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T-Mobile Will Throttle Data from Torrents

Torrenting is rampant; of both legal and illegal content. And some 70 percent of Internet users think that's just fine. However, T-Mobile is not so supportive. TMONews discovered a memo that outlines the carrier's plan to clamp down on users who would use their unlimited 4G/LTE plans for peer-to-peer file sharing.  

“T-mobile has identified customers who are heavy data users and are engaged in peer-to-peer file sharing, and tethering outside of T-Mobile’s Terms and Conditions (T&C)," according to the memo. "This results in a negative data network experience for T-Mobile customers. Beginning August 17, T-Mobile will begin to address customers who are conducting activities outside of T-Mobile’s T&Cs.”

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This shift will only affect those on the old $70 unlimited or new $80 Simple Choice Plan. All other plans are unaffected, considering that T-Mobile placed limits on 4G use for most accounts. Peer-to-peer file sharing and torrenting are categorized as misuse by T-Mobile in their Terms and Conditions. The carrier defines throttling as offering customers a maximum speed range from 50 to 128 Kbps, which doesn't even meet the FCC's 1999 definition of broadband. So, basically, really, really slow.

If a user uses heavy torrenting, they can expect the following:

  • T-Mobile will contact them to explain terms and conditions, then advise them that the data speed could be reduced until their next bill if they keep misusing their service
  • A "Misuse Warning SOC" label will be applied to their account
  • If the user does not change their behavior, the Misuse Warning SOC will be replaced by a "Misuse Throttle SOC" and their data speeds will be reduced.  
  • The SOCs can be seen by all T-Mobile staff who access the user's account, and will alert them as to why the user's data is so slow

Oddly enough, T-Mobile exempts many popular music streaming services (iTunes Radio, Spotify, Slacker, Pandora and others) from its data caps, as well as Ookla speed test and other online speed testing apps. T-Mobile does not charge users to exceed their data caps. So once you've been throttled at least you'll be able to see exactly how slow your connection is.