Clearing up the confusion: T-Mobile addressing data misuse is NOT widespread throttling

t-mobile-unlimited-data

This week, we got hold of an internal memo showing how T-Mobile was going to start addressing customers abusing their unlimited data by downloading tons of content through P2P/torrent sites, and breaking the company’s misuse policy. As we understood it, this was going to be a simple case of singling out those negatively impacting on other customers’ service, making them aware of the policy and slapping their wrist if they carried on.

However, panic has broken out online, resulting in many customers getting confused about what’s going to happen, and worried that they’ll get throttled for watching too many episodes of Breaking Bad on Netflix. So, I wanted to break this down as simply as possible to ensure there’s no unnecessary worry going on for T-Mo subscribers out there.

  1. If you’re not on a $70 or $80 unlimited high-speed Simple Choice plan, this doesn’t affect you at all.
  2. If you’re using 1TB of data every month watching Netflix, YouTube, Hulu or any other subscription-based video service on your phone, this doesn’t affect you at all.
  3. T-Mobile unlimited is unlimited. This has nothing to do with the amount of data you’re using.
  4. This only, maybe, perhaps affects you if you’re misusing the network by downloading loads of content through peer-to-peer sharing, or finding ways to tether beyond the limit set out in your agreement.

Now, the terms and conditions themselves are not new. They’ve been around for years. What’s new is that T-Mobile wants to address the very select few individuals who’re making the experience of using T-Mobile LTE bad for other customers. It’s very much a case-by-case basis, and it’s certainly not widespread.

We got in a discussion about this with Mike Sievert on Twitter, who stated the same. Step 1 is reach out to the customer, inform them that they’re misusing data. Step 2 could be throttling, but that’s only based on whether or not they’re affecting other customers negatively.

Sievert confirmed as much to Re/code in an interview. He stated that the company is “planning to reach out them and let them know and help them change.” And also re-stated the fact that data is unlimited on the specific plans in question. “People can use it as much as they want on their smartphone(s).” The hope then is that they don’t have to throttle anyone’s data speeds.

I repeat: The “reach out” only happens if the customer is using peer-to-peer file sharing, or finding ways of getting around the tethering limit in place on the plans. To start with, only 20 customers are being reached out to, and with the exclusive aim of helping them change their behavior. T-Mobile isn’t in the business of throttling its unlimited customers, and it’s not starting now.

Here’s the official spiel, as handed to a customer through one of T-Mobile’s T-Force reps:

A very small number of our customers are misusing their Simple Choice Unlimited data service in violation of their rate plan and terms and conditions by bypassing the default tethering feature or engaging in peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing. This type of usage can negatively impact our ability to offer affordable unlimited data. In order to protect all T-Mobile customers, we will be reaching out to these people to educate them on our terms and conditions of service, but if the misuse continues, they could have their data speeds reduced for the remainder of their billing cycle.

As long as you are using your service in the manner permitted by your plan and terms and conditions, you will not be contacted or affected. Those who use more data than 95% of customers on the same rate plan typically use in a month may, during times and places of congestion, have their data usage prioritized below other customers, but their speeds are not slowed.

So, chances are, it’s not going to affect you at all providing you’re using your data in manner in which you agreed to when you read through all the terms and conditions, and signed your agreement. I hope that’s made things a little clearer, and not curbed your obsession with watching endless TV series’ on Hulu.

 

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  • Alex Zapata

    Blah blah blah net neutrality….wait a minute……

    • 3560freak

      I like to use the car analogy. Your car has a speedometer that states 200MPH, but most have governor chips that limit them to slower speeds. However you can install a chip that lets you override your governor chip and take the car up to full speed. These are against the law and you can get in serious trouble if caught. Same goes for this, your phone can technically tether without limits (by rooting and installing an alternative tethering app) but that is against T-Mobile’s terms and conditions due to possible adverse issues that may affect other users that “obey” the terms.

      • Alex Zapata

        I think you missed my tongue-in-cheek joke……

      • Fabian Cortez

        People need to get over this.

        This is exactly how people were reacting with the whole unlimited high speed versus unlimited data fiasco with AT&T.

      • archerian

        Using your analogy, depending on the model of your car, on the same road each model can travel at different speeds with no restriction. Violating speed limits are a violation of established laws, violation of a cellphone ToS isn’t illegal per se.

  • Fabian Cortez

    Some people don’t know how to read. Or read before they sign…

    • david

      Are you shilling for free? My company could use a guy that puts forth an effort like that.

      • Fabian Cortez

        Stop illegally downloading on T-Mobile’s network or you’ll get throttled. See, it’s that simple. You don’t even have to read the terms and conditions.

        You’re lucky they’re throttling you. They could just turn you over to the authorities instead. I’d imagine AT&T and/or Verizon would.

        Have a good day. :)

        • david

          If you put that much effort into writing a book you could be a famous author! Isn’t that something?

        • Fabian Cortez

          Go troll somewhere else please. :)

          Mods, can we clean some of this up please?

        • archerian

          Illegal download of something is not really determinable by T-Mobile. In the end the reason for them to throttle P2P traffic is data usage, not the legality of what that usage entails.

        • donnybee

          Said by the guy with a whole lot of effort in his comment..

          Maybe you could use a little more.

          He has a good point and I’m glad he spoke up to someone who is very blind about all this.

        • Moby

          Downloading something isn’t illegal. Maybe you should read the law some time instead of making it up.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Another one.

          It’s clear that you don’t know how to read concisely either. The terms and conditions or my comment.

          Reread my comment again.

        • Moby

          You said this right: “Stop illegally downloading on T-Mobile’s network”. Downloading is not illegal! You’re the one making ridiculous false statements.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Now I’m going to quote you:

          You said this right: “Stop illegally downloading on T-Mobile’s network”. Downloading is not illegal! You’re the one making ridiculous false statements.

