OOKLA Speedtest App being removed from throttling?

speed-test

Not everyone on T-Mobile is subscribed to one of its unlimited high-speed data plans. Some are on the lower plans which restrict data speeds once you hit your allocated allowance. Today, we’ve learned that T-Mobile is removing OOKLA’s Speedtest app from network throttling.

What that means is that those who have hit their cap, and are being throttled, they’ll be able to use the Speedtest app and still see the true network speeds in their location. Not the slower, throttled speeds.

A short snippet we received from our source indicates that we’ll see it take effect from today:

On June 19, the OOKLA Speedtest app was removed from network throttling. Customers experiencing slow data speeds due to throttling now see our true network speeds (that they are missing due to being throttled) when they check their data speed connection using the OOKLA Speedtest app.

We’re told that we should expect a public announcement at some point in the next couple of days. So, get testing your phone data speeds. If you haven’t got an unlimited plan, and you’ve hit your data cap, be sure to test and let us know if/when you notice the change.

 

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  • Scott

    When I’m being throttled, I don’t care about what I’m missing. I want to know how bad the throttling is.

    • Cam Bunton

      Yeah, but then that affects what T-Mobile can say about its average download speeds… ;-)

      • Willie D

        Maybe they should up their throttle speeds in that case, to 256kbps rather than 20kbps. At least that will keep them somewhat relative more than a drastic hit.

        • SZL

          If you have the simple choice plan, the throttled speed is around 128kbps. I’ve purposely overused my 3gb of data to try it outnd speed tested it.

        • an0nim0

          I have too – just over a year ago, and I only saw ~50kb (yes, kilobit) spikes every few seconds – it spent much more time idling than transferring anything; 128kbps would’ve been a godsend.

        • eneka

          back when I was on the EMP plans with 5gb “unlimited” data, my throttled speed was also 50kbps

        • SZL

          Hmmm. The speed goes up and down for me from .07-.3 Mbps. Maybe it depends where you are. It’s usable for me majority of the time. I even used spotify to stream music and Instagram.

        • Medion

          Before I went to unlimited, my throttled speeds in Seattle rented from 100-225kbps, tested. You’re exaggerating.

    • Cam Bunton

      In other words: “Here’s what you could be getting, if you were on our $80 plan.” They’ve made it no secret that they want as many customers as possible on the unlimited Simple Choice plan.

      • Tmosince2003

        Not the point.

  • Willie D

    Most people want to know what their throttle speed is, rather than just “2G-like speeds” as they claim.
    I guess T-Mobile is using this as a way to show customers, “You’re throttled, but if you have an unlimited 4G plan, you can have THESE speeds”.
    But considering I am still charged data for using Music Freedom AND RootMetrics – two things I am not supposed to be using data for on my tablet plan, I am hard pressed to see how people would use this to test their network speeds.

    • besweeet

      Fortunately, there are other alternative apps and browser-based websites for testing speeds.

      • Willie D

        Sensorly is a great one I think.

  • kev2684

    they should remove ookla from eating data allotment instead. a single speed test would easily eat 10-50mb of data depending on network speed. unthrottling data during speed test when data is actually being throttled will just confuse tiered customers..

    • besweeet

      That’s what they’ve been doing?

      • Willie D

        No because I still am charged data usage on my tablet plan, and smartphone plans. They were supposed to allow Root Metrics speed test and mapping be free of data usage and charges, but I found Im still using data for that.

        • philyew

          There was a significant difference between my data use as measured by TM and my phone last month because I was testing more than usual to detect the wideband deployment in my area using Speedtest.

        • Woochifer

          They DO whitelist the Root Metrics speed tests. I ran about 5 GB worth of speed tests using the mobile app last month. NONE of it counted against my data allotment.

    • hanfeedback

      I want them to keep charging data usage for speedtests, in my opinion people over use it now as it is.

      • Trevnerdio

        Why such an unhappy stance? Does their testing affect you in any way?

        • hanfeedback

          Seems like a waste of bandwidth, spectrum etc thats being used for essentially nothing.

