dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
11929
share rss forum feed

ConstantineM

join:2011-09-02
San Jose, CA

1 recommendation

[T-Mobile] throttling on Walmart 30$/mo 5GB@4G plan [4G][2G]

Since there is a lot of misinformation out there, I'd thought I'd share my experience.

Was watching Netflix on my Galaxy Nexus, power by T-Mobile USA 30$ plan, with 5GB at 4G speeds. When I started watching Netflix that day, my monthly usage was at about 4.75GB (according to the stats in the phone itself, and mostly due to prior Netflix). Almost exactly after about reaching 5GB, within about 40 minutes of starting to watch Netflix, I received a message that my 5GB are over (the only prior message was when I crossed 4GB). A couple of minutes after receiving such message, Netflix got kaput.

I did a speedtest, still connected to 3G (4G). (Yes, they don't actually disconnect you from 3G, they just throttle you whilst you are on their 3G.) A very stable and exact 60 kbps down (exactly 60 kbps throughout two tests, without any jerks or anything); up speed was at 29 kbps and 36 kbps (unstable with some jerks, but clearly slower than downstream).

Decided to "downgrade" to 2G within the phone settings. Now connected to EDGE, the two speedtests were 77kbps and 92kbps download (but not very stable, e.g. with some jerking around), and 111kbps and 119 kbps upload.

Conclusion:

0. They downgrade you to dialup speeds right away when you reach the 5GB limit, at least in Northern California. No grace period or technical glitches on when the downgrade takes effect.

1. They don't actually downgrade you to 2G speeds and disconnect from 3G. Instead, they throttle you at exactly 60kbps download on 3G, and about 30kbps upload. This is basically slightly better than dialup, with unstable upload.

2. Manually switching your phone to 2G might get rid of the limits, and might get you better speeds, but download speed will not be as stable; however, upload will be much-much better.

Is this OK with me?

I'm very disappointed that they downgrade you to 60kbps down / 30kbps up. That's clearly not what most people would think 2G is supposed to be, should they ever check out EDGE specs, or run a speed test on EDGE. Their throttled 4G is not just slow, it's practically unusable. I'd expect to receive at least 120 kbps down and up when downgraded from 4G to 2G. With 120kbps, you wouldn't be able to use Netflix, which clearly consumes too much traffic, but could at least still use other stuff like VoIP and radio streaming and such.

Exactly 60kbps down, with about 30kbps up, is not 2G. When I think EDGE, a minimum of 120kbps comes to mind.

And, to top it off, it's not like there is an Unlimited Nationwide 4G on Monthly4G; so, there's not even any realistic options to pay more to continue watching Netflix for the rest of the month. I think an extra 10$ to upgrade to Unlimited Nationwide 4G would be a welcome addition to the list of add-ons. Or maybe even a 5 buck option to get unlimited throttling at 1Mbps?


ztmike
Mark for moderation
Premium
join:2001-08-02
Michigan City, IN
What do you expect? They clearly state the plans details. Use WiFi if you're going to be streaming heavy traffic apps.

I'll be trying this plan out once I get the Nexus 4 since I don't use voice calls that often. And for most people 5GB is more than enough and its still unlimited so its not like you'll be cut off completely.


SysOp

join:2001-04-18
Douglasville, GA

4 edits
reply to ConstantineM
Just get the $90 plan already

»deals.t-mobile.com/unlimited-data-plan


morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000
reply to ConstantineM
Thanks for the detail. Would be nice if the 2G was higher, but you get what you pay for (usually).


Hagar

join:2004-10-31
Sunnyvale, CA
+1

ConstantineM

join:2011-09-02
San Jose, CA

1 edit
reply to SysOp

Monthly4G vs. Value vs. Classic

said by SysOp:

Just get the $90 plan already

»deals.t-mobile.com/unlimited-data-plan

Why would anyone get a Classic Individual Plan with a Galaxy Nexus bought directly from Google?

The Unlimited Nationwide 4G is available on the Value Plans, too: 500 minutes on Value costs 34,99$ (vs. 39,99$ on Classic), Unlimited 2GB@4G on a Value plan is a 10$ buck add-on (vs. 20$ on Classic), and Unlimited Nationwide 4G on any plan (Value or Classic) is a 10$ more than the 2GB option.

»www.t-mobile.com/shop/Packages/V···ges.aspx

Total for Unlimited Nationwide 4G (data with no throttling and with unlimited video streaming) on a Value plan is 54,99$/month + taxes and bogus fees (even on Classic it'd be only 75+$, and not 90+$).

But even Value plans, which come with no device subsidy (thus hardly any extra expense on the carrier's side) still require a 2-year contract (really dumb requirement, IMHO), in addition to the 35$/line activation fee! If it was at least a month-to-month contract with no activation fees, I might be somewhat more inclined.

