T-Mobile recently edited the fine print on its 4G LTE Simple Choice plans to notify customers that there's a 21 GB soft cap on data usage, reports TmoNews. Customers who exceed 21 GB of data usage during a billing period will see their data speeds throttled during periods of high network demand.

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Unlimited 4G LTE customers who use more than 21 GB of data in a bill cycle will have their data usage de-prioritized compared to other customers for that bill cycle at locations and times when competing network demands occur, resulting in relatively slower speeds. See t-mobile.com/OpenInternet for details.

Prior to the explicit 21 GB soft cap, T-Mobile's Simple Choice subscribers who used more data than 97 percent of other T-Mobile subscribers were seeing slower data speeds during times of network congestion. According to TmoNews, customers who exceed their data limits see considerably slower speeds in busy areas, sometimes lower than 1Mbps.

This change in fine print makes it clear exactly how much data you have to use in order to feel the pinch. Previously, the 97% marker was ambiguous at best. You have no idea how much data other customers are using, and so you will have no way of knowing if you're in the top 3% of data users, or not. Now there's a much clearer 21GB "soft" cap.

T-Mobile's 21 GB soft cap is rather generous and is likely to affect only a small percentage of T-Mobile customers. Reduction in data speeds is only enacted when there's network congestion, so affected customers will only see throttling during peak usage times.

Customers who use more than 21 GB of data in a billing cycle will be flagged as de-prioritized by T-Mobile and could experience slower speeds at certain times until a new monthly billing cycle begins.

Top Rated Comments

Xgm541 Avatar
117 months ago
"Unlimited 4G LTE customers who use more than 21 GB of data"

why not call it a 21GB data plan?
Maybe because the data doesnt end at 21gb?
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BeSweeet Avatar
117 months ago
"Unlimited 4G LTE customers who use more than 21 GB of data"

why not call it a 21GB data plan?
Because it's not a 21GB data plan. It's still unlimited usage no matter how you look at it.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cariacou Avatar
117 months ago
"Unlimited 4G LTE customers who use more than 21 GB of data"

why not call it a 21GB data plan?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
itsthenewdc Avatar
117 months ago
People keep saying "well, it's still unlimited after the 21GB," but are failing to realize the name of the plan is Unlimited 4G LTE Data. With that said, if you get de-prioritized, then you technically aren't getting unlimited 4G LTE. You're getting mostly 4G LTE with unlimited slower speeds.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aajeevlin Avatar
117 months ago
What is then the difference between this "unlimited" and their other lower tier plan? Basically this is now similar to a lower tier plan with higher cap. For example, for their lower tier plan, you get 1, 3, or 5GB of 4G LTE, then after that you are dropped to 3G or whatever lower speed. So instead of "unlimited" they need to say, 21GB, then we will drop you to lower speed. I'm fine with whatever they want to dish out, but don't play word games. Write it as how it REALLY is.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nostaws Avatar
117 months ago
You don't have to like throttling (no one does) but this may be one of the top 10 worst analogies in macrumors history.
Exactly. It's like walking into a business that has a huge advertisement "Unlimited M&M's". After paying and eating a few handfuls the manager stops you and starts hurling them as projectiles one-by-one at your forehead and says "eat as many as you can catch!" Who'd have a problem with that?!

So this in effect is what data throttling is. And everyone knows it is not in the spirit of the advertisement or what the consumer thinks they are buying.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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