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Old January 30th, 2013, 05:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

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Straight Talk Responds to 'Unlimited' Complaints
By Sascha Segan January 28, 2013

Last week, we ran a story "How Straight Talk's TOS Makes Most iPhone Users Criminals," which criticized low-cost wireless carrier Straight Talks's "unlimited" iPhone plan for having hidden restrictions. ST asked to respond, and here's the carrier's response in full. I've also put my brief response to ST's response, below- Sascha Segan

iPhone on ST the Most Affordable iPhone Plan on The Market

ST’s newest offering pairs the Apple iPhone with ST’s Unlimited* Talk,Text and Data Plan. ST has finally made the iPhone affordable and accessible to a large group of consumers who either could not qualify or afford traditional iPhone plans. It is the best and lowest priced iPhone service plan currently available on the market on ST’s iPhone Unlimited* Talk, Text and Data service plan on the nation’s largest CDMA network for just $45 a month. The iPhones can be purchased with a Walmart Credit Card for $25 a month fixed payment, no interest special financing offer.**

Of course, consistent with industry practice and standards, STs Unlimited* Service is offered subject to terms and conditions of service. The terms and conditions are posted and available for review on the ST website at www.straighttalk.com. The service is intended for regular, personal use by individuals. It is not intended for certain commercial uses that would result in abnormally high data consumption as compared to the data usage of a typical iPhone consumer. Tethering the phone to other devices is currently prohibited. However, there is no prohibition against downloading movies, watching live TV or other live video (uninterrupted continuous video streaming, such as round-the-clock live web cams, is prohibited due to the negative impact on other customers’ experience).

A customer does not have to use the ST Portal to access the internet. With the ST iPhone and BYOP, customers may use the Safari browser or any other browser they choose to access the internet just like they would with any other service provider.

ST does not "boot" customers who are above average users. In fact, most of our customers enjoy their unlimited data plans with no issues or complaints regarding their data speeds or service. A small number of data abusers or consumers engaged in an unauthorized use (such as tethering) are subject to deactivation if their unauthorized use continues after warning.

Consistent with best industry practices, ST is constantly monitoring its customers' data usage patterns to detect users engaged in an unauthorized use in order to ensure that all customers enjoy a quality experience. Unlike the rest of the industry, however, we do not have fixed thresholds for throttling or deactivation like some of the other carriers. Rather, we are continuously monitoring our customers’ usage and will adjust thresholds as necessary in order to maximize all of our customers' experience.

Most customers who experience throttling of their data service are engaged (knowingly or unknowingly) in one or more unauthorized uses that are described in greater detail in our terms and conditions of service. 2 examples of the most common unauthorized uses are tethering the phone to other devices to access the internet or continuous, uninterrupted live video streaming (such as live webcams). Customers engaged in an unauthorized use will receive a warning and the opportunity to troubleshoot their usage patterns to identify and correct any problems. If problems are identified, customers will be given recommendations to improve their data experience (for example, for continuous video streaming and other high data consumption activities, customers will be advised to use Wi-Fi where available).

ST offers a great product at an affordable price. ST has made the iPhone available to a number of consumers who cannot afford a traditional iPhone plan. The vast majority of ST customers enjoy their service with no complaints or issues regarding the data service.

*Tethering is prohibited. Other restrictions apply. See Terms and Conditions of Service for full details.
**Available through Walmart’s special financing plan. Buy an iPhone 5 for $649 in-store and pay $25 in fixed monthly payments for 26 months on your Walmart Credit Card (Total cost = $649). No interest until paid in full. Valid January 1, 2013 – April 30, 2013. Certificate required.
My response: I'm very happy to see ST give such a clear and customer-friendly statement. However, the response above directly contradicts the legally binding terms of service ST customers must sign, specifically the first and third paragraphs of section 6. That leaves me unsettled as to what to believe: the answer that ST is giving in public, or the contract its users must sign in private. Changing the terms and conditions to reflect what ST says above would be an excellent next step. -SS
PCMag- Straight Talk Responds to 'Unlimited' Complaints

Howard Forums- ST Officially Responds to "Unlimited" Complaints

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Old January 30th, 2013, 06:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for the links and the article. Now I'm wondering if their old ToS is outdated, or they just are trying to cover themselves up with good PR. I guess we may know if they update the ToS.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 08:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I for one haven't had a single issue with ST. But I also don't use my phone to watch TV or listen to the radio. I use about 3gb a month and for $45 a month it's perfect for me. I don't see how some people are using 50-70Gb's a month. That blows my mind. Do these people not have jobs? lol
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 08:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

To use the Iphone with ST does the phone need to be rooted?

