T-Mobile to Restrict Unlimited Customers Using Up to 2,000 GB of Data Per Month

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T-Mobile CEO John Legere has announced that the U.S. carrier will begin taking action against customers with unlimited 4G LTE data plans that deliberately violate the company's terms and conditions by masking excessive tethering usage as smartphone data.

T-Mobile notes that less than 1% of customers are using apps or other methods to blow past their Smartphone Mobile HotSpot allotment, which is included free with every Simple Choice plan but capped at up to 7GB per month. The carrier says that, in some cases, these customers are using up to 2TB (2,000 GB) of data per month.
Here's what's happening: when customers buy our unlimited 4G LTE plan for their smartphones we include a fixed amount of LTE to be used for tethering (using the "Smartphone Mobile HotSpot" feature), at no extra cost, for the occasions when broadband may not be convenient or available. If customers hit that high-speed tethering limit, those tethering speeds slow down. If a customer needs more LTE tethering, they can add-on more. Simple.

However, these violators are going out of their way with all kinds of workarounds to steal more LTE tethered data. They're downloading apps that hide their tether usage, rooting their phones, writing code to mask their activity, etc. They are "hacking" the system to swipe high speed tethered data. These aren't naive amateurs; they are clever hackers who are willfully stealing for their own selfish gain.
T-Mobile says that customers who continue to have excessive tethering usage will first be warned, and then lose access to their unlimited 4G LTE smartphone data plan and be moved to an entry-level Simple Choice plan if they do not comply. T-Mobile began informing customers about the crackdown on network abusers today and has posted a detailed FAQ on its support forum.

T-Mobile prepaid and MetroPCS customers are not affected at this time.

Article Link: T-Mobile to Restrict Unlimited Customers Using Up to 2,000 GB of Data Per Month
 

WordsmithMR

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Mar 17, 2015
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Interesting. This is the first month that I hit 5 GBs (was warned prior to hitting 5GBs... not sure where this 7GBs is coming from) of Unlimited (between actual use and a bit of hotspot)... Usually have no issue since I have access to wifi, but I have been traveling a bit. They throttled me down to 64kbps... Had no idea there were work arounds :eek:
 
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geoff5093

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Sep 16, 2014
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The way Legere points this out makes it seem like he's still the good guy, which he is very good at. What this means though is for anyone who tethers against the TOS, even just once or twice, will now be throttled. This is one of the major reasons why people root and jailbreak their phones. Not everyone downloads terabytes of data, some just use it for those rare occasions, which now will be basically impossible. Something that Verizon still hasn't done.
 
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Warbrain

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Jun 28, 2004
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Interesting. This is the first month that I hit 5 GBs of Unlimited (between actual use and a bit of hotspot)... Usually have no issue since I have access to wifi, but I have been traveling a bit. They throttled me down to 64kbps... Had no idea there were work arounds :eek:
I've used up to 20 GB in a prior job and never once throttled. You're on "Unlimited" where they offer you so much data in a month at LTE speeds and throttle you down. I'm on truly Unlimited.
 

Warbrain

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Jun 28, 2004
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The way Legere points this out makes it seem like he's still the good guy, which he is very good at. What this means though is for anyone who tethers against the TOS, even just once or twice, will now be throttled. Something that Verizon still hasn't done.
It's excessive use. Don't try and spin this to make Verizon look like a saint when they hardly are.
 

hlfway2anywhere

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Jul 15, 2006
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They either aren't enforcing this or it's regional but our house has gone over that numerous time with zero notifications or throttling.
Should people who abuse their tethering allotment be punished? Maybe. If all of the usage is from actual smartphone use? Absolutely not.



Isn't their limit unenforced? I used 650GB a few months with Comcast earlier this year.
Just because it's unenforced doesn't mean it isn't there.
 

geoff5093

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It's excessive use. Don't try and spin this to make Verizon look like a saint when they hardly are.
Terabytes a month is definitely excessive, don't get me wrong, but only 0.01% of users use that much according to John. Some people need more than the what, 5GB/mo T-Mobile offers, so they use these apps.
 

69Mustang

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Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
The way Legere points this out makes it seem like he's still the good guy, which he is very good at. What this means though is for anyone who tethers against the TOS, even just once or twice, will now be throttled. This is one of the major reasons why people root and jailbreak their phones. Not everyone downloads terabytes of data, some just use it for those rare occasions, which now will be basically impossible. Something that Verizon still hasn't done.
Where did you see that? Says in the post: "T-Mobile says that customers who continue to have excessive tethering usage will first be warned, and then lose access to their unlimited 4G LTE smartphone data plan and be moved to an entry-level Simple Choice plan if they do not comply."
 

