T-Mobile defines the “limit” on its Unlimited LTE plan

Like many others, T-Mobile offers an "Unlimited" data plan for its mobile customers. It differs from the alternative offerings in the provider's portfolio in that it doesn't limit or throttle a user's connection speed when they go beyond certain threshold of monthly data use. At least, that's what the carriers would like you to believe.
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67 Comments

52. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

They don't stop you, you don't go to 2g speeds, and once there is less congestion (which is like 90% of the time that there is no congestion) you will get as fast of speed that can be had. I see customers everyday, with not 'throttle' that hit 50GB/month every month.

10. etron

Posts: 29; Member since: Sep 12, 2014

Even home internet like dsl will slow down when congested they have to find a way to make it fair for everyone i agree that unlimited should mean that. which it is it just slows down some maybe they should state that which they may i have never read the fine print

32. pancakepaddle

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 24, 2015

atleast dsl is still usable.

12. gersont1000

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

While I think this is a fair CONCEPT, I think the limit should be more than 21GB because it's easy to rack up a couple dozen gigs in a month if you watch video during your lunch break and on your commute. However, I think T-Mobile will run into legal problems with this and will get sued. The reason is that unlike the other carriers, all of T-Mobile's plans are "unlimited", but they have different plans for the amounts of LTE speed data usage allowed in a month. Those who pay for Unlimited 4G LTE are paying to have LTE speed data usage at ALL TIMES they have a signal, without end.

15. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

I don't think they offer unlimited LTE, they offer unlimited DATA. You get that so I can't imagine a successful lawsuit. Especially when it's in the contract. AT&T probably got in trouble b/c it wasn't in the contract.

16. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

No. It's unlimited unthrottled data. 1GB, 3GB and 5GB plans are all unlimited DATA. The differentiator with those and the unlimited plan, WERE that you don't get throttled... ever.

25. FakeMatt

Posts: 40; Member since: Aug 02, 2013

Network prioritization has always been a practice on all carriers. T-Mobile is just transparent about some of the logic it uses to determine who gets priority over others. Nowhere does it say every unlimited user will get throttled at 21 GB. Only in very specific situations would that happen (i.e. network congestion due to a large volume of users).

37. pancakepaddle

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 24, 2015

pffff I've been speed testing t-mobile for 2 years and was never slowed down until this month

20. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

The logo up there has unlimited nationwide 4G data. So if they restrict LTE, they still have to offer up HSPA or some other type of 4G, for it to be legitimate.

22. gersont1000

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

Hmmm...I could've sworn that logo said 4G LTE in the past.

36. pancakepaddle

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 24, 2015

little bastards are trying to cover the tracks

53. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Actually they won't. Straight from their Terms and Conditions: Protective Measures: To provide the best possible experience for the most possible customers and minimize capacity issues and degradation in network performance, we take certain steps to manage our network, including, but not limited to, prioritizing the data usage of Unlimited high-speed data customers who use more than 21 GB of data during a billing cycle below that of other customers in times and locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources for the remainder of their billing cycle. Where the network is lightly loaded in relation to available capacity, a customer whose data is de-prioritized will notice little, if any, effect from having lower priority. This will be the case in the vast majority of times and locations. At times and locations where the network is heavily loaded in relation to available capacity, however, these customers will likely see significant reductions in data speeds, especially if they are engaged in data-intensive activities. T-Mobile constantly works to improve network performance and capacity, but there are physical and technical limits on how much capacity is available, and in constrained locations the frequency of heavy loading in relation to available capacity may be greater than in other locations. When network loading goes down or the customer moves to a location that is less heavily loaded in relation to available capacity, the customer's speeds will likely improve. Seewww.T-Mobile.com/OpenInternet for details and for current data amount subject to this practice

14. tokuzumi

Posts: 1898; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

I have mixed feelings on this. One, I'll never hit the 21GB cap. I just don't like surfing on my phone, compared to a computer screen, and I don't tether. But, if it's unlimited, there shouldn't be any limits on the data usage, unless they can provide evidence the heavy users are degrading the experience of other users.

18. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

Not even if heavy users degrade the experience of others. That's still the company's responsibility, to ensure the network can handle any and all demand. Otherwise, why don't they just build out the network with single DSL connections? After all, YOU the consumer would be responsible for your fellow consumers browsing experience, rather than the company being responsible for it's customers. Most people are too foolish to understand that cellular, is your home wifi router on steroids. There is no difference between your wifi router and a cell phone tower. Both need landline connections to be plugged into them and both emit frequencies to connect your devices wirelessly. Imagine your home ISP telling you that you can only use 10GB of data on your own line.. there would be an uproar. In essence, these limitations would be similar to only being able to use your cellphone, when it's plugged into the wall outlet. You buy a cellphone for the convenience of making and receiving calls, texts, and data.. wirelessly. The average family probably uses at least 200GB a month on their home internet. So those of you who say "how can you use more than 2GB on your phone?!" need to shut up. Stop using your wifi for more than 2GB then. Seeing as wifi and cellular are in essence the same. Those using their phones as their home internet are actually the ones doing the right thing. This is where the technology was supposed to take us. In fact, they pay a premium just to have that capability. Home internet it (usually) unthrottled and unlimited data. Let's make some comparisons. Home internet: -costs between $35-70/month (average) -serves as many people as can connect to your router, with no price increase per person -unlimited data for all persons (usually) -with wifi, serves data wirelessly, on the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands as far as the coverage reaches. *In essence, the wifi router does not change the equation. You're still using the landline connection to transfer the data, but the wifi router allows you to not need cables running everywhere. Cellular internet: -Costs $40-80/person -With each added individual, you pay an extra fee -not unlimited data usually, but unlimited data with throttling in other cases -Similar to wifi routers, functions wirelessly, emitting varying frequencies such as 700Mhz, 1700/2100Mhz, 1900Mhz, etc.. so that one doesn't need to have cabling running everywhere. So let's say a family of 4: pays $50/month for home internet for speeds of 75Mbps unlimited data But with cellular, they can pay $180/month (T-Mobile $100/2 lines and $40/extra per line), and each user is limited to 21GB of high speed data? If this sounds logical to you, something isn't right. You pay more than 3x more, but receive far less. I'd understand paying 2-3x more so you can have a nationwide wifi network, but to pay 2-3x more just to have your ISP tell you you can only use a fraction of data you normally use, is pathetic.