        • Moby

          It helps promote the speed of T-Mobile’s LTE network and helps them get new customers. Not a waste.

    • bkin94

      this month I used 800mb of data on Ookla, and was not throttled until my data hit 1.8GB. my okla usage did not count toward my data bucket

    • philyew

      It already doesn’t count against your data allowance.

  • NOYB

    “Today, we’ve learned that T-Mobile is removing OOKLA’s Speedtest app is being removed from network throttling.”

    What???

    • NOYB

      Oh, good. You corrected it.

  • Phillip Bee

    Just throwing something out there .. net neutrality .. that is all

    • S. Ali

      This has nothing to do with net neutrality, nobody is paying for faster access.

      • lordfarquaad

        Nope, sorry, the moment you introduce whitelists you are treating traffic differently.

        not saying this is good or bad, just what neutrality is all about.

        • S. Ali

          ALL types of traffic are whitelisted on wireless networks.

          -Verizon whitelists post-paid over pre-paid.
          -ATT whitelists pre-paid over MVNO
          -Sprint whitelists http traffic over streaming traffic

          You better complain about them too then. Nothing has changed here. Yesterday you had to buy more data to get more streaming, today T-Mobile is throwing you a bone and letting you get MORE data than you paid for.

          If you don’t want it, send me a portion of your bill via Paypal, I’ll use it.

        • lordfarquaad

          Prepaid vs postpaid is not a net neutrality argument. I don’t see the point you’re trying to make.

          I am not familiar with Sprint whitelisting http traffic. does this mean basic web browsing is not counted as data consumption on Sprint or they just give priority to it? Maybe that falls within reasonable network management, I don’t know, I can’t make any decision there. I can take a wild guess and assume most streaming media is used for entertainment purposes whereas web browsing can be used for anything else and is latency sensitive. Probably falls under congestion management in that case, not a business practice.

        • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

          Ever heard of QoS, quality if service? No decently managed network treats data equally. For instance, VoIP must get preference over browsing, Skype over FTP, streaming must not gobble up all the bandwidth, etc. Expanding net neutrality to a purist definition results in a network that doesn’t work. Let us keep the term for the two thing, when customers are held hostage of one company extorting money from another.

        • lordfarquaad

          I’ve heard of quality of service. I’m certainly not reducing this to a purist defintion – obviously there are services that have different needs in order to work correctly.

          However, this is specific priority given to applications provided by certain companies. Not a “the network is super congested so give VoIP calls priority since they won’t work otherwise.” That’s totally different but you’ll probably still pick apart this so it fits within your “T-Mobile can do no wrong” ideology.

          What they are doing is taking specifc traffic provided by specific companies and not counting it towards your overall usage for the month. It has nothing to do with “congestion management”, this is strictly a business practice. I seriously hope you can spot the differences.

        • philyew

          What TM is doing isn’t a breach of net neutrality in the conventional sense of the debate, but you do have a point that it does discriminate against those services that are not included in their exemption list.

          They’re casting their net of inclusion wide enough that most people won’t have a beef about the change, but there will always be some folks on the outside looking in, as long as they identify the server sources for exemption rather than the traffic types.

          I, for example, use Subsonic and my own server to access a musical collection I have painstakingly built up over 40 years. It’s not on the list, nor is it every likely to be.

          On the other hand, I welcome this initiative as a way of allowing users the possibility of reducing their monthly costs by being able to opt for a less expensive plan.

        • Moby

          Good, them I’m for whitelists and I’m against net neutrality.

      • Smith

        Net neutrality has to do with treating all data equally, this (and the music streaming) are examples of not treating all data equally. How does this have nothing to do with net neutrality?

        • EndlessIke

          Maybe I fail the Net Neutrality Purity Test ™, but I only care about carriers taxing data, not subsidizing it.

