T-Mobile tiptoes around data throttling, iPhone Wi-Fi calling

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
T-Mobile executives at the company's "Uncarrier" event on Tuesday appeared to come down on both sides of the throttling issue, noting that users exceeding their allotments will see slower speeds, but that heavy data users will not see their bandwidth throttled.

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Speaking at the company's media event in New York, T-Mobile CEO John Legere addressed the possibility of throttling. T-Mobile customers with set data limits ? the base 500MB plan or the 2.5GB plan, for example ? will see their their speeds dropping to 3G levels should they go over those limits.

The company's execs say that it will not, however, throttle the bandwidth of high-data consumers on unlimited plans, so long as they aren't inhibiting the fair access of other customers.

"We put a fair use policy in," Legere said during the event's question and answer section. That fair use policy is aimed more at keeping the network open to other wireless customers, and T-Mobile apparently already has customers using massive amounts of data without being throttled. One exec noted that some customers are using more than 50GB per month, but the times in which they are doing so aren't adversely affecting other customers.

"If there is ever a case where we're going to use a fair use policy," VentureBeat quotes Legere saying, "we're going to post it so you can have a look at it. It's not a number ? if someone is having a party at 3am [using a ton of data], I don't really care."

T-Mobile's executives on stage attempted to parry accusations that they were trying to have it both ways on throttling. They pointed out that all of the rate plans get top 4G speeds up until their data limits. Speaking with Barrons, T-Mobile marketing officer Mike Sievert said that the company had tailored its pricing and data rates to fit the usage patterns of power users.

Throttling has become point of contention between the carriers on one side and heavy data users and consumer advocates on the other. AT&T ? as do most of the major carriers ? touts its plans as offering "unlimited data," but the network drops user speeds once they pass a 5GB threshold within a month. In February of last year, an iPhone user successfully sued AT&T over its throttling measures, winning $850 from the carrier.

The carrier also announced that its version of the iPhone 5 will not initially support T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Calling technology. Speaking with Engadget, Sievert said that Wi-Fi Calling "is not coming" at launch. Pressed on the issue, Sievert said that T-Mobile "loves its Wi-Fi Calling feature, and I'll have to leave it at that."

The Wi-Fi Calling feature allows T-Mobile customers abroad to receive calls from their US phone number through a Wi-Fi connection anywhere in the world. The feature is currently available on a number of Android devices on the carrier.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    nexusphannexusphan Posts: 260member


    Fortunately there is no contract so if you find them to be throttling you, leave. No fees, no questions asked. That's why they don't throttle.

  • Reply 2 of 17
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    If the 4G network can only handle so much traffic, then bumping you down to 3G (no overage fee, no limit) after a certain point seems like a reasonable compromise. And they let you set what that point is.

    I'm more interested in the details of limits/throttling with tethering.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,795member
    The wifi calling is a great feature. Carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint offer Femtocells for people with poor indoor coverage at home. Sprint gives this device to users for free but I think Verizon and AT&T may charge for the actual device and even a monthly fee which seems insane to me.

    These devices are a godsend if you happen to get poor indoor coverage at home and in suburbia that happens a lot more frequently than carriers want to admit. But being able to completely skip those femtocells devices completely and just let your phone connect directly over wifi is a very neat trick.

    I have never used T-Mobile but I thought that wifi calling was activated by an Android app. Maybe they are dancing around the issue because they need to get the iOS app approved by Apple first to enable the wifi calling feature.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,558member


    The main purpose of throttling and limits is to scare customers into paying more money. It's the same thing they used to do with minutes and "overage" charges, where most people were scared into buying more minutes than they needed.


     


    Don't listen to anyone who starts defending this with talk about infrastructure investment, limited bandwidth, blah, blah, blah... It's all about carriers maximizing they get out of you each month through fear and intimidation.


     


    This "fair use" policy is what makes sense from a network management standpoint. If bandwidth is temporarily saturated, transmission rates may get cut back. If it's not, it has no effect on the carriers network, so what's the point... other than to bleed as much money out of you as they can, if that's the way they do business.

  • Reply 5 of 17
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 708member
    So let me get this right- I have been a T-Mobile customer since last year and I will soon be getting unlimited 3G data speeds for $50 a month (since I have a 4s I can get 3G max speeds anyway). Because right now for $50 I am getting 500mb at up to 4g speeds and then it is capped at sloooow 2g. Only 2 months ago the cap was after 50mb but Tmobile upped it to 500mb for free.

    So if you have a 4s you will be getting unlimited max speed data for $50 month, no contract?

    Sounds pretty awesome and proves that my service has improved exponentially for the same price over a few short months.

    Now if they can just hurry up with the 1900mhz frequency bands for compatibility with my iPhone's 3G antenna...

    Will visual voicemail, FaceTime over cellular, and data during voice calls work on the 4s as well?
  • Reply 6 of 17
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by NexusPhan View Post


    Fortunately there is no contract so if you find them to be throttling you, leave. No fees, no questions asked. That's why they don't throttle.



