Slow and steady wins the race

12 January 2011

Bitterwallet - T-MobileUPDATE - 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.

We're currently working on advice to offer with regards T-Mobile's change to their Fair Usage Policy, which is causing more than a little anger and distress. We've had several emails asking when this will be available. We've been through similar issues several times before with service providers; we've won some but lost far more, which is why we need to get it right. If there's is a valid argument for customers to put to T-Mobile, then it's important it's clear and well-defined.

For example, a lot of readers are getting hung up on the 30 days notice clause and citing it as justification to cancel their contract without penalty, since T-Mobile has offered far less notice; it's seemingly the direction that Which! are heading with their legal advice. A quick word about this; T-Mobile's FUP defines the data allowance as an 'additional service' and their Terms state they only need to give "a reasonable period of notice" of change to an additional service, not 30 days (clause 7.1.2, fact fans), meaning there is no breach of contract to dispute on this point.

As we said on Monday, we think the argument is how the allowance was defined when first contracted. We'll go into more detail about this soon - probably tomorrow - and hopefully offer some sound advice on what to do next.

In the meantime, take a breath and pause - there's no need to rush into anything - there is the rest of the month to dispute this change - and there's certainly no need to be rude or vicious with T-Mobile's staff. From your comments, staff are themselves confused about what's happening. That's a good thing. It would help us a great deal if you publish any accounts of your dealings with staff in the comments below. If you receive any correspondance from T-Mobile, please send it to [email protected] - everything is useful to us at this point.

