John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

T-Mobile Replaces G1 Android Phone "Soft Cap" With "Dunce Cap"

T-Mobile has abandoned the 1GB monthly usage cap it originally set for its forthcoming Android G1 phone. Seems the company finally saw the irony of offering subscribers a $25-a-month unlimited data plan and then penalizing them for excessive data usage. T-Mobile distributed a statement Wednesday evening saying it had dropped the 1GB “soft cap” it had planned to impose on G1 owners.

“Our goal, when the T-Mobile G1 becomes available in October, is to provide affordable, high-speed data service allowing customers to experience the full data capabilities of the device and our 3G network,” T-Mobile (DT) explained. “At the same time, we have a responsibility to provide the best network experience for all of our customers so we reserve the right to temporarily reduce data throughput for a small fraction of our customers who have excessive or disproportionate usage that interferes with our network performance or our ability to provide quality service to all of our customers.”

Wait. “We reserve the right to temporarily reduce data throughput.” So T-Mobile’s removed the 1GB “soft cap” from its policy statement, but is still planning other restrictions to manage its network. Consider the two policy statement excerpts below:

If your total data usage in any billing cycle is more than 1GB, your data throughput for the remainder of that cycle may be reduced to 50 kbps or less. Your data session, plan, or service may be suspended, terminated, or restricted for significant roaming or if you use your service in a way that interferes with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users.”

T-Mobile, “Important Notes About 3G and the T-Mobile G1,” Sept. 23, 2008

To provide the best network experience for all of our customers we may temporarily reduce data throughput for a small fraction of customers who use a disproportionate amount of bandwidth. Your data session, plan, or service may be suspended, terminated, or restricted for significant roaming or if you use your service in a way that interferes with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users.”

T-Mobile, “Important Notes About 3G and the T-Mobile G1,” Sept. 25, 2008

These two policy excerpts aren’t all that different are they? “1GB” has been changed to “disproportionate amount of bandwidth.” And the reference to a reduction of data throughput to “50 kbps or less” has been rewritten as a general reduction in data throughput. No, they’re not different at all, really. In fact, with no hard number attached to it, “disproportionate amount of bandwidth” could still mean a 1GB cap, couldn’t it? Clearly, that’s how T-Mobile viewed 1GB of data usage in the first place, right? So what’s changed?


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