John Legere, T-Mobile US Chief Executive, launched a tirade on Sunday over customers who make substantial use of tethering on his system.
According to Legere his organization will tell 3,000 subscribers that they risk having their “unlimited” mobile network plans terminated if they don’t stop sidestepping T-Mob’s restrictions on LTE tethering.
All this anger despite customers paying for plans that are clearly advertised as “unlimited.” Except in the case of T-Mobile ‘unlimited’ actually means very limited. Subscribers are permitted to download just 7GB per month when tethering their LTE device – in straightforward terms, turning it into a wireless network hotspot to link a laptop to the internet over the mobile network.
Once the 7 GB is exhausted, T-Mobile decreases the speed of the network.
According to Legere, some users have altered their mobile devices to not send reports of tethered data, enabling them to access the internet at LTE speeds with no restrictions on data.
Legere claims that subscribers are stealing his organization’s “unlimited” plan to get limitless data, in some incidences as much as 2TB downloaded in a month.
Legere said, “This week, I am taking aim at a select group of individuals who have actually been stealing data from T-Mobile.”
He added, “If their activities are left unchecked, their actions could eventually have a negative effect on the experience of honest T-Mobile customers. Not on my watch.”
According to Legere, the ‘bad’ subscribers are just “1/100 of a percent” of T-Mobile’s customers, but nonetheless are capable of reducing LTE broadband speeds across the board for all users.
Or so the story goes. There is little evidence of this in fact happening given most mobile networks are vastly under-used. They’re designed this way after all.
As of yesterday T-Mobile began utilizing detection devices to sense when subscribers are circumventing data restrictions. Those who are detected trying to conceal their tethering traffic will be given a warning and, if caught a second time, will have their LTE plan lessened to T-Mobile’s “entry level” plan, though just how the legalities of this will work remain to be seen.
“I’m not in this business to play data cop, but we started this wireless revolution to change the industry for good and to fight for consumers,” Legere stated, once again using words the mean the exact opposite of what he intends.
He added, “I won’t let a few thieves ruin things for anyone else. We’re going to lead from the front on this, just like we always do.”
The somewhat comical, somewhat annoying incident highlights that when it comes to telecom companies up continues to mean down and black continues to mean white. And those who say otherwise are just ‘thieves.’