T-Mobile Denies Throttling Unlimited 4G LTE Customers

Is T-Mobile throttling its unlimited customers, too? On Thursday CEO John Legere jumped on Twitter to deny the rumor, saying that there is “no limit on data”.

The denial follows reports of an internal memo obtained by TmoNews that says the company plans to address unauthorized tethering and those sharing files via peer-to-peer networks. Somehow this bit of news turned into accusations that the company is throttling a specific group of customers.

“T-Mobile has identified customers who are heavy data users and are engaged in peer-to-peer file sharing, and tethering outside of T-Mobile’s Terms and Conditions (opens in new tab) (T&C),” the internal memo said. “This results in a negative data network experience for T-Mobile customers. Beginning August 17, T-Mobile will begin to address customers who are conducting activities outside of T-Mobile’s T&Cs.”

According to the document, customers with the old $70 Unlimited High-Speed Data plan that are violating the company’s T&Cs are the only customers that will be contacted. The company will explain to them the T&C and why the data speed may be reduced until the next billing cycle if they continue their pirating ways.

The document said that when approaching these users, the company will apply a “Misuse Warning SOC” to the account. If the customer stops downloading illegal content, then the label will be removed. If the downloading continues, then the account will be flagged with a “Misuse Throttle SOC” and the data speeds will be reduced.

Here’s a part of the T&C that clearly states what customers cannot do:

“…using the Service in connection with server devices or host computer applications, including continuous Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine-to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing applications that are broadcast to multiple servers or recipients, ‘bots’ or similar routines that could disrupt net user groups or email use by others or other applications that denigrate network capacity or functionality,” the T&C states under section 18, Misuse of Service or Device.

Before CEO John Legere used Twitter to defend T-Mobile, Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert told Re/code that the memo was misinterpreted, making it seem that T-Mobile was out to throttle heavy data users.

News of T-Mobiles throttling confusion arrives after Verizon Wireless stated that starting October 1, it plans to throttle the speed of a specific group of 4G LTE customers with unlimited data plans. The company is targeting users that consume more than 4.7 GB in a single billing period and who are connected to a congested cell tower. Once the congestion subsides, Verizon indicated that it would then ease back off of the throttling.

News of the throttling didn’t sit well with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Chairman Tom Wheeler said that he was “deeply troubled” about the reports and sent letters to the major wireless carriers asking about how data is being managed.

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  • Spartan191
    I'm a telesales agent for t-mo.. We read the t&c and then even email it to the customer. In my opinion, if they're violating the terms then they should be punished for it.
    Reply
  • spectrewind
    I'm a telesales agent for t-mo.. We read the t&c and then even email it to the customer. In my opinion, if they're violating the terms then they should be punished for it.

    Your opinion should have been caught in the interviewing process.... excluding you from employment. "Punish" and "customer" *never occur together in a successful business.
    Reply
  • bigpinkdragon286
    Well, either the service is "unlimited" or it's not. If the purchaser of the service can not send and/ or receive data at full speed, 100% of the time, regardless of what that data is, it's hardly unlimited, and I hardly think T-Mobile should be able to advertise the service as such.
    Reply
  • mesab66
    A deliberate? bit of false advertising by T-Mobile?

    It would be foolish to believe that, for the everyday consumer, a genuinely 24/7 unlimited download plan - with full speed (the critical bit) - could possibly be maintained for any length of time. This simply doesn't exist outside expensive commercial set-up's.

    The actual policy will always be no different to all those current ISP's offering 'unlimited' downloads while enforcing 'fair policy usage', normally via time expired throttling.
    Reply
  • Emanuel Elmo
    A deliberate? bit of false advertising by T-Mobile?

    It would be foolish to believe that, for the everyday consumer, a genuinely 24/7 unlimited download plan - with full speed (the critical bit) - could possibly be maintained for any length of time. This simply doesn't exist outside expensive commercial set-up's.

    The actual policy will always be no different to all those current ISP's offering 'unlimited' downloads while enforcing 'fair policy usage', normally via time expired throttling.

    There is no false advertising! What are you even talking about. You, bigpinkdragon286 and the rest of the people crying seem to have forgotten or lost the concept of "The Honor System".

    Every customer on T-mobile has unlimited access on data all the time as long as you do not abuse the service. T-Mobile clearly is stating what defines this abuse of service.

    I am so sorry that you want to download gobs of music attained illegal from the internet or movies. If you are using 300GB of data every month, that is already an abuse of data from T-Mobile. T-Mobile is not an ISP and doesn't advertise itself as one.

    God forbid a company put a cap on its customers that download movies and songs illegally. Why we are at it, why don't we cause a revolution and disband the government for prosecuting people that evade their taxes.

    Go back to the rock you crawled out of and re-address the issue of what it means to be truly unlimited. And unlike other providers, at least they have to courtesy to tell you you are the culprit than just out right bring your speed down. Show me another Carrier that does that? That is right you can not.

    So stop your complaining of... "I can not download my illegal crap."
    Reply
  • bigpinkdragon286
    I don't pirate or illegally download things, but thanks for the assumption, Emanuel Elmo. I'm simply stating, if you are going to advertise something as being without limits, it should not have limits, whether those limits are arbitrary or based on good sound reasoning. It makes the advertisement blatantly false, or in other words, dishonest, or maybe even a lie. If you have ever dealt with the public much, you will soon realize that the honor system doesn't work well. So, maybe I should clarify with you a bit. I'm not against T-Mobile throttling the speeds of those it considers to be abusive - I'm against them advertising their service as unlimited, when clearly it's not.
    Reply
  • sykozis
    I don't pirate or illegally download things, but thanks for the assumption, Emanuel Elmo. I'm simply stating, if you are going to advertise something as being without limits, it should not have limits, whether those limits are arbitrary or based on good sound reasoning. It makes the advertisement blatantly false, or in other words, dishonest, or maybe even a lie. If you have ever dealt with the public much, you will soon realize that the honor system doesn't work well. So, maybe I should clarify with you a bit. I'm not against T-Mobile throttling the speeds of those it considers to be abusive - I'm against them advertising their service as unlimited, when clearly it's not.
    You seem a bit confused. T-Mobile advertises, and offers, a data plan that has no set limit to the amount of data you can consume. Which is entirely accurate. Nowhere does T-Mobile make the claim that their data plans are free to use for whatever purpose the customer sees fit. There are very clearly defined restrictions on the use of T-Mobile's data plans and every user receives a copy of T-Mobile's terms and conditions when they sign up.
    Reply
  • Darkk
    There is no such thing as unlimited anything. If you are hogging up excessive bandwidth that is seriously affecting customers in your area they will throttle you which is fair. I mean I am paying for service that works and if several folks are hogging it to the point I can't use the data service on my phone then they need to be throttled.
    Reply
  • ickibar1234
    Is there a way to prevent them from detecting that you are using bandwidth on p-2-p file sharing protocol? I suppose encryption isn't enough.
    Reply
  • falchard
    Uhh, T-Mobile is not keeping up with their contract if this statement is true. The main reason I went with T-Mobile is because they throttle your connection once you reach your cap instead of charging per MB.
    With T-Mobile once you reach your monthly cap they reduce your 4G connection to a 2G connection.
    Reply