• T-Mobile to Start Punishing Subscribers That Over-Use Tethering Data



    T-Mobile CEO John Legere has announced this week that a small amount of T-Mobile users are frustratingly misusing the T-Mobile network for their own personal gain, and they will soon be hearing from the company about their mis-use.

    All T-Mobile 4G LTE unlimited data plans come with 7GB of personal hotspot tethering, which users can take advantage of whenever there isn't a broadband connection available for the user's other devices, but users of jailbroken and rooted phones are finding clever ways around these caps by masking tethering data as smartphone data, and deliberately violating T-Mobile's terms of service.

    As a result, Legere notes that 1% of T-Mobile users are using data amounts as high as 2TB (2,000GB) of data per month, which is almost 286x the amount of data T-Mobile is willing to give you for personal hotspot tethering. Consequently, T-Mobile will be hawk-eyeing these users and slowing them down after they reach 7GB of data until they pay for an additional 7GB to tether with.

    Here’s what’s happening: when customers buy our unlimited 4G LTE plan for their smartphones we include a fixed amount of LTE to be used for tethering (using the “Smartphone Mobile HotSpot” feature), at no extra cost, for the occasions when broadband may not be convenient or available. If customers hit that high-speed tethering limit, those tethering speeds slow down. If a customer needs more LTE tethering, they can add-on more. Simple.

    However, these violators are going out of their way with all kinds of workarounds to steal more LTE tethered data. They’re downloading apps that hide their tether usage, rooting their phones, writing code to mask their activity, etc. They are “hacking” the system to swipe high speed tethered data. These aren't naive amateurs; they are clever hackers who are willfully stealing for their own selfish gain. It’s a small group – 1/100 of a percent of our 59 million customers – but some of them are using as much as 2 terabytes (2,000GB!) of data in a month. I’m not sure what they are doing with it – stealing wireless access for their entire business, powering a small cloud service, providing broadband to a small city, mining for bitcoin -- but I really don’t care!
    T-Mobile's solution will be throttling these users, which is an approach that AT&T has been taking for a long time and was recently sued by the FCC for, although AT&T was throttling all users who used too much data, whether it was used for personal hotspot purposes or not, while T-Mobile is making it perfectly clear that smartphone data is unlimited and tethering data is not.

    Legere says that although people will criticize T-Mobile for this movement, he's sure it's the right path to take to ensure a great network experience for every user.

    These abusers will probably try to distract everyone by waving their arms about throttling data. Make no mistake about it – this is not the same issue. Don’t be duped by their sideshow. We are going after every thief, and I am starting with the 3,000 users who know exactly what they are doing. The offenders start hearing from us tomorrow. No more abuse and no risk to the rest of our customers’ experience. It's over. If you are interested, you can find more info in our support forum.

    I’m not in this business to play data cop, but we started this wireless revolution to change the industry for good and to fight for consumers. I won't let a few thieves ruin things for anyone else. We’re going to lead from the front on this, just like we always do. Count on it!
    From what it looks like, those on unlimited data plans on T-Mobile's network can keep their unlimited data plans without expecting to be throttled, and those that use their fair share of 7GB of personal hotspot data should be fine as well, but after you reach 7GB, you will be expected to pay a little more cash to unlock another 7GB of data if you happen to go over your cap in one month.

    T-Mobile says that these network "thieves" will begin being contacted by T-Mobile as soon as Monday.

    For what it's worth, there are people out there that will argue personal hotspot data should be treated the same as regular smartphone data and that these caps are just as annoying as the caps any other carrier might be imposing.

    If you're a T-Mobile customer, how much data do you use on a monthly basis for tethering?

    Source: T-Mobile
    This article was originally published in forum thread: T-Mobile to Start Punishing Subscribers That Over-Use Tethering Data started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 29 Comments
    1. Ambi_Valence's Avatar
      Ambi_Valence -
      Then DON’T call it unlimited.
      Is there a difference between smartphone and PC data?
    1. Brandon.amos's Avatar
      Brandon.amos -
      2 Terabytes??!!! That's more than I use at home, and cellular combined. That's 3 cellphones, a Tablet, 2 laptops, one used heavily for online gaming, and heavy downloading, a smart tv, Xbox One, used heavily for Gaming, Netflix, and heavy downloading etc. Don't even get close to 1 Terabyte.
    1. peacedog's Avatar
      peacedog -
      I agree with TMo on this one. Using 2Tb/mo well exceeds fair usage. Your cell phone data should not be a substitute for home broadband. {let the hating begin...}

