T-Mobile UK redefines the term "browsing" by restricting video and file downloading

T-Mobile UK redefines the term "browsing" by restricting video and file downloads
The carriers have been getting all hot and bothered recently how their networks were never meant to handle the influx of smartphones that people use for so much, well, browsing the Internet. The European telcos went so far as to go Tony Soprano, requesting payments from YouTube, Facebook, Apple - basically everyone who generates a tad more traffic, but people frequent on a regular basis. The premise is that such sites have to be paying fees for allowing them access to the carrier's data networks.

This crazy idea obviously didn't travel far, so now T-Mobile UK is taking the matter by its no-so-smooth handle. The carrier distributed a new policy, in effect next month, that "Browsing means looking at websites and checking email, but not watching videos, downloading files or playing games. We've got a fair use policy but ours means that you'll always be able to browse the internet, it's only when you go over the fair use amount that you won't be able to download, stream and watch video clips.".

Wait, what? You are preventing me from watching YouTube clips on my phone after a certain amount of "fair use" data consumed? How much?  "From 1st February 2011 we will be aligning our fair use policies so our mobile internet service will have fair use of 500MB." Take that, subscribers who have signed for the 3GB option, better plan around watching YouTube in the first days of the month, because after you go over 500MB, you will only be rocking Solitaire and old school text-only articles.

Can they do that? Obviously it is technologically possible, and US carriers have also been at the partner presentations of Allot Communications and Openet, who provide tools for traffic segmentation, even if your connection is encrypted. We really don't like where this is heading, and can't fathom why a simple higher charge is not enough to safeguard the carriers' networks from overloading. There is only one step from T-Mobile UK's unilateral decision to pricing mobile Internet use according to content, as in the chart below.

source: TheGuardian

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