          I said “illegally downloading” and not “downloading illegally.” Either way, I never made the claim that downloading in general was illegal. Are you 13 years old?

          Now go spend some time to think about that and T-Mobile’s terms and conditions.

        • Moby

          It doesn’t matter what order you put the words in. You can’t illegally download something if there is no law prohibiting such a download. You can’t even state any law says that downloading something is illegal. You just are making this up as I already stated.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Lol I’ll have to quote you again.

          It doesn’t matter what order you put the words in. You can’t illegally download something if there is no law prohibiting such a download. You can’t even state any law says that downloading something is illegal. You just are making this up as I already stated.

          Did you just open the internet? Hello RIAA and MPAA? What do you think is the main reason behind P2P? Please don’t answer that.

          It would be safer for you to leave the internet now.

        • Moby

          RIAA and MPAA aren’t laws! Are you that dense? You’re talking about things like downloading being illegal and as I said, you’re just making this stuff up. It’s quite clear that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Even the T-Mobile screenshot from yesterday doesn’t mention anything about people getting throttled for “illegal downloading”. It doesn’t even mention the word downloading once.

          I have clearly demonstrated that your statements are complete fabrication.

        • Fabian Cortez

          I’m not going to argue with a child who fails to comprehend that a business is enforcing their terms and conditions on something that the end user agreed to.

          This is a clear case of cause and effect

          Cause: Some end users are using P2P to download illegally which in turn is negatively affecting the network experience of others due to the nature (excessive bandwidth usage) of P2P.

          Effect: Corporation reminds these select end users to the terms and conditions that they agreed to and will eventually take action.

          Case closed. I’m done. Now go back to watching your reality television.

        • Moby

          You can’t argue because there is no defense for your fabricated statements. The Terms and Conditions prohibits: “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 ”

          Do you even know what “broadcast” means???

          Where does it talk about this “illegal downloading” that you said people would get throttled for? It’s not even in the terms. You obviously don’t even read the terms! You just make this stuff up and you don’t expect that anyone will call you on your fabrications. Well I did!

        • Fabian Cortez

          Do you have a problem with putting 2 and 2 together?

          Your own quote, “or peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing applications that are broadcast to multiple servers or recipients,” clearly states what I’ve been saying. P2P broadcasts, believe it or not. People use P2P mainly for illegal downloading/file sharing. So 2 and 2…

          You’re as bad as the Sprint fanboys who refuse to believe the party line. It’s right there in T-Mobile’s own terms and conditions. Why do you think this entire article was written?

          Please stop because I’m going to as well. This is becoming rather unnecessary and I’m embarrassed for you at this point.

        • Moby

          Nothing in the Terms and Conditions state that you will be throttled for downloading. You stated it. And you can’t back it up. Fact! You said it’s right there in the terms and conditions, but you can’t quote it!

          The terms prohibit P2P broadcasts. I quoted it. It’s there. Unlike you, I can backup what I say.

          Stop making up rules that don’t exist. Stop saying that terms mean something when they don’t. You have been exposed for the false information that you toss out.

        • randomnerd_number38

          You’re just fighting over being technically correct. “The terms and conditions don’t say anything about illegal activities! They just say you can’t use it for P2P!” Yes, you’re technically correct. But can’t you just see beyond that for a second? Are you capable of a train of thought?

          P2P is not allowed on the T-Mobile network per their terms and conditions. P2P is almost always used for illegal downloads (making unauthorized copies of copyrighted material). P2P downloading of copyrighted material is also the most widely used form of copyright infringement. Putting these facts together, saying “Don’t illegally download on the T-Mobile network or you’ll get throttled” is very accurate.

        • Moby

          The terms talk about, “peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing applications that are broadcast to multiple servers or recipients”. If you can quote where it says that downloading from a P2P is against the terms, I would agree that you are correct. But as quoted above, it uses the word “broadcast”. Please quote the exact portions of the T&C that refers to “illegally download”—if you can.

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      Isn’t p2p downloads and illegal tethering mentioned in the tos?

  • mikey

    This sounds alright, but once people accept this, att and others will follow, and before long it will not only be p2p being banned on cell phone connections, but on home internet connections as well then away will go the pirates. next they will find a way to block downloads that do not go thru the playstore.

    • Justin Merithew

      The others already have more aggressive throttling practices, so I don’t think they’ll pick this up. VZW and Sprint (not sure on AT&T) have the option to throttle you over 5 gigs a month. Tmo won’t throttle you if you use a terabyte, as long as you’re not doing P2P. That’s much more fair.

    • Chris

      Home internet already throttles you if you use a certain amount of GB per month. (i.e.) 200 GB or greater. T-mobile isn’t even going to throttle you if you use it within their Terms of Service even if you use 1TB.

      • Darkbotic

        “Home internet already throttles you if you use a certain amount of GB per month. (i.e.) 200 GB or greater.”.

        And your source is…

        • Chris

          Letters that a friend of mine got from their ISP, letting them know about it. It’s different per ISP (as far as I know) because I haven’t gotten one. My friend has Comcast. And it happened a while back so I don’t know if they even changed their limit or what not.

        • Chris

          Also Verizon has already admitted they throttle customers. That’s been out in the open for a while now.

        • ChristianMcC

          Mediacom and Centurylink both have it in their ToS, 150GB each, unless your speed is over 1.5mbps on CenturyLink then you get 250GB.

      • mikey

        Thats not what I meant, i meant home internet doing like tmobile is planning to and throttling those who do torrents, etc.

        Also my home isp does not throttle me when I hit my data cap, they send me an email, saying that I will be charged an additional fee if I go over my given amount of data.

        • sorandkairi

          Yeah my ISP doesn’t have a data cap and I torrent stuff…

      • TechHog

        I have no cap. Suck itlosers. :3

  • magentaplacenta

    hey if you use a vpn on your phone could it affect you? I use an app called popcorn time thats amazing for watching torrented movies.