      It's equivalent to going to a fast food restaurant and taking all the straws, napkins, and ketchup packets. Yes, they are free. They shouldn't have to state "free...within a reasonable quantity."
    1. vitaminme's Avatar
      vitaminme -
      lol @ thieves
    1. peacedog's Avatar
      peacedog -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ambi_Valence View Post
      Then DON’T call it unlimited you first class fool!!
      Is there a difference between smartphone and PC data?
      While "data is data", how it's used can be differentiated. Tethering data often uses a different APN (access point name).
    1. vitaminme's Avatar
      vitaminme -
      Quote Originally Posted by peacedog View Post
      While "data is data", how it's used can be differentiated. Tethering data often uses a different APN (access point name).
      Are you sure? My APN is "iphone" for both. cellular data & hotspot
    1. miketurbo123's Avatar
      miketurbo123 -
      That's why you jailbrake your iPhone and use tetherme or mywi [emoji6]
    1. Brandon.amos's Avatar
      Brandon.amos -
      Quote Originally Posted by miketurbo123 View Post
      That's why you jailbrake your iPhone and use tetherme [emoji6]
      And that's partially why T-Mobile is doing what they are doing.
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ambi_Valence View Post
      Then DON’T call it unlimited you first class fool!!
      I completely agree. This is like the AT&T debacle all over again. All this is going to do is force more people to hide behind a VPN. Either offer an unlimited data package, or don't.
    1. Answer1o1's Avatar
      Answer1o1 -
      Am I the only one around here that doesn't understand why mobile data has limitations? There should be no caps for any internet. Period. These service provider companies need to be boycotted it's such a scam how much they charge for chit. They're making so much money and they still want to complain about 1% of their customers.
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Before signing the contract it specifically says unlimited cell phone data and 7GB of tethering data (I thought it was 5 but this article says 7), contract is very specific and they do not change to how you interpret to your liking after you sign it.
      Unless you can prove you are illiterate and signed this contract based solely on the commercials about unlimited data (good luck with that when you use computer), you have absolutely no reason to assume unlimited for both cellphone data and tethering data. Those that mask their data the way they do knows that they are violating their contract, they know that they are violating their contract and screwing things up for the rest of us.
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Quote Originally Posted by csglinux View Post
      I completely agree. This is like the AT&T debacle all over again. All this is going to do is force more people to hide behind a VPN. Either offer an unlimited data package, or don't.
      completely different and I am with T-Mobile with this one (I had AT&T and switched to T-Mobile).
      T-Mobile contract specifically says unlimited cellphone data and 7GB of tethering (I thought it was 5GB), it was on their Simple Plan fine print when they advertised it and was on the contract.
      AT&T did not say such things with the grandfathered plans, they defined unlimited data at later date.

      You want unlimited mobile and tethering? You can according to what TMobile released, you just keep buying 7GB block at a time. Pay for it!
    1. csglinux's Avatar
      csglinux -
      Quote Originally Posted by unison999 View Post
      completely different and I am with T-Mobile with this one (I had AT&T and switched to T-Mobile).
      T-Mobile contract specifically says unlimited cellphone data and 7GB of tethering (I thought it was 5GB), it was on their Simple Plan fine print when they advertised it and was on the contract.
      AT&T did not say such things with the grandfathered plans, they defined unlimited data at later date.

      You want unlimited mobile and tethering? You can according to what TMobile released, you just keep buying 7GB block at a time. Pay for it!
      I hear you, but T-Mobile's situation is exactly the same as AT&T's - there's no fair way of enforcing what Legere is proposing. What AT&T do (and I'm sure what T-Mobile are now planning) is to scan for usage patterns. That's going to hit just as many people who occasionally use a lot of data directly on their devices without tethering. There is simply no way of knowing why somebody is using a VPN.

      I like T-Mobile, but I think this is a miss-step. Legere is going to get a lot of bad publicity from this. It certainly looks like a typical carrier move. I don't see anything uncarrier about this. Ultimately, all these carriers are going to have to cave in and admit they really cannot supply unlimited data. (IMHO.)
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      Quote Originally Posted by csglinux View Post
      I hear you, but T-Mobile's situation is exactly the same as AT&T's - there's no fair way of enforcing what Legere is proposing. What AT&T do (and I'm sure what T-Mobile are now planning) is to scan for usage patterns. That's going to hit just as many people who occasionally use a lot of data directly on their devices without tethering. There is simply no way of knowing why somebody is using a VPN.

      I like T-Mobile, but I think this is a miss-step. Legere is going to get a lot of bad publicity from this. It certainly looks like a typical carrier move. I don't see anything uncarrier about this. Ultimately, all these carriers are going to have to cave in and admit they really cannot supply unlimited data. (IMHO.)
      I guess we will have to see how they enforce this.
      If they can prove it, I feel they have the right to stop it maybe even void their contract if they so chooses.
    1. Neojok's Avatar
      Neojok -
      2 TB?!?! Out of mind! [emoji21]
    1. rolandgabor's Avatar
      rolandgabor -
      Same crooks as all the others, just painted with a different brush. When you advertise unlimited data be prepared to offer unlimited data
    1. oneduality's Avatar
      oneduality -
      I am guilty of consuming large amounts of data but that's only happened twice in my entire time with t-mobile ( been using them since I was 17, I'm 37 now! ) ... The first time was when we lost power due to a major storm a few years back.. and the second was also due to a major storm where we lost internet and I had to telecommute but my limit is 5gb not 7gb! so I need to talk to them about my extra two gigs

      Yes I used more than that during the first outage... power was out for nearly two weeks and I confesss I had multiple laptops in the house going through it ( we rented a generator )
    1. oneduality's Avatar
      oneduality -
      Quote Originally Posted by unison999 View Post
      I guess we will have to see how they enforce this.
      If they can prove it, I feel they have the right to stop it maybe even void their contract if they so chooses.
      There are ways to identify pretty easily ... if you're just tethering like most people probably do, then it's super easy to detect .. User-Agent strings from your web browser for example.. a common method AT&T uses..

      Especially if you're User-Agent strings that aren't supported by your OS ( which our User-Agent reports ) while not actively using the officially supported tethering methods.. dead give away ..

      The best thing to do is use VPN... it's not a perfect solution but it could help mask your use of tethering as long as you're not downloading torrents or something to cause unrealistic spikes in bandwidth.
    1. oneduality's Avatar
      oneduality -
      With all that said .. I NEVER tether my computer to my phone unless I absolutely need to .. I have a very good connection that exceeds my phone's signal .. but sometimes I've had no choice given my job as a systems administrator .. I work remotely at any hour of the night when I have to .. if my internet zonks out I have no choice
    1. hogcia's Avatar
      hogcia -
      Only the phone data is unlimited, tethering onto other devices is not. Why can't you dam people understand this!? I hope T-Mobile slams these hackers A-SAP!
  • Connect With Us

  • Twitter Box

  • Facebook