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T-Mobile To Throttle Customers Who Use Unlimited LTE Data For Torrents/P2P 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-torrents-over-mobile-anyway dept.
New submitter User0x45 writes: Here's a nicely transparent announcement: "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." Obviously, it's not a good announcement for people with unlimited plans, but at least it's clear. T-mobile also pulled the backwards anti-net neutrality thing by happily announcing 'Free Streaming' from select music providers... which is, in effect, making non-select usage fee-based.
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T-Mobile To Throttle Customers Who Use Unlimited LTE Data For Torrents/P2P

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't World of Warcraft use torrents to distribute its patches? And there are millions of WoW subscribers.

    I suggest you guys call now and complain that you are not being given the service that you are paying for. You pay to access the internet; their job is to deliver it.

    • by AvitarX (172628) <me@nOsPAM.brandywinehundred.org> on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:06PM (#47665005) Journal

      There is no unlimited tethering, and they aren't throttling capped data.

      They are throttling phone based P2P, and (as I read it) separately, unauthorized tethering.

      WoW distribution, needing to be tethered, would be capped data and not throttled.

      It's people like me that have downloaded movies on the go to watch that would be throttled.

      • by ProzacPatient (915544) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @04:17PM (#47665693)

        There is no unlimited tethering, and they aren't throttling capped data.

        Yes and no. I originally went with T-Mobile because their tethering plan seemed like a bargain compared to the other telcos; Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, but they must've dropped it at some point because it's apparently something they don't offer anymore because when I went to upgrade my phone a few months ago they asked me if I wanted to keep it. They told me that if I did dropped it I wouldn't be able to get it back because my account was grandfathered in and that they don't offer it anymore otherwise. Mind you they still have tethering but not unlimited tethering it seems.

        • by AvitarX (172628)

          They only allowed unlimited tethering for a very brief time.

          It's still pretty fair though, I think it's allowed for all capped plans, and my unlimited plan (which they are pretty kind about) comes with 3GB free tethering, with extra for a fair price (looks like this is 5GB now).

          Honestly, I've found T-Mobile pretty strait forward with what they include, and it to be generous (compared to others). I get free (slow, but workable for e-mail, yelp, web, and sort-of maps) data worldwide, enough tethering to use i

      • by Elbart (1233584)
        "unauthorized tethering"
        Land of the free!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ChrisSlicks (2727947)
      You play WoW on your phone or use your phone as your only home internet connection? Seems unlikely.

      At least they are being honest and upfront about the services they provide and that gives the customer the freedom to choose appropriately.
      • by skipkent (1510)

        I use T-Mobile as my ISP at home... We use an old phone as a hotspot, have three laptops and two xboxes.

        • When I first got my smartphone, the T-Mobile salesman in the T-Mobile store said she used her T-Mobile phone as a hotspot for all her home internet access. Is this no longer allowed, or are you exempt if you pay the sucker tax for Wi-Fi tethering? (I say sucker tax because you can do it for free if you root your phone, and there's no technical reason they should care).

          • I knew two different people who used a cell network hot spot as their sole home internet access. I'm not sure what compels people to do that. These were type of people who already have $160/mo phone plans, so I imagine it's a misguided attempt to save money by cutting the separate "Internet bill" and putting everything on the phone bill instead.
            • I could see it working out for some people - I get around 5 Mbps at home over 4G, and if my typical home data usage per month were low enough that the corresponding mobile data plan cost less than wired home internet, it could very well be cheaper. I imagine this would be true for many people who use the web lightly, and don't stream much video.

              Comcast cable internet here is >$60/mo, and equivalent DSL is near that (although slower plans are much less), and T-Mobile's data plans range from $10 for 2GB (

      • by Khyber (864651)

        "You play WoW on your phone or use your phone as your only home internet connection? Seems unlikely."

        In fact, I know plenty of people who do EXACTLY that because they'd rather not have many other bills to pay.

