T-Mobile gives customers less mobile data

T-Mobile gives customers less mobile data

Summary: The operator, which will cut its 'fair-use' cap for mobile internet usage to 500MB a month, has told its customers to stop watching videos and downloading files on their phones

TOPICS: Broadband, Mobility

T-Mobile has announced that it will halve the amount of data contract customers will get under its fair-use cap for mobile internet.

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In a note that went up on the T-Mobile support site over the weekend, the company said that from 1 February, it will be "aligning" its fair-use policies to introduce a new cap of 500MB a month. T-Mobile's current fair-use limit for contracts that include internet access is 1GB a month.

"Our mobile broadband and internet on your phone service is best used for browsing, which means looking at your favourite websites like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, BBC News and more, checking your email and looking for information, but not watching videos or downloading files," T-Mobile said.

"If you want to download, stream and watch video clips, save that stuff for your home broadband," it added.

The operator does not charge its customers for going over its fair use cap, but it does restrict downloading and streaming once the limit has been passed. "Important services such as email and web browsing" continue to be available regardless of whether the customer exceeds the cap, T-Mobile said in a statement on Monday.

T-Mobile customers with a contract for an Android phone have until now been automatically given an add-on called 'internet on your phone Plus', which gives a cap of 3GB a month. However, according to a Twitter post made through T-Mobile's official UK support account on Monday, even these customers will see their cap fall to 500MB, representing a cut of more than 83 percent.

Customers with non-Android devices who have purchased the add-on separately will see their cap fall to 1GB a month.

T-Mobile's move is typical of an industry that, in the context of a rapid increase in data usage, is moving away from 'unlimited data' offers. In mid-2010, Orange, Vodafone and O2 all introduced explicit caps or reduced their existing limits. The smallest UK operator, 3, did the same, but it subsequently introduced truly unlimited data for many of its customers in December.

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Topics: Broadband, Mobility

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • It's so shocking that I'm sitting in my seat laughing, they are going to cut my allowance by 80%.. I joined t-mobile as their allowance was good! I'm sure many will join me in leaving t-mobile!
  • As @dej23 said, I joined T-Mobile because they had a better data cap than most. Will defiantly be shopping around when my contracts up.
  • another unsatisified T-Mobile customer here, when and if my handset does connect to the Internet, it is so bloody unreliable as the connection is up and down like the proverbial whores knickers.

    And they want to limit my allowance even more, to think I left 3 for these charlatans!

    I feel better now, rant over
  • Well idiot here renewed their contract with t-mobile through carphone warehouse. I am livid they want to shaft Android owners and other mobile users. Im off to have a cuss on saturday. I honestly thought a 3gb allowance and Android was too good to be true. Been with T-Mobile 3 years..this is not good for me.
  • For those looking to jump ship, but stuck with a contract - this may very well provide you with a legal basis for terminating the remainder of your contract without penalty. Such a fundamental change in terms is essentially rewriting what was agreed upon when you first signed up. If you are really considering the move, you probably need to jump as soon as this limit is active. Otherwise, they might argue your lack of objection constitutes consent.

    It is interesting to read that 'email' data will not be subject to the limit. How exactly does a carrier distinguish what data is coming/going if their not packet sniffing? And, is that email that is hosted through their servers? What about external email (gmail, corporate exchange servers, pop accounts, etc)?

    Gone are the days where 'all you can eat' really means that...
  • @erkme73 VERY good point.

    There should be a lot of customers able to bail from their T-mobile contracts under that idea.

    T-mobile are pretty bad, my mother bought a T-mobile phone on a long extended stay in the UK to keep in contact with us here in NZ. Upon her return T-mobile refused to unlock the phone from their network (even though they had no provider on this side of the planet) B@st@rds, stay well away from that company.
  • Please note we have a significant follow-on story now. To see what the consumer rights groups and Ofcom have to say, check out http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/mobile-working/2011/01/11/t-mobile-data-cap-cut-faces-consumer-group-attack-40091392/
    David Meyer
  • Not removing the download restriction off peak times is a joke.

    How does that affect the so called average user who uses only 200mb?

    My t mobile broadband is now totally useless.
    Checking emails and updating facebook?
    I can do that anywhere I don't need mobile broadband to do that.
    I was using mobile broadband for uploading videos, downloading files, youtube, usually during off peak times.
    It's 2011 people, technology and the internet is ment to be improving not getting worse.