    You still have to pay off your phone.  So that's a penalty in a way.  

  • Reply 7 of 17
    thomprthompr Posts: 1,510member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post







    So if you have a 4s you will be getting unlimited max speed data for $50 month, no contract?



     


    My read is that the $50 per month rate still has a limit of 500 MB.


     


    Thompson

  • Reply 8 of 17
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member


    I do not see how it is tip toeing around anything. It is saying it will not throttle you while under your high speed cap, and once you go over your high speed cap, it will not throttle you unless you are hogging data during peak hours and it is effecting overall network quality. Seems pretty straightforward and fair to me. 

  • Reply 9 of 17
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post



    So let me get this right- I have been a T-Mobile customer since last year and I will soon be getting unlimited 3G data speeds for $50 a month (since I have a 4s I can get 3G max speeds anyway). Because right now for $50 I am getting 500mb at up to 4g speeds and then it is capped at sloooow 2g. Only 2 months ago the cap was after 50mb but Tmobile upped it to 500mb for free.



    So if you have a 4s you will be getting unlimited max speed data for $50 month, no contract?



    Sounds pretty awesome and proves that my service has improved exponentially for the same price over a few short months.



    Now if they can just hurry up with the 1900mhz frequency bands for compatibility with my iPhone's 3G antenna...



    Will visual voicemail, FaceTime over cellular, and data during voice calls work on the 4s as well?


     


    Yes, you are right. Since your phone maxes out at 3G and you can't use 4G, you have unlimited 3G except where 3G is not available and you have to settle for Edge. 

  • Reply 10 of 17
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by thompr View Post


    My read is that the $50 per month rate still has a limit of 500 MB.


     


    Thompson



     


     


    According to the CEO, and how the plan works now,  the cap is only for 4G (HSTP+ and LTE). Once you reached 500MB of 4G data, you drop to unlimited 3G. The other guy's phone iPhone can't use 4G, so the cap isn't an issue for him as the max his phone can reach is 3G. There is no limit to 3G, assuming you are by a tower that suports 3G. Where I am at in Ann Arbor Michigan, 3G is spotty, but getting better. 

  • Reply 11 of 17
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    You still have to pay off your phone.  So that's a penalty in a way.  



     


     


    That is not a penalty. If you ask me to borrow $499 dollars to buy an iPhone, and I expect to be paid back regardless of a separate deal we made regardling service, there is no penalty. You are making two deals. Deal one, pay T-Mobile back for the money it is giving you to buy an iPhone. Deal two, pay it for at least one month of phone service. You can take that iPhone after it is paid off, and use it on AT&T, Straight talk, or some other comparable carrier using the same technology. 

  • Reply 12 of 17
    amritamrit Posts: 2member
    Hello Apple,

    This is an open letter and invitation to you to read everything I say.

    I'm not talking to the "executives" at Apple.

    I'm talking to APPLE.

    If you're not "APPLE," close your eyes and shut your ears.

    Are you "APPLE"?

    Prove it to me.

    Go on. Send your faxes proving you're "APPLE" to:

    (415) 967-4036

    If you send it, please follow-up with a polite phone call to:

    (415) 583-1461

    If you can prove you're not Accenture and you ARE Apple, then you'll have my confidence.

    If you can prove that you're an idiot, then you're going to get idiocy back.

    If you can prove that you're a clandestine undercover operative, then you're likely going to get smacked with a lawsuit and criminal charges.

    If you can prove that you have liquid assets totaling more than $5,000, then you're going to get audited.

    If you can prove that you're a moron working for the Bush Administration, then you'll be escorted to the World Court at the Hague.

    If you can prove that Steve Jobs is alive, then you will have my best confidence of all...you'll have the confidence of God on your side.

    Bring back Steve Jobs and stop your moaning.

    My name is Steve Jobs and I have taken ownership of Apple Computers again.

    Good day.

    Amrit Kohli
  • Reply 13 of 17
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
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  • Reply 14 of 17
    The fair use thing has been in place for a while now. Capped data plans get higher qos than unlimited plans. It isn't throttling by any means, and chances are you won't even notice it but it's there.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    "AT&T %u2014 as do most of the major carriers %u2014 touts its plans as offering 'unlimited data...'"

    No they don't. They grandfather in customers with "unlimited" plans, but no longer offer unlimited plans to new customers. Thus, they don't "tout" as "tout" means peddle or offer for sale.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    It sure would be great if all the other carriers could match the unlimited 3G data after their 4G reaches the caps wouldn't it? 3G is perfectly useable for me. 2G may as well be disconnected. In fact just go ahead and turn off 2G and use that bandwidth for 3G and 4G data.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    Wifi calling app for iphone would be wonderful, hope they add it. My wife has it on her Galaxy phone and uses it when the signals are poor. My iphone came over from ATT and doesn't yet have this option. It would make a huge difference to my T-Mobile service usage.
    Please add it T-Mobile, please......
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