TOPICS:   Mobile


  • FFS
    Will you be addressing whether it's possible to get your line rental reduced due to being given less than you agreed to pay for? Or will you only be focusing on cancellation?
  • Tweedskin
    I called them earlier today about cancelling. They told me that i use no where near 500mb of data a month and so I would not be affected. I have since emailed them my Data usage (since 19th Dec to now) which was taken from the My Account section of the T-Mobile website. How can they tell me it wont affect me yet the data they provide me says it will?
  • Tweedskin
    And above i forgot to say that my actual usage from 19th Dec is closer to 1GB! Oops.
  • GreyHeadTed
    @Tweedskin From what I've read, TMobile have decided to define web and email as separate to any other data service. If your browsing and email exceeds 500Mb per month, they've said that you will be unaffected. If you are watching videos and downloading shedloads, they'll cut those services at 500Mb. They have consistently said that web browsing and email would still continue if your useage exceeds 500Mb per month (unless I'm misreading?).
  • PlatPlat
    T-Mobile MUST give 30 days written notice as per Ofcom General Condition 9.3 when making a change causing material detriment.
  • Shakey
    I'm taking my time to work it all out but looking at my data usage online it's much smaller than I expected. I guess I use WiFi access points much more than 3G/Mobile Data. EG, my data usage for December was only 12MB?! I can't understand that as I was on my phone a lot. Also, the majority was filed under WEB, would that not could towards the new 'data allowance' as it was not considered a DOWNLOAD or whatever the terms T-Mo are bandying around at the moment. This is very confusing
  • Tweedskin
    @GreyHeadTed I dont download any files, i only use the phone for browsing/twitter/facebook etc. I do use Spotify a lot which must cause most of the data usage. @ Shakey Looking at my usage (provided by T-Mo), everything is listed as Web as well. I did ask T-Mo what apps would be affected by the unlimited "browsing"/500mb data cap and if Spotify would be considered as "downloading" and they've yet to tell me.
  • PlatPlat
    Web browsing WILL count towards the 500MB it's just that when you hit it you can continue to browse.
  • VillainROM
    I notice a new column called "Activity", and all my activity is "web"... I am going to try and get something to show as "DOWNLOAD" or whatever the other thing is... I wonder how T-Mobile are differentiating between the different types of data? Port? Protocol? Packet content? Might need to try some strong ssh encrypted connections to my server, and see what they make of that, as they can't inspect the packets inside that... And it's on a non-standard port too, as a bonus... Am interested as all my usage so far is WEB...
  • The B.
    Slow and steady wins the race??? Which surely would make Vodafone the winner, I can use the widget pretty much anywhere in Canary Wharf and get a ping response of 999ms, that's slow and steady is it not?
  • dancave
    Just wait untill they start doing this with your home broadband. Net nutrality has pretty much died as far as a I know and that has opened the door for ISP's to charge more for certain types of traffic (like youtube, facebook etc...). These comapnies have been stiching people up for years and they are very very good at it now, most of the stuff they do seems to be have run through there law department. Lets hope this isn't one of those things.
  • Paul S.
    PlatPlat - I assure you, we're not trying to misdirect you on this. We'll have solid advice for readers tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm providing some thinking based on going through this sort of process (and all the relevant contracts) at least half a dozen times. Suffice to say, there's more to Ofcom's General Conditions than that one particular clause; without reading the rest, you're quoting that clause out of context. For example, there' s a very clear definition of what a contract constitutes in this instance - the key issue is how and if the FUP data allowance is part of it. That's what we're working on.
  • PlatPlat
    Fair enough, but if Ofcom aren't interested in preventing this shocking treatment of customers then they are not fit for purpose, and I would hope they get culled in the cuts.
  • wizbongre
    I keep seeing people claim that if they don't regularly go over the 500Mb allowance it isn't an issue. How would it be then if TMob changed the 600mins monthly allowance to say 10mins, saying you don't usually go over? If you want to make long phone calls use your landline - that is effectively what they are doing with our data allowance. As pointed out in the article above, it all stems down to getting TMob to agree that the 3Gb monthly FUP (within the "unlimited" internet) bundle which myself and many others HAD to take out when signing up direct with TMob for a HTC Android phone is considered part of the core contract for services.
  • Stu
    Ofcom are trying to get out of this by saying that I should get onto T-Mobile about the breach of contract. What I don't understand is that they should be taking T-Mobile to task. That's their job. They aren't doing it. They are clearly not fit for purpose... (but that's already been proved - ). This is classic Ofcom.
  • Daniel
    Ofcom haven't been fit for purpose for a very long time :(
  • AndyWicks
    From Telegraph ( "Google’s head of Android Andy Rubin has said that typical users of his phones are gobbling 450mb of data each month." This must mean that either there are very few Android customers on T-Mobile or T-Mobile are not being generous with the truth when they say: "As the average mobile internet customer uses only 200MB of data each month, this will only affect a small minority of users, whom we have begun notifying."
  • Tweedskin
    @ AndyWicks T-Mobile are telling pork pies, that's why! They told me i wont be affected as i never use more than 500MB a month, yet their own records on my data consumption show i'm using the best part of 1GB a month.
  • VillainROM
    Guys, I think t-mobile internally is confusing "DOWNLOAD" and "WEB" again... I would trust your own data meter. Don't blame the staff, as they are being badly informed by their managers. And don't blame the managers. They are getting a hard time off their staff, and are getting told contradictory stories from the senior management. I am not defending them. I want to see resignations from senior management over this as much as you do. But spare a thought for those on the phones, as they're trying to do their jobs, and are just getting caught in the cross-fire between users and senior management... PC Pro said they are expecting formal clarification, so I think that is the next step. I hear legal department has been working on this for the past day or so, and has been telling staff not to give anything in writing to customers, as they themselves are trying to understand the changes, and word them out properly, like they should have been done orignally.
  • dvdj
    How can they base what I've previosuly used as to whether this will affect me or not? I signed a contract in April for 18months, I don't use THAT much at the minute probably just under a GIG a month, but come March I'm going to be commuting 2hours each day on a train whereas at the minute I'm driving 10mins so obviously I'm going ot be using my phone a hell of a lot more come March! So it would affect me! I've not spoken to them yet obviously but I'm just pondering.
  • Delenn
    Statement from T-mobile. Looks like they are backing down
  • Paul S.
    Yep, new post up -
  • PlatPlat
    Vic-to-ry. Tastes so sweet. 'Following a further review of our policy...' = 'Following a massive public and media backlash...' '...and we apologise for any confusion caused.' = '...and we apologise for not realising our paying customers wouldn't permit us to forcibly bend over and violate them.' 'The revision to the Fair Use Policy is designed to ensure an improved quality of service for all mobile internet users.' = 'The revision to the Fair Use Policy is designed to be a customer-shafting alternative to investment in improving the capacity of our network.'

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