33. pancakepaddle

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 24, 2015

damn I couldn't have said it better!

54. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

All that talk and you fail to even show what you are trying to say. Say you have your own wifi, like you so put it in your explanation. My own home I have 4 desktops, 6 Tablets, 2 Gaming systems and 6 Phones. They are all leaching off the network. If they all started to watch Netflix except one user. Do you think my network capacity will stay the same or go down? Say my network capacity is 50Mb/s, divide that by 18. At max load, I will get 2.7Mb/s. I could put another tower, and then now get 100Mb/s. And so forth etc. Not only that your 35/month home line plan would freaking die under my usage. It would crawl under a rock and cry momma. Your home line does not guarantee constant speed for all users on that wifi that you install. Not only that most wifi routers have...you guessed it...limited number of computers that can be connected. And not a single tech person, or network admin, would ever overload a router like that. So here this is what you are trying to say. Tmobile 80 for single person single data pool. Comcast 80 for a data pool. Want another line? You pay. IN ALL CASES YOU PAY. http://www.xfinity.com/Corporate/Customers/Policies/HighSpeedInternetAUP.html Read network management (this is not exclusive to Comcast, not a single service provider will not have this in their agreement). Because people think resources are not finite.http://compnetworking.about.com/od/wirelessfaqs/f/howmanydevices.htm

67. Salazzi

Posts: 537; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

and cellular guarantees constant speed for all users? You're a clown. If that was the case, we wouldn't need to have prioritization, because the network would be "data strong" and would sufficiently provide for all, without need to slow down with each additional user. But wait! That's exactly what happens! Just like your home network, the more users are connected to a tower, the slower it gets for each user! Because after all.. the towers don't sit on unlimited bandwidth. If that were so, we wouldn't even be having this discussion in the first place :)

63. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I have unlimited data on Verizon. I connect my phone to a computer, tether it. giving my computer Internet. I then use Connectify to share my computer's Internet through my rather powerful wifi card I installed. An Ookla speed test from a tablet connected to the wifi says I get about 35 down 10 up. the wifi card is strong enough to reach all my apartment. I used to pay AT&T $120 a month for 12 megs down 5 up and I would only get 8 megs down from them. I have used over 200 gigabytes in a month, they've never throttled me.. The phone you would pay for anyway, but, now I don't have to pay for home internet.

17. Fuego84

Posts: 357; Member since: May 13, 2012

T-Mobile's truly unlimited, the truth comes out. But seriously I used 30gb last week alone on Netflix didn't have data issues

26. FakeMatt

Posts: 40; Member since: Aug 02, 2013

You're probably in an area that isn't too busy. You shouldn't ever have a problem getting high speed data at whatever usage you have each month unless at that specific time a very large number of users are connected to the same tower as you.

55. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Not bad, I see 80GB daily with no 'throttle'.

19. fyahking

Posts: 1146; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

Yep, that's what they told me when I called them because. My spped got slowed down. I used about 70gb a month since that is my only internet connection. It's mostly YouTube and Netflix.

35. pancakepaddle

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 24, 2015

yep they slowed me down too. I noticed this month only since they announced the new policy. Sometimes its stupid slow.

21. defcon888

Posts: 39; Member since: Nov 03, 2014

It will be nice when Satellite phones become cheaper and sleeker looking...I am predicting 10 years....then we will have coverage wherever we want it....then the company will be called "VeriATTint-Mobile"

23. atlvideoguy

Posts: 73; Member since: Feb 24, 2012

Sounds to me like were getting to see into the future, when unlimited no longer exist, T-Mobiles next value deal 21GB unthrottled for $89/month!

34. pancakepaddle

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 24, 2015

wrong thinking. Do you buy a sportscar and use a gallon of gas?

56. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Actually their next plan was 100$ for 2 devices, unlimited. And you are unlimited, you don't get charged. they just allow others to use the service just like you have been enjoying for that 21GB. Go figure politeness is done by all ISP. ALLLLLL.

27. pancakepaddle

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 24, 2015

Data throttling aka data prioritization can be one in the same. I've seen my speeds drop below (.5 bmps) Now 80% of the time I can't even load a 1080p youtube vid or stream. You suck T-mobile, instead of upgrading you're towers, you slow speeds down just like ATT and Verizon. It's also funny watching the speed test start from a slow speed and right before the test ends it ramps up. I've never seen my speed tests act funny until this month. Come on FCC, where you at on this?

42. javy108

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

Basicly is not unl at all..

43. sheba611

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 24, 2015

I went over the 21GB cap on T-mobile last month and got throttled. I like to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime on my phone. Very easy to go over 21GB when video streaming. My DSL is very slow and I can't stream video. I live in an apartment and my broadband choices are limited. Disappointed in T-mobile. I moved from Verizon to T-mobile to get unlimited data and now I find it really is not unlimited afterall.
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