T-Mobile backs down, data cap applies only to contracts

T-Mobile backs down, data cap applies only to contractsRejoice, T-Mobile subscribers: your network will honour the existing terms of your contract and not impose that 500GB monthly data cap from next month after all.

With opposition growing rapidly and the move to restrict all contracts to the new terms having attracted the attention of industry regulator Ofcom, T-Mobile has agreed to apply the measures only to new or upgraded contracts – though still from the same starting date of February 1.

A new statement from the network reads:

On Monday 10 January 2011 we announced that, in line with the rest of the industry, T-Mobile would be reducing its Fair Use Policy for data usage to 500MB a month for all mobile phone customers. Following a further review of our policy, these changes will now be introduced from 1 February, to new and upgrading customers only – not existing customers.

There will be no change to the data packages for existing customers for the duration of their contract and we apologise for any confusion caused. The revision to the Fair Use Policy is designed to ensure an improved quality of service for all mobile internet users [Lysa Hardy, VP, T-Mobile UK]

The original terms announced on Monday would have seen subscribers currently receiving as much as 3GB of monthly data under the terms of their contracts having to accept the new measures with just three weeks' notice. Already irate customers were then told they wouldn't be allowed to walk away from their contracts.

However, when Ofcom pointed out that both points were in breach of its General Conditions [PDF], and T-Mobile now backed into a corner, it had no choice but to soften its stance.

Under the network's new terms of fair use, the data cap won't restrict mobile internet access altogether once the 500MB is reached, with normal browsing still allowed. But users won't be able to download files – T-Mobile maintains that's what home broadband connections are for.

Read more about: T-mobile

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