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T-Mobile Throttling Unlimited Data Customers?

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      TmoNews has reported on a story that started on Reddit where some users with unlimited data plans have been complaining that their speeds have been getting throttled.  The complaints have not gone unnoticed as the thread currently has over 300 comments and has caught the attention T-Mobile's CEO, John Legere.

      It all started when a poster commented that his data speeds had been slowed down to the likes of 0.02 Mbps.  Yes you read that right, a paltry 0.02 Mbps!  T-Mobile employee's have since chimed in on the thread to confirm this has become a recent practice of the company.  They've noted that they've seen customers data speeds get throttled once they've passed as little as 17 GB of monthly data use with speeds lowered to 0.05 Mbps.

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      Another T-Mobile employee has commented that they are not throttling, but rather prioritizing customers network use during times of heavy network congestion.


It's not a throttle. Once a customer is in the top 3% of data users in their area they become de-prioritized when they are connected to congested towers. It's all dependent on the tower connected to. I see this more in cities than small towns as the small towns don't have the congestion.

Ultimately having unlimited data is not a replacement for home internet and was never designed to be and this is what most people are using them for.

I get why this upsets people but if we let the people who are using 20, 30, 40+ GB a data a month congest the towers during peak times then the casual user that tries to get on when really needed is going to suffer.


      While I agree with the reasoning here, this is something that needs to be clear to consumers before they sign up for service.  If this is how they are going to manage unlimited data customers, they may soon have the FTC breathing down their necks with a lawsuit, much like the $40 million dollar one Tracfone recently faced and lost.  T-Mobile can choose to title what they are doing however they want, but the fact of the matter is, unless every T-Mobile customer is getting their speeds reduced to 0.02-0.05 Mbps due to network capacity limits being reached, this is in fact throttling.  Not only is it throttling, but at those speeds data is essentially unusable.
      According to the individual who started the post,  T-Mobile customer service representatives told him that when network congestion goes down, you should see your speeds climb back up, however, your service will remain low priority until your plan renews for the next month.
      Now John Legere also made note of this thread and went on to exclaim that the company does not throttle it's unlimited customers data speeds, however he did say
[quote_box_center]....only in areas where our network is completely congested for short periods of time (could be seconds, could be minutes, could be periods of time where large volumes of people are). The network management practice is how do we clear out the congestion, at a time when nobody has speeds? And I think what I’m watching happen is we must have some high volume users who are in congested areas who are looking at their speeds and believing that they’re being throttled, and putting several items together on threads[/quote_box_center]
      Once again, you can phrase things however you want, but when unlimited data customers are seeing their speeds reduced to 0.05 Mbps or less, and other customers are not making these same complaints, that is what I would call throttling.
      At least Legere has taken the time to respond to these concerns.  He's also said that he has asked his team to set up a separate forum where subscribers can further address and seek help with this issue.
      So what do you think about this?  Have any of you high data consumers experienced this issue as well?  For those of you that are using 17 GB of data or more, what are you doing with your phones to consume that much data?

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Category  T-Mobile

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5 years ago

I’m sorry, 17GB is a crap ton of data to use on a mobile device in a months time. My entire family only uses 20GB for 6 devices on our home internet in a month. It’s users like these that made AT&T and Verizon switch from offering any kind of unlimited plan in the first place.

My guess is that T-Mobile will cap download speeds in order to continue providing unlimited LTE service to all, and avoid a potential lawsuit from a handful of subscribers that could ruin it for everyone else.

5 years ago

Very interesting. T-Mobile should have expected this from the get go when they started advertising unlimited with no throttling. Now they claim it’s only prioritization for a few for a few minutes if that much.

In these times folks are trying to save money on utilities at home so I am sure many have ditched home internet for this reason.

Employess at T-Mobile must get some nasty calls from these folks being throttled and I am sure it gets stressful in the call center.

Now that emplyees are giving a straight answer the CEO is attempting to control what could be a major back fire. Seems to me T-Mobile got what it wanted and this is plenty of new customers but refuses to update their pipe and or coverage.

I know to be going over 15-20GB a month is a lot and I would never hurt my eyes by watching shows and movies on my phone all the time but T-Mobile offered unlimited and can’t seem to keep up with the demand.

If my memory serves me right, the unlimited data plan last yr cost $70 a month. Now that plan is costing $80 a month. Just way too high for me but if people are willing to pay for it with no restrictions to their up/down speeds then the provider should deliver on its promise.

I was one of those who considered going with the unlimited data plan but I guess it was too good to be true for some customers.

Again, customers should not be faulted here and if you say no caps then it’s no caps.

I possibly believe the ones who are eating up data per month are probably viewing shows/movies/videos in HD /Full HD format so this requires a lot of data. By changing one’s video settings in their account like with netflix or youtube to a lower video format, it will reduce the amount of data but why view a lower quality video when phones offer full HD viewing right?

Will be interesting to see how this plays out for T-Mobile and consumers alike. T-Mobile will not be able to take over the world with these practices like comcrap does with its internet pipe. I will be surely holding off on going with T-Mobile now until all fine print not inlcuded in the so called unlimited data is made available for everyone to read and not just interanally to T-Mobile’s folks.