        So it all goes to one bill - cell.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      bittorrent is used for lots of legitimate distribution outside of WoW, too. Just another case of a carrier selling a level of service they had no intention of supporting. "We'll advertise 'unlimited' [chuckle] data and leave the floodgates open for a few months so people think we're serious about service. We'll get a ton of new customers, then bring down the hammer as soon as we hit our subscriber target."

      • by GNious (953874) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:19PM (#47665151)

        Irrelevant - if T-Mobile's T&C says you cannot use the service for bittorrent or other P2P protocols, and the T&C was available at the time the customers signed up, T-Mobile is fully within its remit to throttle these.

        • And Comcast et al. are completely within their rights to throttle you for the same reasons. Just because it's legal doesn't make it ethically right or any less abusive towards their power users.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Of course it this case it IS ethically right. There's no moral requirement to let abusive users who violate the TOS take up far more than their share of a limited resource.
            • by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:50PM (#47665425) Journal

              Where do those who determine what is and is not ethical come down on the issue ISPs who introduce artificial scarcity by refusing to re-invest the revenue that they generate from their customers into infrastructure upgrades that would allow them to support the internet usage habits of ALL of their users?

              • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @04:14PM (#47665663)

                T-Mobile is not "introducing artificial scarcity. Comcast is; they refuse to properly provision their network. T-Mobile, on the other hand, can get no more bandwidth. They're putting in cells as fast as they can (I'm enjoying the money, not the weather) but it's not an artificial limitation. What they're doing is applying QoS so that everyone on the cell has a useable connection. Very different than AT&T and Verizon's caps that will apply EVEN IF YOU'RE THE ONLY CUSTOMER ON THE CELL.

        • Irrelevant - if T-Mobile's T&C says you cannot use the service for bittorrent or other P2P protocols, and the T&C was available at the time the customers signed up, T-Mobile is fully within its remit to throttle these.

          Irrelevant - if T-Mobile advertises their shit as "unlimited" then they need to be held to that.
          Advertising claims, contracts, etc. should be enforced hierarchically, with the largest, loudest, most-repeated, etc. claims ruling over the smaller, hidden, whispered, or quickly-spoken ones.

          • by GNious (953874)

            "Truth in Advertising" - it is an interesting concept, and I'd love to see it applied some day...

        • by ron_ivi (607351)
          Are you suggesting all Comcast's T&C needs to say is something about not using too much of whatever protocols Netflix uses, and that'd give them the right to throttle Netflix?
          • by GNious (953874)

            Technically, yes, I guess - but then Netflix et al can go on a campaign to get users to reject Comcast's offerings, or change protocol.

            P2P is stigmatized though, so it would be easier for ISPs to get away with saying something about it, as opposed to saying that "you cannot use the network excessively for watching video". P2P also have some rather aggressive network-options, where you'll have hundreds of connections, and easily use tens of megabits per second, while Netflix and YouTube and other similar ser

    • by Calydor (739835)

      There are currently 6.8 million WoW subscriptions (not subscribers due to people with multiple accounts etc.) worldwide.

      If it's an even split between the three regions, that's about 2.3 million WoW accounts in the US. The population of the US is 318.5 million people. T-Mobile has about 50 million customers according to Wikipedia.

      Some quick and dirty math: 50 million is about one sixth of the US population. One sixth of those 2.3 million WoW accounts comes to about 400,000 accounts.

      400k angry people is a lot

      • by suutar (1860506)

        last I tried it (admittedly, a couple of years ago), even blizzard's torrent-based downloads were pretty slow. Extracting the torrent file and handing it to Azureus was normally vastly faster. I'm not sure what they were doing differently.

    • by cmorriss (471077) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:31PM (#47665249)

      It's only for TETHERING beyond the allowed limit on unlimited data connections. Let me say that again, TETHERING only and only when you've used up you're tethering allowance for the month. Hell, they basically said you can tether as much as you want for everything else, which is pretty freaking cool.