    • Fabian Cortez

      And here we have one of our problem users.

      • sorandkairi

        Damn man no offense but you need another hobby.

        • Fabian Cortez

          Why? Because I’m pointing out someone who’s clearly asking questions about whether or not VPN affects his or her illegal downloading activities?

          Yeah sure, that’s definitely my hobby.

        • sorandkairi

          You’re hobby is to be in everyone’s business?!

          But no I said what I said because it just looks like you have too much time on your hands. Anyone online that’s is doing what you are doing in this thread, basically arguing about pointless stuff, need to grow up and like I said get a new hobby.

          And that comment isn’t targeting just you either.

          I torrent when I want to. If T-Mobile wants to crackdown on that…I couldn’t care less, its their right.

      • archerian

        Watching movies via VPN is similar from a data use perspective to Netflix. Now will T-Mobile start clamping down on VPN activity too? Unlikely as it serves other very important functionalities.

  • DoDaDum

    This is dumb. 1TB of data used is 1TB of data, regardless if it is through P2P or streaming videos.

    • LOLFanboysaredumb

      You’re dumb… Do you think because you’re bitching about breaking the law literally, and your contract agreement that they’ll continue to allow you to do so? Please get off of my planet.

      • archerian

        Using T-Mobile service for torrents isn’t breaking the law, it’s violating their ToS.

    • MuthaFuckinStephen

      You’re a very ignorant person.

    • Adrayven

      P2P generally used for illegal pirated stuff 95% of the time and/or being used by some virus that infected your computer/smartphone and using you as a depot..

      Even Cable and DSL Tele watch P2P for that reason and send out warnings about it’s abuse..

      • Ordeith

        Yes, but Cable and DSL don’t generally advertise their service as Unlimited (in bolded all caps).

        • Romdude

          Again… they did say unlimited but unfortunately for you tos evaders, they never stated at what speed. Technically unlimited so they fulfilled their end of the contract while evaders broke it.

        • Ordeith

          Wrong, they tier their plans based on speed. If you buy into the unlimited tier you are buying into unlimited unthrottled high speed. (or at least that is what their false advertising would have you believe)

        • Romdude

          Yes, I paid for unlimited unthrottled high speed but it’s getting artificially throttled by all the p2p and tether users who are violating the tos. I know I speak for the general population, why should everyone else suffer because of a few who believe they are entitled? And even then, if there isn’t a lot of demand in your area, they won’t even slow you down so just plan your p2p and illegal tethering off peak demand.

        • donnybee

          You voided the terms when you broke the terms. Your terms gave you unlimited LTE speeds with intended use. Don’t like intended use? Void it all then and face the consequences.

          For your own sake just use that thing between your ears the next time you are close to agreeing to something that you don’t agree to. It’s not hard. If you can’t make those decisions for yourself, then you’ve got your own issues to work through, or you’ll be in a mess quick once the real world has it’s way with you.

    • Alex Zapata

      Cooool story bro

    • david

      We should’ve seen this coming when they decided to allow certain music streaming programs bypass throttling. No one bat an eye because we were all led to believe that only Verizon and AT&T are enemies of net neutrality. I guess Legere is really as slimy as they say.

      • LOLFanboysaredumb

        For what it’s worth you could be right. However I sorely disagree in light of the fact that T-mobile is at least from a third person perspective attempting to “change things for the better”. While it could be an elaborate ruse offering such quality amenities such as FREE music streaming on plans, I doubt this is such a thing.

      • TechHog

        IT’S AGAINST THE TERMS THAT YOU AGREED TO! Why do so many people not understand this? What next, are you going to complain that you have to pay your bill to get service?

    • TechHog

      It’s against TOS. If you violate the terms of your service, you lose all rights to receive that service. T-Mobile could cancel your service completely and still be in the right. The only “dumb” thing is entitled people like you feeling like it’s okay to break rules and hurt the service of other users for your own personal gain.

    • Jesse James

      Your statement is dumb. Tmobile never said you couldn’t stream videos. They just don’t you doing anything against the law with their network. Your statement is like saying “I bought this baseball bat, so I can hit whatever I want” which or the most part is true but if you use your baseball bat to hit your neighbor’s Camry, there will be a problem.

  • mingkee

    T-Mobile can look at the port you’re using, but since watching videos is under the radar, I think watching TV with Simple and Tablo is not affected. In addition, it appears file transfer through FTP and cloud is not affected as well.
    However, there’s a grey area about unlocked phone (no branding). Rest assured hotspot sharing is generic, it can be possible under the radar except using some “detected” ports.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    As I can read I already knew this lol

  • Moby

    “This only, maybe, perhaps affects you if you’re misusing the network by
    downloading loads of content through peer-to-peer sharing, or finding
    ways to tether beyond the limit set out in your agreement. ”

    If Cam only thinks that a “select few” individuals tether beyond the plan limit, he is delusional. He should go on XDA Forum and see how many T-Mobile users brag about the amount of GB’s they use each month. He should see all of the hacks available to get around the tethering block. That’s one of the main reasons to get the unlimited plan is for the tethering. He tries to act like hardly anyone is doing it.

    • Fabian Cortez

      There is nothing wrong with Cam’s statement.

      Find something else to complain about.

    • Romdude

      Yes most of the people here know of XDA but the XDA community is usually for the tech savvy and not the general population.

    • Cam Bunton

      Nope. Mike Sievert himself said they’re initially reaching out to only 20 people. Sounds like a “select few” to me…

      • Moby

        “To start with, only 20 customers are being reached out to”. Key words there are “to start”. Nobody outside of T-Mobile knows how many people they will go after.

