T-Mobile has cut its mobile data allowance to a maximum of 500MB a month on all its contracts and adjusted its 'fair use' policy in a bizarrely draconian about-turn.
Previously, subscribers were allowed either 1GB or 3GB of data every month under T-Mobile's fixed-price Mobile Internet package – depending on their contract. From February 1 everyone will be subject to a single 500GB limit.
However, it's not so much the news itself that has angered T-Mobile users, but rather how it was delivered. A strongly worded statement on the provider's website argues that we shouldn't be using our mobile phones to consume data-hungry video in the first place, and should instead be doing that sort of thing over our home broadband connection – conveniently not provided by T-Mobile, of course.
Here are some of the juicier parts of the statement:
“Browsing means looking at websites and checking email, but not watching videos, downloading files or playing games. We’ve got a fair use policy but ours means that you'll always be able to browse the internet, it’s only when you go over the fair use amount that you won’t be able to download, stream and watch video clips.”
“So remember our Mobile Broadband and internet on your phone service is best used for browsing which means looking at your favorite websites like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, BBC News and more, checking your email and looking for information, but not watching videos or downloading files.
If you want to download, stream and watch video clips, save that stuff for your home broadband.”
So is T-Mobile really saying that slapping down £30-plus a month on a multimedia-loving HTC Desire HD or Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is a waste of money because we're not actually supposed to be doing the stuff these phones are so good at?
What about those new dual-core phones launched at CES, and next month at Mobile World Congress? Should we rather just stick to our entry-level feature phone, which after all is quite adequate for “checking your email and looking for information”?
Are you on T-Mobile? What do you think of the new data restrictions - and T-Mobile's about-turn on what qualifies as fair use? Let us know in the comments below...