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back to article T-Mobile hails first 'truly unlimited' smartphone tariff

T-Mobile announced a new flagship smartphone tariff this morning, aimed at first-time users who want to pay a single sub and no additional data charges. The Full Monty package is, the cellco claimed, the first tariff of its kind to offer a truly unlimited deal with no fair use policy. Customers who sign up will get unlimited …

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Anonymous Coward

No caps. No fair-use...

But presumably severe throttling and traffic shaping if you go over some undisclosed limit of their choosing.

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All the other companies claim they have no limits.

As they do not see a 'fair use policy' which caps your usage as a limit.

Have the T&Cs been checked with a fine tooth comb?

Wasn't there another unlimited mobile service which recently cut people off under their hidden fair use terms?

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[p] It not fine tooth comb...

Have you ever tried combing your teeth?

It's "toothed" comb... as in it will catch all the bits...

/p

Sorry.

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AS BEFORE......

they will change the rules to suit them at a time that suits them!

Just like all the rest.

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Anonymous Coward

A couple of years back I complained to the Advertising Standards Agency about an advert for an "Unlimited" mobile data plan that stated in the small print that it was limited to 500MB per month. They rejected the complaint saying that it was fine to advertise a limited service as unlimited provided those limits were fair use limits.

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Mushroom

@ ac 14:26

I agree the ASA's rationale, there as elsewhere sometimes, is kaput.

The question is, what is the process whereby the ASA may be complained about?

Years ago I wrote to them about some awful finance company punting 5000% interest loans, with examples/workings-out hugely at variance with the actual interest rate. The ASA person - totally innumerate - wrote back to say it sounded like the right interest rate, and they wouldn't regulate the communique anyway because that was for the FSA (neither true - it wasn't a company which subscribed to the FSA). A year later people were making documentaries about this same heinous company.

So: who regulates the regulators?

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Anonymous Coward

How long before unlimited is not unlimited after all. They can't give truly unlimited as a few people will abuse it and use 95% of the capacity on the network. As someone who uses a more normal amount of data I would much rather a mobile company that said I got xGb and gave me xGb at a good speed.

There is a cost to these calls and data - so unlimited means lighter users will end up subsidising the heaver ones or suffering poorer performance etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Three ACs saying essentially the same thing? Odd.

Anyway Three has also done an unlimited tariff for a good while now, on exactly the same 3G network (T-Mobile and Three oth operate on the MBNL network), no caps or restrictions - I routinely use over 10GB a month - and no one has melted the network.

Works as well as any other and costs have not gone up. Stop with your scaremongering.

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EzJ
Facepalm

@AC 10:49

I cannot understand why so many people have started to think like this. If a customer has paid for an unlimited service, there is no such thing as "abusing it". If the infrastructure is incapable of handling unlimited data then the provider should not sell 'unlimited' packages, simple.

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Anonymous Coward

Your power, water or gas companies do not give you unlimited - it's all metered - for a good reason. This tariff won't last or be good for normal users - in fact as they will use the same network it could impact on all their users.

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My water is unmetered

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Yet I get flat rate internet data and have done for longer than I remember, at least back to the 14400 dialup modem era! bandwidth is the ultimate perishable product, gone instantly whether used or not with low incremental cost. That makes unmetered a viable choice unlike the physical products you list.

Whether the explicitly throttle or just let contention limit use automatically remains to be seen.

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@Paul

Your description may be true for the last mile where you have a connexion dedicated to your sole use. But the core network, to be economic, runs with a shared load at a significant fraction of its maximum capacity. This is true even of purely terrestrial networks, doubly so for mobile ones. It only needs a few users who refuse to 'play nicely' to cause problems with this model.

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Unmetered water

Your water may be unmetered, but if you use it to fill a swimming pool or even to run a garden sprinkler, don't expect the water authority to turn a blind eye. And quite darned right.

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@Shaun 1

It's still throttled.

Unless you've discovered a way to substantially increase the water pressure at the point of entry (and assuming your plumbing can handle it), you're always limited to the volume of water the supplier can feed into your house over time (i.e. your "bandwidth"). How long does it take to fill a bath with the taps fully opened? That's your "water bandwidth". If you want to fill your bath up more quickly, you _will_ be expected to pay more for the privilege.

Industrial businesses that have to run water-reliant processes pay big bucks to have lots and lots of water available when they need it. It's substantially more than you get at your front door.

So, yes, you are being limited. Turn all your taps on and measure the quantity of water that comes out per day. That's your daily ration. It _is_ limited. Inherently so.

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FAIL

@ Sean and David

David - If Shaun like me is in Scotland, then yes he could fill a swimming pool or run the sprinklers without Scottish Water (the water supplier, a mutual company) giving a crap, only time they would bother would be in a PROLONGED drought, which given that its Scotland we have reasonably large reservoirs isnt likely to occur.

Sean - Sorry your talking bollocks, my water pipe = the fastest the water network can supply me with given the thickness of pipe, which is a pretty high flow rate (~20+ ltr per min domestic supply) mainly as I sit on the flat and the reservoir is at the top of a large hill. Ergo the same as for the mobile network depending on the location determines the speed I receive, If I wanted more speed then internet wise I'd be talking going to wired networking and for water I'd be talking an increase in the bore of the mains pipe or building massive storage tanks on site and pumping water to the needed pressure. The water company do not decrease my water pressure, I get full mains pressure.

