In the wake of AT&T huge throttling fine, T-Mobile becomes more transparent about how it “de-prioritizes” unlimited users


In the wake of AT&T’s $100 million fine from the FCC, which it got for throttling its unlimited data customers, T-Mobile has finally become a bit more transparent on how and why it sometimes de-prioritizes its own unlimited data customers.

Here’s a TL;DR bullet-point list of what’s going on here:

  • T-Mobile doesn’t throttle its unlimited data users.
  • T-Mobile does de-prioritize users who go over 21GB of data, but only does so at times and in places of heavy congestion.
  • Once you are de-prioritized, you will stay that way until your next billing cycle.
  • Most people won’t notice it when de-prioritization is taking place – it’s only going to be noticeable during those periods of heavy congestion.
  • 21GB of data represents more than what 97% of users use each month.
  • T-Mobile is going to recalculate that 21GB number each quarter, so it could go up or down depending on how other people use their data.
  • Music Freedom won’t count toward that 21GB number.
  • However, once you are de-prioritized, Music Freedom won’t really matter anymore.

Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth:

To provide the best possible experience for the most possible customers, and to minimize capacity issues and degradation in network performance, we manage Unlimited high-speed data usage through prioritization. Unlimited high-speed data customers who use more data than what 97% of all customers use in a month, based on recent historical averages (updated quarterly), will have their data usage de-prioritized compared to the data usage of other customers at times and at locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources, which may result in slower data speeds. Customers who use data in violation of their Rate Plan terms or T-Mobile’s Terms and Conditions may be excluded from this calculation. Data that might be whitelisted for other (fixed allotment) plan options, such as data associated with Music Freedom, does not count towards Unlimited high-speed data customers’ usage for this calculation. Based on network statistics for the most recent quarter, Unlimited high-speed data customers who use more than 21GB of data during a billing cycle will be de-prioritized for the remainder of the billing cycle in times and at locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources. At the start of the next bill cycle, the customer’s usage status is reset, and this data traffic is no longer de-prioritized.

While it’s nice to see T-Mobile be more transparent now, it would have been even better to have this knowledge before T-Mobile started de-prioritizing. This just reeks of T-Mobile only wanting to cover its butt.

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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