        • S. Ali

          Data IS being treated equally. You are free to use ANY service you please. You are free to purchase unlimited data plan and never go over your cap. TMO is providing you an option to use the most popular services with no penalty against your EXISTING DATA CAP. If you want access to an obscure service you can STILL USE IT within your data limit. If you need more data, purchase a larger data plan. Nobody is stopping anything. T-Mobile is giving you something for FREE that you previously DID NOT GET FOR FREE. No money is exchanging any hands here. This is an option that leverages the limitations of wireless spectrum to create market competition. If we support your verson of Net Neutrality, T-Mobile can’t offer any free services. Is that what you want? No free services? You want to go back to the old way where you pay more $$ for more MBs?

        • TechAce01

          It isn’t about the price, but the data. Music streaming that they pick is getting preferential treatment over the other data packets on their network. That not neutral data. +Smith has it right Net neutrality means treating all data equally. It may seem great that people and now not worry about music effecting their cap, but I’m willing to bet the proponents on controlling the liternet will use this as an example for what they want. (I don’t think that’s why T-mobile is doing this, but the Anti- Net Neutrality will surly use it for their gain.)

        • Kidney_Thief

          How is it getting preferential treatment? Is the music data being prioritized on the network? No. Do you have to pay T-Mobile extra to get a decent quality of service from Spotify, Pandora, etc.? No. Does Spotify, Pandora, etc., have to pay extra to T-Mobile to have their data transferred over the network at a speed that would provide a decent quality of service for their users? No.

          It’s just the same as how speed tests weren’t counted against your data allowance, and nobody was crying foul over that.

        • MastarPete

          So, rewind a moment to when the carriers claimed capacity problems and implement throttling and data caps.

          Now suddenly T-Mobile claims they can allow music streaming through, but wont budge on data allotments or give a bump to throttled speeds.
          Clearly they now have the capacity if they’re willing to implement a change that will increase the base load across the entire network.
          I for one would rather have a bump to my data allotment than have specific services magically become un-throttled on a whim.

          The Net Neutrality aspect is the fact that they’re launching their own music streaming service. If they had announced that first it would have definitely changed how it was accepted. By announcing that music streaming services no longer count against your data plan they very much walked a slippery slope and dodged a bullet since they wouldn’t be seen as promoting their in-house service as un-throttled while throttling everyone else.

          For the record I’m on a 2Gb data plan with a 3G smartphone. I’ve never hit my cap and if I ever start to regularly hit my 2Gb cap I’ll switch plans.

        • Moby

          Free music streaming is way more important to me than some sort of imaginary net neutrality. Grow up.

    • monkeybutts

      Keep in mind it is very difficult to provide a speed test site/app. I don’t think there are any start ups thinking they can pull this off any better.

      Sensorly servers even crashed several times during their PC Mag team up for fastest cell phone carrier in the country. It takes a lot of money to do what speedtest does.

  • Mike Coleman

    I just ran like 20 tests on my lte, it didnt count against my free 1gb data allotment :) pretty cool!

  • Tmosince2003

    This app has been excluded from the cap for some time. But this is bad, I want to know what my speed is. Really annoying move.

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

      Sensorly’s speed test is not excluded. There’s also a few other lesser known ones that are not as well.

    • JBrowne1012

      Thats the major problem I find with this as well

  • TMOguy

    Okay, so if you want to really know what throttling / 2G is, just do this:
    I stood next to a tower that has 20+20 LTE where I routinely get 45+ Mb/s download on my Note 3.
    I went into network settings, and forced ’2G/GSM’ only (yes you can do that…).
    After about a minute, my phone re-locked onto the 2G/GSM/Edge signal only.

    I then ran speedtest.. Out of curiosity. It was bad. I think I got about 35 Kb/s download.

    Try it.. It’s fun.. In a really pathetic way!

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

      That’s actually worse than what throttling will give you. I’ve been throttled once. I dropped to 130 Kbps, but I still had the decent latency from before being throttled (because I was still on HSPA+; I wasn’t kicked off to GPRS/EDGE). So it wasn’t unreliable as hell.

      • seancaldwell

        that’s not been my experience with my kids phone. If throttled, they seem to get near .12 on speedtests.

