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T-Mobile execs clarify throttling, Wi-Fi Calling policies

updated 04:35 pm EDT, Tue March 26, 2013

Only fixed caps will see throttling to 3G

T-Mobile CEO John Legere and other executives have clarified the carrier's policy on data throttling and Wi-Fi Calling in the wake of the company's iPhone announcement. During a Q&A session, they stated that throttling measures will only drop users to 3G speeds if they're on a fixed plan and exceed their data caps. Anyone on an unlimited data plan will be able to continue at full speed, as long as they aren't interfering with other customers.

Legere described the arrangement as a "fair use" policy aimed at keeping T-Mobile's network open to more customers; together the executives commented that T-Mobile already has customers who use large amounts of data without being throttled, in some cases over 50GB per month, but the extreme examples are typically taking place at times that aren't affecting other customers. "If there is ever a case where we're going to use a fair use policy, we're going to post it so you can have a look at it," added Legere. "It's not a number -- if someone is having a party at 3AM, I don't really care."

T-Mobile marketing officer Mike Sievert has separately told Engadget that the iPhone 5 won't support the carrier's Wi-Fi Calling feature, at least not at launch. The company "loves its Wi-Fi Calling feature, and I'll have to leave it at that," according to Sievert. The option lets people outside the US receive calls from a US phone number so long as they're connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot. Several Android phones on T-Mobile already support the technology.

by MacNN Staff



  1. TheGreatButcher

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 06-11-00

    T-Mobile 3G for iPhone

    Is T-Mobile's 3G network still incompatible with the iPhone?

    Another article mentioned that a modified iPhone 5 is coming to include compatibility with T-Mobile's LTE network, but didn't mention whether or not that compatibility would include their 3G network. In both cases, it seems possible iPhone users could find themselves throttled to EDGE.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    According to T-Mobile

    the answer to that depends on where you are at the moment, but they have been upgrading their network to allow the iPhone to be compatible with their 3G bands since at least January and likely have most big cities covered by now. YMMV. Long story short, I don't think unlimited users will find themselves throttled to 2G in most cases, and as stated above it appears to be quite hard to hit T-Mobile's limit at present.

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-11-08

    Re: T-Mobile 3G for iPhone

    Note that the article says "3G speeds," not "cease using our LTE network infrastructure and switch over to our 3G network infrastructure."

    It's possible to throttle someone down to 3G *speeds* while they remain connected to the LTE network. You don't have to actually jump over to the 3G infrastructure in order for this to happen.

    When Comcast starts throttling your cable connection, they don't flop you over to a different technology like DSL or something, they just slow you down to DSL-like speeds. This is probably the same thing that T-Mobile is doing.

  1. chrup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-15-09

    What WiFi Calling is

    I have a t-mobile S2, which has WiFi Calling. So I know what it really is as the description in the article is wrong.
    If you have a weak t-mobile signal but a good WiFi signal where ever you are, it lets you connect to the t-mobile network via WiFi instead of going through a cell tower. It works great when I'm at home (weak signal) or at the office (no signal), except that the S2 is the worst phone I ever had ("Sorry the app crashed" when receiving phone calls) - WiFi or no WiFi. I'm using my old out-of-contract and legally unlocked iPhone 4 and 3G on t-mobile now and the signal is OK in my study, but there is no signal on the 1st floor or in the basement. WiFi calling would be really handy to have at home. You still pay for the minutes, but with the unlimited calls feature, what do I care?
    And I pay $100/month for 4 lines +$18 for fees and taxes and such - vs. $340 for the same features with at&t.

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