Similar to my broadband I'm limited by the throughput of my connection, however I have no limit set by the supplier, if they upped the pressure / cfm for my water then I could draw off more or if my exchange got upgraded to boost my throughput then I could download more. Real throttling would be "You've run 2 baths worth of water so we are reducing your water pressure by 90% for the rest of the day/week/year" THAT would be throttling

Technical limitations != Throttling

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@Mike JVX

"Your talking bollocks"? Do Sean's bollocks talk and how do you know this?

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shame

That T'Mobile (the worlds only Northern telco) has such a poor range of phones atm. I was looking to switch networks earlier this month and their big headline announcement was the Playbook. No sign of anything remotely new from the network itself, you had to rely on third party resellers, which for various reasons I didn't want to.

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Anonymous Coward

"you had to rely on third party resellers, which for various reasons I didn't want to"

I'd much rather but the phone myself (not locked to any network) and get a SIM only deal from the mobile company - you choose when to upgrade and most of the SIM only deals are a lot cheaper as you are not subsidising the cost of the handset.

Also many SIM only deals are just 30 day or 12 month contracts - gives you a lot more flexibility if you decided to switch network as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Unlimited with no fair use = throttled to hell and back or poor service for normal users

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Anonymous Coward

No it doesn't, Three does it without any of those over the same network. Maybe if your network is rubbish it does.

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Anonymous Coward

And T-Mobile is rubbish.

A speedtest to the Ookla Newcastle server gives a ping of 891ms, and a speed of 0.02/0.03Mbps. Mmmmm.... speedy!

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Anonymous Coward

I'm in Newcastle and getting 1.9 Mbps, sounds like you're on a limited package.

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Anonymous Coward

"No it doesn't"

Oh yes it does - all networks eventually find that 10% of their users consume 90% of the data - so 90% of the users are paying more or suffering potentially slower performance as a result.

If that were not true you are saying that by ditching the 10% of heaviest users a network would not be able to reduce prices or give consistently faster performance.

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IT Angle

Not so if you have a decent network from the get go.

Be has been doing unlimited broadband plans since 2004 without having to ditch anything near the top 10% of users, actually not sure if they ditched any at all - even if they reserve the right to do so for extreme cases after multiple warnings.

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obligatory giffgaff pimpage

1st? giffgaff dropped their umlimited everything £35 tariff more than a year ago, after crooks realised they could resell minutes and make a tidy profit. Hopefully T mobile will be proactive enough to avoid that problem or this product is on shaky ground.

That said, the carrier is much better able to handle the costs of that scam than an MVNO paying pro rata for the usage and if restricted to contract more able to find the culprits.

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Devil

...I've got a bad feeling about this...

Given that this lot are now in cahoots with the paragon of mobile phone honesty and customer support that is Orange - my suggestion to anyone contemplating this would be to be very very careful and read the contracts and every document associated in company with their solicitor or lawyer.

Orange is well known for changing contracts and T & C's left and centre (and memorably got clobbered by the regulator more than once).

Can you imagine the bill you would get if T-Mobile/Orange decided at the start of the month to change unlimited to 1gb/600/600? A £700 bill is one hell of a shock and dont expect the regulator to support you.

A bad bad bad idea, especially for a smartphone newbie.

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After my experience with T-Mo this time last year, you may not be far from the truth. Last year T-Mo dropped their data caps right back down to something ridiculous like 512mb, and tried to tie their existing customers into it, too. Previously, all their Android tariffs - of which I had been a customer for some 4 months (and a T-Mo customer for well over 6 years) - had a flat data allowance of 3Gb per month. To get additional data allowance, you had to pay a hefty monthly fee.

Though if they had tried to apply it to existing customers, their own terms provided an escape clause. If there is a change to the contract that would be of "material detriment" to a customer, they have to give you 30 days notice of the change, and you are allowed to terminate the contract at no further cost - IIRC, this is an existing regulatory requirement. T-Mo tried to claim that the data allowance was an optional extra, not part of the core contract, and therefore not subject to these terms. However a data connection is essential for an Android phone and Android customers were not given the option to take a contract *without* the data - therefore it could not possibly constitute an "optional extra".

Eventually T-Mo relented and only applied the new cap to new customers.

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Stop

Moan

I'm pretty sure this will mean I will see the reliability and speed of my T-mobile connection fall in the coming months.

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Anonymous Coward

Each call you make does cost the network something - less if it goes within their own network but much more if it goes cross network or to a land line. The same goes for each Mb of data - there is fixed cost to install the network but once you have used up all the existing capacity it costs to add more.

The other side is that unlimited plans attract very heavy users (who get great value) but as you get more and more heavy users they end up costing the mobile company more and more and the light(er) users end up paying more than they need or their network performance suffers.

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to be honest....

.....since the Orange T-Mobile merger data transfer and reliability and signal strength have all got worse for me. Unlimited is irrelevant.

