So far, 2017 has seen more changes to cellphone plans than the last five years before. In the space of a couple of weeks, all the big carriers suddenly started offering unlimited data plans for reasonable prices. AT&T even removed its ridiculous triple-play requirement for unlimited customers, which was generous.
For T-Mobile, which started the unlimited data trend last year, it didn’t seem like things could get much better. But the entry of Verizon and AT&T forced it to remove the last real restrictions on the data plan, meaning that you can use hotspot data or watch HD video.
But one thing all the unlimited plans have in common is a soft cap. Once you go over a monthly threshold of data usage, you’re subject to being throttled at peak times. It’s a “soft cap” rather than a data limit, because you aren’t cut off from data, and there’s no overage charge. Whichever way you slice it, though, it’s still a limit of some kind.
For T-Mobile customers, that limit just went up. The threshold for throttling used to be 28GB per month, and that’s now been raised to 30GB. If you hit that level of data usage in a month, you will be “deprioritized” at peak times. That means other customers will be given priority, and in crowded locations, that’s going to mean your data slows way down.
The 2GB increase might not sound like much, but it moves T-Mobile way into first place for total data allowance. AT&T and Verizon put their cap at 22GB, while Sprint’s at 23GB. Those are still generous allowances, and you’re not guaranteed to have permanently slow internet after hitting the cap, but it’s worth thinking about for particularly heavy data users.