T-Mobile UK Flip-Flops on New ‘Fair Use’ Data Caps


When T-Mobile UK decided to up and change contractual terms for all existing, upgrading, and new subscribers to a soft limit of 500MB of data per month, regardless of whether the user was on an existing 1GB or 3GB plan, the backlash from media and consumers was not only inevitable but justified. Just two days after the initial imposition of the new plan, TMoUK is back pedaling, stating that existing customers won’t be subject to the new terms.

New subscribers and those upgrading will still get hit with the 500MB data cap, but the carrier says it will give its new policy a hard look before determining if it stays or goes. A statement was issues by TMoUK VP Linda Hardy via the company’s website:

“There will be no change to the data packages for existing customers for the duration of their contract and we apologise for any confusion caused. The revision to the Fair Use Policy is designed to ensure an improved quality of service for all mobile internet users.”

500MB is an awfully small amount, but given T-Mobile’s original explanation that their average user users only 200MB per month, we fault them more for the out-of-left-field changes that were anything but fair to users in the name of “fair” use.

[via RegisterHardware]

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  1. 3G on T-Mobile is so slow in the UK, you usually wait untill you’re in a WiFi zone to do whatever you need to do, unless it’s e-mailing, simple browsing or downloading small apps

  2. I surf on their high speed network in the uk HSPA and 9 times out of 10 I’m getting speeds of between 4 and 7Meg. It totally rocks – when my contract is up, I will negotiate to keep the 3gig limit or leave for another provider.

  3. My wife and I both use under 200MB, so I don’t see why you’d call 500MB an awfully small amount. The only way I can see doing that much data is by streaming large amounts of audio/video or never using Wifi. Most of my data goes through wifi.

  4. Woop! I was just about to send them an angry email :P

    I hit around 500MB most months so the cap just wouldn’t have sufficed.

    I doubt I will be staying with T-mobile after this since they apparently see fit to just change the terms of contracts part way through. The 3GB cap was one of the main reasons I went with T-mobile originally.

  5. Disgraceful changing from 3GB to 500MB and claiming at the end of their press release that this will make customers user experience better.

    I will go with the Three network and their One Plan with truly unlimited data use, even with tethering. They also offered free Skype calls and now that video calling will soon be available on Skype with Android, even better. Only thing for me will be more battery use, I use GSM on my phone to get better battery life and Three is on 3G only.

  6. 500mb is nothing, I use between 50-100mb per day.

  7. Ok so someone explain to me where this logic is coming from.
    The average user uses only 200 mb, so it makes sense to shrink the network to improve the user experience some magical godly way, and the only way to improve said experience is to cripple the heavy users?
    I smell BS.


    Still sucks for new users though. However, quite a few will now decide to be a new user with a different carrier should they research a little. This is going to keep biting T-Mob for some time…

    @Hank: you are the kind of users T-Mobile wants instead of us filthy data suckers using our phones to full capacity by viewing videos in web pages, calling using Skype or any other high-bandwidth activity demonstrated in their adverts.

  9. I used 307MB and 269MB the last 2 months. If you’re using more than 500MB, you should stop downloading porn. I think 500MB is a very acceptable limit before throttling starts.

  10. If the average user only uses 200mb then surely there wouldn’t be a need for a cap.I’m glad people power finally prevailed,I use way above 500mb a month so it would have effected me big time.

  11. Not everyone uses their phone for Facebook and weather updates.
    My usage through my exchange account is over 300MB per month with all the attachments.
    Then I have personal emails, etc.
    People take their office with them now, 500MB is a joke.

  12. I’m on Sprint, and I use approx 4gb per month. I have an android and it shouldn’t be called a cellphone. It’s a very multi capable device.

  13. I have used 558mb and my billing cycle still have 12 days left. good things its “unlimited”

  14. I thought I was going to be a heavy data user but i’ve only ever gone above 200MB twice in the last 9 months and 1 of those was 200.08MB while the other was because of E3 but still only 346MB.

  15. Wow yhete are actually people hete defending this decision by tmobile? Are you kidding me? The main issue is not that they are changing plans but that they are going back and changing previous contracts. What’s the point of aignibg a cobtract if they cam go nack and mess with your fees amd services and.not alkow uou to say or do anything about it.

  16. @Bela

    Wow dude, were you drunk when you wrote that?

    Back on topic,

    So I’m good, until I decide to upgrade my contract? That’s still kinda lame.

  17. People need to stop touting about how they only use so much data and that they see no problem with this. Not everyone uses their phones the same way! I bet many of you don’t use it much for watching videos or perhaps even subscribe to a tethering plan, do you? If you are fine paying $20-$30 a month because you only send a few emails or use little web browsing then don’t complain that others use more. I don’t even have wifi at my house, I use my phone for most of my internet needs. Why should I have to suffer and pay out the ass for both home and mobile internet if I don’t have too? The point is, not everyone uses their phones the same.

  18. I was sold my ‘Internet 24’ package as being a fully media enabled phone, I went with T-mobile because they were offering a higher data allowance than other networks.
    I asked specifically about the 3GB data limit and was told it was one of the main features of the package, I could use it how I wished, 3GB is 3GB tethered or otherwise.
    Many of these phones come with Youtube, Soundhound, Shazam, Spotify, iPlayer apps already preinstalled and these are exactly the services they are suggesting they want to block!

    My package was marketed and sold to me as having this data allowance and went a long way towards justifying a contract phone over my previous Pay as U Go.

    I don’t see why people should feel guilty about using what they paid for. That said I have not come anything close to using 3GB in a month but I have had to rely on it on two occasions so far where i’ve hit over 1GB.

    I’m glad T-mobile have back peddled on this now, but I don’t know what i’ll do once this contract is up. The networks all seem as bad as each other now :(

  19. I guess the 5GB soft cap on T-Mobile USA doesn’t look so bad now, lol.

  20. If you don’t breach 500mb per month I can only assume you’re almost always on WiFi.

    Just from browsing, instant messaging and the occasional YouTube once every few days, I easily go over 500mb. Easily. I’m usually around the 1GB mark per month.

    I think if you’d be happy with a 500mb limit or think it’s enough, you probably shouldn’t be using a smartphone.

    And yes, the HSPA speeds on T-Mobile are impressive, and I don’t even live in a major city.

  21. @OFI “The networks all seem as bad as each other now :(”

    not true, i think it was at the start of the week, three announced they was giving uncapped data usage, thats real unlimited internet not “unlimited (up to 3gb)”

  22. Im wondering about the “for the remainder of their contract” bit.

    People on 18 month contracts will obviously lose the 3gb limit when their 18 month contract runs out.

    But what about those who are on 1 month Rolling contracts…..?

  23. For all those wondering about what to do when your 18-month contract is ‘up’, unless you upgrade, it becomes a 30-day rolling contract automatically. Hence, you haven’t technically changed contract, so should retain the 3gb FUP.

    Simply buy a new unlocked phone, and bung in your SIM :)

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