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Cellphones Handhelds United Kingdom Wireless Networking

T-Mobile Slashes Fair Use Policy, Says Download At Home 364

Posted by Soulskill
from the data-not-allowed-on-our-network dept.
nk497 writes "T-Mobile in the UK has revealed a new fair use policy, cutting caps from 1GB and 3GB to 500MB, saying mobile browsing doesn't include videos or large downloads. 'If you want to download, stream and watch video clips, save that stuff for your home broadband,' the company said. All those people who have bought smartphones with the aim of doing such things on the go may not agree with the mobile operator, however. Any user that goes over the new limit won't be charged, but will be blocked from downloading or streaming for the rest of the month."
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T-Mobile Slashes Fair Use Policy, Says Download At Home

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  • slow network? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nuno Sa (1095047) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:15AM (#34833160)

    I hope the public sees that as admission of having a bad network and move elsewhere :-)

    • Re:slow network? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:33AM (#34833244) Homepage

      The reality is the public will soon realise this cap is not about downloading but screwing people when they make video calls and don't realise how quickly they are chewing up the cap, as you can only make video calls via the internet (double billing upload and download).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Z00L00K (682162)

        Another factor may be that they have experienced that too many users are now using data communication - at least in some areas and that means that too many persons are sharing the same bandwidth which results in an overall bad experience for all users. So this is a way for them to provide a good experience for most of the users.

        And providing more bandwidth is expensive - so maybe they will come with an offer that allows users to pay more for more data. Especially business users are willing to pay for that.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Are you on crack?

          Please mod this insightful.

        • Re:slow network? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @04:32AM (#34833724)
          This would almost be an acceptable justification, if not for one detail: They previously promised more then they are now able to deliver. This is bordering on false advertising, made legal only by a line of small print that allows them to change the contract any time they wish. If they don't have the ability to deliver larger amounts of data, they shouldn't have promised customers they would
          • Re:slow network? (Score:4, Informative)

            by Neil Boekend (1854906) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @05:00AM (#34833902)

            ...This is bordering on false advertising, made legal only by a line of small print that allows them to change the contract any time they wish.

            Dunno about the US, but her in NL you cannot change a contract without giving the other party a chance to break the contract. No small print can invalidate that. And that is how it should be IMHO.

            • Re:slow network? (Score:4, Informative)

              by SausageOfDoom (930370) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @06:12AM (#34834206)

              Section 7.2.3.2 in their terms and conditions says that if they introduce a change which "is of material detriment" to you, you can terminate your contract without charge.

              Now, what exactly does "material detriment" mean? I'm guessing T-Mobile's lawyers are sufficiently competent that it will not mean "I just signed up for a 24 month contract which I can cancel but keep my new phone" as I hope it does.

              Even if it means exactly that, I bet they won't give me time to port my number.

              • In a number port DO NOT CANCEL YOUR CONTRACT. ensure that the rep for the new carrier knows you are doing a number port (and for what reason) your new carrier will basically do this

                1 make a for request to port the number
                A as required the old carrier will release the number (after some song and dance)
                2 do the needed network magic to ring your ported number
                3 remind the old carrier that this account is now thiers so the old account needs to be closed and a final bill needs to be presented to the custom

            • Re:slow network? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by stiggle (649614) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @08:05AM (#34834676)

              This is not a contract change - the "Fair Usage Policy" conditions are already in the contract, and they can modify the terms of the policy whenever they want without a change to the contract.

              I had this problem with O2 when they changed their meaning of "unlimited" to 500Mb.
              So I told them they can can an unlimited amount of money from my account to pay for my unlimited bandwidth - upto £5 pcm. Oddly enough, they complained that that wasn't an unlimited amount of money.

