Savvy mobile data users know that “unlimited” does have its limits: Plans that promise unlimited data are selling only theoretically unlimited data. That’s because all carriers reserve the right to drastically cut users’ connection speed to 2G or 3G if they go over this semi-invisible limit. Now T-Mobile is raising this threshold for its for its customers, from 32 GB to 50 GB.
The practice of cutting users’ connections down to a trickle of data once the carrier decides that they’ve downloaded enough is called throttling, and it’s a common one. But T-Mobile claims its system isn’t throttling: Big Magenta practices prioritization.
“Often confused for a ‘throttle’ or ‘cap,’ prioritization is different,” T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray said in a statement announcing the change.
The carrier says that its users would only experience slower speeds past the limit if they’re in an area with high data congestion, where customers who haven’t used as much data would be given priority over those who have passed the limit, now 50 GB.
T-Mobile says that only 1% of its customers pass that limit, which is equal to watching two hours of Netflix at standard definition every day over the mobile connection.
Elsewhere in the wireless world, Verizon and AT&T start throttling data use at 22 GB.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile and Sprint, the third- and fourth-ranked carriers in the United States, are shopping for engagement rings again. T-Mobile built that fast LTE network that it brags about with the break-up fees after a planned merger with AT&T didn’t work out.