21GB: T-Mobile's Cap For Its Unlimited 4G Data Simple Choice Plans


T-Mobile is now more transparent regarding its unlimited 4G LTE Simple Choice plans, clarifying what its "de-prioritize" practice means for heavy data users.

In some cases, carriers advertise "unlimited" data plans that are in fact limited in some way if users go over the top. Some carriers face accusations of throttling users' data once they exceeded a certain amount, although they were paying for unlimited plans. Simply put, the plans are "unlimited" as long as users don't take it too far when it comes to their monthly data consumption.

T-Mobile is offering an unlimited data plan as well, promising not to limit or throttle users' connection speeds once they reach a certain amount of data used. However, the carrier does take its own precautions in regards to users who consume large amounts of data.

While T-Mobile will not impose speed caps or throttling, it will "de-prioritize" unlimited data plan users who blaze past 21GB of data in one billing cycle, i.e. one month. This clarification comes as T-Mobile adjusted its fine print for the plans it offers.

"Unlimited 4G LTE customers who use more than 21GB of data in a bill cycle will have their data usage de-prioritized compared to other customers for that bill cycle at locations and times when competing network demands occur, resulting in relatively slower speeds," the carrier explains in a newly-added line at the bottom of the page.

This de-prioritization means that customers could still enjoy top LTE speeds on T-Mobile's network, but it may not be as often. Simply put, other unlimited data plan customers who used less data will have priority for their network requests, whereas the network requests from those who exceeded 21GB of data will go further down the queue.

In other words, T-Mobile is not exactly throttling users' connection speeds, but will no longer give them priority in their network requests either. This could translate to notable data speed drops during high-traffic intervals or in heavily-populated areas where more users go online at the same time.

On its About page, in explaining the various factors that might affect users' speeds and connections, T-Mobile also notes that a high-speed data user consumes more data than what 97 percent of its customers use in a month. This indicates that only 3 percent of T-Mobile's unlimited data plan users go above the 21GB threshold in one month. Consequently, most users should not feel any impact from this "de-prioritization" scheme.

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