      If you've got tons of bittorrents running over your TETHERED t-mobile connection beyond 2.5 GB/month, you're a douche. You brought this on yourself and no cell phone company should have to put up with it.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        so torrenting right from the phone is still cool?
      • by meta-monkey (321000) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:49PM (#47665421) Journal

        I can't necessarily disagree. I know, I know, the /. refrain is "if it's not unlimited they shouldn't have called it unlimited!" Fine. Maybe they should say "almost unlimited." What they're trying to say is that you don't need to watch a meter when you're checking your email and surfing the web on your phone. But come on, torrenting movies over your phone data plan? Really? You think the network can handle that?

        Yeah, McDonald's says "free refills." But I'm pretty sure if you try to hook up a garden hose to the soda fountain and pump gallons of coke into a drum they're going to kindly ask you to leave.

        • What they're trying to say is that you don't need to watch a meter when you're checking your email and surfing the web on your phone. But come on, torrenting movies over your phone data plan? Really? You think the network can handle that?

          What the fuck is the point of paying for 4G speeds just to browse the web or check email? I thought video was the reason to pay more for speed. You're saying that's not true, and that we should be paying more so that we can get each email a few milliseconds sooner?

          • by meta-monkey (321000) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @05:02PM (#47666117) Journal

            Loading webpages faster? Sure. Loading a video on youtube? Sure. But torrenting (and thereby also uploading) a 1.2GB Blu-ray rip? Come on, man. That's not what cellphone data plans are for and we all know that.

            • Neither of those things see any appreciable improvement by going from 3G to 4G. The limiting factor when loading webpages is very rarely available bandwidth (measure how big a particular webpage is and how long it takes to load and you'll find that it's nowhere near your pipe's capacity). 4G would help Youtube only if you could somehow fast-forward through each video.

              4G LTE [wikipedia.org] provides download speeds up to 299.6Mbps.
              The size of the average web page [google.com] is 1.3MB.
              Youtube [google.com] pushes at most 6Mbps (and that's for 10
      • So running the bittorrent client on the phone and then copying the downloaded data to a separate computer is okay?

        I'm not sure I follow the reasoning there. The impact on the T-Mobile network is no different doing it this way than the "douche" way. The only difference is that the end user is inconvenienced. QOS-by-annoyance?
        • Torrents are designed to have many points sending small amounts of data. It's not for giant pseudo-servers. With lots of people, net downloads should be almost as fast.

          Hell if you ran the software self-throttling uploads, we'd never have these issues.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's not at all clear, especially on whether they are capable of filtering the traffic as they claim. It's far more likely that they will simply filter at an arbitrary usage metric, which will undoubtedly catch many of the people they wish to target, but also net a fair number of innocent users who are simply leveraging the "unlimited" plan for which they pay. Who wants to take the bet that complaints from these people will be neatly swept under the rug?

    • All people using more than the "arbitrary usage metric" are "innocent users who are simply leveraging the 'unlimited' plan for which they pay!" T-Mobile has no legitimate business throttling people based on what quote-on-quote "kind" of data they're using.

      And I say this, by the way, as a T-mobile user on a non-unlimited plan (i.e., one of the people allegedly "harmed" by the "excessive" users).

      • Let me pre-emptively clarify: T-Mobile has no legitimate business throttling people based on what quote-on-quote "kind" of data they're using just because they've exceeded that arbitrary threshold.

        Normal QOS, i.e., throttling people based on what "kind" of data they're using only during times of network congestion, even if it's the first byte of usage during that billing period, on the other hand, is perfectly okay.

  • By obscuring that traffic through VPN

  • I realize that bittorrent is presumptively the protocol used entirely by piratopedophile terrorists and all; but what kind of bullshit excuse do they offer for treating one data-heavy use differently from another? Is this purely about making those pesky unlimited customers use less data by crippling their service in various ways, or is their network riddled with devices that can't handle the volume of connections a decently active bittorrent transfer tends to create, like some mid-90s router?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What excuse? The excuse that they've identified it specifically as a huge bandwidth hog on their networks and, given the practical realities of sharing bandwidth among multiple users, disallowed p2p services in the terms and conditions that those users agreed to when they signed up. Nobody said anything about pedophiles.

    • So if you were running an ISP, what would you do to bandwidth hogs? QOS, Throttle, or just drop them as a customer? Perhaps a courteous letter or warning?