          • This would almost be an acceptable justification, if not for one detail: They previously promised more then they are now able to deliver. This is bordering on false advertising, made legal only by a line of small print that allows them to change the contract any time they wish. If they don't have the ability to deliver larger amounts of data, they shouldn't have promised customers they would

            I agree one hundred percent here. The phone companies show their phones watching streaming videos/sports/etc and such on commercials, then wonder why their customers use it for that?

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        That might be a valid point if anyone actually made video calls.
      • by xgr3gx (1068984)

        To quote their US commercial "The new MyTouch 4G, video chat with out needing WiFi. On America largest 4G network" (please don't use the video chat feature, it's killing our network)
        It's like the high speed internet providers who run all these ads touting how fast their service is, and how easy it is to "download music, and watch streaming video" then they go and cap you from downloading too much music and streaming video. I understand they have to manage their bandwidth capacity, but come on.

    • T-mobile are amazingly cheap right now. For 20GBP (I guess not far off 20USD now) I have 6 months of data access on pay as you go (i.e. I pay 20GBP and nothing else for a SIM which gives me 6 months data access). That's amazingly cheap.
    • by Xugumad (39311)

      Worth pointing out that O2 has already dropped down to 500MB usage cap, up to 1GB on the most expensive plans.

      Although mobile Internet access here is sufficiently useless that sending an e-mail is typically faster by travelling the rest of the distance to my destination, and typing it into a computer, so suffice to say I'm nowhere near the cap...

  • But... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moosehooey (953907) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:16AM (#34833162)

    If they don't want you doing all these gee-whiz things with your phone, they should stop featuring them in their television commercials.

  • Bait & switch (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:16AM (#34833164) Homepage

    I'm assuming this switch does not apply to people they've already baited?

    • Re:Bait & switch (Score:5, Informative)

      by arivanov (12034) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:33AM (#34833242) Homepage

      1. It applies to everyone. They invoked the small print in the contract which says that they can alter it any time they like.

      2. Everyone is misreading the switch. T-mob is from now on treating Google, Facebook, etc differently from video downloads and over-the-top media for billing purposes. Next stop on this train is called "bill per app" exactly as was originally intended with 3G/LTE VAS and IMS.

      3. As per UK contract legislation all T-mob customers who are affected now have 30 days to terminate the contract if they do not like it. Very few will do though - most phones on T-mob are subsidised so to terminate the contract one has to pay the balance on it (at the outrageously inflated "not-locked-in price).

      • by kailoran (887304)

        3. As per UK contract legislation all T-mob customers who are affected now have 30 days to terminate the contract if they do not like it. Very few will do though - most phones on T-mob are subsidised so to terminate the contract one has to pay the balance on it (at the outrageously inflated "not-locked-in price).

        What's the point of this legislation then if it doesn't protect you from inflated termination fees? Can't you always just cancel the contract and pay up?

        • Re:Bait & switch (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:56AM (#34833366)
          What is the point? The legislation is a sop. Its only value is so the government can say "we did something about it" without actually doing anything about it.

          We have a telecomms regulator with the regulatory ability of a bribed, wet cabbage in a soggy brown paper bag.

          Yes I am a bloody angry t-mobile customer with an Android phone, and I will go elsewhere as soon as I can afford it. This is not the only example ot t-mo UK being scum.

          • by Lehk228 (705449)
            tell them to shove their contract, their termination fee, and their phone up their ass.
          • Invoke the 30 day cancellation. They terminated your contract, and you do not accept the new one which takes its place. Your obligations under the old one are fulfilled, and you suffer no penalty for not accepting a new contract. If they try and charge you, reply with "Sue me." I guarantee their lawyers cost more than the phone in your pocket.

            This is the internet. Nothing is legal advice, even when it may seem like it is.
            • Re:Bait & switch (Score:5, Insightful)

              by jpapon (1877296) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @04:37AM (#34833748) Journal
              If credit ratings in the UK are anything like those in the US, they won't sue you for not paying.

