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  (Source: intomobile.com)
Carrier throttles data for users who exceed 5 GB or 10 GB of usage

While AT&T has done away with no-limit data plans in favor of tiered, capped plans (with Verizon expected to follow suit shortly), T-Mobile has continued to offer its customers unlimited* data services on all of its devices, including bandwidth-gulping smartphones.

Except there's a catch. Here it is, buried in fine print in T-Mobile's terms and services:

To provide the best network experience for all of our customers we may temporarily reduce data throughput for a small fraction of customers who use a disproportionate amount of bandwidth. Your data session, plan, or service may be suspended, terminated, or restricted for significant roaming or if you use your service in a way that interferes with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users.

And there is no asterisk next to "unlimited" on any of T-Mobile's merchandising. If you don't read all of the fine print, or a forthcoming sales rep doesn't warn you of the carrier's ability to throttle your data speeds as it sees fit, then you're stuck finding out the hard way, like one Trent Alvarez.

Alvarez has filed a class-action lawsuit in California against the nation's fourth-largest carrier, alleging he was misled by a T-Mobile sales representative to believe that the service plan he was signing up for truly was unlimited, ConsumerAffairs reports. Alvarez purchased two smartphones last year under two-year contract agreements. In May, he received this text message from T-Mobile:

Your data usage in this billing cycle has exceeded 10GB; Data throughput [speed] for the remainder of the cycle may be reduced to 50kbps or less.

Alvarez is alleging that the throttling renders the phones "essentially useless for anything other than making or receiving phone calls and text messages.”

The lawsuit demands an injunction that would prevent T-Mobile from advertising its plans as "unlimited," as well as restitution for the cost the class spent on smartphones.

The suit is similar to one brought against Verizon in 2007 by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who alleged invisible limits on what was marketed as "unlimited data." Verizon settled that lawsuit for $1 million.



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3G defines speed AND protocol
By deltaend on 8/12/2010 12:04:51 AM , Rating: 2
One word... contracts. Without contracts, without carrier locked phones... this would be perhaps less of an issue. But, you get locked into a deal with a company without being forewarned about something like this and suddenly you are not getting what you expected, but you can't leave without paying the company that screwed you even more money.

That said, 3G defines a standard of speed as well as a protocol (see Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, 802.11[a, b, g, & n], etc...). Saying Unlimited 3G is saying unlimited bandwidth usage at the 3G SPEED STANDARD . If you tamper with that speed with throttling, you are no longer offering the Unlimited 3G standard.

At the end of the day though, every company has the inherent right and responsibility to both punish abusers and maintain a good QoS, but I hardly call using lots of bandwidth an 'abuse' to a system, especially when that is what you paid for.




"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs














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