In a bizarre move T-Mobile has hacked the fair usage data allowance on its ‘unlimited’ tariff by over 80%. It’s a cut that even affects customers on an existing contract, and let’s just say, there’s a lot of unhappy bunnies.
What exactly are you up to T-Mobile? The mobile operator has taken a chainsaw to the data allowance on its ‘unlimited internet’ fair usage policy.
Despite T-Mobile already using a skewed definition of the word ‘unlimited’ (unlimited should do what it says on the tin!) its customers have been hit by a double blow – the operator is giving with one hand and taking away with the other.
Instead of the previous 1 gigabyte (GB) allowance, those of you on its so-called unlimited plan will now only have 500 megabytes (MB). This diminished allowance will also hit Android smartphone customers who were offered a 3GB fair usage limit by T-Mobile.
It keeps on coming
T-Mobile doesn’t think you should be too upset though, since according to its new fair usage policy ‘web-browsing’ won’t be affected. The problem is that the operator is again flirting with dictionary definitions by saying that ‘web browsing’ doesn’t include streaming video or downloading files (like apps or music).
So if you go over your new measly 500MB limit, you’ll be able to tweet and check Which? Convo, but you’ll struggle to visit YouTube or download Lady GaGa’s latest single. If this is what you desire, T-Mobile advises the following:
‘If you want to download, stream and watch video clips, save that stuff for your home broadband.’
Right, so those of you who bought your spangley new smartphone to watch video and try new apps, you’ll have to do so on your home’s Wi-Fi. Nice.
The debate has been raging over at Which? Tech Daily, with many angered at T-Mobile’s apparent ‘bait-and-switch’. The operator has said that its customers won’t be able to get out of their contracts, since they’ve given reasonable notice.
This raises two questions – do you think a mobile operator should be able to change its terms part-way through a contract? And, perhaps more importantly, were T-Mobile customers actually given 30 days’ notice for a change that will take place on February 1st?
The consensus from commenters on Which? Tech Daily appears to be that customers haven’t had fair notice, whether via a written letter, email or text. This could breach T-Mobile’s terms and conditions.
Of those who’ve expressed anger, Notahappybunny has said that they won’t take this lying down, ‘as I expect T-Mobile wouldn’t if I decided to reduce my monthly payment to them by 83%!’ Commenter Unhappy agrees:
‘All I want is that the allowances within the price plan are honoured for the duration of the contract. Is that really too much to ask?’
As far as what your rights are, Ofcom has told Which? Mobile that if you can make a good case that this change will cause ‘material detriment’ then you should be able to cancel your contract.
Update on 12 January 2011 – T-Mobile backs down
Following your comments and complaints, T-Mobile has backtracked on its previous announcement to change its fair usage policy. It’s data allowance reduction to 500MB will now only be made for new and upgrading customers. Here’s T-Mobile’s full statement:
‘On Monday 10 January 2011 we announced that, in line with the rest of the industry, T-Mobile would be reducing its Fair Use Policy for data usage to 500MB a month for all mobile phone customers. Following a further review of our policy, these changes will now be introduced from 1 February, to new and upgrading customers only – not existing customers.
‘There will be no change to the data packages for existing customers for the duration of their contract and we apologise for any confusion caused. The revision to the Fair Use Policy is designed to ensure an improved quality of service for all mobile internet users.’
Hopefully you can now breath a sigh of relief – we did it guys!