  • dookiesaur

    What tmobile needs to do is not throttle mms when i’ve hit my cap. I’m trying to send a picture and it takes 5 minutes just to send it. That’s ridiculous.

  • Christian reyes

    Da hell good would that do to anyone with un-throttled speeds for ookla? all that’s gonna do is make T-Mobile statistics look better in network speeds seeing that un-throttled speed tests will not affect their data collections if they were to pull one from ookla.. That’s also just gonna tease the person doing the test saying “this Is how fast I can go but too bad you can’t though cause you used up your high speed wait till next month or upgrade now”

    • Mike

      It is all about up sell. I certainly think it is a good ploy to get people on to unlimited…at least we, as tmo customers, have that option.

    • Clever, but…

      It is about deceiving customers.

      They get you in with “average speeds” that are misleading and then upsell you on a pricier “unlimited” plan that has already seen price hikes multiple times.

      Showing the throttle speeds as part of the average speed is a true reflection of user experience, and they don’t want people to realize just how bad throttling makes things for average users who don’t want to be forced into an expensive plan with them.

      Say what you want about Sprint’s average 10 Mbps, but I’m not getting throttled down to dial up speeds on LTE after a couple of days. The average T Mo customer is, and you’ll never know it from Ookla’s numbers.

      • philyew

        Why is it deceiving customers? I have no interest in knowing what your contractual situation is capable of delivering in any given location – that’s between you and your carrier. What I want to know is what MY phone is capable of receiving in any given location.

        I know that if I’m throttled I will receive a significantly degraded experience EVERYWHERE, you don’t need to tell me that in your shared Speedtest results. If you are going to share your results, you need to tell other customers what potential speeds they can experience.

        As for your final paragraph about the “average TM customer being throttled down to dial up speeds after a couple of days”, it is so laughably inaccurate that your entire credibility dissolves. Even where structural interference reduces my LTE signal to barely registering, I still pull 20+ mbps downloads any day of the month.

      • Stephen

        You keep reposting the same nonsense over and over and over again. You say the average user on T-Mobile ends up being throttled. Can you please post the information you are holding that lets you know the average T-Mobile user is exceeding their data cap? Even if what you state as fact with zero proof were true, It is not the fault of T-Mobile if customers choose plans that ultimately do not offer enough data to fit their needs. They offer a wide variety of choices all the way up to unlimited 4g data. The depth of stupidity in your posts knows no bounds though and so I am confident you will continue to post away with blissful ignorance.

      • Christian reyes

        Yea but with sprint you might as well consider yourself throttled with their poor network performance speeds even though they have unlimited data and no throttling it would feel that way anyway… You may have aver 10mbps but there’sa pretty good percentage out there full of customers that don’t have LTE in their area and have to deal with painful 3g data speeds that either load really slow or sometimes not at all .I know this from personal experience being a ex sprint customer I gave unlimited data with T-Mobile that’s priced cheaper than what sprint would charge

      • samagon

        If you run out of BW after “a couple days” you need to change your plan to include more data. There’s a reason they offer multiple tiers of usage.

        Sour apples Mr. Clever, but…

        The whole point here is, I have paid for the fully unlimited tmo plan, because I use my phone a lot. I want to know what the average speed I will realize when I visit your hamlet of a town. I don’t want to know what YOUR average speed is because you only paid for a 200MB plan and ran through that in “a couple days”. I have no need to know what speed your mismanaged data plan provides you, I have need to know what tmo will offer me.

  • Nick

    I guess this doesn’t apply to prepaid users. Still getting .03mbps down throttled…..

  • Guest

    This just works with the speedtest.net app correct? data with like rootmetrics, sensorly, etc….still count against your data plan?

    • TechHog

      Even speedtest counts against your data. It just always uses full speed, but the data it uses takes away from your high-speed cap if you haven’t used it all.

      • Gary

        I thought the Ookla speed tests on the app didn’t count toward your usage…

        • Moby

          It’s Rootmetrics that doesn’t count against your usage.

        • Woochifer

          They don’t and neither does Root Metrics.

