T-Mobile cracks down on unauthorized tethering on "unlimited" data plans

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in mobile on (#K8AY)
In an open letter to T-Mobile customers with an unusually furious tone, CEO John Legere announced an immediate crackdown on 3,000 users engaging in unauthorized tethering on "unlimited 4G LTE" data plans, calling the practice "stealing data". He claims the affected users are "hacking" and "using workarounds to conceal their tethering usage" to circumvent the 7 GB cap on tethered ("Mobile HotSpot") data, allowing them to use as much as 2 terabytes of data in a month, and this behavior "could eventually have a negative effect" on other T-Mobile customers. "Customers who continue to do this will be warned, then lose access to our Unlimited 4G LTE smartphone data plan, and be moved to an entry-level limited 4G LTE data plan."

Legere is walking a fine line, because the FCC has been very clear that "unlimited means unlimited." FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said in June, "The Commission is committed to holding accountable those broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits." The commission fined AT&T $100 million for misleading mobile customers about its "unlimited" data plans, throttling data speeds after customers hit a certain data cap. Tracfone also got hit with a $40 million in January for falsely advertising its unlimited plan. Verizon had to abandoned plans to slow down 4G connection speeds for unlimited data plan customers after FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler openly called the plan "disturbing." The FCC issued a similar notice to T-Mobile last year, which improved its notifications when it throttles unlimited plan customers.

Re: Maybe they can crack down on high text message users next... (Score: 1)

by wootery@pipedot.org on 2015-09-06 15:29 (#KKW8)

Pay-per-SMS plans were ridiculous, because they were nearly free to the telco. But it makes perfect sense that data usage dominates the costs of current cellular providers, and it is inherently a constrained resource that needs to be limited.
Careful not to ignore the other side of the story here: it's not just about bandwidth contention.

Telcos have to build and maintain the infrastructure in the first place. Crazy example time: if the government banned phone-calls and mobile-data, SMS would still be 'nearly free' in the sense you use it, but the telcos would still have to recover their infrastrucure costs, so they wouldn't be able to sell SMS-only packages for super cheap.
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