              They'll just report that you have an arrears balance, which will destroy your credit rating and prevent you from ever buying a house, getting a subsidized phone, buying a car using a loan, getting a credit card etc etc etc.

              • by digitig (1056110)
                More likely they'll just debit your bank account anyway, because most contracts are on direct debits.
              • If credit ratings in the UK are anything like those in the US, they won't sue you for not paying.

                They'll just report that you have an arrears balance, which will destroy your credit rating and prevent you from ever buying a house, getting a subsidized phone, buying a car using a loan, getting a credit card etc etc etc.

                You know what we need? A reverse of that process. So if you're ever unhappy with a provider of some good or service, you can report the business as delinquent in its obligations. This would naturally cause their stock to tank, prevent them from issuing bonds or getting corporate credit. And it would only take one report. accurate or not to do this. Of course, they could go through the dispute process, but that could take months, maybe years.

                Now I know what you're thinking: "We don't need government interven

          • Re:Bait & switch (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @04:51AM (#34833832)

            Here's what you do.

            Read your contract. While they're usually in pretty small print, the important clauses that apply here are probably not all that long or complicated - and there is every chance that there really is no clause in the contract that allows them to do this, particularly if you're signed up through a retailer like Carphone Warehouse.

            Once you've done that - and assuming I'm right and they have broken the contract - call cancellations and ask for a PAC code to move your number elsewhere. When they say you're still under contract, point out that T-Mobile have broken the terms of that contract.

            They may try a number of tricks to argue that it still applies. I've faced a similar issue with a different provider and I've been told:

            • "You aren't doing the thing we're charging you more for anyway, so it doesn't affect you and therefore doesn't apply". (Really? Where in the contract does it say they can do that? How do they know that your circumstances aren't about to change such that you will be doing it in the near future? Because you've got it in front of you, you're looking at the cancellation clauses and can't see anything of the sort. Ask these questions politely, calmly and firmly - don't back down until they've finally admitted it says no such thing in the contract.)
            • "Every other telco has done something similar." (Again, where in the contract does it say that they're allowed to do what they like without notice if everyone else is doing it? Again, don't back down)
            • "This affects everyone on T-Mobile, not just you." (Where in the contract does it say that it's perfectly OK if they do this to everyone rather than singling out one customer?)

            No doubt they'll invent some other argument. Same question applies though: where in the contract does it say that their argument is valid? You just have to remain calm, polite and firm.

            • by Sockatume (732728)

              Contract schmontract, you have a statutory right to break the agreement if they make a change which is to your detriment. That's true even if the contract explicitly gives them the right to make such a change. Statutory rights trump contracts, warranties, fine print, and everything else.

              • by jimicus (737525)

                Contract schmontract, you have a statutory right to break the agreement if they make a change which is to your detriment. That's true even if the contract explicitly gives them the right to make such a change. Statutory rights trump contracts, warranties, fine print, and everything else.

                Be that as it may, I guarantee you the CSRs haven't been told that. In fact, there's a very good chance that everyone up the chain of command (or at least everyone you're likely to be able to get on the phone) doesn't know that.

                It's almost certainly going to be easier to get out of using the contract than it is to invoke your statutory rights.

              • Re:Bait & switch (Score:5, Informative)

                by nosferatu1001 (264446) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @06:31AM (#34834280)

                Usual IANAL, but I have done this before with mobile phones.

                As above. Unfair Contract Terms Act, mainly - any contract of adhesion which contains unconscionable terms, which clauses allowing unilateral changes to terms are, falls under this legislation and any clause permitting is considered null. (as they normally have a severability clause to ensure that one invalid clause doesnt invalidate the whole contract)

                This means that enforcing new terms unilaterally requires that they have a) terminated the old contract (as due to UCTA they cannot vary any terms unilaterally) and b) are *offering* you a new one. You do NOT have to accept their offer, at which point your business arrangement with them has ended.

                If the phone was a gift (advertised as Free, or witha nominal cost) then you keep the phone and owe nothing more. No termination fees, nothing.

