Under an agreement announced Monday by the Federal Communications Commission, T-Mobile will begin providing more information to customers whose data speeds are slowed after they exceed their monthly high-speed data allotments. The FCC has been looking into wireless carriers' practices regarding data speed reductions since last summer.
T-Mobile customers who go past their allowances for high-speed data will now receive text messages with links to accurate speed tests to help them understand how their connections might be slowed for the remainder of their monthly plans. The mobile carrier will also be required to revamp the information it provides on its Web site about customer data speeds.
According to the FCC, T-Mobile will begin implementing the required changes "immediately," and must complete all the requirements of the agreement within 60 days. The FCC had issued an enforcement advisory this past July stating that mobile carriers and ISPs must disclose accurate information to customers about "network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of broadband services."
Speed Test Exemptions
Unlike many other mobile carriers, T-Mobile doesn't automatically begin charging customers for overages on their high-speed data plans. Instead, it slows down customers' data speeds once they have exceeded the monthly limits under their plans.
In June, T-Mobile started to not count some speed test applications as part of customers' data plans. The result was that customers whose data speeds were slowed after exceeding their plan limits would still see T-Mobile's full network speed in their test results, instead of the slower data speeds they were being served for most other applications.
The FCC said it was concerned that practice "could cause confusion for consumers and prevent them from obtaining information relevant to their use of T-Mobile services."
New Text Messages, Links
We reached out to a T-Mobile spokesperson to learn more about the wireless carrier's agreement with the FCC, and received a copy of a letter that Senior Vice President Andrew W. Levin sent to Wheeler on Monday.
In the letter, Levin explained that, under T-Mobile's "Simple Choice" plan, customers who exceed their monthly allotments of 4G LTE data will continue to receive unlimited 2G service for the remainder of their billing period. He added that T-Mobile had exempted speed tests for customers who had gone over their limits to avoid the appearance on crowd-sourced speed test sites that "T-Mobile's network was only capable of running at 2G speeds."
Levin said that, under T-Mobile's agreement with the FCC, his company would now send text messages to customers upon reaching both the 80-percent and 100-percent thresholds for high-speed data. In addition, it will send another message linking to a Web page that states, "Your speed is limited to XX kbps for the remainder of the billing period or until you upgrade. Certain speed apps that collect crowd-sourced data will show current network performance, not your current reduced speed."
The new text message to customers will also include a link to a speed test giving an accurate reading of their reduced speed, Levin said.
Posted: 2014-11-26 @ 7:35am PT
..to avoid the appearance on crowd-sourced speed test sites that "T-Mobile's network was only capable of running at 2G speeds."
That means either a LOT of people were going over their data and were being throttled, or they simply wanted to mislead the consumers.
Posted: 2014-11-25 @ 3:39pm PT
Well done! Honesty is the best policy, and a little bit of FCC prodding helps.