T-Mobile has backtracked on its decision to drastically cut the mobile data use allowances for existing as well as new smartphone customers, following an explosion of public anger at the move.
On Wednesday, the operator said it will now only offer the reduced levels of data to new and upgrading customers, while existing customers will get the 1-3GB they signed up for until their contracts run out.
The U-turn, announced on Wednesday afternoon, came shortly after the consumer group Which? said its legal team were of the opinion that T-Mobile was breaking its own terms and conditions by announcing the 'fair use' cap cut less than a month after it will come into force on 1 February. The cut, which will mean an 83 percent reduction in the amount of data an Android user is supposed to use each month — from 3GB to 500MB — was only announced over the weekend.
"Which?'s legal team says that by failing to give customers 30 days' notice of such significant changes, T-Mobile is likely to be in breach of its own terms and conditions," Which? said in a blog post on Tuesday. "If T-Mobile insists on applying the new fair usage caps to existing customers, we believe it should postpone their implementation until all its customers have had 30 days written notice of the changes and thus ample opportunity to protest."
In a statement posted on T-Mobile's customer support site on Wednesday, T-Mobile vice president Lysa Hardy said that existing customers would not be affected after all.
"Following a further review of our policy, these changes will now be introduced from 1 February, to new and upgrading customers only — not existing customers," Hardy wrote. "There will be no change to the data packages for existing customers for the duration of their contract and we apologise for any confusion caused."
T-Mobile does not charge its customers extra for exceeding the fair use limit, but it does throttle the speed of their mobile broadband connections between 4pm and midnight each day for the remainder of the month, once that level has been passed.