        It’s clear they are in damage control mode right now as they didn’t expect that internal memo to be leaked. In the weeks after August 17th, when people start having the special SOC’s added to their account, then the truth will be known.

        • jacky

          My friend illegally tether 400gb per month on t mobile. There is no way you would say thats legal with a straight face.

        • kevev

          Agreed. There is using and then there is abusing.

        • kevev

          Agreed dude.

          I tether and usually use 20-30GB of data per month on my “Unlimited” plan. My wife uses 2-5GB per month. I tether because watching videos and web browsing on a tiny phone is uncomfortable. I feel no guilt about doing this either. Dictating how a person uses the data is just wrong in my opinion. If you want to pay twice for your data just so as to use it the way you want is your choice. Maybe switch to AT&T if you like the abuse. I do understand that if everyone tethered the network would come to a slow crawl. I hope they don’t come after me a 15 year customer for using my paid for data the way I choose. But time will tell.

  • JBLmobileG1

    Just curious, what if say, you used your tethering plan allowance (in my case 3GB) hooked up to your PC and used file sharing on the PC. Or, had an Android tablet, with a torrent app on it and you tethered through your phone. I am not talking about hacking to tether, but actually using the tethering limit that T-Mobile gives you and that your allowed. Now it’s not illegal to use torrents (otherwise why does Google have torrent apps in the play store?) and most people who use their tethering part of their data plan may use it to link their PC or tablet to their phone while they are away or on vacation. To me, T-Mobile is being controlling on what you can or cannot do with your data. If they say no to this then why have tethering at all? I understand them doing this to stop the customers who abuse tethering by rooting their phones and getting tons of extra tethering data, or the one’s who use their phone for P2P and downloading tons of data. But, if you want to torrent on your PC or tablet using whatever tethering data is a part of your plan, you should be free to do so, no questions asked. Anyone else agree or care to chime in, please do so.

    • DS

      According to the article, this only has to do with customers who are misusing their devices to consume large amounts of data which ALSO is having an impact on other t-mobile customers. You have to be using so much data, constantly, that you are slowing down other users in a way that wasn’t intended (subverting your throttling cap or multiple terrabytes of data through the phone).

      • Fabian Cortez

        And probably only if those terabytes of data through the phone involve P2P, etc.

    • dontsh00tmesanta

      Isn’t tethering and normal buckets separate

      • ChristianMcC

        Yes, they are separate for unlimited high speed plans. All the same for 5GB or less plans.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          You get 5gb with unlimited right

        • ChristianMcC

          5GB if you have the current $30 unlimited, but I have the old $20 unlimited, so I get 3GB legal tethering.

        • dontsh00tmesanta

          I have the $20 one It shows 5gb

    • impasse

      it doesn’t matter whether what you’re torrenting is legal or not, it matters that it’s in the tos that if you’re using it for this purpose (or unauthorized tethering) they can take action. frankly, i don’t know why everyone’s all so fucking riled up over it.

    • conservative_motorcyclist

      You can torrent to your hearts content from your PC or tablet using the built-in tethering app. It will come out of your tethering bucket, and once it’s gone, it’s gone until the next month.

      You CANNOT install torrent software on your Android Phone and leave it RUNNING 24/7 like the folks they are targeting. You can probably get away with it if you set the appropriate upload/download speed limits. (e.g. set upload bandwidth to as little as possible, and limit downloads to 10 or 15 mbps, preferably less, depending on area.)

      Hope that helps :)

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Simple torrenting and ‘illegal’ tethering are on the tos. Everyone else this doesn’t affect. Good they are finally cracking down cuz if I can’t you can’t lol

  • Ordeith

    Unlimited.
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    • Romdude

      Unlimited data yes but did they specify at what speed?

      • Ordeith

        Their plans are sold based on speed, not data. They all have unlimited data.

        • donnybee

          And yet, they’re all sold with terms that you agree to..

          So do you have T-Mobile? Did you violate your terms? Are you angry at T-Mobile that you violated your terms too?

          Maybe violators should be kicked off instead?

    • TechHog

      If you break T-Mobile’s terms of service, they are no longer obligated to provide said service to you. Why is this such a difficult concept for some of you? Not only that, but they are enforcing it in the most lenient way possible. You agreed to the terms, so you have to follow them.

  • impasse

    apparently Fabian Cortez and dontsh00tmesanta are the only people who actually have a middle-school level of reading comprehension, so thank you gentlemen for not making reading this particular post’s comment section a disheartening look at our american education system.

  • MoonlitReigns

    Bottom Line: it is in there terms and conditions that this behavior is not allowed. If you are using T-Mobile, you agreed to these terms and conditions when you activated your phone. If you then proceed to violate those terms, then T-Mobile can revoke your privileges or alter your previously agreed upon terms. i.e. Unlimited Data @ LTE Speed. We all agreed to not do this when we signed up. I have no issue with T-Mobile to throttle me for breaking that agreement. (I do not P2P and only tether about 300MB/Month). Just saying though.
    I will say again in case some of your are foaming and are thinking of a retort. You do not have one. You told T-Mobile the second you activated your phone on their network that you would not violate their terms. You agreed. They can terminate your service outright if they wanted to for breaking said agreement. To be honest, I think T-Mobile reaching out and trying to work with violators is commendable. They really do not have to, you violated.

    • donnybee

      Can I like this again?

      Well said!

      • ChristianMcC

        I got you covered.

    • Jesse James

      yea I had Sprint drop my contract about 4 or 5 years ago for tethering torrents just once. At least Tmobile is giving users a chance to change.

    • Bryann Pena

      Well said

  • John Mun

    “misusing the network by downloading loads of content through peer-to-peer sharing”

    Is any peer to peer sharing prohibited? If 1TB monthly Netflix users are allowed then 100GB monthly P2P users should also be allowed. That’s absurd if not.

