T-Mobile Clarifies Throttling – Defines “Unlimited” as 21GB

T-Mobile news tracking site TmoNews has noticed a subtle recent change in the fine print attached to T-Mobile "Unlimited Data" plans.

Last month T-Mobile began enforcing "Data Prioritization" that slowed down "customers who use more data than what is used by 97% of what all customers use in a given month" on congested towers - but it was unclear just how much data usage it took to get you put into the penalty box.

The new fine print makes it clear and unambiguous:

“Unlimited 4G LTE customers who use more than 21 GB of data in a bill cycle will have their data usage de-prioritized compared to other customers for that bill cycle at locations and times when competing network demands occur, resulting in relatively slower speeds.”

This is an improvement over the uncertainty - but it is certainly still disappointing for those who crave truly unlimited data.

T-Mobile users who have been flagged for de-prioritization report that it feels like they are "fighting over the scraps" of data, getting substantially less than 1Mbps speeds while other T-Mobile customers nearby are still getting over 10Mbps.

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T-Mobile Puts On The Brakes, Sprint Eases Off

It is ironic to see the "#uncarrier" T-Mobile increasing restrictions on unlimited plan customers the same week that Sprint announced that they are ceasing throttling unlimited users at all.

The current state of LTE throttling:

  • Verizon: Grandfathered unlimited data plans are not throttled.
  • Sprint: No throttling.
  • T-Mobile: Unlimited customers are throttled on congested towers after 21GB usage.
  • AT&T: Grandfathered unlimited customers are throttled on congested towers after 5GB usage.

Though they are hard to come by, for heavy data users the grandfathered Verizon unlimited plans remain the gold standard for RVers with heavy data needs. T-Mobile is still a solid choice as a secondary network - but with Sprint backing away from limits it is becoming a more compelling secondary choice now as well.


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