Update: Well, that went well. T-Mobile have realised what a hornet's nest they've stirred up, and have backed off from cutting existing customers allowances. However, any new and upgrading customers will be subject to the new 500MB limit. So be warned, stay away from T-Mobile if you value your mobile data.
Wow, that's certainly a massive fail for the PR department.
T-Mobile has unilaterally imposed a new Fair Usage Policy on its smartphone users, cutting their data allowance from 1GB or even 3GB per month down to a pathetic 500MB. Not only that, but they suggest that downloading files, streaming music and watching videos should be done on your home broadband. You know, those things that people bought their shiny new iPhone or Android handset specifically to do.
Now, I have to declare an interest in this argument. Like many people, I scoured the internet for the best deals when I switched phones last year. After comparing what’s on offer from the big players, I settled for a deal from T-Mobile which met most of my needs. I put up with the enormously long contract term, the inflated monthly cost and the extremely poor customer service because T-Mobile had one saving grace - unlike most networks they offered ‘unlimited’ internet that while capped still gave me enough room to do what I want with my phone.
Not any more.
In a move undoubtedly precipitated by commercial concerns, like the coming merger with Orange and parent company Deutsche Telekom’s unwillingness to invest further in infrastructure, my “fair use” data allowance has been cut in half.
Apparently T-Mobile and I differ in our interpretations of 'unlimited'.
The self-serving justifications offered by the company simply don’t ring true. This move has nothing to do with ensuring “an improved quality of service for all of our mobile internet users”. It will definitely not “result in a better experience for all of our customers who use internet on their phone”.
And the penny pinching move may just backfire on them. Not only have irate customers been venting all over Twitter, but consumer group Which? and telecoms regulator Ofcom have become involved. Which? believes that T-Mobile may be in breach of their own terms and conditions due to giving customers insufficient notice of the change. Their lawyers are on the case, and may come up with a solution in due course.
In the mean time however, customers can call T-mobile customer services to confirm whether their data plan is affected. You could try persuading them to cancel your contract early with no penalty fees due to the ‘material detrimental effect’ the change will have. If that doesn’t work, there’s always this form letter available.
Update: Well, I've spoken to T-Mobile, they certainly weren't interested in cancelling my contract without penalty. So I've sent them a nice letter stating my position, that they've broken their own terms and conditions and the Ofcom code. I'll update this post with any reaction I receive.