T-Mobile cracks down on subscribers ‘stealing’ tethered data

1 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

T-Mobile Doesn’t Like Customers Who Use 2,000GB Of Data Per Month.

T-Mobile USA, one of the few phone carriers to still offer an unlimited data plan, has run into a classic Homer Simpson problem: The company says it will get rid of abusers of its all-you-can-eat data privileges, similar to when Homer was thrown out of a restaurant for eating too much seafood at an all-you-can-eat buffet. “This week, I am taking aim at a select group of individuals who have actually been stealing data from T-Mobile,” Legere wrote in a blog post. “If their activities are left unchecked their actions could eventually have a negative effect on the experience of honest T-Mobile customers.” T-Mobile customers buying unlimited 4G LTE plans get a fixed amount of free LTE to use for tethering.

When customers use that data, speeds are throttled, and customers must pay for more data at full speed. “However, these violators are going out of their way with all kinds of workarounds to steal more LTE tethered data,” Legere said, suggesting users are “hacking” the system via apps that hide tether usage, rooted phones, or code written to mask activity. Legere, T-Mobile’s chief executive, took to Twitter on Monday to announce that the company would eliminate people who abuse its unlimited data plans. He specifically referred to those who used their cellphones for tethering, which is the ability to share a smartphone’s Internet connection with another device like a computer.

But some are using up to 2TB (2,000GB) per month. “I’m not sure what they are doing with it —stealing wireless access for their entire business, powering a small cloud service, providing broadband to a small city, mining for bitcoin—but I really don’t care!” Legere said. The practice gobbles up large amounts of data — as much as two terabytes, more data than any reasonable person could consume with a smartphone over a month. “They are ‘hacking’ the system to swipe high speed tethered data,” Mr. Legere wrote. “These aren’t naïve amateurs; they are clever hackers who are willfully stealing for their own selfish gain.” I wondered about the characterization of abusers as thieves and asked Mr. Instead of applauding this achievement, Leger says that these users are “stealing data so blatantly and extremely that it is ridiculous.” In order to work around the 7GB cap, users conceal their tethering usage.

Learn how to apply agile marketing to your team at VB’s Agile Marketing Roadshow in SF. “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,” writes Legere. “I won’t let a few thieves ruin things for anyone else. Furthermore, the implication that some heavy data consumers are abusing unlimited data raises a question: Where do you draw the line and say someone is using too much data? Instead of quietly warning these users, T-Mobile is explaining why it is doing so before these users even have the opportunity to write blog posts and complain on the web.

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