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        So if you were running an ISP, what would you do to bandwidth hogs? QOS, Throttle, or just drop them as a customer?

        It's called fair queuing. Serve all active customers equally. I switched WISPs because my old one couldn't handle bittorrent and so banned the protocol, so there is definitely something to the idea that their network might be shit and thus they might be banning it because it causes service to degrade even when they do fair queuing.

        • It's called fair queuing. Serve all active customers equally.

          That's what my solution would have been, as well. And I wondered why they didn't. Why did they set caps on particular users, rather than just split it equially on a moment-by-moment basis?

          But then, a few years back, I was put on a team designing the hardware accellerators that handle bandwidth division in big router packet processors.

          Turns out that doing real fair queueing, when you've got a sea of processors and co-processors trying to hot-pota

          • by q4Fry (1322209)
            This was rather interesting and well-articulated. Can you tell me what year that was? Your "a processor generation or two ago"
      • by Anonymous Coward

        1. T-Mobile only throttles after you hit your limit
        2. This is made clear in ToS and if you are too lazy to read ToS, the sales person also mentions it in the store.
        3. P2P is forbidden as other's have pointed out. No regular ISP has forbidden P2P on their networks AFAIK.

      • by Ichijo (607641)

        Cap bandwidth during (and only during) peak usage periods, similar to "unlimited nights and weekends" voice plans.

      • So if you were running an ISP, what would you do to bandwidth hogs?

        QOS. When the network is congested, "bulk data" like BitTorrent should get a lower priority than low-latency data like streaming audio/video. When it isn't congested, there's no need or reason to throttle at all.

        (And if your network is still congested when only streaming data is left, then it means you need to upgrade your network!)

        • And if your network is still congested when only streaming data is left, then it means you need to upgrade your network!

          So you're ok with subsidizing your consumer dollars for an upgrade to benifit P2P users? No right or wrong answer, but one that needs to be both asked and answered just so we are all clear of the cost implications here.

          • There is absolutely no reason why every user shouldn't be a "P2P user," so yes! The Internet isn't -- and shouldn't be -- fucking cable TV, you know!

      • So if you were running an ISP, what would you do to bandwidth hogs? QOS, Throttle, or just drop them as a customer? Perhaps a courteous letter or warning?

        If it became necessary, throttle them; but without regard for what sort of traffic makes them bandwidth hogs. My problem is not that networks don't have infinite capacity to deal with high demand situations; but that the various throttling measures put into effect seem to be focused against certain types of traffic and/or subscriber types that the operator dislikes, rather than being based on volume.alone. You can't avoid volume based throttling unless you pay enough for a guaranteed non-oversubscribed line

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You can saturate a gigabit connection from a single person seeding Bittorent P2P traffic. The amount of connections it creates is insane too. It's like standing on the rooftop of your home and throwing money on the ground in the ghetto. You don't have enough lawn space for all the hoards of people waiting to fight over it. P2P bandwidth is high because people are fighting for resources to access "free" shit.

      ISOs, FOSS.... yeah what the fuck ever man. It's Movies, Music, Porn, and Games. STFU and get real. P

  • Uh... Who is mad, or desperate enough, to use torrents on a unreliable, slow and capped as hell cellular connection?
    • by AvitarX (172628)

      I've done it when hotel service what terrible, and I wanted to watch a TV show on a channel they don't have.

      Usually I use Usenet though. When I get LTE it's faster than cable, and I've never had an issue with my regular 9GB of usage (generally legit from Hulu, Netflix, and various podcasts).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Anyone who doesn't live in a major city.

      Many times the cellular networks are extensively developed in low population areas. There are several towns where I live where Wired ISP's only exist in the immediate "downtown" area of the city. The costs of connecting customers outside of that area far outweigh the potential income. While wireless internet providers (900Mhz) exist they are an expensive option and typically do not provide the speed that a cell service would provide. Hell, even in the city, my cell ph

    • Re:Uh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Voyager529 (1363959) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (925regayov)> on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:29PM (#47665235)

      Uh... Who is mad, or desperate enough, to use torrents on a unreliable, slow and capped as hell cellular connection?

