Lately it seems as though nearly every carrier has changed its data plans, and T-Mobile looks to be next. Effective Oct. 16, T-Mobile will be changing its data cap from 10MB to a 5GB, which is more in line with what other carriers offer.  Users who reach the 5GB cap will be notified via a free SMS message that they have reached their cap, and any continued data usage will be at a slower speed. They are saying that this change will only affect around 1 percent of their customers, meaning 99 percent of you will not notice a change. But for those who wish to monitor their data usage it can be done on my.t-mobile.com under the data use tab. [via TMoNews, whom we're betting is that 1 percent ;-) ]


Reader comments

T-Mobile lowers data cap, will throttle speeds for those who continue to exceed


I can see some people having a problem, but really how bad is it? With Wi-Fi all over the place my actual data use by cell is 2.36 GB. That is for the last six months. I'm only at half what we get for ONE month at a time. Looks like I'm safe.

Wow so Sprint is the only one to not cap their data packages with 4g phones.
Interesting stuff.

They don't cap it yet. Dan Hesse has been talking about caps and Tiers more recently.

Unlimited data isn't sustainable

I completely agree - unlimited data isn't sustainable, but shouldn't these rocket scientists have figured that out before they shifted to pushing so many data-hungry devices into the marketplace?

As a Sprint customer and an EVO owner, the notion that Sprint is talking data caps and tiers is troublesome, particularly since I'm paying the $10 extra for "premium" data and really having no idea what it's for - obviously it's NOT for 4G, which I don't have and probably won't have for years to come. Basically, I say, don't sell me a phone that is a data hog and then realize you can't support the data needs that I've grown accustomed to.

I do think Sprint will be wise here so as not to incite a backlash from EVO and Epic 4G owners. If these carriers were truly investing what they say they invest in their networks then meeting the needs of their customers now and in the future should be a lot more manageable.

The $10 is a premium data fee which sucks but at the same time uncaps 3g and wimax data so in my opinion it's not so bad. While others are capping, they are adding a $10 charge that still costs less than the capped plans from others in order to uncap. I don't mind paying more for unlimited as long as it is reasonably priced and is an option.

Unlimited data IS sustainable

They're just using the tubes analogy to exploit consumers' ignorance and stupidity

Remember when internet access used to cost several dollars PER MINUTE? That was BS, but AOL got away with it for years because people were too stupid to figure that out

No it's not.

The more users on a tower, the faster that tower reaches capacity, which requires more towers, which cost money. There is a point where the cost of a tower will NOT be compensated for by the additional revinue in subscribers.

As devices consume data at a faster rate, and as more people start using data carriers will not be able to provide the bandwidth and break even, much less at a profit.

There will be breakthroughs in distribution, but everything requires money to invest in. Offering totally unlimited, un-throttled data would destory a companies revenue so they can't invest in these upgrades.Much less pay for the data currently being consumed.

If you think this is wrong, you try hosting your own internet connections and providing people unlimited access on the cheap. See how long it is before you stop making money and start losing it.

10MB should be 10GB..

Not trying to be a grammar nazi.. but I wanted to say it before some mean one did. :)

I was about to mention that and say, if it's only 10MB then I go over that the first day of the billing cycle

Data caps really suck. That being said, causing the data rate to be reduced rather than stealth charges seems like the least painful plan.

exactly.. I've never came close to 5GBs, 1-2GB is enough for a heavy internet browser w/tons of apps to update on a regular basis. 5GB might be pushing it for netflix fans (when that ever becomes available), maybe they're working on a bandwidth optimized version for their mobile/android app.

people currently downloading double digit GBs are likely abusing their data service (tethering w/o paying for it (if the carrier charges for it), have cancelled their home internet and use it solely on their systems at home, and bit-torrent everything. not feeling sorry for that guy..

Lol that used to be me. Before I got home internet I tethered my Nexus One to my computer as my only online connection. I torrented movies overnight and would usually hit 9gbs a month.

This is not really a straight up cap, just a throttling system... To me, a cap implies that you get charged for any use that exceeds it. Frankly I wouldn't mind if Sprint did exactly this, 5 GB is enough, even for tethering unofficially... If you use more than that you're probably tethering and/or streaming stuff all day long and you should be paying for tethering individually (which would ideally add to the cap or have it's own). I'm not sure if Tmo offers tethering at all on current phones tho, beyond that elusive G2 update... Do they?

It probably kicks you to EDGE speeds when you exceed it...

Well it makes total sense! At least it's more than At&t... if people don't consume that much in a month, then I think we will be fine with 3 more gigs!