                Make sure you follow up any phone call with a registered letter giving notice of termination due to non-acceptance, with a copy to their legal department, and a requirement to provide the PAC within 14 days (ofcom requires 3, but 14 is a "reasonable" minima given the circumstances - and you need to show you have been reasonable at every step) to get your number out. Ensure that you reserve the right to pursue them through small claims court. Make sure you cite either your enumerated rights to do so, which most contracts have somewhere in the small print, or point out UCTA which means you have those rights REGARDLESS of what they say.

        • by ommerson (1485487)

          The termination clauses of the contract will probably be considered unfair and thus unenforceable in situations like this.

          Service providers and utilities rely on customers not being sufficiently aware or motivated to exercise their rights.

        • by jimicus (737525)

          I don't know what the OP was talking about but I have never heard of termination fees in the UK.

          I have, however, heard of being asked to pay the outstanding line rental for the remainder of the contract term in order to cancel. Obviously if you only entered the contract two months ago, this isn't such a palatable option - but being as T-Mobile are changing the terms, I suspect you could probably get out without having to pay the outstanding line rental.

      • by SharpFang (651121)

        I'm pretty sure EU consumer protection laws disallow this kind of practices. Yes, they can change what they like. No, I don't have to agree, which leads to termination of contract with no additional fees.

      • I don't know about UK but as far as I know in the US if they change the terms you can terminate the contract without any consequences. What's the point of a contract if one side can change it at will after you sign it.

      • 3. As per UK contract legislation all T-mob customers who are affected now have 30 days to terminate the contract if they do not like it. Very few will do though - most phones on T-mob are subsidised so to terminate the contract one has to pay the balance on it (at the outrageously inflated "not-locked-in price).

        My understanding is that if they change the contract in a way that is significantly detrimental to you, you have the right to cancel the contract without any cancellation charges. See the link below about details. Summary: You have the right to cancel without charges. They may disagree. Cancel your direct debit and pay the last payment by cheque. And NEVER give anyone the right to take money out of your credit card.

        http://www.bitterwallet.com/want-to-cancel-your-t-mobile-contract-heres-how-to-do-it/1828 [bitterwallet.com]

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        It's not just media they're targetting. As the press release says:

        "Browsing means looking at websites and checking email, but not watching videos, downloading files or playing games."

        Those apps you downloaded over 3G? No dice. You should've gone and found a wifi hotspot.

      • by jimicus (737525)

        3. As per UK contract legislation all T-mob customers who are affected now have 30 days to terminate the contract if they do not like it. Very few will do though - most phones on T-mob are subsidised so to terminate the contract one has to pay the balance on it (at the outrageously inflated "not-locked-in price).

        I've got out of contracts where my telco has done exactly that on one or two occasions - I've never been asked to repay the subsidy.

        Normally, while they're quite open about the fact that the phone is subsidised by signing you up to an 18 or 24 month contract, the contract itself says nothing about it. It just says that if the telco changes what they charge (as they have here), the other has every right to cancel without penalty.

        I have been given the argument that changing what's included free doesn't alter

      • by am 2k (217885)

        1. It applies to everyone. They invoked the small print in the contract which says that they can alter it any time they like.

        I'd like that clause to be known as the "Darth Vader clause" to get things into perspective.

      • by Tim C (15259)

        I'm pretty sure #3 is incorrect, as you can break your contract and pay off the remainder of it (at the normal monthly rate * months remaining) at any time.

  • I'm bracing myself to see where the line is. Maybe this is it.

    Mobile providers will keep abusing their customer's tolerance until the customers start leaving. I'm pretty sure 500MB falls below the "basically usable for most people" line.

    Of course, I could be wrong. People could decide to just put up with it. Then the data limit will be reduced again...

    • I'm bracing myself to see where the line is. Maybe this is it.

