Question from Roberta L.: I closed my T-Mobile account yesterday and bought a Straight Talk phone because I wasn’t happy with the service I was getting from T-Mobile.
So far the Straight Talk service seems to be a lot better in my neck of the woods.
When I bought the new phone I also bought one of the cards for Straight Talk’s $35 plan.
Now I’m thinking that might have been a mistake because when I put the Straight Talk app on my new phone it said the first 3GB of data I use will be “high speed” 4G LTE but after that it’ll switch to 2G speed.
What exactly does that mean? Is there a huge difference in the speeds of 4G LTE and 2G? I do a lot of video streaming and I’m pretty sure I’ll use more than 3GB every month.
I’m afraid your’re probably right about possibly choosing the wrong Straight Talk plan, Roberta.
Full 4G LTE download speeds can be as fast as 12Mbps (12 Megabits per second). That’s roughly equivalent to the speeds offered with many DSL and lower-tier home cable Internet plans.
Of course the actual speeds you will get with your new phone will vary depending on the quality of the cellular signal that’s available to you at any given time.
For example, if you’re in a location that has a weak signal your actual download speed could be as low as 5Mbps. And if the signal is weak enough, you won’t be able to use the Internet on your phone at all.
While 5Mbps is fast enough for decent video streaming, if you happen to exceed the 3GB data threshold you can expect your actual download speed to take a nosedive when the data stream switches to 2G.
Truth be told, 2G speeds are a LOT slower than 4G LTE.
In fact, if Straight Talk ever throttles your connection down to 2G you’ll likely be receiving download speeds in the 10Kbps range, or perhaps even slower. That’s actually slower than most dial-up Internet connections!
In a nutshell, 4G LTE is a true broadband Internet connection but 2G is roughly equivalent to dial-up speeds. That means you almost certainly won’t be able to enjoy your video streaming activities after you pass the 3GB data threshold.
Since you’ve already bought a month of service, I recommend that you give your $35 plan a try for a month and see how it goes.
I’m pretty sure you’re going to find the 3GB allotted via your selected data plan to be inadequate since you do a lot of video streaming. If that turns out to be the case you can always move up to the “Unlimited” $55 per month plan when it comes time to refill your service.
Just be aware that the “Unlimited” plan isn’t really unlimited at all. Even that plan effectively tops out at 60GB because once you reach that threshold Straight Talk will review your account, and possibly cancel it.
But that being said, if you’re careful about the way you use your phone, that (less than) 60GB should well be enough data to get you through the month.
When I say being careful about how you use your phone, I mean simply doing your video streaming over a Wi-Fi connection whenever one is available. In fact, if you do the vast majority of your streaming over Wi-Fi it just might prevent you from going over your current 3GB threshold!
I hope this helps Roberta. Good luck!
Bonus tip #1: This post offers a few tips for lowering your smart phone’s data usage.
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