My wife and I recently switched from a basic phone plan with AT&T to Straight Talk’s unlimited talk, text, and “web browsing” plan. Almost from day one, we’ve repeatedly encountered an “access forbidden” error message when trying to pull up a web page in Chrome or the default Android web browser. Other apps that require Internet access also fail to connect (e.g. Amazon AppStore, Google Play Store, Facebook, etc.). The issue is not constant, but I encounter it approximately half to two-thirds of the times I move out of wi-fi range and into an area with HSPA+.
And it seems I’m not the only one with this problem. The following threads were posted to the Straight Talk Wireless Forums starting Sept. 22 and on:
Galaxy Nexus (ATT-sim) Web access forbidden
Access forbidden issue – a look behind the scenes
“Access Forbidden” each time I try to use the internet
“access forbidden” (internet over 3G)
There are similar threads on other sections of the ST Wireless Forums and all posts are met with the same response: A user claiming to represent ST asking the customer to contact them via private message.
Customers on other forums have reported the same issue:
“Access Forbidden” message in browser
Having a very weird issue with data and phone?
It’s apparent this is a widespread issue and I’ve yet to find one fix that works consistently (or at all). Straight Talk has not provided a public explanation or solution, suggesting they either are unwilling or, more likely, unable to resolve the problem.
It’s possible that this issue is not specific to Straight Talk, but also affects other AT&T MVNOs. It’s not unreasonable to suspect that AT&T is purposely crippling their MVNO users’ data to push them back toward a post-paid plan with a subsidized phone, higher cost for the consumer, and greater profit margin for AT&T.
I’m strongly recommending that all Straight Talk customers that encounter this issue file a complaint against ST with the Florida Office of the Attorney General. Until customers put pressure on Straight Talk to resolve this issue, they likely won’t put any pressure on AT&T and we likely won’t see a solution.