      Line? There is no line. People will continue to use T-mobile's service or move to some other provider. Chances are, the other provider will take the lead from T-Mobile and institute a similar policy. However it happens, the consumer goes through an endless cycle of getting screwed until a new business model comes along to break the cycle and then it all starts over again.

    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:36AM (#34833254) Homepage

      At about 320KB per webpage (http://code.google.com/intl/nl-NL/speed/articles/web-metrics.html), you could watch about 50 pages per day on average. If caching is used, this would be more.
      Ofcourse, if some of those webpages have movie files, you're screwed.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        And if those movie files have movie files, you are very screwed.
    • by slim (1652)

      I'm on a 500MB tariff. I use my phone's data connection quite a lot -- a Twitter client, email and browsing, and uploading 5MP pictures from the camera. I seldom get anywhere near the limit. I don't stream videos or -- extensively -- audio over the mobile internet, because I know that would use up my allowance quickly.

      The difference is, I *chose* a 500MB tariff because it was cheaper. If I'd bought an "unlimited" tariff, I'd be wanting to stream audio and video all the time.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        If I'd bought an "unlimited" tariff, I'd be wanting to stream audio and video all the time.

        That's precisely the problem though. T-mobile say you have to have "unlimited" internet access package when you buy a smartphone, but they are relying on the fact that most customers only use it for basic web browsing.

        Obviously, more people than they expected have been using it for downloading videos/music, constant on twittering or whatever (i.e. all the stuff 3G phones are designed for) and T-mobile aren't making any money out of it.

    • by skyride (1436439)
      I have to say, It really depends on your intent. I live in the UK and get a pretty good 3G signal everywhere I go. I'm on a 500MB plan data wise, but I don't really find it to be an issue. In practice, I agree with that "download at home" message, but I don't agree with Verizon's motives or intentions for suggesting that.
    • Actually, that brings it in line with the data allowance from most other plans. I do watch the occasional clip on the phone but I've never even gone over half of that. The solution is probably to spend some portion of life not using the internet as fully as possible.

    • Mmmh.

      I have 500MB a month (for which I pay 10EUR), and am usually getting along fine with it. That includes surfing, emailing, the odd app and video during train rides. I could upgrade to 2GB for 20EUR, but I don't see a need for that right now.

  • Wow. I use 300MB a month just casually browsing between classes at school when it would take too long to pull out my netbook. That's JUST reading news/weather/fark, all of which use mobile sites and not much in the way of graphics. I couldn't imagine what would happen if someone watched a youtube video or was in a heated session of sending/receiving dirty pictures from their significant other.

    • by mjwx (966435)
      Even Aussie telco's are offering 1 GB plans everywhere. I'm on a rolling month by month contract and I pay A$20 to get 1 GB of downloads put onto my phone. Because usage is metered the evil government says the telco can't dictate how I use the allotment I've paid for. I can tether, download porn, torrents or just use it to buy a nose picker, VHA dont get a word in sideways if they want my 20 bucks.

      If I went on a 12 month contract, I'd get 2 GB for the same price (or the same amount for A$10). Metered usa
  • Reality setting in (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@b[ ].org ['eau' in gap]> on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:17AM (#34833182)

    I seriously doubt any mobile operator will be able to satisfy smart phone usage long term. They build out a new generation of towers with a higher data rate, then people buy new phones and saturate it.

    As soon as smartphones stopped being $500 up front + $100/mo yuppie and power user toys and aspired to become mainstream products the math of wireless bandwidth simply must be taken into account.

    Now if someone would tell the marketing depts at the mobile operators so they stop running endless ads showing users watching movies and music videos on their phones.... and video chatting. And downloading huge attachments.

    • by SJ (13711)

      Actually, there is a real-world amount of data that a smart phone can consume. Once the networks are able to supply this, data usage on smart phones will scale linearly.