      I can't speak for where you live specifically, but here in the northeast, I can tell you this much:

      1.) T-Mobile is, in most metro-ish areas, as reliable as any other carrier. Also, it's not beyond the realm of realisticness to presume that users torrenting on their phone aren't torrenting while driving - if you're stationary and have four bars of LTE signal, T-Mo is pretty damn solid.

      2.) I've gotten 2.5MBytes/sec down on my phone. Not during peak hours, of course, and somewhat varied based on what tower I'm connected to, but >1MByte/sec is quite common - and triple the speed of my home DSL.

      3.) T-Mobile still offers kitchen-sink unlimited data plans if you pay enough. On those, they have a cap on tethering, but on the phone, you can download as much as you want. Since Android has a handful of bittorrent applications, it's entirely possible to be torrenting on an unlimited, uncapped data plan.

      I don't blame T-Mo for doing what they're doing. Torrenting, by nature, takes a significant amount of bandwidth, requires lots of network connections, pounds the Carrier NAT with connections that can't be completed, requires a metric ton of extra routes, and doesn't stop seeding unless the user sets it as such.

      If there's a protocol that's terrible from a cellular provider's standpoint, it's bittorrent. Blocking it on cell phones is about the least objectionable form of "network non-neutrality" that a carrier could implement. On a similar note, I don't know that T-Mobile's music streaming policy is terribly unfair, since they're whitelisting all the major streaming music providers. If they made Pandora free while Slacker had to pay, that's not 'net neutral'. Since everyone who streams audio is included, it's a blurry area for net neutrality.

      • by gauauu (649169)

        On a similar note, I don't know that T-Mobile's music streaming policy is terribly unfair, since they're whitelisting all the major streaming music providers. If they made Pandora free while Slacker had to pay, that's not 'net neutral'. Since everyone who streams audio is included, it's a blurry area for net neutrality.

        While I mostly agree with you, it's not all of them. Google Play Music (which is the music streaming service that I primarily use) isn't included. (That being said, I regularly go over my 500mb quota, and I've NEVER been penalized or noticeably throttled when I do. So I can't complain at all)

      • Ahh ... So I will improve my question, putting a little context. Here in Brazil, not even the "2G" (EDGE) signal works stably, 3G only works occasionally in the center of the great capitals and 4G is virtually nonexistent. And if that is not bad enough, most carriers provides an unstable connection that practically only serves to make you be charged (is charged per connection in many cases) and then stops working. So imagine what happens when you try to use torrents on this junk.
        • Ahh ... So I will improve my question, putting a little context. Here in Brazil, not even the "2G" (EDGE) signal works stably, 3G only works occasionally in the center of the great capitals and 4G is virtually nonexistent. And if that is not bad enough, most carriers provides an unstable connection that practically only serves to make you be charged (is charged per connection in many cases) and then stops working. So imagine what happens when you try to use torrents on this junk.

          Your question begats two other questions:

          1.) The site redirects to the T-Mobile USA website. I don't know how this works for other subsidiaries, and/or in other countries.
          2.) The site explicitly specifies "Unlimited LTE". If you're torrenting at 20KBytes/sec, then your point certainly stands. If you're saturating an LTE tower during peak usages, then that's a different story...but it requires actual LTE service.

      • On a similar note, I don't know that T-Mobile's music streaming policy is terribly unfair, since they're whitelisting all the major streaming music providers. If they made Pandora free while Slacker had to pay, that's not 'net neutral'. Since everyone who streams audio is included, it's a blurry area for net neutrality.

        Here's one they don't include: totallyweirdsounds.com (all Tuvan throat singing, all the time!) Never heard of it? Of course not, I just made it up. But suppose I wanted to start that site. Millions of T-Mobile users would say, "If I use your service, it'll eat through my data cap, but if I get my Tuvan throat singing from Spotify it doesn't." I'd be at a huge disadvantage.