Did no one see this coming? with the G2 enabling tethering from the OTA?

Wow from 10 MB to 5 GB, hell of an increase.

Doesn't anybody proof read their posts or are we all in a hurry to be the first blog to post a story?

Don't posters check to see what was written right above them before repeating it?

If you can't be quick, at least be kind. Being slow and obnoxious just means you'll get ignored. :)

Dear T-Mobile. Then STOP calling it "UNLIMITED DATA" on my plan and bill. A cap or throttle IS a limit.

So sick of the false advertising and fine print of these companies.

a throttle is still unlimited data. they're not limiting how much data you can consume, just how fast you can consume it.

It's a heck of a lot better than what other carriers offer with hardcaps

No, a throttle, in this context, is a form of limitation, by definition of the word itself, or at least its synonyms:

"2 attempts to throttle the criminal supply of drugs: suppress, inhibit, stifle, control, restrain, check, contain, choke off, put a/the lid on; stop, put an end to, end, stamp out."

It's the oldest argument on the net re: cellular data, but the term unlimited is too easily thrown around, and rationalize it all you want, it's false advertising, or at least mis-leading.

Sit back and accept it if you want. I'm not losing sleep over it, but it's just another in a long list of minor annoyances that dealing with cellular carriers causes.

But it's not capping your data. It's slowing the stream down once a certain level is reached but it is NOT cutting you off or charging you overages. You were promised unlimited data, they didn't promise speeds.

And most likely when this change is finalized, the next set of brochures will list this change. They can still call it unlimited data though, as there is no limit on the data downloaded, just the speed

You seem to be under the impression that I don't understand the difference between cutting off my data at a certain amount of bits through the pipe and slowing down my flow if a certain amount of bits through the pipe is reached in a certain amount of time. I assure you I know the difference.

As far as what they promised... Actually, they promised me unlimited data on the fastest 3G network with 4G speeds, What you don't seem to understand is that they are LIMITING my ability to use my "unlimited" data by artificially slowing down the rate at which I can get it. If last month I could get X number of gigabytes by maintaining a constant stream for 24/7, next month I will be able to get substantially less because after 5 gigs, the flow drops so low I can't get the same. That's a limit, and a cap, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.

Just to be clear, this is just academic for me. I have three cellular accounts, a T-Mo with "unlimited" data, and two grandfathered AT&T iPhone real unlimited data accounts and a 50 mb FIOS line at home. I'm not some non-paying bandwidth abuser whose whining because I want to use my $49/mo cellphone service as my home broadband connection to stream HD Netflix and download bit torrents of bluray disks all day long. What I am is a simple consumer who is fed up with false advertising and misleading statements. Calling a data plan unlimited, when you're imposing limits, is one of those two.

You can agree or not. At this point, I don't care enough to argue about. The debate's been had a million or more times across the web since AT&T and Verizon started capping or limiting.

At least now AT&T is honest and doesn't call anything unlimited. They sell you a 2gig or a 5gig plan, end of story ;-).

The deal is you still get data after the 5 GB, even at slower EDGE speeds. T-Mobile's data sticks also have a 200 MB plan that is hard capped at 200 MB with overage charges beyond that. The 5 GB plan does not.

When the G1 was first being released, T-Mo wanted to put a 1 GB cap on 3G usage. The internet pretty much exploded when that fine print got put out, so they bumped it up to 10 GB. Now with the G2, it seems they want to knock it down to 5 GB. This won't bother me if they give us Tethering/Hotspot.

Ok, given a cap what possible reason is there to prevent thethering!

And why should you have to pay for the option?

I'll let you guys in on a little secret, the Carrier's numbers are off. I am running 3G Watchdog on my phone. The Cellular connection only has used 1.55GB this billing cycle.
This is what I see when I log into my T-Mobile Page

Data: 161.3725 / Unlimited Megabytes

Service Used Included Remaining Pay Per Use
Data 161 Unlimited Unlimited $0.00

* Usage for active or recently ended calls or data sessions may not be displayed. For billing, data is rounded up to the nearest MB.

Most recent activity

Date Time
Help Tip

1024 megabytes = 1 gigabyte
10/13/10 02:33 PM 0.1445mb

So basicly its not racking up any of the data I use whilst Roaming on ATT via their Carrier Agreement.

This is why I left T-mobile for Sprint. The 10GB limit wasn't enough. I would be in constant frustration with only 5GB. And once they start throttling it is clearly slower than EDGE speeds. it is so slow it is almost a cap.