      Not counting things like tethering, I would put that figure (completely out of my rear-end of course) at the 5 or 6Mbit mark. That is ample for streaming a movie at the viewable resolution of an iPhone 4 or even an iPad.

      I don't think there is anything, mass-market, more bandwidth intensive than video.

  • Don't buy a smart phone? I think they are SERIOUSLY hurting themselves here in the long run.
  • by xMrFishx (1956084) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:21AM (#34833202)
    Just limit voice usage to 60 seconds a month. I mean, it's not as if you have anything good to say anyway. Why upgrade the network when you can just spread the current one thinner. It's fine.
  • Wow. They're already slipping bad enough as it is in market share and now they pull this. The smartphone market continues to grow and they just gave people a GREAT reason not to get a smartphone on their network!

    Fucking idiots. Yes, people can use a lot of data on their smartphones. It can tax a network. Screwing customers isn't the best way to fix the problem.
  • by zmollusc (763634) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:32AM (#34833238)

    Is there a modem app? I could set up a modem at home and dial into it and route data from my home broadband. Although my ISP doesn't want to supply the service they sold me either.
    Maybe I should introduce a 'payment cap' ?

    • by jimicus (737525)

      Maybe I should introduce a 'payment cap' ?

      Ha! I like that. I may have to try it myself - write to my phone provider and tell them I'm introducing such a thing. If they turn around and say "You can't do that" I'll say "I'm doing it for all companies I deal with, you're not being singled out and you have no right to complain".

  • by Trogre (513942) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:37AM (#34833264) Homepage

    This really seems like a we-don't-want-any-customers kind of move.

    Then again perhaps they don't have any decent competition. I live in New Zealand where entry-level ADSL plans are still capped at 500MB.

    *facepalm*

    • by ctid (449118)

      There's plenty of competition in the UK. They must think that their competitors are going to pull a similar stunt. I wonder what will happen when people on T-Mobile contracts start complaining to the regulator.

      • by jimicus (737525)

        There's plenty of competition in the UK. They must think that their competitors are going to pull a similar stunt. I wonder what will happen when people on T-Mobile contracts start complaining to the regulator.

        They probably will. While the mobile companies do their damnedest to make it difficult to compare, if you put together a spreadsheet of price plans detailing "Monthly cost", "Maximum value of subsidy offered for that cost", "Number of Free minutes", "Number of Free text messages" and "Amount of data", you'd be surprised how similar they generally come out at.

  • Dear T-Mobile, (Score:4, Interesting)

    by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:39AM (#34833278) Journal

    I was a customer until this morning, spending approximately £50/month with you for three years.

    Today I'll switch to Vodafone UK, they have a suckier network but at least they offer reasonable caps. Look for a number portability request today from a customer with a number ending in 573 and you'll know it's me.

    • Re:Dear T-Mobile, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @03:04AM (#34833406)

      Dear Customer,

      Your decision to cancel today comes as a clear indication that you make up one of the 1% of our customers who consume 90% of our network resources.

      As we don't make any money off you, we won't be sorry to see you go.

      Sincerely,

      T-Mobile.

    • by Inda (580031)

      Try Tesco first (they run on the O2 network)

      £20 buys you 750 minutes (phone them to get this), unlimited texts and unlimited internet.

      But, don't most people use a WiFi connection for this sort of downloading?

      • by YA_Python_dev (885173) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @04:41AM (#34833774) Journal

        Try Tesco first (they run on the O2 network)

        Thanks for the suggestion but O2 shares the same corporate overlord with T-Mobile, so I don't trust them to not pull a similar stunt a few months down the road.

        But, don't most people use a WiFi connection for this sort of downloading?

        What "sort of downloading"? 500 MB/month is 16 MB/day on average. That's bandwidth for a full day shared between upload and download. I got more by my f*cking 56k modem in a single hour in 1999, even counting only downloads.

        500 MB/month is on average less than 187 bytes per second. I know there are peak times, but is their network really so suckish that this is the cap that they have to impose?

