T-Mobile agrees to be more transparent on customer network speeds


Yesterday, the FCC published a press release stating that T-Mobile has agreed to improve its communications with customers regarding network connection speeds. T-Mo has agreed to take steps to make sure that customers running speed tests on the network receive accurate information, even when the customer is subject to reductions after hitting their personal data limit.

The carrier will send texts to customers enabling them to get accurate speed information, and place direct links to accurate speed tests on handsets. It has also agreed to update its website disclosures, providing clearer information about the speeds customers actually experience. T-Mobile and the FCC agreed that these steps will be implemented starting immediately, and will be fully up and running within 60 days. 

Tom Wheeler, the commission’s chairman said that “the FCC is committed to ensuring that broadband providers are transparent to consumers. I’m grateful T-Mobile has worked with the FCC to ensure that its customers are better informed about the speeds they are experiencing. Consumers need this information to fully understand what they are getting with their broadband service.”

As we reported a few months ago, currently, T-Mobile exempts speed test apps and sites like Ookla’s and Sensorly’s from showing the user’s actual download speeds. So, if a customer has hit their high-speed limit and has been slowed down, when they run a speed test they see the network’s performance. Not their own speed. At the time, T-Mobile stated that “The Ookla Speedtest.net application is designed to measure true network speed–not show that a customer has exceeded their high-speed data bucket. Other speed test providers are also whitelisted.” 

With the FCC and T-Mobile’s recent agreement, if you hit your high-speed limit and are slowed down to 128kbps or 64kbps, the speed test result will reflect that.

From now onwards, if a customer hits their limit, T-Mobile will send them a text with a link to a speed test which shows their actual download speed limit. The carrier will also provide a button on customer smartphones linking to a speed test that shows actual reduced speeds. It will also modify the text messages currently being sent to customers to make it clear that certain speed tests (like Ookla, for example) may show network speeds, not their own reduced speed.

Source: FCC
Via: The Verge

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  • Verizonthunder

    Never had a issue with this just read the terms of service. No carrier anywhere is hiding the information just pay attention to what you sign.

    • JamesG

      Tmobile isn’t hiding information, they just aren’t providing accurate results to Throttled customers

      • der hurr-durr

        “they just aren’t providing accurate results to Throttled customers”



        They are white-listing speed-test applications so running your speed-tests doesn’t eat up your data. It is *THAT* simple.

        Some people seriously need to get these chips off their shoulders so they can start thinking rationally again.

        • JamesG

          Its whitelisted so it will not be effected by throttling nor does it add to your data usage thus not providing accurate data speeds. It is “THAT” simple…..

        • derp hurr-durr

          It provides perfectly accurate data speeds.

          …of the network you are connected to. Amazing, isn’t it?

          It’s also infinitely better than the alternative of allowing the tests to count against you by not white-listing them. On a 1GB plan – that’s going to hurt a hell of a lot more than this imagined harm you’ve concocted.

        • JamesG

          The data usage isn’t the issue, its the speed that you are receiving. If its white listed then how would you know the speed you receive? Do you not get the whole point of this article???

        • derp hurr-durr

          “If its white listed then how would you know the speed you receive? ”


          “Do you not get the whole point of this article???”

          Yes. Completely unlike you, apparently. Let me explain…

          No…that would take to long. Let me sum-up:

          The FCC for some reason believed T-Mobile customers were confused about the speeds they were getting and what was being reported via speed test apps. T-Mobile explained that “one of these things is not like the other.”

          Namely: Network speeds and your “capped” speeds are *not* the same thing and that Speed Test apps are white-listed, and as such report only Network speeds.

          *Accurate Network Speeds*

          The alternative (that you mistook for the point in my last response) is to accurately report “usage” speeds, but “ding” the user’s data allotment each time they run one.

          The obvious solution to anyone who takes a few moments to think rather than emotionally lash out, is to provide accurate network speeds and inform users when they are near their caps, when they have reached their caps, and make sure they are aware that their personal speeds will be less than network speeds until the cap is lifted.

  • gpt2010

    If you hit your data cap, you are probably on the wrong plan to start out with. I am not sure why this is a big deal. No one cares to see your data speeds when you are throttled. It is going to be slow regardless. Why torture yourself on a speed test at that point? On a side note, if TMO is getting rid of edge with 4G, how will throttling work after edge is completely gone? Will they force edge like speeds or will 3G be the slowest you can get dropped down to?

    • Oms

      When they throttle your speeds you stay connected to LTE, you are just slowed down on your phone. So, by getting rid of Edge, when you exceeds your high speed cap you will can still be slowed down to “2G” speeds while still on a 3G, 4G, or LTE connection.

  • Encino Stan

    “T-Mobile exempts speed test apps and sites … from showing the user’s actual download speeds. So, if a customer has hit their high-speed limit … they see the network’s performance.” I prefer this. I want to know what the network speed is at the location I am at, throttled or not. FCC is just looking for something to be picky with. I thought T-Mobile’s policy was very clear.

    • JamesG

      I thought it was as well, but some may not know what throttling to 2G speeds mean or dont pay attention at all to what they signed up for….

      • Verizonthunder

        Or you can just Google the term and find out.

        • JamesG

          Thats to easy for simple minded folk

        • Verizonthunder

          Just a suggestion as you seemed at a loss with the t-mobile terms of service. Any information that is accessible for the public for any carrier list the restrictions on the bottom or back of the information provided. If you cannot see them you can request a larger font information or have it enlarged.