I'm glad I have unlimited and am grandfathered :) hm well pretty soon all carriers WILL all have data caps. just don't be downloading a bunch of apps and you'll be fine. but still it sucks not everyone has unlimited data anymore. sprint is next I guess sprint can't be first at everything lol

Just like many of us said as Android Central made front page news of people blatently abusing the unlimited data and apparently encouraging it like some sort of game.

I'm sorry but you're very misinformed. That article you're referring to was a user who was paying an extra fee every month for unlimited data tethering. And if you read this comment from that article, Sprint fully supports heavy data usage with these plans.


Nowhere in that article or in the forum thread did anyone condone abusing their data plans; in fact they specifically criticized those that tether data on their phones WITHOUT paying for it.

Why the hell are they so worried about implementing this when 99 percent of us don't go over 5gb. Seems like a lot of trouble and bad press so that 1 percent are more carefull. I'm just sayin.....

It's rather obvious why they are doing this now - change "unlimited" plans to a crappy 5 GB limit per month while most users are still only using .5 to 1 gb/per month so there wont be many complaints. This is especially ingenious on AT&T's part where they have huge overage charges for exceeding 2 gb. Now, fast forward a year or 2 and everyone will be hitting these limits, especially with the faster 4G networks and all the video streaming options including Netflix, hi-res youtube, Hulu, facetime/video calls, etc..

Because that one perercent most likely use FAR more than 10gb a month.

If you talk to any ISP (landline or wireless) they'll point out that on average between 5-10% of their users consume 60-80% of the total data used on the network.

By capping or limiting heavy users, they lessen their overall load signifigantly, and for a carrier like Tmobile (where they're signifigantly cheaper and trying to push out HSPA+) every dollar counts.

Yes, another reason is so that when they come out with faster devices (and there are apps that use these faster speeds) they have something to limit the influx of data, but I'm willing to bet a good portion of the reason to do this is for current abusers more than anything else.

i use 5gb a day sometimes ill use over 6gb in 24hrs home internet is out so i use my evo i have 4g were i live so im just happy sprint hasn't tried this crap yet.

Far be it from me to rain on your parade but what exactly are you using your phone for?

Every thing i want to use "data wise" i really want to do it on my PC.

Then again i just got a phone with a data plan so maybe it will increase later on hehe.

I tend to use a lot of data and I have never broken 3gb. That's with me downloading roms directly to my phone to flash. I think 5gb is a safe cap for 99% of us.

I'd also like AT&T to come up with a family data pricing option. You have shared minutes, and a family messaging option, so why not family data?

Now that they have Tiered data they should do it. It doesn't work with family unlimited data because unlike minutes and texts, the only limit to how much data is consumed is the device itself, not the user.

I would really like to know how sprint is going to put a cap on their data when they have done nothing but promote their EVERYTHING DATA PLAN. This should be interesting.

I consider myself to be a rather heavy data user, but I don't consume much of their bandwidth since I'm usually near wifi and would much rather use that.

I'm going to keep a close eye on this. i bought the G2 which requires you to have a 2yr data contract as well as the regular 2yr contract.... if i'm locked in for two years, i plan on getting what i pay for. as a matter of fact i'm bout to call CC right now.

Well I run my own online radio station which I having been starting to use "Tunewiki" to listen to it with, before I was using "Streamfurious". But either way I thought hey I am finally going to eat up some bandwidth but according to "Netcounter" I have only used 182.24 MB so far. So i guess I do not have that to worry about either, now I just wish "Tunewiki" would not drop so often, maybe someone can list a better alternative that works better? Thank You "R"

More than likely not. They'll either grandfather in old plans, or they had a provision in their contract that allows them to limit the download speeds already.

If you call and ask about it, they'll most likey just grandfather you in. This is something that is easily covered by an exception, not something like per text fees, or an increase in per MB data costs.

I use Pandora a lot. I was averaging 2-3GB per month (both with my BB Storm 1 and my moto D1). With the changes in Pandora to accommodate 2.2 my usage has jumped 1-2GBs (without a significant change on my part). It isn't my fault that google doesn't care about data usage in fact they promote systems that use more data than necessary.... Such as disliking the high compression audio in Froyo, pulling gmail everytime you look at it and not allowing any cacheing of data on the phone for later (i.e. Maps/Nav). The entire system seems geared toward data usage. These increases are inevitable as the smart phone is embraced by society. The data caps are a stop gap they will need to update their systems to handle the additional data.

This is a prime opportunity for Sprint. If they stay the course and do NOT implement data caps it could be a huge marketing boom for them. If you want to attract pissed off customers from Verizon and AT&T, this is the service to do it with.