        Seriously? In 2011?

        • by csteinle (68146)

          Try Tesco first (they run on the O2 network)

          Thanks for the suggestion but O2 shares the same corporate overlord with T-Mobile, so I don't trust them to not pull a similar stunt a few months down the road.

          That's Orange, who along with T-Mobile are now both part of a France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom joint venture called "Everything Everywhere" (presumably as long as it's less than 500MB). o2 are owned by Spain's Telefonica, and already reduced their caps to 500MB/1GB (dependant on plan). However, they explicitly only did this for new contracts. I'm still unlimited and as it's a SIM only plan I don't intend to change that.

        • Thanks for the suggestion but O2 shares the same corporate overlord with T-Mobile, so I don't trust them to not pull a similar stunt a few months down the road.

          What? O2 is owned by Telefonica, T-Mobile by Deutsche Telecom. Both of those are publicly traded, one being Spanish and one German.

    • by csteinle (68146)

      I'd check out both the "1 Plan" on Three and giffgaff as well.

  • After years and years of having my UK brethren taunt me for lousy wireless, I get to see this.

    HA HA.

    I wonder if O2 or any other GSM provider in the UK is going to follow suit.

    • Follow suit? O2's standard packages have come with 500 MB of data for some time now.

      • by csteinle (68146)

        Or 1GB on the ones above AFAIR £35/month. However, they didn't change existing customer's terms.

  • False Advertising? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nukem996 (624036) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @02:52AM (#34833342)
    Every smart phone commercial you see boasts about how when you buy smart phone X on network Y you can browse, e-mail, watch videos, stream music, download huge documents and do anything you can with a laptop on your smart phone. Hell the phones come with apps preinstalled to do many of these high bandwidth thing. However when you look at the agreements most will specifically say only basic web browsing and e-mail is allowed. Isn't that considered false advertising? How long until a law suit comes up?
  • I had a nexus one on T mobile for 2 days before i sent it back. phone was pretty nice, service was terrible. I seriously doubt that a customer would be able to maintain a 3G connection with T Mobile long enough to use up 200 megs let alone 500 or 3 gigs
  • There's this company in Italy that I believe has nailed just the right policy: you pay a monthly fee of about 9 euros and you get 1GB high speed Internet. Should you download more than 1GB, your browsing speed will slowly decrease so that you do not weigh too much on the network.

    This way you get a limited amount of videos, music, large downloads but you are never left without access to the essentials like email...
  • I was tempted to go with T-Mobile because the 3GB cap is better than their rivals. Good enough to compensate for the fairly poor coverage.

    They'v got rid of their only seling point.
  • Plan and simple, you want to get information you have to do it when and where the carrier (in this case TMobile) decides you get it. The problem is there are not an unlimited supply of carriers to choose from that vary by any reasonable means. In the old days if you wanted to find alternative media, you either got letters or packages of papers from free thinking markets. Today, if you want to get information you have to do it when, where and how someone tells you to do it. If there were alternative info
  • as they've to pay full for merely first few days of internet access every month...
  • Oh well. I guess if I have to choose the lesser of two evils, I'll at least get an Atrix out of the deal with ATT.
  • Too much demand (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joh (27088) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @03:55AM (#34833594)

    Think what you want, but the demand for 3G bandwidth is growing too fast to satisfy it. With ever more smartphones and very soon a flood of tablets sold you can not have unlimited data if you really use it.

    What I don't get is the methods they're applying here. They should offer cheap 300 MB, not so cheap 2 GB and not at all cheap 10 GB or so. And then they shouldn't just cut you off but throttle speed to EDGE speeds if you hit your allowance. Nobody would complain then. In fact in Germany almost all carriers do exactly that and most people seem to see such offers as quite reasonable especially since the lower bandwidth offers are rather cheap (like 7 Euro a month for 500 MB 3G and unlimited EDGE after that).

