T-Mobile to throttle customers who use unlimited LTE data for torrents/p2p


In an internal memo to staff, it’s been revealed that T-Mobile is going to clamp down on users taking advantage of their unlimited 4G/LTE plans for peer-to-peer file sharing and other misuse of their data allowance.

It reads:

“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 (T&C). 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.”

If you’re on any plan other than the Unlimited High-Speed Data plans, you don’t need to worry. Since your 4G LTE data is already capped at a set amount. This only applies to those on the old $70 unlimited or new $80 Simple Choice plan. If you are on one of those plans and need to know what is considered ‘misuse’, section 18 in T-Mobile’s terms and conditions makes it clear.

The following applicable scenarios are considered “misuse” of data (among other, more serious offenses like hacking/spreading malware/committing fraud etc.):

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.

T-Mobile’s steps for addressing misuse are outlined in the document also, making it clear that “only” unlimited customers are affected. And that it’s not a case of being throttled without warning.

  1. T-Mobile will contact customers to explain terms and conditions to them, and then advise them that data speed could be reduced until the next billing cycle IF they continue to misuse the data service.
  2. When the customer is contacted, T-Mobile will apply a ‘Misuse Warning SOC’ to their account.
  3. If behavior continues, the existing warning SOC is replaced by a ‘Misuse Throttle SOC’ and their data speeds get reduced.
  4. These SOCs are visible to customer care and other staff who access the user’s account, to make it clear to them why they might be experiencing slower speeds.

As previously stated, these measures will be put in place from August 17th. It’s likely that the number of people engaged in this is relatively small. And yet, it’s clearly a big enough problem to warrant a special “dedicated team” to address it.

In short, if you’re downloading torrents or constantly broadcasting online using your unlimited plan, now would be a good time to stop.  Leaked document below:


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  • PassionateTmobiles

    Its really shitty that the “data police” have to come in and tell us how to spread our data around. No one is saying that porn is a problem, but p2p is? Why even have a network? Why not just go back to aluminum cans and bits of string. Seems like a real bait and switch. I’d drop their service and go to a different network, but they all suck.

    • Fet

      You dont understand what bait and switch means.
      You dont understand what terms of service are.
      You dont understand much about much. Stop typing and go back to the basement.

    • Jamison Shaw

      They have to come in and tell you people how to spread your network around because there are people out there consuming hundreds of gb’s a month by illegally tethering. Get over it. That is against the ToS, and detrimental the network. If 20 people do that per sector, there would be no network at all. Edge speeds is what you would be dealing with.

    • Paul

      So it’s wrong of them to enforce their contract that you agreed to, and enforce laws against illegal behavior like P2P sharing and Torretning illegal materials? Right. Not sure you understand how contracts work, what a bait-n-switch is, or that a lot of digital materials are illegal to share.

  • Alex Zapata

    “I have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions”: biggest lie ever apparently……..

    • donnybee

      It’s amazing, isn’t it?

      I’m blown away really. This isn’t rocket science. This isn’t bait and switch. This isn’t changing the terms. This isn’t rewriting terms. This isn’t taking away endless data.

  • Jake Lewis

    But don’t P2P users channel thru an encrypted VPN (at least those that are sharing copyrighted material). I fail to see how T-Mobile will be able to differentiate between this traffic and someone who is connected to their corperate VPN and is downloading spreadsheets or whatever else T-Mobile consider fair use.

    • JamesG

      Spreadsheets normally aren’t 10GBs

      • niftydl

        It isn’t even the size of the downloads, but the frequency and amount of data packets P2P uses. A single data stream from a server to the phone is not putting nearly as much load on the networking/tower gear as a single phone talking to 20+ other peers at the same time.