    • Zekhmet

      Problem with p2p is that it can use alot of upstream bandwidth as well as down. Where Netflix is only downstream data. Many residential ISPs don’t allow servers and P2P applications fall in this category.

    • donnybee

      The rate of data transfer is the issue. Not the amount used. The amount is endless.. So it could be 10TB or 900TB of use deemed okay by the terms. It’s not possible, but if it were then it’s fine. The data transfer rates of P2P are what caused T-Mobile and pretty much all carriers to say they don’t want it on their network after the aftermath of bad experiences to users and the network.

      This is why.

      • archerian

        I don’t think that’s correct, the data transfer rates hit the maximum available rate in a ‘legal’ download like video streaming or FTP too. So the data transfer rate cannot be the reason for T-Mobile clamping down on P2P.

        • donnybee

          There could be spikes of high transfer rates in normal use, but nothing prolonged like P2P transfers. Also, it kills the upload bandwidth, which is not affected much by normal use. In normal use, downloading or streaming video would be the highest burdens on a network, and they never really burden it. P2P really takes it to a new level, which is why T-Mobile has said they want their users to do it on another network if they must participate in it.

  • ChristianMcC

    Back in the day, the reflected limit in the T-Mobile my account app for the unlimited plan was just shy of 10TB, so I hope 1TB wouldn’t make a difference. But seriously, even watching Netflix, there’s no way someone could go through 33+GB a day without illegal tethering or constant P2P.

    • Aaron Davis

      I always though it was funny that the app still showed a limit, even though that limit was ridiculously high (9.something terabytes)

      I wonder if their system doesn’t actually support unlimited data, and that was just the highest number that the system would allow

  • TechHog

    To everyone complaining about this, it’s against ToS, and breaking the terms of your service means that you are no longer entitled to that service. It’s that simple. An attempt at a class-action lawsuit wouldn’t even make it to court. At best, you can complain about the TOS itself, but you have no leg to stand on for complaining about this being done.

    To put it another way, back when T-Mobile had contracts, if they tried to raise your bill while you’re under contract, you could sue them if they don’t allow you to break the contract. This is because, if they violated the contract, you are no longer required to stick to the contract. This is what’s happening here. If you violate the TOS, T-Mobile no longer has to provide you with the service that you paid for.

    • donnybee

      Unfortunately people think they can get anything they want. And if they aren’t allowed, then someone is cheating them. Society has gotten lazy and entitled. This isn’t anything more than that.

      And I say that literally. This has nothing to do with net-neutrality. Nothing to do with false advertising. All to do with the lack of being able to follow the agreement each of us signed just because they feel ‘entitled’ to get what they want, when they want, how they want. If this makes those people just ship, I won’t shed a tear. You brought this on yourself.

  • mingkee

    It’s just a matter of “being considerate”.
    Unlimited usage is our privilege, but there’s a case: can you imagine when everybody abuses the network in a single node?
    It happened in Downtown Brooklyn before LTE came. The data network was next to useless and I had to use Clearwire for the school.
    Do you want to suffer like that?
    As an 11 years customer, it’s fortunate enough not to pay $100 for merely 10GB like the big two.
    There’s no argument for that.

  • vinnyjr

    Don’t blame T-Mobile at all. These rules have been in place for a long time. Only people trying to beat the system and screw up real unlimited data will be affected. Thank You T-Mobile.

  • breakingbad

    i figured as much my friend illegal tethering 400 gb per month on t mobile network, i think hes going to get warned lol.

    • breakingbad

      my friend used illegal tethering app to bypass t mobile limited mobile hotspot, and used 400 gb per month. i figured sooner or later t mobile will get him.

      • breakingbad

        he knows its illegal the only reason he keeps doing it because t mobile hasnt done anything to him yet.

        • donnybee

          It’s not “illegal”. It’s just against the terms. The activity done post-tethering could be illegal, and normally is with that amount of usage.

        • yankeesusa

          Exactly. Its not illegal or against the law, but it is against the terms you signed when you agreed to tmobile service. The worst they can do is warn you and if you don’t stop they can disconnect your service.

  • Bryck

    I just don’t get it!!! Why are so many custoners complaining about this new policy? I saw this coming months ago. Obviously this is for people that abuse the network, I mean there’s people that use over 100GB of data, really!?!?! I thought my average 10Gb were to much. I think its fair what T-Mobile is doing, and yes I use P2P on my mobile rooted device, but don’t abuse it.

    • sushimane

      I feel the same way I use 20gb in a month just see how much I could rack up but when I see people doing 60 or more in a month that’s crazy.

      • Bryck

        The only time I used 20Gb, it was during hurricane Sandy.

        • sushimane

          I listen to a lot of music sense I’m Not on the simple choice plan my music does count against my data but I got unlimited so it’s OK Netflix, YouTube and web surfing is what I do but I just wanted to see how much I could rack up but now I’m only averaging out maybe 10 tops.

  • Jackson

    Especially in light of the recent events outside St. Louis I wish more people instead of focusing on the obvious improper usage would look at what exactly, “including continuous Web camera posts or broadcasts” means and how thetas is in violation of our terms of service. I really would hate to think that if there was a citizen journalist using a t-Mobile connection to help bring people into the situation on the ground that T-Mobile’s given us fair warning that they reserve the right to terminate their voice.

    • Travis Tabbal

      While that’s an interesting point, they do say “continuous”. It would be nice if they specified exactly what that means to them, but to me it means transmitting 24/7. Most transmissions of that type are burst style, they upload to a server then stop when complete. I doubt they would run afoul of this. And they are not planning to terminate anyone’s voice. They say they will warn people, then slow them down to prevent network issues. If someone is using it to cover something like this, I suspect simply letting them know what you’re up to would be enough to keep from having an issue. And we managed to have decent coverage of the issues in Egypt not so long ago with Twitter and a few pics and short movie clips. You don’t need to broadcast HD video 24/7 to cover a story.

