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T-Mobile will slow down your ‘unlimited’ LTE data in some circumstances – here are the details

Published Apr 30th, 2015 3:06PM EDT
T-Mobile Unlimited Data Plan Slow Speeds

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen both AT&T and Verizon get into hot water for slowing down customers’ data speeds despite the fact that they had signed up for “unlimited” data plans. However, it looks like T-Mobile is now also slowing down its own customers who have “unlimited” LTE data plans in some situations, although the carrier insists that what it’s doing is different from straight-up throttling.

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Earlier this week, a thread popped up on the Reddit page for T-Mobile in which one user complained that they were only getting data speeds of .02Mbps despite having a plan with “unlimited” LTE data. A T-Mobile employee wrote in the comments that T-Mobile is slowing down the connections of unlimited customers during hours of network congestion if they’re in the top 3% of overall data users.

Officially, T-Mobile says that this isn’t throttling but “de-prioritizing” certain users, however the effect is the same: During times of heavy congestion, your connection slows drastically. On the plus side, once the cell site you’re using is no longer congested or if you move to a different cell site, your normal LTE data speeds are restored.

All the same, this is something that everyone who’s considering subscribing to an unlimited LTE plan from T-Mobile should know about. T-Mobile CEO John Legere this week said flatly that with unlimited LTE plans “we do not throttle” customers that use too much data. While T-Mobile might not call it throttling, the effect is the same: You will get slower speeds even with an “unlimited” LTE data plan at times if you’re a heavy data user.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.