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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Straight Talk comes clean about data caps

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Straight Talk has a new published policy on data use after advertising unlimited data yet shutting down those who used too much of it. 

The company has long advertised $45 for unlimited calling, unlimited texting, and unlimited data…but it's not really unlimited data. I've heard from numerous people who switched to Straight Talk on my recommendation and then were unhappy with the customer service and the surprise blackout because they used too much data.

Straight Talk has now fessed up about how much data is too much data. There will not be "unlimited data" anymore. They'll give you 2.5 GB of high speed data each month. After 2.5 GB, you'll be throttled to something like slow dial-up in the 1990s! And then there will be a hard cap at 4 GB. The good news is 2.5 GB is more than almost most anybody uses on their phone. Most of us use a little less than 1 GB of data a month.

Unfortunately, Straight Talk still doesn't have a way for you to track your data use online. But I never have to worry about data caps even though I'm on Straight Talk because I use Onavo. This free app will compress data on your smartphone so you don't go over your limits. It works for both Android and iOS.

Of course, if you're not happy with Straight Talk they are far from the only player in the non-contract smartphone market. For the same $45 a month, you could get 5 GB on GoSmartMobile and then you'll be throttled if you exceed that. And the Sprint sub-brands VirginMobileUSA and BoostMobile both offer 2.5 GB a month and then throttle after that. With Virgin Mobile, you can have an iPhone and pay $30 a month with limited calling, unlimited texting, and 2.5 GB of data.

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