T-Mobile Promises To Be More Transparent Regarding Speed

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on Tuesday that wireless carrier T-Mobile has agreed to be more transparent when it comes to its customers' actual speed on its network. Up until now, throttled customers testing their connections were given the network's overall speed instead of their actual reduced speed.

"The FCC is committed to ensuring that broadband providers are transparent to customers. I'm grateful T-Mobile has worked with the FCC to ensure that its customers are better informed about the speeds they are experiencing," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. "Consumers need this information to fully understand what they are getting with their broadband service."

According to the FCC, T-Mobile will throttle its customers once they use up their monthly data allotment. The reduction in speed depends on the plan -- either 64 Kbps or 128 Kbps -- until the next billing cycle begins. Typically, T-Mobile doesn't charge customers a fee for blowing past their data cap, but relies on the speed throttling instead.

However, the FCC said that in June, T-Mobile began blacklisting specific speed tests, preventing customers from getting accurate speed measurements. These tests only provide T-Mobile's overall network speed and not the user's speed at the time. The FCC said it was concerned that these results would be confusing to customers.

Thanks to the agreement, T-Mobile will now send customers a text message once they reach their data limit, pointing to a speed test that will produce accurate results. The message will also state that many speed tests will show the overall network speed, and not the individual's speed. The company plans to modify the website with better information about getting accurate speed information, and provide custom phones with a dedicated button leading to a compatible test.

Tuesday's agreement is the result of an investigation executed by the FCC into the throttling practices of America's four largest carriers, which began back in the summer. Verizon was the first to cave in, promising to cease its throttling practices of customers with 4G plans and unlimited data. The company would throttle the speeds of these customers if they were located on a congested cell tower.

News of the FCC agreement arrives after T-Mobile added 14 new streaming music platforms to its Music Freedom service. These include Google Play Music, Xbox Music, SoundCloud and 11 others. They join a large list of music providers already supported by Music Freedom such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Rdio, Slacker, Spotify and more. Streaming music from the qualified services does not count against the customer's data allotment.

"Music Freedom has been wildly popular since its launch this summer. The number of T-Mobile customers streaming music each day has jumped nearly 300 percent, and they're streaming a whopping 66 million songs per day − or roughly 200 terabytes of data per day − on T-Mobile's Data Strong network," T-Mobile's press release said.

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  • glasssplinter
    Why don't they just say we'll throttle your speeds to sprint everyday speeds? I rarely saw above 60K with them.
  • sykozis
    T-Mobile is not an ISP, so why is Tom Wheeler trying to regulate them as such? Why isn't Tom Wheeler doing something that's actually in the best interest of the people who actually pay his salary?
  • falchard
    T-Mobile is not an ISP, so why is Tom Wheeler trying to regulate them as such? Why isn't Tom Wheeler doing something that's actually in the best interest of the people who actually pay his salary?
    FCC is in charge of RF spectrum. It is one of the few areas they are suppose to regulate. This would include Mobile Internet since its RF signal.
    I use T-Mobile because I know they throttle once I reach data-cap which is why I chose them. I would rather be throttled then metered.
  • caqde
    Wouldn't it be whitelisting not blacklisting? That would seem to be the given idea here. Since for instance if you whitelist in a AV application everything but what is on the list would be blocked but if you blacklist the items on the list would be blocked and everything else would be fine. The example you give basically is saying the sites on the list are always given full speed. So it seems Tmobile has a whitelist that goes active when an account is throttled where everything on the list gets full speed and everything else not on the list is throttled.
  • cmi86
    Lets just be honest here and admit that every carrier throttles everyone just about every chance they can whether they "admit/get caught" or not. You being a good customer paying on time and in full is how they make their money. Providing you with a product requires them to spend some of that money. Providing you with less of a product allows them to spend less money. At the end of the day any of these mega corporations have only one thing on their minds and it sure isn't their customers. $$$
  • alternativesurfer
    T-Mobile is not an ISP, so why is Tom Wheeler trying to regulate them as such? Why isn't Tom Wheeler doing something that's actually in the best interest of the people who actually pay his salary?

    How is T-Mobile NOT an ISP?
    Our phones are more like computers than phones these days, and the carriers provide access to the internet.
    I think that is the definition of an ISP.
  • timaahhh
    Yea I'm not sure how you can say T-Mobile is not an ISP. They provide internet connectivity in many ways. It may not be traditional cable, DSL, or satellite. Mobile broadband is still internet though.... You are signing a contract with a company and they need to be honest about the service they are providing. For them to say they are providing you with X amount of service and provide inaccurate or misleading results when you try to test the service is dishonest.
  • jwagner354
    ISP, not an ISP... thus, the debate over net neutrality. This is why we can't have nice things, we don't even understand what we're talking about here. Wake up people
  • somebodyspecial
    Don't want to hear promises, let me know when YOU DO IT. Promises mean nothing. See sony Vita promises/FCC post today...LOL.