      • philyew

        That’s not true in my case. My usage numbers last month varied significantly between the account record and the data usage captured on my phone. Unusually, I had run a large number of Speedtests to check for wideband deployment in my area.

        For the first time ever, my phone showed that I had come close to reaching my plan limit before throttling, but my account at the end of the month showed a much more comfortable margin. I did, of course, ensure that the dates aligned.

      • Nurdface Gamerhandz

        Nope, Speedtest was whitelisted ages ago when TMUS started using them as their metric of speed, forget if it was uncarrier 4 or 3`

    • Moby

      Rootmetrics doesn’t count against your usage.

  • Mike

    Just ran my speed test. Pretty crappy Test Date: Jun 19, 2014 8:14 PM
    Download: 8.78 Mbps
    Upload: 0.33 Mbps
    Ping: 63 ms
    Connection Type: Cellular

    • Jared

      Same day. 11:58 p.m.
      Download: 36.88 mbps
      Upload: 11.08 mbps
      Ping: 79
      Cellular connection
      Tulsa, OK
      WOOT WOOT!!!

      • samagon

        test from my bathroom at home:
        down: 30.28 Mbps
        up: 10.67 Mbps
        ping: 57 ms

        test from my bathroom at work:
        down: 3.76 Mbps
        up: 0.80 Mbps
        ping: 50 ms

        I don’t poop at work so often as I probably could.

  • Aaron Davis

    The only reason they are doing this is so that the throttling doesn’t show up in ookla’s speed report for t-mobile, otherwise people running the test after being throttled would lower the average speed.

    They are just cheating the benchmark is all.

    • JBrowne1012

      Well its not really a fair average on speed tests if 90% is throttled a avg speed test should show what t-mobile is really like. However this is not so great when you want to know how bad the throttle is.

      • ChitChatCat

        If you want to compare, run a speedtest by a different vendor.

        • Atunam

          From my experience T-Mobile is usually much faster but lacks high speed data once you leave a city.

    • Ant_Knee

      Throttling shouldn’t show up in a speed report. Throttling is not the true data speed for a particular area. The reason for throttling is that you do not have a data plan to meet your needs. Your financial choices should not dictate the true speeds that a wireless carrier can provide

    • Clever, but…

      Yep. In reality, for the average user, average speeds on T Mo will be well below those of any other carrier thanks to throttling. It is this dirty secret that T Mo is trying to avoid with its phony bandwidth measurement.

      • Aaron Davis

        That’s because the average user on the other networks is simply cut-off entirely (or overcharged) instead of being throttled.

        In a way, the other carriers are cheating as well, by simply preventing their customers from running the test AT ALL once they have reached their cap.

        While t-mobile is technically cheating the test, everyone else is cheating it too.

        • Tyler Kirchman

          No the speeds are real there just not what the customer is paying for. It’s not like they sell their service by speed they sell it by gig. It’s not like a cable company giving you 5mpbs and having a speedtest come up as 20mbps. There allowing you to prove the network is fast without having to pay for the data.

  • Clever, but…

    It’s a way to work the system.
    If all those throttled people start running speed tests, it’s going to pull T-Mobile’s bogus “fastest network based on Speedtest.net averages” way down to the bottom of the barrel, fast. If you get 20 mbps on Sunday and then get 0.01 mbps on Monday after you hit your data cap, your average throughput will show as about 10 mbps… and if you keep running speed tests, T-Mobile is going to look horrible indeed.
    So they can fake “fast speeds” for throttled customers, and game the system, while still delivering a sub-par experience to folks who are being throttled.

    • Ant_Knee

      How is it a fake speed test? The app now shows true throughput. It is not the fault of T-Mobile or Ookla that you have a data plan that does not meet your needs. If you want to have high-speed data through your whole cycle, upgrade to a higher allotment. If not, don’t complain.

      • Clever, but…

        It isn’t “true throughput.” If you’re being throttled, the “speed test” doesn’t show your actual speed… The number is a fantasy.