        • JamesG

          I understand the terms, but the majority of people don’t read them at all because they are sucked into their cell phone and sign blindly. Next they bitch because something that was clearly stated on the agreement they signed is happening. I wish this kind of bullshit wasn’t allowed

        • Verizonthunder

          It’s there own fault and did asking ever hurt anyone? All they would need to do is ask for large font, if paper form ask to have it enlarged or send to email for personal view.

        • JamesG

          Thats the problem, people don’t read it. Do you think if they get it at a later date then they will read it? I know its their fault but the consumer will always but the fault on the company for their own stupidity

        • Jones

          Smoetimes ppl hurt ppl for asking, I dont want to get hurt….. WTF is email?

        • John Johnson

          “but the majority of people don’t read them at all because they are sucked into their cell phone and sign blindly.”

          It is because they are Entitled to what they want, when they want, without responsibility.

          Ignorance, incompetence, and apathy are the cornerstones of modern consumerism.

          Defend it to the death…but the death of what?

          This kind of thing shouldn’t make you mad. It should enrage you.

  • 1ceTr0n

    I might be going back to AT&T after all….

    • jay_max

      For what you’ll pay AT&T, you can get the unlimited, unthrottled data plan with TMO. Have fun with that.

      • eAbyss

        T-Mobile throttles the top 2-3% of unlimited data users.

        • UMA_Fan

          No they dont.

    • derp hurr-durr

      So you can burn through your data allotment by running speed tests?

      Go for it.

      (What? T-Mobile allows us to perform speed-tests without having it affect our data bucket? WELL SCREW THEM! I’M SWITCHING!)

      Pure comic genius, guys. Really. Can’t wait to see your next act….

    • JamesG

      Because of this? Do you even understand?

    • gmo8492

      Yeah because At&t never lies to its customers and always makes sure to follow FCC guidelines that benefit the consumer…smh

  • Jrunner

    Get an app that tracks your usage and manage your data if you’re worried about being throttled. I have the low end plan and know if I got over my 1 GB, it’s going to drop. Not that hard to figure out, and I know I’m getting what I pay for (and still would rather be throttled than pay another $10-20 for more data that I may only use for a few days before the end of the month). With music freedom we still get more than you would on the other networks. Now, if you could only actually connect to and use data when you’re stuck on 2G Edge outside of cities, that’s what I’m more concerned about…

    • Cam Bunton

      I use Dataman on iOS, love it. Also comes with a handy Notification Center widget.

    • eAbyss

      Android has data usage tracking and capping built in.

      You might try the “reduce data usage” setting in Chrome. It compresses everything to be viewed in Chrome before it’s sent to you to reduce your data usage.

  • Jay J. Blanco

    Well that’s the way the cookie crumbles

  • Mike

    So would it be true to say that the speed test results (throttled or not) do not accurately show your specific speeds on the network but rather show a generic
    speeds? It’s all too confusing since I get crappy speeds even though in a robust LTE area. Data just renewed. 10.5 down and 0.8 up On LTE

    • JamesG

      The speedtest shows the max speed you are getting from the tower. The problem is that it doesn’t show your throttled speed which would be around .02mb down

    • Mark J

      Outskirts of Dallas downtown .07 mile from tower 4G LTE 5 bars + Tmo signal booster I can’t get more .34 .50 down and if I lucky 2Mb Up between 9am -6pm Called Tmo for months and no solution only answer is ..towers are working. It Is a joke

  • TK

    They likely have all the speed tests iQOS’d up so that they can show fast speeds regardless of the state of the network for normal use. This is like only showing the one $20 bill in a wallet full of ones, and letting people assume they are getting all $20’s.

    • JamesG

      The speed test will show the exact state of the network. What it isn’t showing is what speed you are throttling at

      • Jrunner

        Wanted to point out that I looked back at what I throttled at this time last year (on the last day of my plan after going over)… Looks like about 0.17 to 0.08 Mbps down, about 0.12 to 0.02 Mbps up. Was still good enough at the time to stream music at a low bitrate (pre music freedom) but everything else loaded, although much slower. Hope that helps!

  • Jay Holm

    This AWS-3 auction has been going on for nearly 2 full weeks, still no news. . .hmm

    • Cam Bunton

      I wrote a piece on the AWS-3 auction either at the weekend, or on Friday. Nothing T-Mo specific to report on that I haven’t already written. Auctions have been known to go on for weeks. In short: Verizon, AT&T and Dish are bidding in their billions.. T-Mobile, not so much.

      • Jay Holm

        Hmm…maybe their saving for the 600mhz auction.

        • Cam Bunton

          That, and also, they don’t have the spending power of the big two. Nowhere near them in terms of cash flow/spectrum. From what I gather, VZW and AT&T are much more in need of AWS-3 spectrum than T-Mo are. T-Mo needs low-band.

        • DirkDigg1er

          The question is will it be enough? Sprint ($10b+) vs Dish ($17b) vs Small Carriers. It’s clearly geared toward Dish and Sprint for the reserve spectrum.

  • Mike Thaler

    So – they say I will be throttled to either 64Kbs or 128Kbs – depending on plan. I have the “regular” Simple Choice plan. Would it be cut back to 64 or 128?

  • Enchiladas Valdez

    Because #web# is so difficult

  • TechHog

    Serves this piece of crap company right! I can’t wait to leave…

  • eAbyss

    What may be more accurate for a few individuals is going to skew the results for everyone else. Every aggregated result is now going to be skewed by throttled results which will make them worthlessly inaccurate.