      I think the people complaining are missing this point as well. They are going to talk with you about it, then slow you down if you refuse to fix the problem. Not cut you off, not charge you more. This is more than reasonable. I would prefer to see them just implement an overall policy saying that data will be prioritized with lower usage having higher priority. So if you’ve been slamming the network with 24/7 torrents, your traffic will be slowed to make space for someone just wanting to get a web page after not using their device for an hour. Combining that with VoLTE getting top priority and probably guaranteed bandwidth/latency, and the network would almost automatically manage itself with regard to load and heavy users.

      There’s another point that people are forgetting, it might not be the user doing it. With recent vulnerabilities in operating systems being released, it’s possible an app was installed with or without the user’s consent that is doing something in the background. Warning users is a good thing here, so they can look into things or ask for help. TMO could take it a step further and push security updates out more frequently as well. I realize that they don’t write the software, but they do have some pull with the OEMs and can push for quicker fixes. They are also part of the approval chain, so they need to prioritize testing of those updates and get them out quickly.

      • maximus1901

        They don’t care how continuous it is. They only care how much data you’re using but they’re dancing around the issue because they don’t wanna scare their investors into thinking they don’t have enough capacity to maintain their momentum.

  • Willie D

    Ugh, Breaking Bad… Ugh!!!

    • donnybee

      Best. Show. Ever.

  • conservative_motorcyclist

    EXACTLY WHAT I SAID YESTERDAY!!

    This is targeted at the SELECT FEW PEOPLE with ROOTED ANDROID DEVICES WHICH RUN BITTORRENT 24/7 ON THEIR SMARTPHONES! (Yes it is an app, you can download it to your phone!)

    This is also going after people that run 3rd-party TETHERING PROXIES on their phone so that it looks like all Tethered device data is coming from the Phone’s web browser in an attempt to bypass the built-in tethering app.

    This is NOT against normal people tethering or torrenting from their PCs or watching too much Netflix/Hulu/YouTube!

  • Steve

    is kickasstorrents and utorrents considered peer to peer? I might download maybe 500mb-900MB of stuff off of them a month. mainly a TV show i missed or maybe a old movie.
    I have the 500min, with unlimited text and data plan. Using a unlocked Google Nexus 4. In all I use about 3-5GB a month

    • Travis Tabbal

      Yes, absolutely. However, the usage level you claim is likely not even a drop in the ocean to them. They are concerned about people that are transferring hundreds of gigabytes a month. Your 500MB probably doesn’t even show up in the reports.

      • donnybee

        Plus, he’s not on the Simple Choice Unlimited Data. So he’s not affected, fortunately.

        • Steve

          they claimed my 500 minute, unlimited text and data is now a unlimited everything plan, that is where I was confused. If I go over my 500 mins, they will not bill me

        • donnybee

          Well, you can still have unlimited data, with a pool amount at LTE speeds, in different tiers. You may just have to call them or look over your bill to know exactly. If you’re unlimited everything, you shouldn’t have only 500 mins lol

        • Steve

          Its a very old plan, so they said they will just make the mins unlimited, even though my plan will still show 500 mins on the bill.

        • donnybee

          Interesting. Well, I have no clue. I know they were transitioning people on older plans over to their Simple Choice plans, but I don’t know the full extent of it. Either way, that’s cool you got a free bump up!! That’s gotta feel good!

        • UMA_Fan

          Yes. They did away with overage charges so people on grandfathered minute talk plans have unlimited talk now.

  • maximus1901

    “If you’re using 1TB of data every month watching Netflix, YouTube, Hulu or any other subscription-based video service on your phone, this doesn’t affect you at all.”

    But if you tether 100GB, it’s ok? BULL.

    1TB of Netflix does not magically cause less congestion than 100GB of torrenting; data is data.

    But it’s a lot easier to reach 1TB of torrent than even 100GB of Netflix.
    I think you actually watched 100GB of Netflix on your phone per month your eyes would fall out.

    Also, it’s called a VPN. They’re cheap and plentiful. If people really want to use their connection as a home ISP, there’s practically nothing that TMO could do other than institute a de facto data cap on the unlimited plan or block the IPs of VPN services.

    • randomnerd_number38

      I’m not a network expert, but there’s actually a huge difference between a single streaming connection like Netflix and torrenting.

      With Netflix, you’re getting a single stream that doesn’t max out your connection. With torrenting, you’re connecting with usually dozens of people and sending and receiving data at the same time and unless you put an artificial limit on it, it will max out the speeds to all those different connections.

      You can oversimplify by saying “data is data,” but in the real world, torrenting is much more impacting to the network.

      • maximus1901

        Ok then VPN it and on the LTE device side, it looks like ONE connection. But on TMO’s routers it would still wreak havoc.

      • kevev

        Wrong. Data is data. Saturating a connection will use all of the data no matter what you are transferring. The only noticeable strain would maybe be on the networks router’s CPUs caused by hundreds of packets being routed to different locations. But I doubt it is a huge load. Networks are designed to handle multiple destinations and sources. That is why we call it the internet. It’s not a pots(Plain Old Telephone Service) system. The reason they don’t want us tethering is because of idiots who abuse the network by saturating it. If everyone tethered the network would crash. Now the bonus for T-Mobile and every other carrier is that they can make extra $ by charging for tethering while also controlling load on the network with tethering caps.

        • donnybee

          Bandwidth isn’t unlimited. And wireless companies face bandwidth from a few sources: back-haul, # of antennas, and spectrum. Either way, each form of data consumes bandwidth differently. Saying data is data, is far too simple. Yes, it’s data and not a voice call, but it doesn’t all work the same. Some is meant to literally gobble up all the resources it can find to get something done. This would be called P2P. It’s abuse, and there is a reason the terms specify P2P as not allowed: because not all data is the same. Therefore data isn’t just data in this discussion.