  • https://free-cupones.com Kees Hessels

    1. Why does T-Mobile persist in the opinion that when you use pear to pear, that you are an illigal downloaded.
    I am a software tester and i test multi Linux versions per day, which i download.
    2. I also use pear based Dropbox like solutions for my corporate customers utorrent sync, T-Mobile is only able to see the difference if they were to inspect (deep package inspection) our confidential data. It’s not there business to look at our data.
    3. Since the whole Nsa /Snowden affair, many overseas corporate customers don’t like the cloud so much anymore, they are not sure if either the Nsa or other state agencies see there cloud solutions as a free shopping candy mall, distributed pear to pear solutions are rapidly becoming a standard way to protect from spying eyes. Not everybody believes that the Nsa does not work together with the big American multinationals.

    • Applebag

      Peer. PEER.

    • Jimbo831

      It doesn’t say these downloads are illegal at all. It violates their terms of service. Legal or illegal, they feel it causes network congestion problems. Why don’t you just download these using your home internet connection?

      • fizdog

        Exactly what I said but I wouldn’t use a phone for any of that nonsense

        • TheCudder

          People with rooted phones tend to use unlimited data plans to also serve as their home WiFi.

    • Mikey Donohue
    • Slurms.Mckenzie

      Sounds like BS to me. If you’re a software tester, why are you relying on your T-mobile connection to download multiple Linux distros every day?
      If it’s for a job or business, why are you relying (and paying and breaking the TOS) on a consumer grade connection?

      • https://free-cupones.com Kees Hessels

        Why BS ? If i buy an unlimited connection, and later they try to change it to limited then who is breaking the rules ? If you cant keep your promise of unlimited then don’t sell it as such. and try to change the rules AFTER people have bought your product.

        • https://free-cupones.com Kees Hessels

          PS. Not everybody lives in an area where there are highspeed landlines, nor should it matter in this discussion.

        • bakgwailo

          Well, they aren’t changing the rules since it was in the contract you signed, and you should be using a real (business class) connection if you are running a company. Seriously serving up files to client on a server connected via a mobile link? Really?

          Also, as a (supposed) tech person, you must realize the insane amount of damage bittorrent does on cell networks due to the crazy amounts of packets get sent out. Mobile cell towers are limited, they are not like land line infrastructure.

        • https://free-cupones.com Kees Hessels

          1. Lets agree to disagree on the rules. I think if they advocate unlimited, it should mean unlimited. you think companies should be allowed to mislead customers by burying it in the little letters.

          2. From a technical point of view i do not disagree with you, however p2p technology ( legal or illegal) is a technology that is actively being used by many users and companies. It is not up to the providers to dictate what technologies we should or should not use. I agree that current mobile base stations are nowhere near being optimized for this, but why should this be a problem for the consumer ? These are problems that need to be solved technically and financially and thus a problem for the providers. You can not blame customers for the fact that the corporations do not want to sufficiently invest. They rather take some people and turn them into black sheep just to keep them from performing the necessary investments.

        • https://free-cupones.com Kees Hessels

          May i point out that by this whole Snowden NSA affair, many non us companies are switching to p2p technologies. Not because they are afraid of doing something illigal and wanting to hide it, but who is to say that some nsa employee(s) do not sell their secrets to a US competitor(s) So there you are as a non US company, seeing another company with products from your R&D. This whole affair of snooping and denying it has a lot of companies worried. There are quite a few suspicious cases out there that suggest this may have happened more then once. ( airbus boeing incident) These companies are actively looking to p2p solutions to distribute their corporate data. Thanks to the U.S. government ( and telcoms providing selling them data) p2p is only becoming more mainstream.

        • bakgwailo

          1. But it is unlimited either way. For things not against the TOS, it is unlimited bandwidth. For things that violate the TOS (which you signed), it is still unlimited, but throttled at lower speeds.

          2. What? Cell node technology has advanced quite a bit. It is technically limited by number of connection to the tower and its packet handling which is all dictated from spectrum and doing things over the air. The current technology is what is limiting the consumer, and over coming this will take a long time to research, and even longer to deploy. So yeah, as a consumer you are directly limited by the current generation of technology that may or may not be overcome. You, as an individual consumer are being selfish torrenting, as you are destroying every other user connected to that node’s experience. It is what it is, and if you want to use bittorrent, then pony up for a real land line connection that uses technology that can handle it.

