. In the video I got it to work on an android phone with one of the SIMs. I don’t recommend Straight Talk if you want hotspot. Other prepaid carriers support it.

  30. A.M. | | Reply

    Thank you so much for the info! I looked at a few different answers for this on the web and found no real answer so I appreciate this, a real answer. I have an iPhone 5s with ST. Part of my work is in office with laptop connected wifi other part is away from, I could be more productive if I had a hotspot for my tablet or work laptop when away. A friend has the same phone but has hotspot but he goes through att. I thought it had to do with carrier, which seems to be the case.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi A.M.
      I am glad you found the article helpful. Several other prepaid wireless carriers offer hotspot as a feature. You might consider changing services is this is a feature you would like. Check out for more info.

  31. Ed | | Reply


    Thanks for the article. What I find interesting specifically with respect to ST’s MVNO/resale of access to Verizon’s network is that there are specific Open Access rules (see 47 CFR 27.16) for the 700MHz ‘C’ block that Verizon uses that expressly state, with limited exceptions, that “Licensees offering service on spectrum subject to this section shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network. . .’ These rules were forced by Google as part of their bid for the C block which VZW ultimately won and it was these rules that forced VZW to reverse course and allow tethering apps on Google’s Play Store.

    Those with a grandfathered VZW unlimited data plan know the cat and mouse game with VZW regarding rooting phones to open up tethering, but newer ‘data bucket’ plans, and even VZW’s own pre-paid plans allow tethering. The interesting question is whether ST’s ToS restrictions on tethering violate the C-block rules and whether a case could be made that, for those ST customers using VZW’s network, the tethering restriction could be invalidated.

    While ST’s ToC may prohibit tethering

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Ed,
      Interesting points about the Open Access rules. You know it not clear to me if Straight Talk, Verizon, or both are responsible for the no tethering policy. I wouldn’t be surprised if both companies are responsible for the restriction. Verizon’s MVNO offering has always been the most restrictive compared to AT&T and T-Mobile. Verizon didn’t open its LTE network to MVNOs for a long time and even still Verizon has restricted the download speeds to 5 Mbps. On the other hand, Straight Talk doesn’t support tethering on any their networks so perhaps they chose not to.

      As of Winter 2016, I generally recommend that people choose Verizon prepaid over Straight Talk’s Verizon network. is pretty close and Verizon offers faster speeds and advanced network services.

      Thanks for the citation, they question comes up frequently.

  32. Scott | | Reply

    I have Samsung 6 on straight talk Verizon and personal hotspot works great

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      That’s great. It seems to work with some model phones. But you are still violating your terms of service by using it though.

  33. Allen | | Reply

    Is there anyway I can add a mobile hotspot to my Samsung Galaxy sky on Straight Talk Network need to setup Google Chromecast

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Not that I am aware of. It’s been a while since I set up my chromecast. Why do you need hotspot to set up a Chromecast? Is it you just need any internet connection.

  34. Dallas Black | | Reply

    Thank you, this is the only link that had the answer I was looking for.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Glad it helped. This article is actually pretty popular. A lot of people want to know about this.

      • Beach Bum | | Reply

        I’m confused , can I buy a mobile hotspot from straight talk and use there hot spot with my iPhone 6s ?

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          You can buy a mobile hotspot from Straight Talk and use it with your iPhone 6s. You cannot however use your iPhone 6 as a hotspot using iOS’s personal hotspot feature. That is what this article is about.

  35. CJ Christian | | Reply

    Bob, if someone is looking to use their phone as a hotspot and has good network coverage by T-mobile I’d recommend Wal-Mart Family Mobile. You can get unlimited talk and text plus 5Gb of high speed data for less than $40 and there’s no additional charge for the hotspot service.
    To be honest…… after seeing that I’m thinking my Straight Talk S4 might just have an accident. I hate that ST doesn’t allow their phones to update the version of android they’re running.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi CJ,
      You are correct that Family Mobile supports tethering, or mobile hotspot so you can connect your laptop or other devices to the Internet using your cellular data. They do use the T-Mobile network, so you need to be in an area where T-Mobile has coverage. T-Mobile has come along way in coverage in the last few years.

      Unfortunately, wireless carriers are responsible for deciding when if and when the Android phones they sell get updates. Several readers have commented about the lack of updates recently. I wonder if there is a website that tracks Android updates by phone and wireless carrier somewhere. On some level I can understand that ST doesn’t update low cost Android phones but not having updates for higher end models like the Galaxy S series is troubling. I’m a big fan of BYOP for prepaid myself. I myself use iPhone and Nexus phones, so all the phones get updates from Apple and Google respectively.

  36. Lyric | | Reply

    I have a iphone5s and when I first activated my straight talk phone it had personal hotspot for a day but it didn’t work then i powered it off and when I turned my phone back on personal hotspot was not in my setting and then I tried searching but it’s not on my phone what can I do to get it back on my phone

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I don’t know. Using hotspot is against the Straight Talk terms of service.

