The Federal Communications Commission has told America’s wireless carriers that it’s fine if they want to drastically cut back the speed of data (or “throttle”) that their heaviest users have access to: they need to spell out to customers exactly what behaviors lead to throttling. T-Mobile has spelled this out quite clearly…in an internal memo for employees, not necessarily a clear guide for customers.
Of course not. However, the blog T-Mo News has the information that aspiring data hogs need to stay within the rules. According to the memo, beginning this Sunday, August 17, T-Mobile will find, warn, and throttle customers who are using their data plans to do things that are against T-Mobile’s Terms and Conditions. You know, that long page of things that you probably didn’t read before you agreed to them. What’s against the T-Mo T&Cs? Live webcams, BitTorrent, and other peer-to-peer file-sharing. From the memo:
T-mobile has identified customers who are heavy data users and are engaged in peer-to-peer file sharing, and tethering outside of T-Mobile’s Terms and Conditions (T&C). This results in a negative data network experience for T-Mobile customers. Beginning August 17, T-Mobile will begin to address customers who are conducting activities outside of T-Mobile’s T&Cs.
If you’re caught engaging in any of these forbidden activities on the network, there’s a special team at T-Mobile that will call you up and let you know that you’ve been bad. No, really:
T-Mobile will contact customers to explain terms and conditions to them, and then advise them that data speed could be reduced until the next billing cycle IF they continue to misuse the data service.
The new rules only apply to customers on Unlimited High-Speed Data (LTE) plans. However, after you get the call telling you that you’ve “misused” your data plan, if you’re caught “misusing” it again, that’s when the Network Abuse ninja team will throttle you.
Does this count as disclosing to consumers what it takes to get throttled? The warning call is certainly helpful, and that’s better than simply throttling users without telling them what they did wrong. In theory, this is all clearly spelled out in the terms and conditions, assuming that you read them when you first signed up. Did you?