Straight Talk’s ‘Ultimate Unlimited’ Wireless Plan
February 5th, 2020
After receiving a tip from a reader that the plan imposes a monthly limit on the data you can use — at which point Straight Talk doesn’t just throttle or slow down data speeds like with other unlimited plans (see below) but “disconnects” service — TINA.org launched an inquiry into the consumer’s claims.
We found the plan advertised on the Straight Talk website.
Hmm. Let’s take a look at those details, shall we?
Getting there. See that last bullet point, where Straight Talk says it reserves the right to “review your account” for violations of its terms and conditions once data usage hits 60 GB? Here’s what Straight Talk means by “review your account,” per the terms and conditions:
A customer engaged in any unauthorized use may have their Service suspended and/or terminated in our sole discretion. … We will presume you are engaging in an unauthorized use in violation of these Terms and Conditions, if in our sole discretion, you are using more than 60 GB of data in a 30-day period.
And there it is — an “unlimited” plan undone by its own terms and conditions.
Granted, 60 GB is a ton of data. It’s roughly the equivalent of streaming 20 hours of Netflix in HD. According to a recent survey, most Americans with unlimited cellphone plans consume less than 10 GB a month. But unlimited should mean unlimited. Anything less is not straight talk.
One more thing
Straight Talk is owned by TracFone, one of the largest prepaid mobile providers in the country whose claims to offer “unlimited” data plans have been the subject of multiple lawsuits dating back to at least 2015. That’s when a federal judge granted final approval of a $40 million settlement that resolved a string of class-action lawsuits against TracFone (including at least one against TracFone and Walmart, where Straight Talk wireless plans are sold). This was on top of another $40 million TracFone agreed to pay earlier that year to settle FTC charges it deceived consumers “with hollow promises of ‘unlimited’ data service.”
TINA.org reached out to TracFone for comment. Check back for updates.
Find more of our coverage on unlimited data plans that fail to live up to their name here.