        Net neutrality is about providing a level playing field. Not just for established companies, but for everyone. Maybe T-Mobile is

    • by swb (14022)

      I think there are some seriously cheap geeks out there with good T-mobile signal who have decided that unlimited data via cellular is both a better value and maybe even better throughput than whatever's available via a wall jack where they live.

      So they tether, maybe even bridging it to their home LANs as their only internet access.

      Sounds like a pain in the ass and unreliable as hell, but maybe they've got dedicated hardware which eliminates some of the unreliable part (external antenna, device dedicated to

  • by thieh (3654731) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:10PM (#47665053)
    I suppose we probably have to build one giant mesh network instead of begging for the mercy of these providers no? Probably makes us harder to be spied on too if we don't use the same route to get to the same place every time
    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      At some point in the mesh someone will likely need to be connected to a fibre to go somewhere, and when he gets a bill he will be pretty pissed.

      I remember we actually had these arrangements commercially in Australia. My ISP back in the day imposed a 10GB cap, but interestingly enough the cap didn't include any internal transfer. Not just data served up by the ISP, but also data served up by the ISP's customers, and the ISP's Peers. It created a very interesting market.

      A bittorrent tracker appeared with open

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I actually read the article. I know, it's a faux pas. Live with it. As I read what T-Mobile said, I realize that all this fluff about Peer-to-Peer is meant to distract us from that little line at the end that reads:

    or other applications that denigrate network capacity or functionality

    In other words, T-Mobile doesn't care what you do. If you try to use the unlimited connection you've purchased, you're going to get throttled. Yet again, more BAIT & SWITCH! They only want customers who buy their

  • by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:23PM (#47665183) Journal

    My first thought is, too many people out there want to act like "net neutrality" should mean free, unlimited use of all services whenever the carrier promises some sort of flat rate option.

    More realistically, I think people need to differentiate between hard line based services and OTA services, which are currently far more expensive to maintain and to support high bandwidth over.

    While I'd be very upset to find my cable company or a service providing broadband over fiber like we have at work was throttling us for using bit-torrent protocol or for "using the service with unauthorized devices" -- I don't have the same issue with it happening on a cellular LTE connection.

    I think there has to be some level of understanding of the underlying limitations of the technology in place. When I use cellular data, I know up-front that I'm sharing a finite amount of bandwidth with everyone else in an X square mile area is on the service, using that same tower. That's just the nature of the beast -- and it's what gives me the ability to stay connected while very mobile, doing things I'd never be able to do at all otherwise, without traveling to a specific place with a landline connection.

    Anyone keeping torrent downloads going on a regular basis over LTE really is just mis-using the service. Sure, there are probably some who live in rural areas who will complain they have no other faster options. But the bottom line is, cellular companies intend their data services to be used primarily in conjunction with their phone handsets, as a way to keep them connected for the Internet tasks you'd most commonly want to do on a phone. They also sell data cards and USB modems, but pretty much always with some strict limits on monthly data usage, or at the very least -- with an "unlimited" plan that contains a lot of exceptions to what unlimited means in that context.

    Really, the only viable alternative is to wind up with pricing like the satellite internet services do; strict monthly usage caps with per megabyte overage fees on top of it. I think it's clear that the majority of customers vastly prefer just paying a reasonable, fixed monthly rate with a promise that "under typical usage scenarios, you can just use the thing whenever you like without worrying about extra costs for data".

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:45PM (#47665387)

      Anyone keeping torrent downloads going on a regular basis over LTE really is just mis-using the service.

      Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
      Then come back here and and explain to me why it's silly for users to think they can use their connection for whatever they want to.

      T-Mobile spent millions advertising lies and fraudulent claims just to sell service, and is now trying to cut off the users that actually used the service in the way they advertised it. If I were selling a moving service, and I put out ads showing us moving an elephant, how on earth could I complain when a customer actually asked us to move an elephant? That's what was advertised, that's what they should deliver. End of story.

      • If I were selling a moving service, and I put out ads showing us moving an elephant, how on earth could I complain when a customer actually asked us to move an elephant? That's what was advertised, that's what they should deliver. End of story.

