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