T-Mobile will sell your data to advertisers but you can opt out

T-Mobile will sell your data to advertisers but you can opt out

Update 1 (03/11/2021 @ 05:07 PM ET): Despite piggybacking off its network, Google Fi customers won’t be affected by T-Mobile’s new privacy policy change. Click here for more information. The article, as published on March 9, 2021, is preserved below.

If you’re a T-Mobile customer, you should be aware of a new privacy policy change that’s set to go into effect starting April 26.

The Wall Street Journal reports T-Mobile will automatically enroll phone subscribers in an advertising program that will share information related to app data, online activity, and web history with advertisers. The program is similar to policies introduced by AT&T and Verizon.

“Data is collected for many reasons, and it can help improve your T‑Mobile experience,” T-Mobile said on its privacy policy page. “You trust us with your information, and we work hard to keep it secure.”

T-Mobile’s new policy will apply to Sprint customers acquired in the merger between the two companies. As The Wall Street Journal points out, Sprint had a similar privacy policy, but it only applied to customers who opted into the program. According to T-Mobile, the changes mean customers will be served more relevant ads — something the carrier claims more people want. If you have a business or you’re under a certain age, the policy change won’t apply to you.

The data that’s shared with advertisers won’t reveal your identity, nor will it reveal information associated with a child’s device or service. The Wall Street Journal also said advertisers won’t know what websites individual customers visit or apps they have installed. Data will be tagged with an encoded user or device ID to protect your anonymity.

The practice comes in stark contrast to changes we’re seeing from tech companies, including Apple, that aims to fight back against tracking practices. Apple has introduced an App Tracking Transparency feature with iOS 14, while Google has pledged to make its data-gathering practices less intrusive.

If you’re uncomfortable with T-Mobile’s new privacy policy changes, you can opt out. In the T-Mobile app, click on the More tab > Advertising & Analytics > Use my data to make ads more relevant to me. Just disable the toggle to stop T-Mobile from sharing your information. You can also turn off tracking by logging into your account on the carrier’s website.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash


Update 1: Google Fi customers not affected

A spokesperson for Google Fi told 9to5Google that T-Mobile’s upcoming data sharing scheme won’t affect Fi users. Google’s MVNO piggybacks off of T-Mobile’s network but its customers’ data won’t be shared with advertisers. Furthermore, Fi users won’t have to take any action to prevent their data from being shared with advertisers, unlike T-Mobile customers.

About author

Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.