AT&T is apparently cracking the whip when it comes to popular MVNO Net10. The company has announced on its site that new AT&T data caps went into effect on March 1.  From here on out, all AT&T SIMs on Net10 will be limited to 1.5GB of high-speed data on the "unlimited" plan. If you want more bytes, a T-Mobile SIM is your only option.


Net10 has always been a bit vague about how much data you can go through before hitting the soft cap. The language used in the blog post appears to indicate this change just moves the cap lower. It's not ideal, but at least you'll know exactly when the throttling is coming (though this may be a hard cut off; Net10 wasn't clear). Anyone that can't get by on 1.5GB of high-speed data will need to dig up a T-Mobile SIM card for Net10. The carrier is at least being polite by offering a free replacement Tmo SIM to anyone that needs to switch.

StraightTalk is run by the same folks behind Net10, but that carrier hasn't issued any statement on AT&T data caps. StraightTalk has been sold out of AT&T SIMs for weeks, but it's not clear if the two events are related. We've reached out for comment and will update if we hear anything.

[Net10 Blog, Net10 Data; Thanks, Frederick]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Chris Webster

    Does anybody know if there's a daily limit on how much data you can use before getting throttled?
    I'm on ST and if I go over ~100 MB a day I'll get throttled (like I am now)

    • cy_n_ic

      Use it all up in one day if you like.i download 180mb roms and gapps packages all the time. I use My Data Manager from the market to track usage. Just back up and restore app data when flashing so you dont loose track of what you already used

    • Ed

      It's funny, my nephew is a typical teenager, screwing around on his on phone constantly, games, videos, texting, etc.. AND he has no wifi at home, so it's all data, and in three years with Straight Talk he's never been throttled or warned about data. He was just here they other day and I asked him about it. I'm on straight talk too, but I'm an old foggy (at least to teenagers) and I don't use much data at all so I wouldn't know.

  • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

    The limitation on AT&T SIM cards stop all data traffic after 1.5GB. It's not throttling, it is a cut-off. For AT&T SIM users, the Unlimited plans for TracFone and its associated brands are no longer unlimited. Net10 decided to still sell AT&T SIMs, as it appears Straight Talk has pulled them from everywhere.

    • John O’Connor

      so how can they advertise unlimited and have a hard cutoff?

      • squiddy20

        Easy. The same way all the carriers advertise "4G" even though we're nowhere near true 4G speeds set up by the ITU-R in the IMT Advanced specification.

        • John O’Connor

          I'm not arguing that 4G is not technically 4G speeds. I do not use Net 10's services myself, but I don't believe it is acceptable to call something unlimited when there is a hard cap. Sure 90%+ of the carriers throttle data at a certain point by squeezing through the loophole of reduced speeds when a soft bandwidtg cap is hit. My one and only contention is a blatant lie of unlimited when in fact there is a clearly defined limit where you are completely cut off.

          • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

            Well, that's why AT&T SIMs aren't being advertised as "Unlimited" anymore. In fact, it looks like they're avoiding mentioning the AT&T service in connection to unlimited at all.

        • fkoier

          4G is not a speed, it's a word, a marketing gimmick.

      • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

        Fine print. Example from Net10's own site:

        "*Monthly data usage on NET10 with the AT&T compatible SIM card includes 1.5 GB per month (30 days) of full speed data. Most customers will use approximately 1.5 GB or less."

        • Kevin Barrett

          I got the "unlimited" service before this restriction. The policy when I signed up did not mention any restrictions.

      • Kevin Barrett

        Good questions!! I am ready to join the class action suit!!

        • John O’Connor

          The fine print usually states something to the effect of you agreeing that these terms and conditions are subject to change without notice, so I don't know if there is a tort case here unfortunately.

          So few people read all of the fine print. If they did almost nobody would agree to them. It is and always had been predicated on the fact that most people will just click the agree button instead of taking the time to read the 20+ pages.

          If anything should be receiving a class action, it would be the deliberately vague and excessively long winded terms and conditions that are intended to confuse and overwhelm people in an effort to get them to give away most of their rights. Most now also include a provision against pursuing legal action outside of arbitration to prevent class actions.

    • Matthew Merrick

      damm, the world really seems to want me to use t-mobile's network (whether contract or no), doesn't it?

      • shamu11

        I feel the same way...I just hope they are expanding their coverage

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          According to T-Mobile's maps, they are. That being said, there appears to be a two month lag from launch of new markets (or expansions in current ones) to the map being updated, if T-Mobile is upgrading quietly (which they are doing a lot of that).

    • Ryuuie

      Actually, it's not been "pulled". Straight Talk ran out of SIM cards last month when the new Nexus 4s started being sold. This was confirmed on this very site last month.

      • Ryuuie

        These cards will come back people. They didn't stop selling them.

        • Jon Langevin

          Hmmm, 5 months on, no AT&T for ST. Care to re-state?