Art0fLife

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May 31, 2014
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What exactly is the reason for limits anyway? I'm genuinely curious if someone could explain. In my mind, it doesn't seem like "data" is a limited commodity like water or gas or something, is it? Always wondered why there's a monthly cap on internet usage (not just mobile data).

Since we "cut the cable" and went all Netflix (and other streaming services) we regularly hit our limit of 500GB a month on our internet and they'd charge outlandish fees like 5 dollars per GB over. Now that our company has bumped it up to 1TB a month for all it's customers, we've been good. But for a house of more than two people like ours who stream all entertainment like we do rather than supporting double dipping (charing 100+ per month and bombarding you with commercials every 10 minutes) I can easily see 2TB being a problem.

I've just always thought it was internet companies who often work in line with cable TV companies just wanting to keep you from being able to use streaming as a viable alternative to massively overcharging you and still getting money from advertisements. But I guess that doesn't make sense in the case of mobile carriers.
 
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geoff5093

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Where did you see that? Says in the post: "T-Mobile says that customers who continue to have excessive tethering usage will first be warned, and then lose access to their unlimited 4G LTE smartphone data plan and be moved to an entry-level Simple Choice plan if they do not comply."
I was reading on a different blog that T-Mobile will throttle those users. What you said is way worse.
 

geoff5093

macrumors 68020
Sep 16, 2014
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Dover, NH
What exactly is the reason for limits anyway? I'm genuinely curious if someone could explain. In my mind, it doesn't seem like "data" is a limited commodity like water or gas or something, is it? Always wondered why there's a monthly cap on internet usage (not just mobile data).

Since we "cut the cable" and went all Netflix (and other streaming services) we regularly hit our limit of 500GB a month on our internet and they'd charge outlandish fees like 5 dollars per GB over. Now that our company has bumped it up to 1TB a month for all it's customers, we've been good. But for a house of more than two people like ours who stream all entertainment like we do rather than supporting double dipping (charing 100+ per month and bombarding you with commercials every 10 minutes) I can easily see 2TB being a problem.

I've just always thought it was internet companies who often work in line with cable TV companies just wanting to keep you from being able to use streaming as a viable alternative to massively overcharging you and still getting money from advertisements. But I guess that doesn't make sense in the case of mobile carriers.
Most of it is exaggerated by wireless providers to justify such a high cost per GB for data, especially Verizon and AT&T. Data itself doesn't have much of a cost to it, it's the infrastructure to carry that data. The more data being consumed on a tower, means more improvements need to be made to accommodate that as a tower only has so much spectrum that can be used concurrently. If more and more people are downloading more and more data, companies need to purchase additional spectrum, upgrade their backhaul, etc.

The biggest difference between wired and wireless is that wireless is a shared medium. Carriers highly prefer to limit customers data use so they can have more customers on a tower before having to upgrade or add more towers.

It's still way overblown.
 

BeSweeet

macrumors 68000
Apr 2, 2009
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What exactly is the reason for limits anyway? I'm genuinely curious if someone could explain. In my mind, it doesn't seem like "data" is a limited commodity like water or gas or something, is it? Always wondered why there's a monthly cap on internet usage (not just mobile data).

I've just always thought it was internet companies who often work in line with cable TV companies just wanting to keep you from being able to use streaming as a viable alternative to massively overcharging you and still getting money from advertisements. But I guess that doesn't make sense in the case of mobile carriers.
It's very much a limited commodity. There's only a certain amount of spectrum allocated to each carrier. It's up to the government to open up more (done through auctions).
 

omenatarhuri

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2010
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I'm glad that in my country when you buy unlimited its unlimited, tether or no tether. Even the operators call data limits "stupid" in their commercials.
 

CEmajr

macrumors 601
Dec 18, 2012
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Charlotte, NC
2TB is absolutely ridiculous. All of the combined devices in my place usually only hit around 500-600GB per month on Time Warner. Talk about abuse of the network. It's not even that expensive to just pay an ISP. T-Mobile unlimited is $80/mo for new customers while Time Warner sells a 150mbps plan with no limits for just $50/mo. What's the point?
 
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