        • https://free-cupones.com Kees Hessels

          1. We disagree.
          2. You are talking about a cell tower not being able to handle the multiple radiowave connections. The solution ? Add more towers/stations. no more problems. In the post below i am arguing that p2p tech is a normal technology used in many apps fields from messaging to file sharing. A few bad people having bad ideas and doing thing illigal do not negate the fact that p2p technologie is here to stay, it is being used widely by more and more applications, people and conpanies ( see post below) .

          The only way to determine what is what is to inspect the data. You can not criminalize a few people because you do not want to. unfortunate p2p tech is build to withstand these kind of deep packet inspections. The world is changing, and it can not always be perfect, but it’s even more immoral to criminalize people for using a common technology. I do not disagree with the fact that you should do anything illegal, however if we create a habit of prosecuting people solely based on the tech they use it is discrimination pure and simple.

        • Windy

          At the end of the day, a business has the right to set terms of use. For whatever reason, T-Mobile has decided that p2p is not an acceptable use of their 4G service. It’s in the contract. A customer’s reasons for not wanting to abide by a contract he has already signed are irrelevant and invalid. If the customer disagrees with that limitation, they can decline to contract with T-Mobile. Once the contract is signed, you agree to the terms, regardless of your philosophies or reasonings for why alternative terms would be better. That’s what a contract is — two parties agreeing to abide by the terms of a business transaction. If you need a service that allows you to access unlimited p2p sharing, T-Mobile is not the service to use. Whatever their reason, it’s in their TOS, and no, the fact that it’s not advertised in their commercials and on billboards doesn’t take away from that. Contract law 101, know what you’re signing. If you don’t, that’s your bad. If you think T-Mobile should choose a different business model, vote with your pocketbook by choosing another carrier. That’s the ethical way to protest. Agreeing to something and then disregarding it or complaining about it later is not ethical. If you don’t like it, don’t agree to it — before entering into a legally binding contract.

        • Ant Modrow

          what makes me wonder is you can get LTE but no landline cable/dsl service. seems like the companies need to get there head out of there ass.

    • roy bot

      “Pear to pear” .. you really should proofread your English. ;)

      • Ant Modrow


  • http://about.me/daylondeon Deacon

    i say good. slow those fools down. they’re abusing it.

  • Bryann Pena

    What is torrenting? P2P?

    I just use my unlimited plan to watch videos from time to time on youtube ( 2-4 videos a day), use facebook and twitter and an anime forum where i discuss with other people, i always use from 3 GB to 7 GB a month, also my unlimited plan comes with 5 GB of hotspot, would i be affected by this?


    • Manny

      Nope. P2P and Torrenting is very specific.

      • Bryann Pena

        Alright thanks

    • trapdoo

      Popcorn time app for Android. Google it

  • https://free-cupones.com Kees Hessels

    I would be all for data-throtling and fair use policies if they would pay back the people that use internet just 2 times a week to check their emails. and not use more then my 80 year old grany, Are there not a lot of customers that are overpaying ? are there not a lot of customers that use waaay less then the average ? should they not be reimbursed ?

    This sounds like a very one-sided story to me.

    They extort a large amount of cash from the very casual user. in fact they make more money on them, then the relative few abusers. Besides, the market creates the abusers , if the content companies would have reasonable prices andor would adapt their business model to the current day and age and what the market demands, we would not have abusers…. just more users, and this point would become a non issue.

    So now we are in a situation, were the media companies and internet providerscable companies) try to label regular internet users to criminals because they are to lazy to change their model(s), and the providers are hypocritically trying to give the downed user another kick by penalizing them and users that that legally use the same technologies. while profiting from users that use way less then the average. To me this has the sound of hypocrisy written all over, and thus NO.. T-Mobile should not be allowed to throttle users, by unilaterally changing the contractual agreements.