        • kevev

          BS. If I download a single large file(10GB) and it takes 30 minutes I will use the same exact amount of data that I use saturating my connection using bittorrent for 30 minutes. I repeat, data is data.

        • dtam

          data is data but the HUGE difference is netflix/hulu/etc have speed limits on what they send to you. we are talking about downloading 10 gb in 2 hours (netflix) vs 10 gb in 30 minutes (P2P). so there is going to be more degradation on the network doing P2P.

          if it was exactly how you layed it out in your example, then yes, they are the same but it’s almost never like that

        • kevev

          Agreed.

        • its me

          Bittorrent tells you exactly how fast your torrent is downloading.
          It very rarely goes over 1mb/s. I’ve only seen it reach 2mb/s once.

        • dtam

          yes it does tell you….but you do know that 2 mb/s = 16 mbps right? if this is at home from comcrap, 15 mbps is their lowest tier of service (minus economy).

          full HD requires 3-5 mbps which is 0.375-0.625 mb/s

        • Aaron Davis

          I can get upwards of 3 MB/s torrenting though t-mobile LTE, if it’s a good enough torrent swarm.

          You aren’t going to get 3MB/s out of netflix or hulu

    • donnybee

      Video streaming doesn’t need much bandwidth to work correctly. Netflix can stream full HD within a 3-5mbps download stream. Virtually no upload bandwidth gets consumed.

      Quite the opposite with torrenting or P2P. Downloads have no real limit. They don’t have an optimal operating range that it can function in. They are always trying to download as fast as possible. 100′s of mbps, even reaching the gbps speed. Also, the nature of torrenting is designed to use a BUNCH of upload bandwidth. Without upload, the P2P idea would fail. And upload bandwidth is a lot smaller than download, so it gets clogged easily.

      So in response, no. Data is not just data. Each bit of data is consumed differently. So your theory is completely wrong.

      • maximus1901

        Ok you may be right but I still think there’s a factor beyond which streaming is more harmful than torrenting.
        If I torrent 5GB/month but stream 1TB, which is worse?

        • TechHog

          Both would go under the radar because your usage wouldn’t affect others (assuming you’re not using illegal tethering)

      • maximus1901

        In any case, VPN it and as far as tmobile sees, it’s all going through ONE connection to one IP. How are they going to fight VPN torrenting? It’s already built in to many clients.

        • that_guy

          Keep in mind Tmobile also uses IPv6 in many if not all areas. If your VPN is IPv4 only and you are connected to Tmobile’s IPv6 network… data can completely bypass your VPN connection unless you have a rooted phone and know how to configure iptables…. it’s not so easy. Feel free to connect to your VPN and then go to http://www.ipv6-test.com/ or http://test-ipv6.com/. If you see any mention of “T-Mobile” then your VPN is likely only masking your IPv4 traffic at the most. Known issue with Android 4.4.4 and latest iOS. Sorry all…

    • TechHog

      You missed the point completely. The problem that T-Mobile is trying to address has nothing to do with the raw volume of data used; it’s about how the excessive bandwidth use affects other users on the same tower. The article was poorly worded, and I think that the numbers in it are completely arbitrary examples that don’t reflect actual limits. Reading what is actually said, basically, you get throttled if your use artificially throttles other users.

  • maximus1901

    It’s funny cause I’m addicted to speedtests, 5gb/month on my hspa+14.4 iphone 4s, but when I saw someone do 200GB/month … wow.

    • monkeybutts

      speedtests no longer count against data use, at least not with speedtest app

  • VG

    Hmmm, 20 users out of T-Mobile’s 50 million subscriber accounts means there is a .00004% chance you will be getting a notification from T-Mobile about abuse of unlimited data. I have a better chance of winning the lottery jackpot. This is much ado about nothing.

    • Ordeith

      No you don’t. You should look into the odds on winning the lottery jackpot sometime.

      • dtam

        megamillions got ridiculous with their revamp.

      • JamesG

        Depends on the lottery

  • HothTron

    Its always the few jackasses that ruin everything for everyone else….

    • Romdude

      Yup, I paid for unlimited high speed internet and those few are throttling me right now with their illegal downloads and tether and not t-mobile. Don’t make me assume my ultimate form!!!!

  • To

    I don’t get why t mobile had to go public whit this if it only effected a couple of people breaking the terms of agreement, they should have contacted them quietly instead of scaring everyone into thinking that unlimited is gone.

    • Jose Hernandez

      Just a question, why would people be scared that unlimited was going away? When you read the announcement, it is very clear that this was only going to affect a selected group of people.

      • Verbile

        Because for the most part, people don’t read. Or they read bits of what is in front of them and make their own assumptions.

        • Jamal Rahsaan Knox

          That’s why I dropped funky jive AT&T and switched to T-Mobile. AT&T was charging me unlimited rates yet capping and slowing my speed to a snail’s pace. I stream football games at about 10-15 gigs a month. Is that abusive? Tmo has been a blessing during football season. Hopefully they don’t fuck wit me and I have to shop around again… Cuz sprint… AT&T, Verizon and boost are all full of bullshit.

        • samagon

          Which is why there is the memo in the first place, since the Ts&Cs clearly state what is fair use. I didn’t read the Ts&Cs, but that’s cause I use common sense and tmo told me I could tether 5gb of data before throttling so I didn’t try to break it. most companies don’t want you to use their backbone to do things illegally, so I don’t download torrents.

          I have no pity for those that do attempt to scam the systems, I know this is a shared network, so when these people take advantage of tmobile’s network, they are really taking advantage of the bandwidth they share with me, ergo, they are taking advantage of me. as far as I’m concerned, they can be sent to another carrier.

    • qmc

      They didn’t “go public”. The internal memo was leaked, and the internet went into a craze. So it’s being addressed now to clear things up.

