T-Mobile Forced To Put Speed Brakes on Speed Tests

T_Mobile_logo_Magenta_lowBack in June, T-Mobile announced that it was white-listing most music streaming services and online speed testing sites so that data used would not count against your monthly limits - and these sites would also continue to operate at full speed even on throttled connections. In the past few days then even expanded Music Freedom to include 14 additional services.

Unlike other carriers - on T-Mobile, when you hit your monthly data limits you are not charged an overage fee for more data - but rather your connection is throttled down to an anemic 64Kbps or 128Kbps for the remainder of the month. This is enough speed to get emails in and out, but not at all enough for pleasant surfing.

Though few complained that streaming music continued to work on throttled connections, some users noted that having speed tests be white-listed to bypass throttling was deceptive - making it difficult for users to know just how badly their general surfing speeds were being slowed down.

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The FCC agrees, and has asked T-Mobile to put the brakes on the speed tests. Announced this week:

The Federal Communications Commission announced today that T-Mobile US, Inc. (T-Mobile) has agreed to take steps to ensure that customers who run mobile speed tests on the carrier’s network will receive accurate information about the speed of their broadband Internet connection, even when they are subject to speed reductions pursuant to their data plans.

Within 60 days, T-Mobile has agreed to begin linking customers to speed tests "that will show actual reduced speeds", not raw maximum network speeds.

Improved transparency is a good thing in our book, even if this actually will make it a bit more difficult for our own T-Mobile speed tests.

We'll now have to be careful to make sure we never accidentally measure throttled speeds instead of network speeds when we test devices, antennas, and network performance.


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