    • donnybee

      “unilaterally changing the contractual agreements”

      You signed the paperwork. You have copies. T-Mobile didn’t come to your house, find the paperwork, and change it. You agreed to it.
      And in the case of market vs. abusers – the abuse also sends the cost of the goods to go up. Litigation to protect property isn’t cheap. Losing money because people steal, costs money. So in effect, the abusers who complain about the cost of the produced work, end up causing the market prices to go up from their abuse. It’s a circle that will never end, but one thing is certain..there are unethical and illegal things that people do consciously that can’t be justified. Nobody is making them do illegal things. So that argument isn’t valid.

      Back on topic: this isn’t a free-for-all network. This is a network of users who have all agreed to use it in a certain way. The internet is huge. The restrictions are small. If your life is ruined because you can’t find anything else to do online except for those handful of activities that you agreed to not do, then that’s your fault. The majority of us have plenty of things to do using this network that all fall under the intended use. If you don’t like the policies, don’t agree to them. If you don’t like the consequences, don’t break the rules. If you can’t use this network without breaking the rules, maybe you should switch.

      Sorry, but I don’t take pity on any of the rule-breakers. Nobody forced you to agree to the terms.

      • roy bot

        ha ha all you do is root, edit a .db file, unlimited tethering data. there will always be a workaround for use-of-bandwidth limits, they know it and don’t really try to fight it. so, I don’t know what tools/haters like you think they’re accomplishing by trying to scold people – because nobody cares. NOBODY, including the tel. co. so, STFU maybe?

    • Dumbass

      You know they have different plans, right?
      It’s their own damn fault if they see they only use 500MB a month but continue to pay for a substantially higher plan.

  • Benny

    T-Mobile should have done this long time ago. To make it simple, T-Mobile should discontinue unlimited high speed 4G plan. People can always find ways to get around to limitations.

    • donnybee

      The thing that gets me is this has been in their terms for a while now. They had said it’s against the rules. People chose to break the rules. So by not enforcing this before now, T-Mobile effectively let the rule-breakers get by.. And now those same rule-breakers are angry?

      HOW CRAZY!

      They should be thankful T-Mobile let them skate by unaffected while they did! You agree to use someone else’s network in it’s intended use, but then violate it left and right, and have the audacity to get mad when they start restricting you?

      And I’m sick of hearing how you’re somehow not getting unlimited data now. Regardless of speed, you’re getting unlimited data. Do you think people covered by only EDGE speeds aren’t getting unlimited data just because they’re restricted in speeds? Sure, it’s not a SOC that’s restricting them, but network performance is a restriction in and of itself. So unlimited doesn’t refer to the speed, people. It refers to the amount!! Get it through your head! You still have unlimited. You still have terms of use. Nobody is cheating you, so stop trying to cheat them!

      This is a simple subject. You break the rules, you don’t get all the benefits. You don’t like it? Quit breaking the rules, or leave. Either way, the network will be much stronger and better for those of us who follow the rules.

      • Mike

        They said unlimited LTE speeds. Therefore, they cannot reduce that now.

        • Singleweird

          remember when you took an electronic pen and signed your name after -not- reading your service agreement? me neither.

      • Aaron

        Yeah it’s not there network, I pay into it do its mine to. You pay for a membership into the tmo family so makes it your network…

      • Mike cook

        Haha!! This guy just went on a bout throttled data being Un limited….UN….LIMITED…that word literally means no limit on data…It does not specify speed or amount..Therefore it’s false advertisement…period!

    • Popo Signs

      wow sir you are dumb as they come. Thats like saying hey let’s hold back civilization. No the answer is to upgrade the networks and make everything free and open. GEEZ

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/110297224959855395697 Brad B

      You should talk to at&t. Not to T-Mobile.

