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Internal T-Mobile memo outlining the new data policy.  (Source:
Another nail in the unlimited data coffin

You might remember when T-Mobile, back in August, was being sued for throttling its "unlimited" data plans without any indication its plans were anything but unlimited. Well, it doesn't look like the nation's fourth-largest carrier is going to stop doing so. Instead, it will decrease the data cap to 5 GB, and do a better job of telling its customers about the policy, Tmonews reports.

Starting October 16, if customers exceed 5 GB of data usage in a single billing cycle, they will receive a text message warning them that their data speeds will be reduced until the next billing cycle starts. T-Mobile claims this policy will affect less than 1 percent of its customer base -- the "extreme data users" -- and will ensure "that all subscribers receive the best Web performance available by limiting the number of extreme data users on our network."

Previously, T-Mobile capped usage as it saw fit (usually at around 10 GB) thanks to the following paragraph of fine print:

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.

This was the issue in the class action lawsuit filed against the company. What many don't realize, however, is that the company has been capping its WebConnect USB aircards at 5 GB for some time now. The latest policy change will align all of the company's data plans.

With the latest development, T-Mobile has -- as is often the case -- taken a different route than its larger competitors. AT&T began offering capped data services in June (with 2GB as its highest option). Rather than throttling speeds after exceeding the capped amount, the company charges what are, in effect, overages. Verizon, too, has announced plans to launch capped data some time next year. And while Sprint hasn't expressly stated plans to follow suit, CEO Dan Hesse has indicated the provider would be open to charging even more for 4G (it currently charges an additional $10), or going to tiered data plans.

Is this the end of unlimited data plans as we know it?

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RE: Why I don't have a data plan
By sprockkets on 10/14/2010 11:57:59 AM , Rating: 2
Why cap a person's bandwidth if they exceed an arbitrary amount of data, if there's no congestion?

Would you rather them throttle data all day long whether or not you exceeded your allotment?

Penalize the data hogs, not the normal users.

RE: Why I don't have a data plan
By spread on 10/14/2010 12:21:50 PM , Rating: 2
Penalize the data hogs, not the normal users.

What data hogs? If I pay for a plan I want my money's worth.

RE: Why I don't have a data plan
By sprockkets on 10/14/10, Rating: 0
RE: Why I don't have a data plan
By Samus on 10/14/2010 12:53:00 PM , Rating: 2
I think this is the most plausable action T-Mobile could take, considering every other option hurts everybody.

RE: Why I don't have a data plan
By spread on 10/14/2010 5:55:51 PM , Rating: 2
Those who have no life and download over 5GB on their PHONE, DUH.

It's not just a phone, you can also tether it to a laptop and do work on that.

RE: Why I don't have a data plan
By sprockkets on 10/14/2010 10:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
Officially no, not without a fee.

RE: Why I don't have a data plan
By redbone75 on 10/15/2010 10:50:24 AM , Rating: 2
If I pay for a plan I want my money's worth.

Therein lies the problem: carriers don't clearly define your money's worth, nor do they clearly define what happens and how when/if you exceed your money's worth.

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