T-Mobile’s doing all they can to be pro-consumer and improve their network, but they aren’t happy about one small group of customers who are abusing their generosity. The company’s CEO has gone on record to call out a small fraction of their customer base — about 3,000 people, which is less than 1/100th of 1% — who have been wrongfully using workarounds to use more tethered LTE data than they’re supposed to.
Here’s the skinny: T-Mobile’s unlimited 4G LTE data plans come with fully unlimited data with no throttling or caps, though you only get to use a portion of that data (7GB is the current cap) when you tether / use it as a WiFi hotspot. Once you hit your cap you can still use hotspot, but you’ll be slowed to 3G speeds. Seems fair.
Some users have been circumventing this limit, though, and have been using as much as 2TB of tethered data per month. Let’s put that into perspective: I don’t even use 500GB per month on my home network, which is used to download tons of games, stream tons of video and do tons of work across many different tablets, phones, computers, next generation gaming consoles and set-top boxes. These guys have quadrupled my home usage on their mobile phones.
That’s insane. And for T-Mobile, they feel it’s not good. T-Mobile has done a lot of good work to get their network up to par with the rest of the industry, and they’d be foolish to let people abuse it and potentially affect others’ network performance in the early going. The company is already the fairest when it comes to data, so why take their kindness for weakness and give them a reason to take your goodies away?
The company is willing to make a big example out of these 3,000 folks, too — they’re going to automatically take their unlimited data plan option away and force them down onto an entry level 1GB data plan if they don’t stop their activity after a warning. Those who do get this hammer of justice can choose to upgrade to a more plentiful pool of data if they want, but unlimited will no longer be an option. This would allow T-Mobile to throttle their data if they once again attempt to abuse the network.
T-Mobile says they also have tools that can reliably detect when people use workarounds to use more hotspot data than they should be able to, so unless these folks have some serious masking skills it’s unlikely they’ll be able to get away with it from here on out.
That’s the price of stealing, folks. Just be glad you don’t have to face any stiff legal action because of it. For those who follow the rules, be sure to keep doing that and don’t do anything to get on Magenta’s bad side in the future because Legere isn’t afraid to unleash his wrath when he needs to.