T-Mobile CEO John Legere issued a strong announcement saying that some customers are abusing the company’s network. While T-Mobile has become quite popular with its unlimited LTE mobile plans, unfortunately you don’t get unlimited LTE for tethering. After 7GB per month, you tethering speeds slow down.
But 3,000 customers are using up to 2TB of data per month, which is impossible with today’s limitations. I find this very impressive as I don’t think I’m even using 2TB of data per month at home. Instead of applauding this achievement, Leger says that these users are “stealing data so blatantly and extremely that it is ridiculous.”
In order to work around the 7GB cap, users conceal their tethering usage. For example, for T-Mobile, it looks like these users are browsing the web on their phones. But what they are actually doing is using the LTE network to download stuff on their computer.
“I’m not sure what they are doing with it – stealing wireless access for their entire business, powering a small cloud service, providing broadband to a small city, mining for bitcoin,” Legere wrote.
The company says that these customers will first be warned before losing access to the unlimited plan. The argument behind this decision is that these customers are slowing down the network for everyone.
It’s surprising that T-Mobile is making a big deal out of a small issue. According to this announcement, less than 0.01 percent of T-Mobile’s customers are abusing the company’s network. Of course the company is losing money on these customers, but 99.99 percent of customers aren’t causing any trouble.
There are two potential reasons behind this announcement. First, this move might be a sign that T-Mobile wants to improve its margins and put some new restrictions in order to reduce the load on its network. Second, the company may have chosen to go public on this issue to avoid any bad press.
Instead of quietly warning these users, T-Mobile is explaining why it is doing so before these users even have the opportunity to write blog posts and complain on the web. It’s a smart move. Now, let’s hope that regular T-Mobile users won’t get new restrictions in the coming months and this is just a one-off.