        T Mo is doing this solely because the terrible performance of throttled customers would skewer its “faster average speeds” line. In fact, if I were a competitive carrier, I’d send a cease and desist letter because the claim of “fastest speed” applies only to a small fraction of one’s data, unlike the other three major carriers.

        Of course “twice as fast as Sprint for the first ten days and then 5% of Sprint’s speed for the rest of the month” isn’t as good a marketing platform. Gotta game the system with selective throttling!

        • philyew

          My first reaction was also skeptical that this was more to help the company than the customer, but I don’t think your conclusions are correct.

          The sharing of Speedtest or any other crowd-sourced results is intended to show the capabilities of the network in any given area, not the user’s account.

          The fact that you or I may be throttled because we have exceeded our contractually agreed allocation has absolutely no significance to any other user who might want to use the same carrier in the same location. It’s not gaming the system, it’s telling the full story of what the network offers.

        • Larry Griffin

          throttled speeds have nothing to do with the Tmos network, it has to do with the data plan the customer picked. I see this as a way to show throttled customers what theyre really missing out on, not fake stats.

        • Jay Holm

          Precisely!

        • Tyler Kirchman

          There not prioritizing the speedtest.net there just white listing it not to be throttled. It wouldn’t be fair to them if throttled users made there LTE network sound slower than it is.

    • Jay Holm

      They chose the “sub-par” experience by not paying for the unlimited plan.

  • Craig

    It’d be nice if they add this to the “don’t use data” group like streaming music.

    • philyew

      It already appears to be that way, based on my data usage last month. My raw statistics on the phone for my last billing period showed I was close to being throttled, but the numbers on the account record for the same period were significantly less. Unusually, I had run a lot of Speedtests, testing for wideband deployment in my area.

    • Nurdface Gamerhandz

      Speedtest has been whitelisted since we started using them for reporting back in uncarrier 3 or 4.

  • Evan

    To the people saying that this is “cheating the system”, I just want to point out that including throttled web speeds in a network comparison would be the same as including web overages from AT&T and Verizon in to a price comparison. Customers have the ability (and it is well advertised) to pay for a web plan that never throttles. I use about 25 gigs of web each month, and I’ve seen people using over 100 gigs with no issue as well. If you want to save money and don’t mind slower speeds that is absolutely your prerogative, and there’s nothing wrong with it (I’ve done video chats on throttled speeds while using Simple Global abroad, those speeds are definitely workable, just not preferable.)

    The bottom line is that T-Mobile isn’t cheating anything here, they are actually FIXING a reporting issue that occurs because of their choice to throttle for overage rather than charge for it. People looking at average network speeds are looking to see what they can expect of a network at full speed, and THEN deciding how much bandwidth they want at that speed. People looking at those benchmarks aren’t sitting there deciding to purchase less web than they intend to use, and wanting a metric on their average speeds spread out before and after they use up the allotment they have paid for. This move means that customers will actually be provided with a more accurate representation of the network, not that they are being mislead in any way (the throttling for overages is made abundantly clear.)

  • ny3ranger

    Better move would be to make the app not count towards users data. People can go around testing everywhere for tmo.

    • Woochifer

      They already do that. I used 6 GB of data last month running speed tests with the Root Metrics app. None of it counted against my 5 GB data cap.

  • HothTron

    Throttling should not mean you are basically stuck with a useless smartphone with less then 56k baud modem data transfer rates.

  • Woochifer

    I don’t see how this is an issue. The crowdsourced speed tests are supposed to show you where the actual network gaps are located. If you’re thinking about changing carriers, the network speed maps show you the differences in network quality, which would help guide your decisions. Including throttled speed tests would distort the average speeds that the network is actually capable of in a given area.

    The fact that T-Mobile throttles its data, rather than cutting off network access or charging overages, puts them at a disadvantage with these speed tests, given that throttling is irrelevant to measuring the network quality. T-Mobile already whitelists the Ookla and Root Metrics speed tests from the monthly datacap because they want their subscribers to help crowdsource the coverage maps and provide an up-to-date view of the network quality. Someone paying for a lower priced plan and hitting their datacap has NOTHING to do with T-Mobile’s network quality.