  • Jonathan Adams Leonard

    They advertize and sell UNLIMITED service during a time when others are not. They attract business based on a false promise. I did not read the terms clearly or entirely. I did a speed test in a store, jaw dropped, and I said fuck fuck fuck you sprint. Take my money tmobile. They and the others can’t have it both ways. They cannot say unlimited and then throttle and cap the service. Abuse and affecting other users my ass. Weak bullshit. The word UNLIMITED is worth Billions in business. They have no way to sell tiered service then too fucking bad. Take out the word UNLIMITED then. Land of the free? Their service is godlike and I love and use that beautiful technology. My LTE rules but there is no sound justification for caps and throttling if they don’t tier and claim UNLIMITED. I love tmobile and their LTE. It crushes everything else. If they contact me I’ll work it out but god damn it I use the shit out of it and never take a single packet for granted.

    • yankeesusa

      It’s still unlimited whether it’s throttled or not. It’s not the amount of data you use, it’s the speed that they throttle. It’s still unlimited.

  • scott

    There’s a customer in ny that uses 2 to 3 terabytes a month fyi. Those people t mobile is going after.

  • TotalInternetUser

    I am a Total Internet plan user (grandfathered and on 2004 T&Cs). I have found that I needed to install TetherMe on my iphone to be able to turn on tethering, even though my plan allowed tethering with USB cables to Dash and Dash 3G phones with stock software, and my SIM was allowed to be moved into old Sony Ericson 2G data cards. I am wondering why I needed to do this. It seems T-Mobile may think I am not supposed to have tethering. I go to the T&Cs and am directed to click back to the older 2004 version based on activation / last renew date and I do not find any ban against tethering and my T&Cs are older than when the introduced talk of throttling to the T&Cs.

    How do I stand in this new crackdown against P2P and tethering over limits? I tether reasonable amounts, havn’t exceeded 15GB total usage/month including phone usage, and no P2P activity.

    I understand if they have an issue, they will actually call me. And if they do, the person on the other end will be reminded of the history of this data plan.

    • TotalInternetUser

      How much tethering is acceptable on Total Internet before coming on to their radar?

  • guest

    Cam – can you be more specific than just saying the $70 or $80 as those are the price points only for a Single Line customer? They layperson who is on a Family plan may not know the difference otherwise. Maybe you could find out from a T-mobile representative what the impacted pricepoints are and how they show on the bill to remove confusion. An account with 2 lines, on the 1GB plan also pas $80 and that could raise unnecessary concern.

    • TechHog

      People who would be confused like that most likely wouldn’t even be here, let alone torrent.

  • http://batman-news.com Caffiend

    I’m off today so I’m not going to create a flowchart…

    So… Do you torrent, yes or no? No? Are you sure? Yes. Ok then, keep calm and carry on…

    Do you torrent, yes or no? Yes? On a cellular network, the speed and quality must be bitchin! Yes, I do, and it is. Ok, you get caught once you’ll probably get a warning.

    But…

    Do you STILL torrent, yes or no?

    Yes, but not often, the Walking Dead hasn’t started, and Game of Thrones isn’t out till next year, so I’ve been catching up on Masters of Sex.

    Wow, really?

    Yes.

    Ok then, you’re probably going to get throttled till the end of your cycle. Get yourself TV Portal, Netflix, Hulu, or whatever and watch old Misfits episodes for the rest of the month, keep calm and carry on.

  • m0rpheux

    Mike Sievert says they don’t throttle :l bitch please friend of mine hitted 2TB with his tmobile phone before the cycle ended and the system kicked him out every time it try to connect to 4g or lte today his cycle started again he has internet so Tmobile stop saying its unlimited if when some1 hits 2tb you block the internet of the person until the new cycle starts

    • Beans

      How are you using 2 Terabytes of data in a month? Seriously?? Your friend is the exact customer cellphone providers do not want. Just because it says unlimited doesn’t mean abuse it. Your going to get mad over being throttled for that… That’s 500,000 songs — do you listen to half a million songs? Pretty sure the average person dies before ever making it close to listening to 500,000 songs. If it is not music then I am clueless. I use between 5-15 gigabytes a month through music and reading. Are you seeding Avatar blu Ray edition around the world??

      • m0rpheux

        i clearly stated its a friend not me but yea people on the internet assume its me second he doesn’t do torrent or p2p he use it for backing up his stuff he records lots of stuff in 4k with an online backup service.

        • m0rpheux

          seconds it wasnt even throttle it was like banned until the new cycle started

    • yankeesusa

      I’m sorry, but if your using 2tb a month you should be banned… ok, maybe not banned, but on a mobile network whether its unlimited or not I call that abusing. And yes, you will be throttled if this data comes from p2p networks.

      • m0rpheux

        i clearly stated its a friend not me but yea people on the internet assume its me second he doesn’t do torrent or p2p he use it for backing up his stuff he records lots of stuff in 4k with an online backup service

        • m0rpheux

          *and backs it up it to an online backup service

        • yankeesusa

          Whether it’s you or not that is abusing the network if your using p2p networks. If he’s not using p2p networks than he should be ok. I also highly doubt that T-Mobile disables his data like you said. If they did I would look into it and file a report.

        • m0rpheux

          he message me with his slow home connection that the here is a video que posted on his youtube u can clearly see the 4g/lte tryin to conect and gets d/c probly by the antena or some settin on there side limiting it to 2 tb per month https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Vy0A4LQD_E after tmobile “banned” him until the new cycle started when the new cycle started it all went to work normal

    • Guest

      How can he possibly use 2TB? What the hell does he download, if you don’t mind me asking?

      • m0rpheux

        clearly stated my friend uses it mostly for upload he backup all his stuff on a online backup service he records lots of videos in 4k

    • Brandon J

      “friend”