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UPDATE T-Mobile UK Slashes Mobile Broadband Data Usage Allowances to 500MB

Posted: 11th Jan, 2011 By: MarkJ
t-mobile uk mobile broadbandMobile operator T-Mobile UK has announced that, effective from 1st February 2011, it will slash its Mobile Broadband Fair Usage Policy (FUP) for Smartphone (Handset) users from 1GB (GigaByte) per month to just 500MB (0.5GB). Shockingly, some contract customers with an included 3GB 'Internet on your Phone Plus' Add-on will also be cut to 500MB (1GB if the add-on was purchased separately).

The move means that any customer downloading more than 500MB will still be able to use email and browse websites, but will not be allowed to download, stream (music etc.) or watch video clips. Customers are instead being told to save that for their home fixed line connections.

T-Mobile Statement

T-Mobile is the only operator to give customers the Mobile Internet for a fixed-price. We never charge our customer's more than they expect for their Mobile Internet in the UK. Therefore you'll never need to worry about how many emails you've sent, how long you've been on-line or the data / GB's.

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 Whats Changing? - From 1st February 2011 we will be aligning our fair use policies so our mobile internet service will have fair use of 500MB.

What Does This Mean? - We’ll always let you email and browse the internet and you’ll never pay more than you agree to. We do have a fair use policy but ours is there to make sure we deliver the best service possible to all our customers. This means that you’ll always be able to browse the internet.

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.

If you want to download, stream and watch video clips, save that stuff for your home broadband.

Clearly T-Mobile doesn't want its customers to use their phones Mobile Broadband connectivity in the same way as a home fixed line service, which has become increasingly common since phones started to make Tethering (i.e. turning your phone into a Mobile Broadband modem) a feature.

It's worth noting that at present this only appears to apply to several specialised mobile phone contracts and not T-Mobile's dedicated Mobile Broadband (USB Modem / Dongle) packages, which tend to have different FUP levels.

T-Mobile isn't the only operator to make such reductions. Vodafone also recently announced that its pay-as-you-go 3GB (£15) top-up's would be slashed to just 2GB on the same date and without any appreciable adjustment in price.

However, Three (3) has gone in the opposite direction and recently launched The One Plan with "all-you-can-eat data". The deal had previously only come with a 1GB usage allowance.

Mobile operators in the UK are still struggling with the high cost of data capacity and related low revenues, so it's not surprising that they would take such action. Price rises by stealth.

UPDATE 12th January 2011

T-Mobile has backed down, at least a little - HERE.
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