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 (opens in new tab) 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.