T-Mobile reduce data allowance for customers from 1st February

January 10th, 2011 74 Comments By Paul Smith

TMobileLogo 5 300x200 T Mobile reduce data allowance for customers from 1st FebruaryUPDATE – after just two days, T-Mobile have reversed their decision to change the data allowances of existing customers. See our latest post for the full details.

There are lots of emails flying in at the moment from avid Bitterwallet readers, concerning an SMS message sent to customers this morning by T-Mobile.

The message states that from 1st February, the fair use policy amount for internet on a customer’s phone will be reduced to 500MB a month. There’s also a link to their website, which provides more detail:

Changes to Mobile Internet fair use policies

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.

The issue we’re hearing from several readers so far, is that this is a massive cut in the data allowance; some customers were sold Android handsets with a Fair Use Policy of 3Gb. Matt is one of them:

As an Android user I have a 3Gb allowance and regularly use a good percentage of it. I called this morning to get confirmation of this. When the customer service representative reiterated that my data allowance would indeed drop to 500Mb I requested termination of my contract. I was informed that would not be possible as the FUP was not part of my contract and was subject to change. I replied that surely it must be part of my contract as it was the advertised allowance and one of the reasons I decided to choose T-Mobile. The representative stated this was not the case and again stated that no cancellation was possible.

Just prior to e-mailing you I called again to check and received exactly the same information. The representative, Alex, said that customers will be notified by text message over the coming days. However he also asked me to “hang on for a few days because we’re not sure how this is really going to work”.

When Vodafone attempted a similar change last year, the FUP was clearly part of the contract Terms. What’s going on with T-Mobile? The Fair Use Policy on the T-Moble website is written to suggest the FUP and 3Gb allowance (as in Matt’s example) is inclusive, yet refers to it as “internet on your phone Plus”:

Pay monthly plans which include internet on your phone on an Android phone

You’ll get internet on your phone Plus included if you join us on a pay monthly plan with an Android phone in a T-Mobile store, over the phone or via our website, t-mobile.co.uk.

Remember that you can only use your internet on your phone Plus Booster in the UK and you can’t use your phone as a modem or use Internet on your phone Plus for peer to peer file sharing, or making internet phone calls. *Internet on your phone Plus comes with a fair use policy of 3GB a month.

Boosters are what T-Mobile call “additional services”, meaning those extras you add on top of your tariff, services that T-Mobile didn’t agree to supply when the contract began. But this booster was sold inclusive of the contracted tariff; reader Paul points out that the T-Mobile site is still selling its tariffs in exactly the same way, with a free booster that’s inclusive to the contract agreed with the customer:

Picture 31 T Mobile reduce data allowance for customers from 1st February

It doesn’t help matters that T-Mobile confuse their terminology; the Booster named in the Fair Use Policy is “internet on your phone Plus”, but on the bills that both Matt and Paul have sent to us it’s “web’n'walk Plus”they may be a different service, but T-Mobile’s Fair Use Policy doesn’t mention web’n'walk Plus anywhere on it.

What is evident is that the service is inclusive to the tariff; neither Paul nor Matt pay any additional charges for the service, just one lump sum every month.

Cast your mind back to last summer, when O2 announced it was reducing its data allowance to 500Mb. Many customers had tariffs which included inclusive unlimited web bolt-ons (the Simplicity tariff, for example). However, O2 also announced the only customers that would be affected by the change would be new customers and those upgrading. Presumably this was because that while unlimited data allowance was an additional service, it was sold as a service inclusive to the monthly tariff.

Our thinking is this – a service that has no monetary value attached to it, that is included as part of the minimum monthly tariff, cannot also be an additional service. If the FUP is not part of a customer’s contract, then how is it dictating the usage of a service sold as part of the contract?

We’ll keep looking into this and update you as and when we have anything new to report; in the meantime, please send any details of dealings you have with T-Mobile to hello@bitterwallet.com.

