T-Mobile agrees to show correct SpeedTests when throttling customers into oblivion



T-Mobile, while one of the only carriers in the US to offer completely unlimited data plans, was also one of the first to pioneer the practice of throttling its customers’ data speeds in lieu of charging overages. But there was still more work to be done. While customers no longer needed to live in fear of “bill shock,” there was still a greater need of transparency.

As it stands right, when a customer has their data speeds to reduced a crawl (usually around 128kbps or 64kbps), some speed tests will only show the speed of T-Mobile’s network as it normally stands — not the current throttled speeds. But, as part of an agreement with the FCC, T-Mobile is making some changes starting today, that they will fully implement over the next 2 months.

Here are the items T-Mobile agreed to:

  • Send customers a text message once they hit their monthly high-speed data allotment linking to a
    speed test that customers can use to determine their actual reduced speed
  • Provide a button on customer smartphones linking to a speed test that will show actual reduced
  • Modify the text messages it currently sends to customers once they hit their monthly high-speed
    data allotment to make it clear that certain speed tests may show network speeds, rather than their
    reduced speed. The modified texts also will provide more information about the speeds that will
    be available after customers exceed their data cap
  • Modify its website disclosures to better explain T-Mobile’s policies regarding speed test
    applications and where consumers can get accurate speed information.

Full disclosure is always good and should help clear some of the confusion associated with T-Mobile’s throttling policies and data speeds. Score 1 for the little guy.


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. So basically they throttle you to Sprints speed.

    1. Text message: “and if you’re enjoying our throttled speeds, check out Sprint.com for more, you sick eff.”

      1. lol nice

    2. Coming from a Galaxy S2 on Boostmobile’s 4G WiMaxx (Sprint owned & operated) their throttled speeds were actually not that bad…but when T-Mo throttles me? Holy crap my Nexus 5’s speeds are slower than the slowest snail! Since I’ve been with T-Mo I’ve be throttled once…ONCE…but never again! I mean,i get the reason why they do it but there should be a law ‘er something that limits your speed limit to 1Mbps…in my humble opinion!

  2. Last thursday I ran hulu all morning through my phone to my chromecast and when I get on the bus even though it says my connection is fine a speed test showed i was pulling .4 mbps down even though I have unlimited data with no speed cap. Needless to say I was pissed…

    1. If you were casting to a chromecast, you were using wifi.

      1. Technically yes. It was the mobile hotspot feature. My chromecast and tablet were both connected through the phone.

  3. Are speedtests results always showing the network speed instead of actual available speeds on other networks?

    1. No, in T-Mo’s case, T-Mo doesn’t throttle speed test sites even when you’re over you’re limit, hence the misleading (or incorrect depending on how you see it) results.

  4. How can speed tests show normal speeds on a throttled T-Mobile network when it’s testing download/upload speeds? They hit a server, download packets, and calculate how much time it takes to download everything in bytes; they’re not just asking the network how fast it is, right?

    1. Obviously tmobile must have not been throttling the speed test but throttling everything else

      1. correct. it is whitelisted in their servers so it won’t count towards data usage

        1. Interesting, Verizon definitely counts speed tests against data usage. (Thank god I still have unlimited)

          1. LOL I know, I once challenged a guy to multiple speed tests because I swore I would have him beat (I stood no chance). After about 15 tests his phone slowed to a crawl and that’s when I told him verizon sucked. :D Of course I was just hating cause I wish I had VZ (Unlimited anyway)

          2. yeah, that was one of the things I quickly found out when i first got a “real” 4g phone. speed tests use up a LOT of data

      2. Oh I see… not even sure how they’re doing that. Can’t the speed test not identify itself or does T-Mobile tell by the IP address it’s pinging?

  5. They have only EVER shown me .05 Mbps while I’m under throttle. Been with tmo since MyTouch4G

  6. What legitimate purpose could they have for providing unthrottled speeds on a throttled account?

  7. speed test is whitelisted so it kinda makes sense that it shows unthrottled speed while you’re throttled. it’s just a quirk of exempting certain services from the bandwidth cap imo.

