Throttling: the word’s enough to send a chill down the spine of any smartphone user. You’ve been enjoying your high-speed LTE connection, taking full advantage of your phone’s big, beautiful screen and streaming some HD video, when all of a sudden that fire-hose of a connection slows to a trickle. This morning an internal T-Mobile memo leaked describing new efforts from the carrier to throttle high-bandwidth users. Should you be concerned?
Long answer short: probably not. There are a few reasons for why that is, starting with who’s affected. Namely: unlimited data users only. If you’re on a 1GB, 3GB, or 5GB plan, this isn’t an issue, as T-Mobile’s only going after high-data users on unlimited plans.
If you’re just using regular apps, you should also be fine. Things like Netflix, YouTube, or Pandora aren’t going to invite T-Mobile’s wrath. Instead, the leaked memo says that the carrier is pursuing users who are using their phones for peer-to-peer file sharing directly, or otherwise tethering their phones to computers being used for similar high-data activities.
T-Mobile already forbids P2P and stuff like running a personal server in its terms of service; you knew this when you signed up. All it’s doing now is sending out a message that it’s really getting serious about enforcement. And if you are breaking these rules, T-Mobile isn’t just going to dial-down your bandwidth on the sly – the carrier will contact users appearing to be in violation and tell them as such, giving them the opportunity to change their ways.
We know, it’s never fun when “unlimited” doesn’t really mean “unlimited,” but it’s hard to fault a carrier for enforcing rules it already had on the books. And it’s not like unlimited data on T-Mobile doesn’t still exist; you just can’t use it for a few specific purposes.