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T-Mobile to Throttle Unlimited LTE Users Who Use P2P
by Karl Bode 12:35PM Wednesday Aug 13 2014 Tipped by unoriginal See Profile
User unoriginal See Profile directs our attention to a leaked memo sent to T-Mobile staff that indicates T-Mobile is going to start clamping down on customers who use their T-Mobile LTE connections for peer-to-peer file sharing. The memo notes that starting August 17, T-Mobile will begin reaching out to these users to remind them to read terms and conditions, which prohibits a number of behaviors including P2P. If the P2P use persists, the T-Mobile user account will be flagged and their speeds will be throttled back. Notes 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.”
Section 18 of T-Mobile's terms and conditions explains what T-Mobile considers acceptable use of an unlimited LTE plan:
Using the Service in connection with server devices or host computer applications, including continuous Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine-to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing applications that are broadcast to multiple servers or recipients, “bots” or similar routines that could disrupt net user groups or email use by others or other applications that denigrate network capacity or functionality.
Users on T-Mobile's metered plans will not be impacted, meaning T-Mobile may soon be getting a letter from Tom Wheeler expressing concern that the company is using network congestion as a way to drive users to costlier plans. So far, there have been no quips from CEO John Legere on the issue.

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Purcellville, VA
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon Online DSL

3 recommendations

Its not OK for T-Mo to do this

I cant see the justification for P2P throttling besides "OH its illegal" (and it is not always the case). T-Mobile itself advertises its LTE network as the "Data Strong" network. It was built from the ground up to support data usage - their LTE/HSDPA towers use some of the newest equipment and they provisioned fiber back haul to every 3G or LTE tower.

There should be no problems with congestion right now. Even in a big city during peak times I can manage to pull 4Mbit down, 2 up with 60ms ping on an ancient iPhone 4 off of their refarmed 3G.

Throttling should not be done on a per-user basis. It should be done on a per-tower basis to ensure QoS. Rural tower with 4 people in it? Open the floodgates for them. Urban tower that's overloaded? Ration bandwidth.

Honestly, due to the way cell phone data is, selling traditional plans like on DSL/Cable/Fiber wont work that well due to the constantly fluctuating amount of users per tower.

There needs to be a middle ground. Data is not a scarce resource. The FCC needs to stop being the pet of the Telcos/Cablecos/Cellcos and set up strict rules before this cap and throttling mess gets out of hand.