Can you do it with a rooted Iphone?

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Old February 2nd, 2013, 09:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

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To use the Iphone with ST does the phone need to be rooted?

Can you do it with a rooted Iphone?

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You can't root an iPhone. You can jailbreak it, but I'm not sure what that would accomplish as that just allows you to use a different market for apps.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 09:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If I recall correctly, I believe ST is getting their own iPhone very soon, but I'm not sure which network it will operate on.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 10:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

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If I recall correctly, I believe ST is getting their own iPhone very soon, but I'm not sure which network it will operate on.
They already got it
Runs on Verizon, No 4G
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 05:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Makes sense to me I have ST,and I don't abuse my service. Yes I said abuse because quite frankly that IS what it is when you decide to be a cheapskate and use your pre-paid service to run your computers etc instead of ponying up for a home internet service plan like responsible adults do.
Some won't like that I said that ,but I don't care. Your ST plan is not for home internet on your laptops,desktops etc. It just isn't.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 05:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Makes sense to me I have ST,and I don't abuse my service. Yes I said abuse because quite frankly that IS what it is when you decide to be a cheapskate and use your pre-paid service to run your computers etc instead of ponying up for a home internet service plan like responsible adults do.
Some won't like that I said that ,but I don't care. Your ST plan is not for home internet on your laptops,desktops etc. It just isn't.
I thought I remember reading that ST limits daily data to roughly 100mb, then there's an unknown ceiling limit per month that depends on which carrier it runs on. This could be old info that I have; but if it's still true, it's a shame. It doesn't take much streaming to hit 100mb.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 10:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I for one haven't had a single issue with ST. But I also don't use my phone to watch TV or listen to the radio. I use about 3gb a month and for $45 a month it's perfect for me. I don't see how some people are using 50-70Gb's a month. That blows my mind. Do these people not have jobs? lol
The same question crosses my mind whenever I see someone claiming they use tens of gigabytes per month, and that it's "normal" to do so. The must be independently wealthy, have very good paying part time jobs, or still live with their parents and have no expenses. I can't see how anyone with a full time job AND a life would have enough time to use that much data.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 07:16 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

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The same question crosses my mind whenever I see someone claiming they use tens of gigabytes per month, and that it's "normal" to do so. The must be independently wealthy, have very good paying part time jobs, or still live with their parents and have no expenses. I can't see how anyone with a full time job AND a life would have enough time to use that much data.
I think the highest amount of data consumption I've seen that was legit and not through tethering was 31ish gb. Granted this was someone who does a lot of cross country traveling/uses their phone for work.

Essentially there's 3 things that cause high data consumption (video streaming, tethering, remote desktop) and two things that cause medium data consumption (Gps, audio streaming).

I've seen how much data I tend to use on my tab which is about 70 gb a month (all wifi), so I can see how it would be possible for someone to use that much of they didn't have or choose to use wifi.

A lot of people buy into carrier's propaganda that data hogs cause slow data speeds, but the reality is that's about 95% fiction. The true culprit is tower volume; the more people using the tower, the slower it will be. If someone uses 100gb of data in a month, but exclusively between 11pm and 5am when towers are not in high use, you'll probably never notice them. You can test this theory out on your home wifi network if you can get enough devices hooked up. Run a speed test with one device hooked up, then run a test on 70 devices at the same time on the same router. You'll notice a big difference.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 07:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

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The same question crosses my mind whenever I see someone claiming they use tens of gigabytes per month, and that it's "normal" to do so. The must be independently wealthy, have very good paying part time jobs, or still live with their parents and have no expenses. I can't see how anyone with a full time job AND a life would have enough time to use that much data.
Not really if you use facetime, netflixs, hulu plus and Pandora a lot like me.. I go through almost 15gig a normal month. Video streaming eats alot of mb at a time like the person stated before. I run a machine at work and I just sit there so to keep awake I stream a lot over night. I thinking of picking this up just for that reason. Since iPhone has little better apps over android in a few areas like video streaming.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 08:15 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

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Not really if you use facetime, netflixs, hulu plus and Pandora a lot like me.. I go through almost 15gig a normal month. Video streaming eats alot of mb at a time like the person stated before. I run a machine at work and I just sit there so to keep awake I stream a lot over night. I thinking of picking this up just for that reason. Since iPhone has little better apps over android in a few areas like video streaming.
I'm very interested in what you mean by apple has better video streaming apps.