ConstantineM

join:2011-09-02
San Jose, CA
reply to morbo

actual 2G networks easily get you 200kbps down and up

said by morbo:

Thanks for the detail. Would be nice if the 2G was higher, but you get what you pay for (usually).

True; the offer is still not a bad deal; the issue here is that they misadvertise the features.

I pre-paid for another month (e.g. no more throttling for now), disabled 3G, and did a 3 speed-test runs on EDGE in Co Co Co, San Ramon (original tests as above were in Sacramento). On 2G GSM/EDGE in San Ramon on 2012-11-08T21:15/30, Thursday, when not subject to any throttling: 210, 200 and 205 kbps downstream, 186, 199 and 191 kbps upstream.

So, 2G is clearly very much so capable of giving you 200kbps both down and up (not necessarily simultaneously); capping 4G at 60kbps down and 30kbps up, is by no means "speeds slowed to up to 2G speeds", that's speeds slowed to nothing more than dialup and to be completely unusable for just about anything other than text-based protocols.

Advertising is wrong. Should they cap it at 120kbps down and 120kbps up, I'd be a happy camper; although, frankly, 200kbps during non-peak hours sounds like a more realistic "up to 2G speeds" promise (although EDGE spec can even go higher than that). Else, they should at least offer reasonable upgrade possibilities, and change their advertising and fine print. In fact, I think most people presume that speeds would be capped at 200kbps or so, but they clearly don't seem to be capped so by TMo, going an order of magnitude slower.


SysOp

join:2001-04-18
Douglasville, GA
Reviews:
·MetroPCS

4 edits
reply to ConstantineM

Re: Monthly4G vs. Value vs. Classic

I can't agree with your expectations with a $30 plan.

With your current plan it's only $30 for every 5gb so $60 for 10gb of high speed data seems like a good deal with no contract.

As you can see here 10gb is the best you can do if you want to tether. Since your phone has root and does not have the t-mobile tether manager you should be ok with the $89 plan if you so happen to need more than 15gb of mobile data.

Unlimited - Ultra with Smartphone Mobile HotSpot Service

Unlimited data on the T-Mobile network for enjoying HD entertainment, games, and music (up to 10 GB of high-speed data included). Limited-time offer! Share your phone’s high-speed Internet connection on the go with up to five Wi-Fi devices, plus get 10 GB of photo and video storage for free (a $19.98 value).

$124.99
per month


Unlimited - Premium with Smartphone Mobile HotSpot Service

Unlimited data on the T-Mobile network for sharing video and streaming entertainment (up to 5 GB of high-speed data included). Limited–time offer! Share your phone’s high-speed Internet connection on the go with up to five Wi-Fi devices, plus get 10 GB of photo and video storage for free (a $19.98 value).

$94.99
per month


Unlimited Nationwide 4G

Unlimited 4G data on T-Mobile network for accessing the web, streaming music and HD video, and downloading cool apps—as much as you want. No limits and no overages.

$89.99
per month


Unlimited - Plus

Unlimited data on the T-Mobile network for social networking and navigating (up to 2 GB of high-speed data included)

$79.99
per month


Hagar

join:2004-10-31
Sunnyvale, CA
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to ConstantineM

Re: actual 2G networks easily get you 200kbps down and up

Thank you for expanding on your experience. I read T-mobile use of 2G speeds much less literal than you. Given how fast and loose T-mobile (and other providers) use the term 4G.

For the average user and marketing droid; faster than 3G is 4G and slower than 3G is 2G.

My gripe with the $30 5G plan is not the throttled speed but that I cannot start the next month earlier if I hit the 5GB limit. It is a pre paid plan who cares when the billing cycle started. Looks like poorly implemented billing system. I see no other reason for T-mobile to have this limitation.

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
said by Hagar:

...My gripe with the $30 5G plan is not the throttled speed but that I cannot start the next month earlier if I hit the 5GB limit. It is a pre paid plan who cares when the billing cycle started. Looks like poorly implemented billing system. I see no other reason for T-mobile to have this limitation.

It's called positioning. If you want more than 5G then pay for it with the $70 unlimited plan. I understand that you might only want this 2-3 times per year and the flexibility to circumvent the 5G limit, but that's how they make money. Last I checked, they are in business to make money.
That said, from my research, T-Mobile has the most generous data plans of anyone out there.

On another note, they advertise the Unlimited web as "up to 4G speeds". So anything >0 to me would qualify .


Hagar

join:2004-10-31
Sunnyvale, CA
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·AT&T U-Verse
It turns out I was wrong people have reported that you can start a new $30 5G period when you hit the 5 GB limit. It may require a chat with a T-mobile but it doable.

So if you have T-mobile coverage where you are located then they are a pretty good choice.

bbear2
Premium
join:2003-10-06
94045
kudos:5
That's awesome news. Very customer friendly. to T-Mobile.