    Anyway, the practice of selling phones with contracts bites the customer here. If you outright buy an unlocked handset and then buy your bandwidth month by month where it's cheapest there's some real competition. If enough people are bound by a 2-year contract or so there's hardly any.

    • by mattbee (17533)

      And then they shouldn't just cut you off but throttle speed to EDGE speeds if you hit your allowance. Nobody would complain then.

      If you hit your bandwidth limit (sorry "fair usage policy", because it's unlimited, silly!), T-Mobile UK put you behind a firewall for 30 days which restricts your service between 4pm & midnight. It only lets you access web sites (ports 80 & 443) and it did feel a bit slower. I found out when I was moving house and used my phone as broadband for a few weeks. From midnight-4pm the service is normal though.

  • by Burnhard (1031106) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @04:03AM (#34833620)
    When I decided to buy an iPhone, I had the choice of 1Gb per month with Vodaphone, or 3Gb per month with T-Mobile, for approximately the same price. I chose the latter entirely on that basis. If they've now changed the terms, what can I do to get out of my contract? The problem is that it's a 2 year contract where I'm paying for the phone alongside it; I didn't buy the phone outright.
    • by jimicus (737525)

      You are not paying for the phone alongside it! Where did you get that idea? Lose it!

      While it's technically true, most mobile phone contracts aren't worded like that. I wouldn't be surprised if your contract simply says you are obliged to pay them £N/month for two years and the nice girl in the shop was under strict instructions not to let you walk out with an iPhone until you had signed such a contract.

      I've got out of phone contracts myself before - unless the T-Mobile contract is dramatically diff

  • by rapiddescent (572442) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @04:04AM (#34833630)

    many people bought the Huawei U220 USB data modems a couple of years ago and use the T-Mobile service just for data. These were sold as "broadband replacement" services and cost GBP25/month on contract. There's no way I'm paying that much for 500Mb pcm. My data volumes usually are in the 1.5Gb per month for work and the odd yum -y update that sneaks by unnoticed.

    I have one plugged into my Draytek Vigor [draytek.co.uk] home office router as a backup for when the broadband service goes down - it has a Solwise [solwise.co.uk] high gain antenna attached to it. I also have one plugged into my work Linux laptop ("it just works" with network manager).

    TFA [t-mobile.co.uk] referenced in the TFA says: "Browsing means looking at websites and checking email, but not watching videos, downloading files or playing games."

    WTF? I was sold "mobile broadband" - it's a data service, nothing is mentioned about browsing at all.

  • This is happening all around Europe as we speak,

    Smartphone users are consuming such an amount of data that the flat-fee subscriptions are not enough to cover the costs any longer. Operators will change to basic subscriptions with limitations and bolt-on offerings for additional traffic. You can run away from T-Mobile now but the others will adopt until there is no where to go to.

  • Huh, that's weird. Does anyone know when this new policy is supposed to start? I use T-Mobile and I^&a



    Connection Lost
  • by troll -1 (956834) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @06:29AM (#34834274)
    They have managed to turn the free airways into the most expensive form of communication ever. There is nothing in the physics of the electromagnetic spectrum to support their saturation theories. If they ran the Internet your ISP bill would list every site you went to, overseas sites would be billed at a higher rate, and email would be sold as separate service.

    The problem with wireless isn't a lack of regulation but lack of competition that results in governments allowing a few companies to oligopolize a medium that costs nothing.
  • by datapharmer (1099455) on Tuesday January 11, 2011 @08:01AM (#34834658) Homepage
    So I guess they aren't pushing the new windows mobile phones real hard with a 500MB cap? Some quick math estimates they could consume 2Gb a month by just being turned on [slashdot.org], so that means you should realistically be able to use it about 1 week out of every month before it gets cut off...

    Also, a 500MB cap and telling customers "no streaming video" while they are running commercials for real time video chat without wifi? what gives?

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