Better how? Examples?

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A lot of people buy into carrier's propaganda that data hogs cause slow data speeds, but the reality is that's about 95% fiction. The true culprit is tower volume; the more people using the tower, the slower it will be. If someone uses 100gb of data in a month, but exclusively between 11pm and 5am when towers are not in high use, you'll probably never notice them. You can test this theory out on your home wifi network if you can get enough devices hooked up. Run a speed test with one device hooked up, then run a test on 70 devices at the same time on the same router. You'll notice a big difference.
But to use 100+gb a month that the top % on many unlimited networks use, they're always on some tower eating data. Get a few "abusers" on the same tower and it brings everyone else down just like you mentioned.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 12:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhawkkw View Post
A lot of people buy into carrier's propaganda that data hogs cause slow data speeds, but the reality is that's about 95% fiction. The true culprit is tower volume; the more people using the tower, the slower it will be. If someone uses 100gb of data in a month, but exclusively between 11pm and 5am when towers are not in high use, you'll probably never notice them. You can test this theory out on your home wifi network if you can get enough devices hooked up. Run a speed test with one device hooked up, then run a test on 70 devices at the same time on the same router. You'll notice a big difference.
This is true. Bandwidth is limited. If you're the only one using it, it's all yours; the more people there are sharing it, the less everyone gets. Blaming so-called "data hogs" for network congestion is like seeing a long line at the all-you-can-eat buffet and blaming the fat guy in line. Sure he's making the line longer, but so are you; and because you each get the same size plate, if he wants more food than you he has to get in line more times than you. The problem is that because he's in line frequently, he's more likely than anyone else to be in line at the same time you are. If he's in line when you're not, you don't really care.

TCP/IP is designed to handle congestion by spreading the slow down among all users. Here's an article and video that talk about it:

Video: Why Data Caps Suck – Droid Life
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 12:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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This is true. Bandwidth is limited. If you're the only one using it, it's all yours; the more people there are sharing it, the less everyone gets. Blaming so-called "data hogs" for network congestion is like seeing a long line at the all-you-can-eat buffet and blaming the fat guy in line. Sure he's making the line longer, but so are you; and because you each get the same size plate, if he wants more food than you he has to get in line more times than you. The problem is that because he's in line frequently, he's more likely than anyone else to be in line at the same time you are. If he's in line when you're not, you don't really care.

TCP/IP is designed to handle congestion by spreading the slow down among all users. Here's an article and video that talk about it:

Video: Why Data Caps Suck Droid Life
That metaphor is a great one. It's why I say it's 95 percent fiction because they are actually eating food that you may want.

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But to use 100+gb a month that the top % on many unlimited networks use, they're always on some tower eating data. Get a few "abusers" on the same tower and it brings everyone else down just like you mentioned.
True, they do seem to always be on which is unfortunate. I meant it more from a hypothetical standpoint that if they're only on during low traffic times, who cares how much data they use. The carriers just use it as an excuse to make more money, and reduced network traffic is just gravy. We're all going to come around full circle when more broadband providers start instituting data caps. It's already started and will probably grow.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 01:20 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

I just wish people would learn the difference between cellphone data for their PHONE and home internet for their computers.
An "unlimited" cellphone plan is not a replacement for home internet. Period.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:22 PM   #17 (permalink)
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No, mobile data is not a substitute for home internet, and shouldn't be used as such. But I still would like to be able to tether my 2 to 5 GB, or however much I've purchased, to a laptop or tablet while I'm NOT at home. Some carriers offer a tethering add on for $15 a month or so, which isn't you purchasing extra data, just paying for the privilege of using some of the data you've already bought on a tablet or laptop.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:27 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I'm waiting until broadband providers all have data caps, then we'll see how many people cry foul instead of defend the providers. Comcast already has them, and Time Warner has come close twice to being the second.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:39 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

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I'm waiting until broadband providers all have data caps, then we'll see how many people cry foul instead of defend the providers. Comcast already has them, and Time Warner has come close twice to being the second.
AT&T U-Verse has 250GB, same as Comcast
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:40 PM   #20 (permalink)
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AT&T U-Verse has 250GB, same as Comcast
Did not know that. Thanks for that info.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:47 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

Isnt 1 of LTE's main goal future integration with home broadband services? For now I just dont think they have the spectrum to accommodate that
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 02:58 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Comcast used to have a cap of 250 GB, but it is currently suspended while they're doing data collection to see what an appropriate cap would be. Supposedly they are talking about doing tiers depending on what speed level you go with, with a range from 300 GB to 1 TB.