  8. Again, my experience over the last 8+ years is very different. I’m honestly a bit confused with this. Why has TMO always shown me actual throttle rates using speedtest.net? Were they only doing it in certain markets?

  9. I’d be willing to pay like $5 for the option to have an actual reaaonale thrtottlw speed. I don’t usually hit the caps but everyone basically makes your phone useless for the rest of the month. Maybe drop it down to 1mb/s so data services work but it would be slow enough to deter abuse (HD streaming, torrents, etc)

    1. .02 Mbps is the cap on tmo

  10. How about a text that says “Your data limit is close to the edge.” when you’re almost about to hit the limit and another text message that says “Congratulations! You’re on the edge network. Party like it’s 1999!” after you hit the throttle hammer.

    1. It should have a link to this as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeWBS0JBNzQ

  11. Throttled: imgur/UWYCHPS

  12. You have to be a REAL data hog to have your account throttled. I’ve been on T-Mo for two years and never have I ONCE been throttled. And I hardly ever connect to WiFi.

    1. You’re wrong. They have been throttling me for the last two months and I have UNLIMITED data truly, and they throttle me because I’ve used over 20GB of data in a month. And I haven’t done ANY p2p downloading or torrentinf at all. Just mad Roms, Gapps, and other stuff. And they refuse to unthrottle me and say that I’m not throttled when I call in. Yet my LTE downloads at 60kbps and my 4G HSPA barely works consistently. Its bullshit and unfair they do this to me. I’m about to leave

      1. How am I wrong?. 20GB a month is alot to be downloading on your phone. So that still makes you a data hog my friend.

        1. What!!! 20GB is fully within my rights!! That’s not a data hog. I pay for that data I should get to use as much as I want! I download Roms, gapps, and watch Netflix and amazon prime from my phone to my TV all the time. No out of the ordinary usage. You’re ridiculous to defend them throttling me for that. Who agress?!??

          1. I don’t have WiFi as an option. BTW

            And even the T-MO rep said no, 20GB isn’t extreme 40-50 is extreme and when we look at your account.

          2. Lol. It is within your rights. And 20 gigs is definitely within throttle territory. Even if you had a 128GB iPhone 6, that’s a little under a 1/6th of your phones capacity!. You’re free to do what you want as a red blooded, t-mo bill paying citizen. But that’s still too much data to suck down on a phone. Get a notebook for Christ’s sakes.

          3. Now I know, you’re just stupid. Its ILLEGAL to throttle someone. The FCC has commented multiple times on this. If they have unlimited, and ARENT downloading torrents, IT IS ILLEGAL to take my property away, my data, and not give it to me. Its a service I pay for and it is MINE. You’re an idiot, and it has nothing to do with storage. I delete the 400mb ROM or gapps after it is installed or has a backup. Get a notebook for what?? I don’t HAVE WIFI!!! Like I said. Sorry buddy!! Tmo has no right to throttle me unless I’m braking the rules, which I am not.

          4. Lol You mad bro? I haven’t resorted to name called or typing in caps, and yet you feel the need to. At the end of the day, you’re still using too much data, you’re still getting throttled, and you still need a laptop and WiFi you broke ass bum. Have a nice day.

          5. Lol, I am mad man!! Not at you tho haha, at T-Mobile! Sorry the name calling. I was kidding. I am too broke for WiFi hehe lol but I’m only 22 and going to school. Thats why I rely on T-MOs data to get me through classes and other things.

          6. Understood. I apologize for the name calling as well then..

      2. Use wifi. Stop making data more expensive and cumbersome for everyone else. Advocate for mobile service providers to stop being so damn greedy and charge people so damn much for mobile services while your at it too. Have you seen comparisons for how good service and charges are in Europe compared to the US?

  13. NO! TMobile is teh awesome! They don’t throttle! They cure cancer!

  14. T-Mobile cured my depression too!

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