  • fetaera

    I have to reiterate here: P2P is simply -not- harming the network. Not for you, the person who reads emails once daily, nor for you, person who does so 100 times daily, youtubes constantly, is connected to a VPN/server/whatever on a permanent basis. LTE is better than 95% of fibre optic links available anywhere in the world. Bottom line: It’s nothing more than scaremongering in order to sustain and gain further $$$. Simple.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/110297224959855395697 Brad B

      That’s dumb to say. Virtually all internet goes through land lines.

      • p2p.killah

        no, whats dumb is calling 50gb excessive. ffs, standard def movies on play can excees 2gb each!!! one per day exceeds your retarded 50gb fictional limit!!! stop spreading lies and fud, moron!!

        • https://plus.google.com/u/0/110297224959855395697 Brad B

          I would talk to at&t.

        • https://plus.google.com/u/0/110297224959855395697 Brad B

          And in any case. Comcast only lets you watch TV on Verizon or through WiFi. I is annoying. So, no matter the data limit you would need to break the agreement.

  • mingkee

    T-Mobile is pretty aware of excessive network usage.
    Not so long after LTE has been deployed in Downtown Brooklyn, I start to see it’s overloaded, and I have hard time to use VoLTE with Note 3 (chopping or losing voice).
    I usually use 20-30GB a month due to massive file transfer (downloaded from home through traditional FTP) and Youtube/Livestream/Simple TV watching, but I still under the radar.

  • https://free-cupones.com Kees Hessels

    I think that if they make a lot of money on people that have very little data consumption, you lose a little with a few that have a large consumption. The payed in the beginning for unlimited as was advertised. otherwise they should have advertised: “unlimited for a limited time only”.

  • dustin

    Well, i use about 60-100 gigs a month. I watch a lot of streaming, and i do download torrents a few times a week. For me it’s economical because i don’t have wifi, and if I’m paying for it, they shouldn’t have a right to slow me down. I’ve never done anything else but use alot of data! I barely use my hotspot service.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/110297224959855395697 Brad B

      50 is excessive if it degrades their systems. But if you are not causing a problem than they l let you use any amount.

      • p2p.killah

        50gb is far from excessive. I can get 50gb down in a few hours on LTE…..that’s nothing!!! just going through device setup after a rom flash uses over 1gb…building and testing roms can mean having to do that dozens of times a day…now multiply that by, say, 10 updates in a month, which is very normal if the android version you are using is new or buggy, and you’re WELL over that 50gb fictional ‘limit’ in a week!!!

  • Popo Signs

    Wow look at you pussies. Bitching over this. T-mobile needs to be the first to offer unlimited hotspot and get over it. You think that’s not the next step? It is. You heard it here first.

    • roy bot

      they already do you just have to be smarter than the machine, so it’s self-limiting. works for me.

      • p2p.killah

        there is only one true method that works, and i’ll assume it’s the one you are using. if i’m correct, it works for me with unlimited torrenting….fyi

  • HeWhoGameZ

    Most people can pretty much ignore this. Tmo is cracking down on people using TB of torrents and such. Using 100GB on torrents will not get you throttled.

    • youngj0308

      How can you be so sure?

      • HeWhoGameZ

        I’ve tested it and talked to Tmo support about it. I’ve used 2TB before with no repercussions. Although I do not reccomend going past about 5TB. A few hundred GB will be more than enough for acceptable data usage.

        • roy bot

          yeah rep on the phone told me the same thing, said everyone there does it too.

        • him

          Lies! I’m at 53 Gb this month without p2p usage and they are throttling me to dial up speeds. So much for unlimited. .

    • him

      Lies! I’m at 53 Gb this month without p2p usage and they are throttling me to dial up speeds.