I'm looking for a new network right now...

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Anonymous Coward

First package of its kind...

Obviously not the first package of its kind Cable & Wireless (Guernsey) offer this package already to its customers... shame it doesn't work in the UK but on our little rock its perfect, atleast it is when you have a decent signal...

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Anonymous Coward

Wonder what the throughput is

I use an Orange dongle as a "backup" internet connection. 500MB/month included.... but in practice in the evenings the download throughput is about 0.03Mbits/sec on 3G/UMTS. That's worse than dial-up modem. Doesn't encourage heavy-use!

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marketing rubbish

anyone who thinks they have "unlimited" Internet is being deluded. It's a technical impossibility, try saturating the connection 24/7 and see how long it takes for the ISP to do "something". I really wish Ofcom or someone would step in and stop this silly marketing rubbish.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm

Oh I have several - but they cost me thousands per month for 8Mbps on SDSL.

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OFI
FAIL

'Unlimited'

lol it was only a few months back when t-mobile helpfully 'upgraded' me from my 3GB data package to their new unlimited data package and in just a brief moment my speed dropped from a consistant 2Mbps to a wonderful 512k.. I insisted they switched my package back despite them telling me there was no way there was a cap on the unlimited connection as it was 'truely unlimited'

Well would you believe it I was back up to 2Mbps as soon as they switched it back.

Will wait and see how well this one turns out!

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See my earlier post (http://forums.reghardware.com/forum/containing/1299343). When T-Mo tried to kneecap my data last year, they told me that their new package was actually better. According to them, it was better because it was"unlimited". "Unlimited" in this case meant that when you hit the cap of 500mb, you can still use email and web browsing; whereas when you hit the cap with my existing package, you couldn't do anything at all.

No. Unlimited means no limit at all - no caps, no speed restrictions, no throttling, etc. Something which probably no network can provide 24/7.

Been with T-Mo for around 7 years now, but it feels like it's all gone to sh*te since Orange took over. The only reason I hesitate to leave them is because of the massive loyalty discounts they give me each month.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Orange took over T-Mobile??

Sorry but Orange did not takeover T-Mobile they have merged Networks. And truly unlimited does mean truly unlimited, previously the fair use policy on unlimited just restricted streaming and downloading not surfing or email and yes I'd agree that this is not truly unlimited. This new one removes the fair use policy as well, only thing I would check if signing up was the QoS setting they were giving to me as this can restrict speed.

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Anonymous Coward

"I use an Orange dongle as a "backup" internet connection. 500MB/month included.... "

I do the same - it's junk - so slow I may as well dust off my dialup modem and it's not a signal issue - tried it from 2 different locations and both have 3+ bars.

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Anonymous Coward

"I'm looking for a new network right now..."

I'd look at Vodafone or Three - I travel the UK a lot and have a mifi on all the networks - Vodafone and Three (overall) seem significantly better - O2, T-Mobile/Orange are definitely 2nd class IMHO but YMMV as well.

If you spend your time in cities it less of an issue but even when all 'work' I find that Vodafone or Three are typically faster on average.

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Anonymous Coward

Avoid both 3 and Vodafone

Avoid them both like the plague, unless you want to be stalked oneline and have your every move online sent half way around the world to a US company subject to the PATRIOT act, FISA warrants and other nastiness.

Oh, and also happens to be completely outside the control of any regulator here...

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Trollface

Waiting for the left-pondian rollout.

If this is priced anything like software, 35USD / month for unlimited everything might be worth switching.

What's that, you say? Exchange rates? I don't think electronics companies have heard of them.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't be too quick to embrace 'unlimited' as if you are a normal user you will end up paying more to subsidise the heavy users. I would prefer a network that could actually give me the data I need at a fast speed with good coverage.

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Anonymous Coward

Can you imagine how expensive electricity would be if it were unlimited / flat cost - everyone would use more but the lightest users would be subsidising the heaviest users.

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To extend your analogy, if telcos provided unlimited electricity they would change your main fuse to 1 Amp and then tell you it was unlimited and charge a small fortune to replace it when you blew it trying to boil a kettle.

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not a fuse

Just an underrated transformer and a suitable inline resistor.

You can draw as much as you want, but if you want to do anything useful you'll only switch on one thing at a time.

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T-Mobile's not known for transparency in this regard.

T-Mobile is very bad at telling customers about the caps, restrictions, and limits on their data connections. The best data is found in a forum post (link below).

For example, the standard “free internet” of a SIM-only contract is in fact speed-limited at about 0.9Mb/s if bought directly from T-Mobile, or 384kb/s if bought from a reseller. This used to be called “unlimited internet booster” but since it's limited not only in speed, but also there's a transfer cap, _and_ certain services are prohibited (e.g. VoIP), I guess that they decided that three different types of limitation meant that calling it unlimited was pushing it too far even for them.

Gory details here: http://support.t-mobile.co.uk/discussions/index?page=forums&topic=801019114689730134158c03af039a4

Free pint to anybody who finds any mention of these speed caps on T-Mobile's site. Look out for the sign that reads “beware of the tiger”, you'll probably be getting warm.

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