Comments (74) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by neil January 11, 2011 at 9:57 am

    so far had this from them:

    “Neil, on Wednesday 2nd February, we are changing our Internet portfolio and Internet fair use policies (FUPs). As part of the changes, all existing Internet on your phone (web’n'walk) will have their FUPs reduced to 500MB. Currently, all Internet on your phone have a FUP between 1GB & 3GB. When the change comes into effect, you will still get unlimited browsing and email, so only things like downloading and watching video clips will be impacted by the reduction in FUP.”

    Only mentions web’n'walk so i’ve gone back stating that i pay extra for web’n'walk plus and am now waiting for a response

  2. Posted by N20Y1D January 11, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I have managed to locate the old Android 3bg T&C from before they inserted the line about buying direct from T-Mobile via phone store or internet:

    Before:

    Pay monthly plans which include internet on your phone on an Android phone You’ll need internet coverage, check it at t-mobile.co.uk/streetcheck. Remember that you can only use your internet on your phone Booster in the UK and you can’t use your phone as a modem or use web’n'walk Plus for peer to peer file sharing, or making internet phone calls. *Internet on your phone comes with a fair use policy of 3GB a month. We’ll monitor how much you send and receive each calendar month so that we can protect our network for all our internet on your customers. If you use more than your fair use policy amount, we won’t charge you any more, but we may restrict how you can use your plan, depending on how often you go over your amount and by how much. As your phone is always connected to the internet, if you remove your internet on your phone Plus Booster from your account you’ll automatically be charged up to £1 every day. That £1 a day rate has its own fair use policy and other legal stuff, which you can see here: t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/#fup5.

    After:

    Pay monthly plans which include internet on your phone on an Android phone
    You’ll get internet on your phone Plus included if you join us on a pay monthly plan with an Android phone in a T-Mobile store, over the phone or via our website, t-mobile.co.uk. You’ll need internet coverage, check it at t-mobile.co.uk/streetcheck. Remember that you can only use your internet on your phone Plus Booster in the UK and you can’t use your phone as a modem or use Internet on your phone Plus for peer to peer file sharing, or making internet phone calls. *Internet on your phone Plus comes with a fair use policy of 3GB a month. We’ll monitor how much you send and receive each calendar month so that we can protect our network for all our internet on your customers. If you use more than your fair use policy amount, we won’t charge you any more, but we may restrict how you can use your plan, depending on how often you go over your amount and by how much. As your phone is always connected to the internet, if you remove your internet on your phone Plus Booster from your account you’ll automatically be charged up to £1 every day. That £1 a day rate has its own fair use policy and other legal stuff, which you can see here: t-mobile.co.uk/services/uk/fairuse/#fup5.

  3. Posted by N20Y1D January 11, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Also just found this:

    http://support.t-mobile.co.uk/discus…6dd2137000728a

    RE: HTC Desire/Experia X10 tethering
    Posted: 294 days ago in response to: JeroldD
    Hi JeroldD

    As with all handsets which include WnW Plus (always on internet including Android) tethering on the X10 is allowed and the data used counts towards your 3GB per month data allowance.

    Tether to your hears content (but not over 3GB per month that is)

    Barry
    T-Mobile Forum Team

  4. Posted by neil January 11, 2011 at 10:41 am

    looks like i may need to find a way out, not paying £5 a month when people are getting it for free

    “Thanks for your prompt reply Neil, asking me why are you entitled to the change of fair use policy.
    Neil, I understand that you are paying for your web’n'walk plus. However,all customers who uses the internet on their phone are all subject to the change of fair use policy. “

  5. Posted by Robinson January 11, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I bought an iPhone with t-mobile specifically because the alternative Vodaphone only had a 1Gb limit (t-mobile advertised 3Gb with my tariff). Were it not for the 3Gb, I would have bought with Vodaphone. I do feel this is a breach of contract on their part and I would be interested to know if I can legitimately cancel my contract (but keep the iPhone!), moving to a different provider, without paying a cancellation fee.