    • http://www.facebook.com/walter.hooks.731 Brian Hooks

      according to a net10 rep on facebook. there will be throttling to 2G
      Edge speeds after 1.5 GB of high speed data has been used.....so
      technically it's still "unlimited"


      • http://www.facebook.com/dreamventure Pavel Nikolaevich

        not anymore

      • Kevin Barrett

        Not true. Net10 first slowed my speed down and then suspended my account after 1.5GB was used. I am switching!!

      • Traver Yates

        thats false, i have a straight talk and net10 and both have been cut off due to over usage in excess of 1.5GB. They say data will only be restored 48 hrs after next billing cycle to add mins. Not before, even if i add a card data will not be restored until my aniv... date. which for me is 15 days away plus 48hrs after... so 17 days.

        • Traver Yates

          They will switch you to the tmobile sim for no charge, which is still listed as truely unlimited but is really 2GB of 4G then slowed down. But problem is, I am in Louisiana and theres no tmobile service here. Been searching other BYOP companies to see other options.

          • http://twitter.com/xJoecefx Bacon

            looking to switch from ATT StraightTalk but like you Tmobile sux in my are. you find any other options for at least 2gb of H+/LTE

    • rexburns

      Straighttalk & net10 are owned by tracfone. Also I have 3gigs in 2 days watching and my data is fine.

  • cy_n_ic

    Good thing my hotspot came today. At least i have that when i reach the 1.5gb limit

  • Ryuuie

    Net10's PR has aleady confirmed that Straight Talk is not being affected, only Net10. http://www.phonenews.com/net10-to-cap-att-sim-customers-to-1-5gb-starting-march-1st-22480/ I can also confirm this myself as this came in an internal e-mail from Radio Shack this past week.

    • Ryuuie

      Also, confirmed in both the e-mail and on that site I linked, you will be disconnected if you go over that 1.5 GB cap.

      • fkoier

        Others have confirmed you will not be discounted but throttled until the end of the month.

        • fkoier

          I meany disconnected not discounted.

        • Jon Langevin

          I was disconnected 2 months ago for breaching 1.5gb

      • Ed

        According to a net10 rep on Facebook, you will not be disconnected, you will be throttling to 2G after 1.5 GB of high speed data has been used.


        • http://twitter.com/ChoklateStarr Shameka

          I have been a disconnected completely from my data services today. Called them and they said it was because i had hit 1.5 gb of data usage. so you are COMPLETLY CUT OFF of data when you go over or hit 1.5 gb. No throttling, just gone. :(

          • n8greene

            Thanks for posting this. I've been wondering.

        • http://twitter.com/ChoklateStarr Shameka

          The rep also said if i wanted unlimited i could switch to the tmobile sim to get it on my unlocked iphone.

          • Jon Langevin

            T-Mobile sim is useless if you live in NC USA. There are maybe 5 city/metro areas that have anything more than 2g. The rest of the state is either 2g/edge or deadzones...

        • Traver Yates

          as i posted above I have been cut off from both straight talk and net10 for going over 1.5Gb and they both refused to enable my data again until my next date to add mins to my plan which is 17 days away... so im stuck with 2 iphones and no data until then

  • Nick Schiwy

    *prays Straight Talk wont be effected by this "transition"*

  • Jeremy Bryant

    I must be missing something- "Anyone that can't get by on 1.5GB of high-speed data will need to dig up a T-Mobile SIM card for Net10"- unless you have a GNex with radios for both T-Mo and At&t, won't you be limited to 2G speeds if you switch?

    • Ed

      Supposedly T-Mobile has no data limit with Straight Talk. or if you prefer a 5GB limit according to some..

      • Jeremy Bryant

        OK, but what about the radio incompatibility/speed issue? Wouldn't someone with a non-Gnex At&t phone with a T-Mo sim on StraightTalk be limited to 2G speed?

  • Simon Belmont

    Darn. I was thinking about Net10 (AT&T flavor) and the next Nexus after my Sprint contract is up.

    Although, T-Mobile's coverage is pretty good in the areas I tend to frequent, it's only a big stretch of 2G in some places that I visit family, whereas Sprint has 3G covered there (and it's not horribly slow). I still have the option with StraightTalk, hopefully, if they aren't pulling this too. It seems like it's coming down to do I want a new phone that I won't get Sprint LTE coverage with (WiMAX works great for me right now), or do I want to move to another carrier or MVNO that has caps and get a Nexus phone. Decisions, decisions.

    • Gene

      I don't even get 3G where I live! AT&T 2G only. I have to travel close to 20 miles before I get a 3G signal. never mind LTE.

      • Simon Belmont

        I'm sorry, man, that stinks. That would be unacceptable for me.

        Considering, in my case, Sprint charges the extra $10 per line per month for "Premium data" which is essentially a 4G fee, not even having 3G would be ridiculous. Kind of funny how AT&T keeps saying their network covers 98 percent of all Americans, but a lot of that is just at 2G speeds.

