Pre-paid US wireless service provider Straight Talk offers cheap phone plans by piggybacking on AT&T and T-Mobile’s wireless networks. Unlimited talk, text and data plans are available for as little as $45 per month.

When you buy a phone from Straight Talk, that “unlimited” plan offers 3GB of “high speed” 4G LTE data before your speeds are throttled.

But Straight Talk just announced that customers who bring their own phones to the service can get 5GB of LTE data.

straight talk 5gb

In other words, if you buy a SIM card for an unlocked phone that’s compatible either AT&T or T-Mobile, you can get an extra 2GB per month of LTE data.

 

Straight Talk is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), much like AT&T-owned Cricket Wireless, Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, Ting, and Google’s new Project Fi service. These companies tend to offer lower prices than AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon and have no monthly contracts.

But MVNOs tend to be pre-pair carriers, which means you pay for service before you use it rather than after, and the carriers typically charge full price for recent phones (if they offer any) or provide older smartphones.

Still, if you plan to buy a $600 phone and keep it for a few years, you can save a lot of money in the long run by using an MVNO that charges $45 per month instead of a carrier that sells you the same phone for $99 up front, but charges you $100 per month over the course of a 2-year contract. (In fact, you’d end up saving around $800).

So while some wireless carriers try to lock you into a long-term contract with the promise of low up-front costs, MVNOs can often save you money in the long run… and now one of those MVNOs is actually rewarding customers for bringing their own devices with extra data.

Note that you don’t need to be a new Straight Talk customer. Existing BYOP customers will automatically be bumped up to 5GB on their next refill dates.

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26 replies on “Straight Talk bumps “unlimited” data plan to 5GB of LTE for BYOP customers”

  1. I’ve been a straight talk customer for YEARS.
    You should mention that they have a LIMIT to their data usage. Once you reach that limit your phone slows down to a rate that is impossible to get online.
    I am currently shopping for another carrier.

  2. I was able to get in on Cricket’s unlimited talk & text and 20 GB of LTE data for $60 a month and I’m very happy with it (I have been with Straight Talk and Boost in the past).

  3. I hope the bigger carriers start trying to compete with Google FI I want to get a dual-sim ZenFone 2 phone and an ATT backup at a similar price to Google FI would be sweet.. i don’t see why I can’t just get a little bit (only really need like 1gb) of data with like a 90 day expiration

    1. I don’t even see Verizon and Sprint as carriers I can switch too.
      If I can’t buy unlocked phones and use sim cards, I don’t want to be with that carrier.
      Wonder how dual sim phone with att and tmobile will be like

      1. I am hoping to try with the ST tablet sims (I really hope ATT/ST doesn’t whitelist phones)

  4. So how is it compared to cricket? Does straight talk cap your lte speeds? Cricket caps then at 8 mbps and hspa+ at 4mbps.
    Can you tether?
    Att isn’t bad if you have a lot of lines. But these mvnos are great for individuals.
    Paying $200 for 5 lines, 15gb shared on att.
    I know someone paying $105 for individual plan on att for 3gb data

    1. I am just looking for a little bit of data from ATT to supplement my tmobile unlimited plan 9x out of 10 i have coverage but sometimes i don’t

      1. Tmobile’s coverage is horrible in my rural area.
        Everyone else has lte except tmobile who has 2g, or no service.

    2. Straight Talk doesn’t cap speeds like Cricket. You can tether because I do on my Android sometimes, but it’s not “allowed”. They will know you’re tethering if you use a PC (or other non-smartphone) by looking at the browser’s User Agent string, which can be changed in Firefox to look like a smartphone browser by downloading an extension. But if you put 5 lines on Straight Talk, you’re looking at $225 a month before tax. However, you do get a lot more data when you add them up… 25GB of it, 5GB per phone, not shared. Straight Talk is the better deal since you only get 3GB per line (evenly split) on your ATT plan. Net10 only offers a 4 line family plan for $170 and only comes with 5GB shared.

      1. $225 doesn’t sound like a great deal to me for 5 lines.

        I have 8 lines on an att post paid account (5 smartphones/3 tablets) with 30gb shared/rollover data for around $270 taxes included. Have a 18% discount through work that takes it down to around $230.

        1. Sure you pay that much. Everyone has access to https://www.myattrpc.com/ which is a website that AT&T maintains for retail CSRs and dealers.