    Anyone know?

  6. Posted by bigbear January 11, 2011 at 11:47 am

    @ Robinson, you’d probably need a copy of the T&Cs of your contract from point of sale to back it up. Although as mentioned by PaulS, it’s a case of proving whether the change to the T&C’s is actually of material detriment.

    I’ve posted a query on the T-Mo forum asking if they can clarify what’s covered by “browsing” and “downloading/streaming”.

    Hopefully, using Google Navigation is covered by “browsing”, otherwise those using it as their SatNav are in for a nasty surprise.

  7. Posted by bikefreedom January 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Just spoke to T-mobile online sales. They are still selling contracts with 3gb fair usage allowance.

  8. Posted by PlatPlat January 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    This is going to end in tears. For T-Mobile.

  9. Posted by greengrocer January 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Hey everyone, I was just wondering which plan I was on, I got the contract off buymobilephones.net but then called up and got them to change it to android plan… when I check my account it says im on the 25ST plan is this the android plan..

  10. Posted by Saayinla January 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I got a response back from the business account manager:

    “We have just been briefed that the fair use policy is changing to 500Mb, this however will not restrict the web browsing, only downloads or video streaming. If you have used over 500MB in the last 6 months as a business customer you will not be changed in regards to usage.”

  11. Posted by Craig January 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I just had a call back back from the supervisor of one the various operators I spoke too yesterday.

    He agreed with me that it is a ridiculous situation, and agreed that both Ofcoms and T-mobiles own T&Cs state that I should be entitled to terminate my agreement.

    However, he did explain that Head office had sent out a communication saying that because the new FUP policy doesn’t affect browsing they do not see it as material detriment.

    How exactly can the average consumer get round this behaviour?!

  12. Posted by dans January 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    A T-Mobile spokesperson told us, “T-Mobile will not charge its customers additional rates for exceeding these data limits, and those who do will still be able to access important services such as email and website browsing, but will have file downloading restricted.

    “Customers who have a need for higher volumes of data will be encouraged to take up a separate mobile broadband plan.”

  13. Posted by PlatPlat January 11, 2011 at 6:53 pm
  14. Posted by Andrew January 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    This is a summary of my call from a T-Mobile CS manager.

    http://ietherpad.com/ep/pad/view/t-mobile/mzKeHPKY8LA

  15. Posted by Callum January 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I’m one of the Huawei U220 USB data stick users and this is a big blow because the data sticks (with the GBP29.99 Web ‘n Walk plus plan) are not actually phones per say, but were sold as “broadband replacement” data sticks.

    Because of the 3Gb limit; I have them plugged into Draytek Vigor routers in our offices as backup connections so, whilst on average they collectively don’t exceed 500Mb, occasionally one does. We have Solwise antennas attached to them for good signal strength.

    I’m getting legal to search through all of our contract terms – but not once during the sales cycle were we told that they were for ‘browsing only’. We have all sorts of data going over these and whilst I understand that handsets may be limited to “browsing only” but a data stick implies that it is simply a conduit for internet connectivity. We have VPN software running over these for example.

  16. Posted by James January 12, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Just like to say i will be following this closely, the 3GB allowance was the reason i went for tmobile.

  17. Posted by dans January 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    T-Mobile has changed its mind and announced that its reduced data limits will now be for new and upgrading customers only.

    Read more: http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/t-mobile-backtracks-on-data-allowance-cut-921180#ixzz1AqSoKWAW

  18. Posted by ryan June 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    I didn’t get what it means and I don’t have web in my mobile and how do we get it ?

  19. Posted by misbah hussain choudhury June 29, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    my number is 07852506338 m a old tmobile customer and i dont get enuf free minutes or web. i was hoping if you could look in to it please.thanks

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  23. Posted by I want a lower tarriff from 31pound a month to 26 a month August 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Can I change my tarriff will u let me know

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