T-Mobile says it may slow down some home internet speeds of some users in times of ‘congestion’


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T-Mobile has updated its Terms of service for home broadband usersAdd a clause: If you’re a heavy internet-user who uses 1.2TB per month, you might see your speeds slow down during “times” of congestion or when the network is heavily loaded. 

As spotted by The Mobile ReportThe change was implemented on January 18. In its updated terms, T-Mobile says that users of the Home Internet service “will be prioritised last on the network” during congestion situations. This could result in painfully slow speeds, for however long congestion persists. T-Mobile says that since the Home Internet service only exists in “limited” areas and is intended to be used “stationary”, as opposed to a mobile phone that may be in an incredibly busy place, like a stadium, these customers “should be less likely” to notice congestion.

What exactly is happening? Here’s what you need know. 

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Does T-Mobile have a data cap in place? 

This is not a data cap like other broadband providers. It’s not a data cap. The following are examples of how you can useT-Mobile will add a limit to its network in areas that are overloaded. Heavy home internet users can expect their data speeds to be slowed when the network is busy. 

Once the busy period has passed and the network is able to accommodate its normal capacity, your home internet speed and experience should be back to normal. Even so, it is not hard to imagine this change causing problems for those who use the internet a lot at home.

Will T-Mobile throttle data speeds for heavy users? 

The carrier tells CNET it doesn’t throttle speeds when users pass 1.2TB data in a given month. You can also check outThese “congestion situations” can be a real problem. “Heavy users may not notice any change, unless you’re in an area that is congested,” the company states, noting that only a “single number percentage” of its customers are classified as heavy internet users. The carrier says that it will notify customers when they reach this 1.2TB threshold. 

T-Mobile has not provided any specific information on what speed these users will experience when they are in this situation. 

Note that this only applies for consumers with home internet accounts. It does not apply to those who have a business version of the service. 

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Can I purchase more high-speed data? 

The carrier will not let users purchase more high-speed data. It reiterates that users who exceed 1.2TB of data in a single month can still receive fast speeds when congestion is reduced. They would just be slower in these instances than other users because the network in the area is busier. 

Why is T-Mobile doing that? 

In a statement the carrier explained this decision as a means to protect the network and all its users. 

A spokesperson for the carrier told CNET that “Our mainstream broadband Home Internet service services millions of customers, who use hundreds of Gigabytes of Data.” “To ensure our customers continue to enjoy a great experience on our network, our terms of service were updated. This now states that customers who use more than 1.2TB of data per month (a single digit percentage of users) will be prioritized over other Home Internet customers during times of high congestion.

What is network Prioritization? 

As the name suggests network prioritization is how carriers decide who gets priority access to their network. When there is enough capacity on the network, it doesn’t matter. In times of “congestion,” for example, at a crowded football stadium or an event with many people using the network, those who have a higher priority will get better service. 

Priority is given to T-Mobile wireless users who have not exceeded their monthly high-speed-data limits (as well those on more expensive options like Go5G Next and Go5G Plus, which do not have any limits on how much high-speed-data they can use). Then, lower-tier plans such as Essentials, Metro By T-Mobile, and Assurance Wireless are prioritized, followed by connected devices, like hotspots, and tablets. 

Home internet users are listed at the bottom of the list, along with “heavy data” users who have exceeded their monthly data limit. These heavy home users would then be dropped below regular home users in times of congestion. 

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