Most of our plan options feature a customer-chosen high-speed data allotment with reduced speeds on our network after the high-speed allotment is exhausted, so customers can choose the combination of high-speed data and price that is right for their needs. Unlimited high-speed data customers do not have a specific high-speed data allotment, however, and customers on limited high-speed plans may have extremely high data usage under certain circumstances, including if they access significant amounts of data that does not count against their high-speed data allotment. Some network management for these scenarios for all plans is required, because very heavy data usage by even a few customers at times and places of competing network demands can affect the network performance for all customers.
To provide the best possible experience for the most possible customers, and to minimize capacity issues and degradation in network performance, we manage significant high-speed data usage through prioritization. Specifically, the top 3% of data users in a month, based on recent historical averages (updated quarterly), will have their data usage prioritized below the data usage (including tethering) of other customers at times and at locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources, which may result in slower data speeds. Customers who use data in violation of their Rate Plan terms or T-Mobile's Terms and Conditions may be excluded from this calculation. Data features that may not count against the high-speed data allotment for some plans, such as certain data associated with Music Freedom, or Binge On, still counts towards all customers’ usage for this calculation. Data used for customer service applications such as the T-Mobile My Account app and the T-Mobile Tuesdays app do not count towards customers’ usage for this calculation. Smartphone Mobile HotSpot (tethering) data is also included in this calculation. Based on network statistics for the most recent quarter, customers who use more than 28GB of data during a billing cycle will have their data usage prioritized below other customers’ data usage for the remainder of the billing cycle in times and at locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources. At the start of the next bill cycle, the customer’s usage status is reset, and this data traffic is no longer prioritized below other traffic.
Similarly, while we permit tethering pursuant to the terms, conditions and allotments of your Data Plan, significant Smartphone Mobile HotSpot (tethering) usage can affect on-device network performance for all customers. To ensure the best possible on-device experience for the most possible customers, and to minimize capacity issues and degradation in network performance, for all plans we prioritize on-device data (except that of significant data users, as described above) over tethering data at times and at locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources, which may result in slower tethering speeds.
Where the network is lightly loaded in relation to available capacity, a customer whose data is prioritized lower than other traffic will notice little, if any, effect from having lower priority. This will be the case in the vast majority of times and locations. Customers whose data is prioritized lower may notice reduced speeds during network congestion. Specifically, at times and at locations where the network is heavily loaded in relation to available capacity, these customers will likely see significant reductions in data speeds, especially if they are engaged in data-intensive activities. Customers on Rate Plans and Devices with 4G capability should, for example, be aware that these practices may occasionally result in speeds below those typically experienced on our 4G LTE and HSPA networks. T-Mobile constantly works to improve network performance and capacity, but there are physical and technical limits on how much capacity is available, and in constrained locations the frequency of heavy loading in relation to available capacity may be greater than in other locations. When network loading goes down or the customer moves to a location that is less heavily loaded in relation to available capacity, the customer’s speeds will likely improve.
You can check your data plan usage at any time by signing in to my.t-mobile.com and clicking on the usage tab, or by dialing #web# from your T-Mobile phone. Your total “on-network data” is the number used for purposes of prioritization.