I do know that AT&T DSL, before they started all the U-Verse crap, had a limit of 150 GB.
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 03:01 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Comcast used to have a cap of 250 GB, but it is currently suspended while they're doing data collection to see what an appropriate cap would be. Supposedly they are talking about doing tiers depending on what speed level you go with, with a range from 300 GB to 1 TB.

I do know that AT&T DSL, before they started all the U-Verse crap, had a limit of 150 GB.
Oh yeah Comcast suspended it in the middle of last summer I remember I did a lot of Netflix watching and went up to 253GB but never got the email. Comcast was very strict with theirs but U-Verse just charges you more
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Old February 3rd, 2013, 04:07 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I just wish people would learn the difference between cellphone data for their PHONE and home internet for their computers.
An "unlimited" cellphone plan is not a replacement for home internet. Period.
Agreed. It's funny how certain people will complain how awful ST is and this and that but yet they are trying to run their whole damn house off of $45 a month cell phone service. Smdh. They deserved to be kicked off. I can understand maybe wanting to tether a tablet but not to the extent of replacing your TV with your tablet and trying to download 50 gigs worth of ish. I'm glad ST keeps a watch on that type of stuff as it makes the service better for the ones that actually use it what it's intended for. I mean your already getting a great deal why try and mooch the system even more? That's what Obama voters do............damn I didn't mean to go there.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 07:08 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Cox Cable already caps you based on the speed package you buy. Limits are:
Starter: 30 GB @ 1 Mbps | $30 / mo
Essential: 50 GB @ 3 Mbps | $45 / mo
Preferred: 200 GB @ 18 Mbps | $56 / mo
Premier: 250 GB @ 36 Mbps | $68 / mo
Ultimate: 400 GB @ max | $100 / mo
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Old February 4th, 2013, 08:58 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

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Originally Posted by DarkJedi View Post
Cox Cable already caps you based on the speed package you buy. Limits are:
Starter: 30 GB @ 1 Mbps | $30 / mo
Essential: 50 GB @ 3 Mbps | $45 / mo
Preferred: 200 GB @ 18 Mbps | $56 / mo
Premier: 250 GB @ 36 Mbps | $68 / mo
Ultimate: 400 GB @ max | $100 / mo
Wow, and I thought Time Warner Cable was a rip off.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 10:10 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: Straight Talk answers customers complaint about "Unlimited"

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Originally Posted by DarkJedi View Post
Cox Cable already caps you based on the speed package you buy. Limits are:
Starter: 30 GB @ 1 Mbps | $30 / mo
Essential: 50 GB @ 3 Mbps | $45 / mo
Preferred: 200 GB @ 18 Mbps | $56 / mo
Premier: 250 GB @ 36 Mbps | $68 / mo
Ultimate: 400 GB @ max | $100 / mo
WTF thats outrageous!!!!
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Old February 4th, 2013, 05:37 PM   #28 (permalink)
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The low end is crazy, the high end actually isn't that bad of a deal.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 09:54 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 07:52 AM   #30 (permalink)
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The low end is crazy, the high end actually isn't that bad of a deal.
Considering how much Comcast/ATT charges for max download that's a rip. Depending on where you live even most T1 providers would be a better deal than Cox.
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Old February 26th, 2013, 09:35 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Wow, and I thought Time Warner Cable was a rip off.
Could be worse. I have Exede satellite internet (since that's my only option where I live for high speed internet other than HughesNet), and I'm paying 80 bucks a month for 12 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up with a measly 15 gb data cap per month, with no data caps between midnight and 5 am.
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Old February 26th, 2013, 09:41 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by clark71822 View Post
Could be worse. I have Exede satellite internet (since that's my only option where I live for high speed internet other than HughesNet), and I'm paying 80 bucks a month for 12 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up with a measly 15 gb data cap per month, with no data caps between midnight and 5 am.
Monopolies, eh? Even if it is a duopoly.
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Old February 26th, 2013, 09:54 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Monopolies, eh? Even if it is a duopoly.
Pretty much...these satellite providers pretty much has us country folk by the gonads...they know a lot of us live too far out to get DSL, cable, T1, even 3g/4g, so they might as well stick it to us lol.
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