      • Ryan O. | | Reply

        I’ve had my iPhone 5C since May 2015, and only just today did the personal hotspot feature appear in my settings. The setting quickly disappeared again after a few minutes, but it is weird that it showed up at all more than a year after I got the phone, especially considering that StraightTalk does not support such a feature

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          The phone may have switched Carrier Profiles for a moment. This does happem

  37. Jake | | Reply

    Thank you very much

  38. Brian Blanton | | Reply

    I have a Galaxy S5 Verizon phone unlocked with Straight Talk plan is there anyway I can use the mobile hotspot everytime I try it says number not found any ideas thank you

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Straight Talk doesn’t offically support hotspot. A few other people with the S5 say they couldn’t get it to work or even set it up. I know one person using the ST AT&T network on the S6 had it working. Still, using it is against your Terms of Service .

    • Matt B | | Reply

      It can be done. You will definitely have to ‘root’ your phone first. ‘Jailbreaking’ only refers to Apple devices like iPads and iPhones.
      That being said, some phones are easier than others to turn your hotspot on. Once rooted, you have to install certain apps which allow you to edit the programming code of your phone. It is a fairly intense process and not for the faint of heart. But it can be done. I have had numerous phones over the past couple of years and have used my hotspot on each of those phones. I just don’t like anyone telling me what I can and can’t do with the data that I paid for.

      • Bob Thompson | | Reply

        Hi Matt,
        I appreciate you sharing your perspective.

        And yes, on some phones you can get it to work if you root the phone or jailbreak it and install special software. This is, mostly, beyond the scope of smartphonematters readers. I have nothing against anyone that wants to do that. I’m not going to recommend to my readers that they bypass the security on their phones to use a feature that wasn’t offered as part of the service they signed up for.

        You may not like the fact that Straight Talk prohibits use of hotspot, but you agreed to it in your terms of service when you signed up. You could choose a carrier that supports hotspot. In your case, you have chosen to ignore the TOS you agreed to. That’s fine. I doubt its legally enforceable, and in reality the only recourse Straight Talk would have would be to terminate your service.

        As I said in some of the comments, some people have said it works for them and they have no issues. I’ve read on other forums that Straight Talk used to actively look for and prevent customers from using hotspot.


  39. Angelina | | Reply

    Under cellular i dont have personal hotspot. Can somebody please help me

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      The point of the article is that you aren’t supposed to. And they even go as far as hiding the options for it on many phones..

  40. Larry | | Reply

    Yes that’s true I have a galaxy s5 and can’t connect it to my laptop using my wifi Hotspot .is there a way to get my Hotspot to work on this phone with straight talk ?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      good question. I know someone using it on the S6… Can you even find the options for it in the menu.

  41. Austin | | Reply

    I have a Samsung galaxy s5 and I am wondering how to get the mobile hotspot to work on it. I have literally looked EVERYWHERE on the settings and still nothing… anything?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I don’t have a Galaxy S5, on my Nexus 6, the hot spot option is under Settings > Wireless & networks – More > Tethering & portable hotspot. Do note that using hot spot is against Straight Talk’s Terms of Service. I use an iPhone 6 with Straight Talk and I was never able to get it to work.

      • Austin | | Reply

        Ok, thank you for the feedback.

  42. Zach | | Reply

    Ive been streaming my hotspot for offend on for over 2 years and never had a problem the trick is to buy a less popular phone. I got an Asus zen fone 2 and hotspot worked like a charm.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Using hotspot with straight talk is against their terms of service. That said what you say seems to be true. It doesn’t work on some popular phones at all. On other phones, it does. And for years, I heard people claim it worked by straight talk detected it and shut them down. Others say the use hotspot with no problem.

  43. Ethan | | Reply

    Can this be done legally?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      It’s not illegal. It is against Straight Talk’s terms of service. They can cancel your account. No on cam take legal action against you. From what I’ve been told, it’s a cat and mouse game. I don’t advocate violating the terms of service. Shop for a plan than offers hotspot and your other needs.

  44. Ms.Pickels | | Reply

    Dont plan on trying to use the personal hotspot if you have Straight Talk because they will kick you off your plan if the find out

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Yes. I have heard that. Did it happen to you?

  45. Trevor | | Reply

    Hi Bob,
    I found ST has one activation service “mobile hot spots”. Would that be the service ST do provide now ?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Mobile hot spot service from Straight Talk is for a separate modem you need to buy to link wifi devices to cellular data. It’s still against straight talk’s Terms of Service to use your phone as a personal hotspot with your calling plan.

  46. Jacob McDonald | | Reply

    I have a ST iPhone 5c is there any way to get personal hotspot on my iPhone so I can use the service on my laptop if so what do I have to do

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Jim,
      Pretty much what I said in the article hasn’t changed. No, unless you want to jailbreak.

  47. Jaystew | | Reply

    2015. Let that sink in ST. Wait for it.

    Okay. So data is throttled after 3gb.
    Why do you care that my $750 byod is allowing another device to use my data that you will throttle to below dialup after 3gb.

    Love the service area coverage. Love the robot I talk to to refill (read as dislike to offshore support.)