      • Anonymous_DNS

        No its not lol i’ve used 110gbs and Im still not throttled

        • https://plus.google.com/u/0/110297224959855395697 Brad B

          It depends on where you are. In my area I can use an excessive amount of data at extreme speeds and they won’t throttle. They even gave me a third line on the two line unlimited old 20 dollar plan at 20 dollars for unlimited.

        • John Moore

          You guys are small frys! I’ve used upwards of 600gb in one month, and routinely use 250gb-350gb. and I’ve never been throttled. Those of you who THINK you’re throttled, probably aren’t. They said they will send you warnings via txt and email first. None of you said they got those. So you are just a victim of the fact Tmo’s network is the worst in the nation. As a side note… My new BLU DASH 5.5 (model D470U) does not seem to report wifi tethering AT ALL! It reports ALL USAGE AS PHONE USAGE! YEE HAW FUCKERS!!!

        • p2p.killah

          same…all torrents, too. it’s not a matter of location, but knowing how to hide your usage

      • p2p.killah

        i’ve used well over 100gb exclusively on torrents and never been throttled. learn to hide your usage and you can get truly unlimited too

  • Joe

    Can we use p2p sharing on 2g?

  • https://free-cupones.com Kees Hessels

    So basically they are saying if you are a heavy user AND you are doing p2p we do not like that, however if you are a heavy use without p2p it is good. So basically t-mob is dictating to me what technology i should use. i agree that you would hit people that download movies over bittorrent, but also legit users that use the same tech for good purposes. so to sum it up, you are allowed to have a gun, because the person behind is pulls the trigger, but when you apply this to p2p tech one does not want to permit it.

    t-mob does not have the right to dictate which tech i should or should not use. Period.Yes they put it in there disclamer or conditions, that however does not make it valid.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/110297224959855395697 Brad B

      P2P degrades their servers.

  • https://free-cupones.com Kees Hessels

    Again, it is not the illegal downloading that i am advocating, it is the abuse of a large provider to dictate the public what technology is “good” and what is “bad” and thus is criminalized.

  • Joe

    P2P Such as Torrenting can cause quite a bit of network congestion when more of the users of the network are involved. They aren’t really prepared for a large portion of their customers to be running at full speed 24/7 it would be like traffic in chicago vs the autobahn.

  • me

    I’m at 53 Gb usage this month and tmobile has started to throttle me to dial-up speeds. I don’t use torrents or p2p downloads so wtf? So much for unlimited!

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/110297224959855395697 Brad B

      50GB is the ceiling. Please read the terms. And 50 is excessive for a phone.

  • Luis Cisneros

    Same here 60Gb every month and I notice they
    always switch me to edge every now and then.
    I’ll still find a way lol

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/110297224959855395697 Brad B

      50 GB is the max limit ceiling before they take action to make you stop using excessive amounts because it degrades everyone else.

  • Sowalnut Pov

    I’m at 14 gb in my new cycle and they are throttling me right now they mine as well cap me at 60 gb and give me my speed back

  • p2p.killah

    hahaha…throttle…right!! i’ve used 100s of gb in a billing cycle and downloaded torrents like a crackhead and never been throttled. so much for that threat!! tmo can’t keep track of you if you are smart about hiding.

    • Karan Bhullar

      how do you hide your usage though?

      • yardie

        Pda net
        but I’ve been throttled this month. Which means they are throttling you regardless if they think it’s legit or no

    • rob

      Really though comcast cost less than tmobile for 300gb which I fly through. . I luckily only use around 40gb on phone

  • Mrichey

    I need help. I have Rooted Lgl9 w unlimtd plan 80$ 5gb tether/hotspot what do i do so i can use unlimited tether to my pc via usb.

    Ty in advance. I am a noob but can follow texhnical instructions well.

  • Noah

    50 GB’s? excessive? what kind of drugs are they on I can use 60 GB’s in month just by watching videos/movies from Google Play or Youtube.

  • Dan Lodi

    I m glad they are cracking down on it….it’s idiots like you that screw up the experience for the rest of us

  • Lu Padula

    I was lied also