  • Will

    Straight Talk has regular and micro AT&T sim cards in my zip code just as few days ago. Today, they have none. However, as of today, they've started offering phones for sale that run on AT&T once again (at least in my area). These same phones were removed from the site, and nowhere to be found, for several weeks. Now they are back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/walter.hooks.731 Brian Hooks

    net10 confirmed on their Facebook page there will be throttling to 2G EDGE speed after the 1.5 GB has been used. http://www.facebook.com/NET10Wireless/posts/10151365317174093?comment_id=25508698

  • makdoncartel

    This company is a fucking joke they block my data to facebook and youtube and the playstore porting my number to tmobile next month greedy basterds

  • mrs.melanie

    Just got off the phone with net10 and the voice on the otheinformed me that the data cap is for all customers art, T-Mobile or net10. There is no more unlimited!

  • [email protected]

    very pissed off

  • http://www.facebook.com/beth.m.olsen Elizabeth Marie Olsen

    BE WARNED. I bought a Samsung Galaxy SII phone from Net10 back in February. It came with an ATT SIM. I requested the free replacement T-Mobile SIM on March 16th & never received it. I have gone round & round with the customer dis-service people and they are insisting that the free replacement is only for BYOP folks. Good luck, you'll need it!

  • vikk

    First month of Byop straight talk I used over 40GIG of data :) my next month they reduced my data after I used 1.5.gig of 4g data so now I'm on reduced data 2g or ev whatever it is lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/henry.b.flores Henry Bertii Flores

    I am currently on net10 and am now at 1.6 gb of data and still have data what's going on?

  • Christina

    I had straight talk last
    Month and I have an AT&T iPhone and they suspended my Internet when I got to 1gb without a notice or anything. This is my second month with them and my Internet is 10x slower so I'll be switching to net 10. My sister has them and her Internet is extremely fast which I don't understand since these are sister companies. At least net 10 made a notice of the change.

  • David Hirschberg

    Net10 is horrible, I have 3 accounts on Straight talk/Net10 ATT network. The Net10 account was started after March and I can confirm that they block data after you go over 1.5G. It has been over 3 weeks and they have not restored data. After several hours on the phoine in May, they told me data would be restored June 3 and last night they told me June 18. All the time they are offering to switch me to Tmobile (recently for free). Don't go over 1.5 G and if anyone hears of a class action lawsuit let me know.

    • John L

      I was thinking of switching to net10 from strai talk with an AT&T the sim. I don't even get close to 1 per month, much less 1.5 . Do you think it would be safe for me to switch to net10 as the family pricing is better?


  • renee

    Thanks for posting. I thought this was a iphone software problem until I read your piece. Net 10 tech support said nothing about a Tmobile sim card when I called them today. Instead he told me he would transfer me to a new department which had "tools" to help me. Instead I got a recording telling me how to reduce data usage. I was told to hang up or repeat it. After reading the comments, I don't know where this leaves me. I have just cancelled my renewal in the unlimited data plan. Forums are filled with complaints from customers saying the "free" tmobile sim card doesn't work.

  • UtahPhoneMaven

    I think I can lend some clarity. AT&T sim cards carry a 1.5 GB cap while T-mobile cards carry a 4.0 GB cap. However, the one thing no one warned me about or mentioned (and I couldn't find it anywhere in this discussion either) was that the speeds with the T-mobile card are agonizing. 180kbps is about what I get. I wish I'd tested it when I had the AT&T card because all I know is that now it's hard to use data at all. I don't understand why it's that way--as another poster said "they're sister companies". And both on the GSM backbone I wouldn't have believed it could be this big a difference. I just wish when Net 10 "offered" to change me to a T-mobile card that they'd warned me about the speeds and then I would have made a more informed decision. Net 10 has worked out for me, but they are not the company for you if you want customer service. It's kinda self-serve.

  • robert m

    I've been with Straight Talk for almost a year and haven't had any issues. On June 4 I noticed my data plan get shut off. I haven't been using excessive amounts of data. After calling the Straight Talk customer service....which is the worst I've ever enountered, they will try to transfer you to their (data department) which is a pre recording of how not to use excessive data. It basicly tells you to use wifi everywhere you go. After charging me for a new month on June 4th, I've found out that my data will not come back until July 4th. This is unacceptable and I really feel cheated. If I was disconnected for a violation of unlimited data, why charge me for another month and keep me disconnected?

  • dboyhunt11

    I have net10 with a t-mobile sim and i have gone over 7 gb, data still strong with speeds of 10mb/s fast. So i dont have a problem with them at all, and i get full bars out here in louisiana. Im loving only having to pay $50/ monthly

    • Kurt Kaufman

      One thing for which Net10 is very useful is to try out a new phone on a temporary new number. You can get a good idea what it's like to use the new phone before switching from your "old" phone on your "real" carrier. No going through the hassle of transferring all contacts and documents, settings, etc. until you're sure about the new phone.



  • Matt

    You should know that I have had the unlimited plan for a long time and when the cap was announced, I went to net10sim.com and filled the form out and I never got my T-Mobile sim, I contacted customer support and they ran me around in circles for literally months until I gave up and left them because I was capped on the so called unlimited plan.

    They apparently didn't want to do what they claimed to do and give me a T-Mobile sim.

  • Dave Silva

    This is not longer the case. They have lifted the cap plus added LTE: http://www.net10wirelessphones.com/FAQ.html

  • Tom

    Net 10 att has faster 2g speeds than tmobile