Wow! What a start for this new year. A ton of devices were announced at CES, many of them 4G capable, and even a dual core device by Motorola and LG. It looks like carriers will be taking business to the next level to accommodate all of the fantastic capabilities that the new era of mobile devices will bring. Or at least you would have thought for that to be the case. XDA moderator pulser_g2 just gave us a heads up that T-Mobile UK is going to cap their data plans to a whopping 500 MB, claiming that their “unlimited data plan” was unlimited for browsing the net, which apparently does not involve watching videos on Youtube or downloading files. You know that the XDA Portal focuses mostly on content from within XDA itself and does not get involved with carrier’s business. However, due to our large European user base, we thought this might be a rather interesting story for our friends in the UK as they will be hit by this development.
T-Mobile is certainly not the first carrier to put a cap on data, but what we find a little disturbing is the kind of explanation that they provide for their customers. It looks nothing more than a word game and it brings a few points up for discussion. But before we go into them, let us show you what we are talking about here:
Quoted from T-Mobile UK’s Website
Browsing means looking at websites and checking email, but not watching videos, downloading files or playing games. We’ve got a fair use policy but ours means that you’ll always be able to browse the internet, it’s only when you go over the fair use amount that you won’t be able to download, stream and watch video clips. [...]
So remember our Mobile Broadband and internet on your phone service is best used for browsing which means looking at your favorite websites like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, BBC News and more, checking your email and looking for information, but not watching videos or downloading files.
Ok, so technically speaking they are correct in the sense that browsing the web does not necessarily include watching videos, playing games, or downloading files. However, since interactive content has become part of the internet itself one can’t help but to wonder if T-Mobile should probably look at what it going on in the internet nowadays. All of the features that, according to them, do not constitute browsing, are in fact some of the most commonly used services in the web. Looking at their phone line up, you will notice that most of (if not all) of their devices are multimedia rich devices, which depend a lot on such services and high data usage. Take the following example (this is what they are offering to try and promote the Nokia 5230 – straight from their website)
Get all the free music downloads you want on your Ovi Music Unlimited phone.
For 12 months you can download as much music as you want from Ovi Music to your PC, or over the air to your Nokia 5230 phone.
If, and when, the new cap becomes available, they should start thinking about changing some of their promos as downloading music files will run your quota dry in about 100 songs (assuming an average size of 5 MB per song and that not a single kB is used for anything else) . Another good example would be OTA updates for Android devices. The average size for a rom update for an Android device is well over 100 MB, which is about 1/5th of the quota. Needless to say, that users will likely have to try and disable the OTA updates for their devices if they don’t want to see FUP (Fair Use Policy) violation text messages popping up.
To finish it off, T-Mobile openly asks its customer base to watch videos at home…
If you want to download, stream and watch video clips, save that stuff for your home broadband.
We sincerely hope that T-Mobile UK has a really good PR person, because they are going to need it after this….
It looks like there are a few conflicting reports, from within T-Mobile UK as to who will be affected by the change. Some reports state that everyone with the 3GB plan will be affected, while others claim that only indirect customers, who obtained contracts through 3rd party retailers will be affected. There are other reports that Android users will be unaffected by this change. According to Tweets by T-Mobile UK, this change in FUP affects everyone.
What do you think? Has your carrier followed a similar path? What excuses have they provided you with? Please share your thoughts.
You can find more information in the discussion thread.
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