        In your example, the ad showing the elephant would certainly be considered mere puffery [wikipedia.org] and not give you a valid claim in court. See, e.g., Leonard v. Pepsico [wikipedia.org] (in which a plaintiff tried to sue Pepsi for failing to deliver a Harrier jet as the prize in a contest based an a TV ad showing the jet as a prize).

        The question is whether "unlimited" is a claim whose truth or falsity can be demonstrated, and what kind of expectations reasonable people have.

      • by random735 (102808)

        on the phone? sure. via tethering to a pc? no...nothing in the advertisement promises that.

    • I think it's clear that the majority of customers vastly prefer just paying a reasonable, fixed monthly rate with a promise that "under typical usage scenarios, you can just use the thing whenever you like without worrying about extra costs for data".

      That's a funny word, "typical."

      It seems to me there are only two possibilities: either the "typical" user doesn't use "too much" data (whatever that means) and no data caps are necessary (although QOS during peak usage periods may be, and that's OK), or the "ty

  • Good idea (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by jones_supa (887896)
    Good decision. Only dickheads clog cellular radio frequencies with torrents. If you love pirating so much, you can obtain a wired connection for that.
    • I know this is modded flamebait, but I tend to agree to a point. The providers shouldn't be let off the hook for advertising/selling "unlimited" data plans when short of putting a micro-cell tower on every lightpole, such a thing is not economically viable. It's all false advertising at the least. But at the same time, P2P/torrenting over a cellular connection all the time is like pissing in the pool. It's probably cool if it happens occasionally, but when it's being done constantly it fucks everyone ov

  • T-mobile also pulled the backwards anti-net neutrality thing by happily announcing 'Free Streaming' from select music providers... which is, in effect, making non-select usage fee-based.

    You could look at it that way, I guess. I look at it as I get unlimited data access with the first 3GB per month at LTE speed, but any data from those selected services don't count against it. Kinda wish Amazon or Google music were on those lists, but the original deal I signed with T-Mobile a few months ago was 2.5GB at L

    • by User0x45 (530857)

      Thank you for understanding my tortured summary.....see the "Variation on Tiered Service" for a more clear description.

  • by Andrio (2580551) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @04:21PM (#47665735)

    Most people with "unlimited" data will probably use anywhere between 3-10GB.

    But there are people, on the same unlimited plan, that will use 100 or 200 or more GB a month. Now, since they bought "unlimited" data, this is fine. They're getting what they paid for. Some might argue that they are abusing the service, but that doesn't matter: they bought unlimited data, so they're using it.

    The result is that people who might use less than 10GB of data a month by streaming lots of music and youtube video, are put into the same service tier as people who might basically run torrents on their phone, or even use it as their home broadband, racking up hundreds of GBs of data a month.

    I think part of the problem is that right now the data tiers are silly. Plans basically offer triers that look like this:
    500MB
    2GB
    3GB
    UNLIMITED

    There's this huge spike.

    People who will stream slightly mare than average, and people who intend to use their data for massive broadband demands will have no choice but to go with the unlimited plan. How about some more reasonable tiers? Something like
    1GB
    5GB
    20GB
    UNLIMITED

    I lost track of what my point was supposed to be so I'm going to stop typing now.

    • by Rinikusu (28164)

      I'd just be happy if they offered an Unlimited Tethering plan on top of my Unlimited Data plan and not have to worry about it.

      • If you have Verizon, they do offer such a service. Still to this day, you can add the unlimited tethering option to Verizon unlimited data plans, for $29.99 a month.

  • While I can understand T-mob. in this case, they - and others as well - could just do what my mobile internet provider in Europe (not T-mob.) does: I got a data package with 10GB of monthly limit with all the constraints (e.g., no torrent use) for average use, but from midnight to 8:00am in the same package they give a separate 100GB monthly allowance without any restrictions at all (and at LTE speed). This way they can force the heavy users out of the more crowded intervals, and everyone can be happy. Oh,
  • Like in the Darth Vader sense? That's disturbing.

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

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