    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Jaystew,
      I don’t know what criteria Straight Talk used to determine their tethering or personal hotspot policy. It could be that more users will use the 3GB of high speed data. Maybe it is also part of the business agreement they have with att, tmobile, Verizon, and sprint to use their networks or affects the price they pay. I would imagine that providing tech support for tethering would be a nightmare. I admit it’s been a while since I checked but doesn’t the big 4 charge extra for personal hotspot?

      I am not sure if any prepaid wireless company offers tethering. I think I’ll look into that. If that feature is important for someone, they should certainly take that into consideration when shopping for a wireless plan.

      • Cindy | | Reply

        MetroPCS allows their phones to be used as a hotspot. Cost is $5 extra a month.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Hi cindy,
          That is good to know. Maybe a good option for those who live in places where MetroPCS has decent coverage. They use the TMobile network.

  48. Andrina | | Reply

    can I get some help regarding the pic messaging. I have been on the phone with customer service for the past one week and they couldn’t help me out with the problem. I can send pic message and receive it via mms, but I cant open it. Every time I open it, it will download it and then my phone blank out and then it will say “unfortunately messaging had stopped” and then will make u press “ok”.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Andrina,
      I replied to your first comment on the 9th. What version of Android is your phone running?

      • Andrina | | Reply

        Hi Bob
        Thanks for your reply. I didnt able to see yr previous comment. Anyway, m using samsung galaxy s2 skyrocket unlocked phone from att. The model is SGH l727.

        • Bob Thompson | | Reply

          Hi Andrina,
          If you phone is running a version of Android earlier than 4.03, try using this app

          Go to the APN settings page, do a reset to defaults.
          Delete any APNs left in the list after the reset.
          Create a new APN with your settings and test.
          Other wise try following this Help Setting up Straight Talk Data and MMS on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Running Android 4. You can also try setting your APN type to default, mms, wap.

          If that doesn’t work. Try this. Note I did this on my nexus, you should be able to do this on your phone.
          You are going to put your phone in recovery mode and clear the cache!

          Turn your phone off
          once off, hold the volume down. and the power key
          use the volume up until you see recovery mode
          tap the power button
          After the phone restarts,
          volume up
          scroll to Wipe the Cache Partition
          Tap the power to select
          Reboot system is selected in the menu
          tap power key

          wait for reboot.
          Follow the guide again and use the APN values below.

          A couple of notes.
          You can backup you phone before you do this, but it shouldn’t erase any data
          I did it to my phone 15 minutes ago to make sure it was safe to recommend to you.
          I didn’t notice any data missing on my phone.
          My nexus 5 is my second phone, so all I can say is all my pics and texts were still there.
          My MMS already worked, so I can only say it worked for someone else.

          This youtube video is pretty good to see how to do use recovery mode on the nexus 5. PLEASE NOTE, he is selecting a DIFFERENT OPTION than the one you want to choose. you want ******Wipe the Cache Partition*****

          Please let me know if you try this or not and how you make out.

  49. D butler | | Reply

    Hi I was reading this topic and I wanted say that I used the hotspot on my ex boyfriends iPhone 3gs for my iPad for over a I have a motorola g 2nd gen with straight talk and I use the hotspot thru the phone for my iPad all the time. This is with the unlimited talk, text ,and web. After ureach 3gigs they slow the speed down, but it isn’t illegal like it was a long time ago…I have had straight talk for over 5 yeArs. And I love it. I also have the mobile hotspot, but I like using the phone better, u use it thru bluetooth and the mobile hotspot thru wifi.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi D Buter,
      I am glad to hear that the tethering is working. And yes, on some phones you can get it to work. I never said that tethering was illegal, I said it was against Straight Talk’s terms of service When I read the Straight Talk terms of service, it clearly says:
      “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.”
      Have you read anywhere on the Straight Talk web site that references that tethering / hotspot is a feature they support?

      All that said, I’m glad it is working for you. Did you need to use any apps on your 3GS or Moto G to get this to work? On my iPhone running iOS 7 and then iOS 8, the options to even set up Hotspot are all hidden. I’ll have to look on my Nexus 5.

      I don’t have a dedicated hotspot either, and I agree you that given the choice I’d rather use my phone than carry an extra device.


    • jenny | | Reply

      What did you use to get it to work. I can’t get iy

  50. Dylan | | Reply

    Sorry to go off topic any news on the 6 usage Bob? Buying one this week…. Thk you

    • Jake | | Reply

      Wow, that’s a real bummer as that’s the whole reason I switched to ST in the first place (to get away from such expensive data+use with laptop)…. Thanx for your time & all u do here Bob 🙂

      • Bob Thompson | | Reply

        Hi Jake,
        It’s prepaid wireless, so your only committed for one month. Take the time to look at some options.

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Dylan,
      I picked up an iPhone 6 a week before Christmas. I bought the 128GB TMobile Gray model. The phone was sim unlocked. I have had no issues with Straight Talk. I like the bigger screen. The phone is a a little wide and slippery to hold without a case. I put it in a case but still keep thinking I might drop it. My Nexus 5 is about the same time, but I find it easier to hold.

      I haven’t had a chance to play with the camera. Do you have any specific questions?

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