According to Phone Scoop, T-Mobile has announced that instead of charging a per megabyte fee to users that go over the 5GB limit of its webConnect data plan, the company will slow down the user's data connections. The company has also announced that users of its 200MB monthly plan will now pay $0.10/MB instead of $0.20/MB.
I'm a bit torn on this latest announcement. On the one hand, I like the fact that if a user hits over the 5GB that there's no overage fee. However, on the other hand, what does a slower connection really end up being? I have yet to see details of how much slower the connection will become after 5GB is reached for consumption for the month.
I have a Sprint account for my USB dongle that does have an overage fee, and the current plan for Sprint's Overdrive on its 4G network has no limit, but Sprint does still enforce a limit and overage on its 3G, even with the Overdrive package. So, while Sprint is wrestling with what connectivity model to go with, it seems that T-Mobile has decided that throttling the connection speed of what is now essentially an unlimited plan makes the most sense.
I'm hopeful that as T-Mobile and Sprint both play with their plans, and AT&T gets into a new offering with the iPad 3G, that maybe we'll finally see an elimination of the overage fee and true all-you-can-eat bandwidth plans. After all, for almost $70 a month to Sprint and others, you'd think that instead of a 5GB limit, it would be all you can eat, especially when you compare that monthly fee to the one that most people pay for all-you-can-eat cable-based internet access.
UPDATE: I received word from a T-Mobile sales rep that when the connection is throttled, it will still be usable for browsing, email, and IM, but not for streaming audio/video. If that's really the case, I can deal with it being throttled, since I try to stay away from streaming on my mobile broadband anyway.
UPDATE2: The same T-Mobile sales rep just dropped off the below screenshot. According to T-Mobile, after customers hit 5GB of usage, the connection speed will be reduced to allow for
"light Web surfing and e-mailing, but does not provide an optimal experience for data intensive tasks like video streaming, file downloading, or picture viewing"