          What I don’t understand is why you feel the need to lie about getting $455 (before taxes) worth of AT&T service for $270 (after taxes) based on what you just told me. With all five smartphones on the Next program, it still comes out to $330 before taxes, which doesn’t include the added installment payments for each phone. $330 is also the amount for 5 owned devices.

          So even if you are mysteriously getting those fantastic rates, $225 is a great deal for people like me and others who aren’t super special like you are.

          1. Ok, let me break it down for ya.

            Here’s the link to the deal I got:

            https://about.att.com/story/sign_up_by_october_31st_to_get_30gb_of_truly_shareable_data_2_10_lines_starting_at_160_month.html

            So, $130 for the 30gb plan + $75 for the smartphone access fees ($15×5) + $30 for the tablet access fees($10×3) = $235 +taxes. We have two lines with EIPs, so the final amount will be higher than that obviously. Feel free to do the math on that yourself if you wish.

            FYI, the promo went from October 2014 until well into February 2015, which was most likely dropped due to the rollover data promo. I’m sure AT&T will bring it back in the near future due to the current price wars being waged. It was also a heavily advertised promo so ANYBODY that wanted to sign up for it could have. No lies or super specialness was requied at all to my knowledge.

  5. This is probably due in large part the FCC successfully pressuring ATT to reduce throttling of unlimited LTE users. ATT now throttles LTE after 5GB per month instead of 3GB, so if Straight Talk is piggybacking ATT, it’s easy enough for their service to reflect this change. I just read up on this a few minutes ago over at TechDirt,here’s the link if anyone’s interested:
    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150507/06014030911/after-ftc-fcc-pressure-att-backs-off-arbitrary-throttling-unlimited-lte-users.shtml

    1. I should add that as cheap as Straight Talk’s plans are, my T-Mobile plan beats out Straight Talk’s if we’re talking in terms of data alone. I pay $30/month (though I think the same plan is $35/month now) for unlimited 3G/4G/LTE data, unlimited texts, and 100 minutes per month of talk, and I only get throttled once I exceed 5GB in one month. The throttling speeds are pretty bad though, it ranges from 2G speeds on down to 56k. It’s a BYO device plan.

      Edit: As menting points out below me, it’s still only $30/month.

      1. it’s still $30 per month as of 3 sec ago. And yes, that plan is great, and it looks like there’s nothing in the pipeline for us to switch away from it.

        1. That’s good to know, thanks! When I switched to T-Mobile originally, I was actually on the slightly superior $25/month (it’s a little more now I think?) Virgin Mobile plan that included unlimited data and text, plus 300 minutes, but at the time I found their selection of phones restrictive, so I went to T-Mobile. I think the only reason they don’t publicize that plan more is because they wouldn’t make as much money off of subscribers.

          1. I prefer my FreedomPop 1gb LTE/unlimited 3g plan at $15 way more cheaper/usable than any other throttle plans on the market even if it is Sprint I still get 2.5 megabit after i used up the LTE cap makes me wonder why people still bother with Boost

          2. The prices are good, but I see a lot of complaints about their service and support. Very leery at this point.

          3. if they got GSM capability (TMO or ATT) in the States i’d order 5x sims right now

          4. yeah, GSM capability is the only reason I didn’t check out FreedomPop.

  6. Thsi actually brings it in line with AT&T’s Cricket Wireless, where $45/mo (on AutoPay) already gets you 5GB.

    1. Cricket wireless has a cheaper international option, though. You can get free international calls to many countries for just an extra $5 — i.e. $10/month cheaper than Straight Talk.

      Cricket’s phone prices (at least for things like the Galaxy S4 and S5) are better too.

      I haven’t actually taken the plunge with a new smartphone plan, but Cricket is certainly the way I’m leaning at the moment — probably with an unlocked phone bought elsewhere.

    2. Cricket has a speed cap of 8Mbps. Straight Talk doesn’t have a speed cap. Straight Talk is $42.5 on Auto Pay. $41.66 if you buy the 6-month card, which also means not having to worry about buying minutes every month if you’re not on Auto Pay. That doesn’t include tax but I assume Cricket does.

      1. Cricket doesn’t add tax. If the plan is $45, you pay $45. I’m pretty happy w/ $35 for my 2.5GB/mo right now but I’m always on wi-fi.

  7. Mistake in headline. “Straight Talk’s” should be “Straight Talk”

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