T-Mobile is going after subscribers that "steal" tethering data

By Shawn Knight
Aug 31, 2015
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  1. T-Mobile CEO John Legere is taking aim at a small group of subscribers that, in his words, are blatantly stealing data and whose actions could eventually impact other users in a negative manner.

    When a customer subscribes to their unlimited 4G LTE plan for smartphones, they also receive a fixed amount of LTE (7GB) to be used for tethering. As the outspoken executive explains, the tethering data is intended to be used on occasions when broadband may not be available or reliable.

    Once a user burns through this bucket of data, speeds slow down. The problem, however, is that some are rooting their phones and using apps or writing code to mask their tethering usage – or as Legere describes it, they’re clever hackers that are gaming the system to steal high-speed tethered data.

    Some users are consuming as much as 2TB of data per month. Legere said he didn’t know what they are doing with it but it won’t continue on his watch.

    Starting today, T-Mobile said it is going after 3,000 users that “know exactly what they’re doing.” Legere didn’t say exactly what actions they’ll be taking outside of the fact that offenders will start hearing from them real soon.

    Legere concluded that he isn’t trying to play data cop and that abusers will probably try to distract everyone by waving their arms as it relates to data throttling. Tethering abuse is a very different issue, he said.

    Do you think T-Mobile is out of line by going after tethering uses? Let us know in the comments section below.

    Thumbnail via Asa Mathat, Re/code

    Permalink to story.

  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,937

    Anybody who goes after thieving shysters is doing something worthwhile in my book.
    Hexic, dms96960 and agb81 like this.
  3. Dimitriid

    Dimitriid TS Booster Posts: 33   +34

    Yeah change the name from "unlimited" to "Somewhat unlimited but depends on how much" or better yet "Plenty but not ****ing unlimited" you ****ing dipshit.
    cwobara123 and Trajer like this.
  4. noel24

    noel24 TS Maniac Posts: 299   +152

    In my vaterland Deutchland-Deutchland-Uber-Alles-Telekom was nice alternative to other providers, until after establishing subscriber base they started undercutting their client base rights and quality of service. Good advice for US brothers in arms: don't sign up with them for too long-a-plan. You may wanna switch to competition soon.
  5. mctommy

    mctommy TS Booster Posts: 188   +30

    Unlimited data except for tethering. Done. Now go cry a river somewhere else.
    agb81 likes this.
  6. cartera

    cartera TS Addict Posts: 276   +67

    Your very gullible if you think that's their only term and condition.
    cwobara123 likes this.
  7. GreenArrow

    GreenArrow TS Enthusiast Posts: 44   +23

    Am I the only one here who don't understand what everyone is yelling about.from my understanding people are hacking there phones to hide there data usage. while team Mobile is unlimited data you do pay for a limited high speed data after that limit is done you are given low speed data.

    it is within there right to call it unlimited but people are hacking the system to continuously get high speed data without paying for it.

    am I reading this wrong. I don't understand why people are mad at team mobile.
    TadMSTR, dms96960 and wastedkill like this.
  8. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,295   +663

    LOL..people "stealing" data that they already paid for. Yeah, such an awful crime. The US wireless carriers continue to be the laughing stock of the planet.
    wastedkill likes this.
  9. stonarda

    stonarda TS Enthusiast Posts: 141   +18

    I thought tethering used mobile data... If they offer unlimited mobile data, why is tethering not allowed?
    Trajer likes this.
  10. Vaneheart

    Vaneheart TS Rookie

    We already lose bandwidth from useless advertisements and background crap we never wanted nor paid for. Wasted CPU cycles. Who is screwing who here?
  11. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Booster Posts: 125   +49

    Well they can't really do anything legally to be honest. if said people are accused of this crap they can just wipe their device and computer and say prove it since tmobile can easily be called out for editing logs and such. good luck t mobile.
  12. agb81

    agb81 TS Booster Posts: 77   +38

    I find 33 Gb per day excessive, even though the plan marks unlimited data, one thing is taking advantage of everything that is being offered and other thing is trying to milk it beyond means.
  13. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Addict Posts: 269   +138

    It's like paying a water bill and the water company getting pissed because you watered your lawn. They clearly state that water is only to be used for showering.
  14. TheBigFatClown

    TheBigFatClown TS Guru Posts: 643   +226

    33GB(big b) wouldn't even cover the size of a hefty dual-layer Blu-Ray movie. And you find 33Gb excessive? Wow, better delete NetFlix HD off your phone, hurry.

    Do you work for a cellular company?
    Gopal Bhat likes this.
  15. Mark6275

    Mark6275 TS Rookie's not unlimited? Where I went to school, unlimited meant, well, unlimited.
  16. gazmatic

    gazmatic TS Member Posts: 16   +7

    Then they should rename it from unlimited to a 7gb plan.


    I cant believe that there are people here who are on his side.

    It shouldnt matter what somebody does with their phone. They paid for both their phone and the 4glte service. They should be able to use them as they wish.

    it's not unlimited if it's only 7gb.
  17. Satish Mallya

    Satish Mallya TS Addict Posts: 124   +92

    I can see both sides of this one being valid. On the one hand, you pay for unlimited service - and net neutrality means that what you do with that service should be only your concern, and nobody else's.
    On the other hand, the services is for mobile internet, intended to be consumed on a smartphone - and the underlying infrastructure has been configured as such. By using it outside its allowed scope, you would be impacting the network considerably. There is even an allowance for using Mobile internet as a stopgap service for a more serious PC - tethering.
    Abuse of this policy is essentially a tragedy of the commons sort of situation.

    I honestly don't know whom to side with here.
    Phr3d and wastedkill like this.
  18. mctommy

    mctommy TS Booster Posts: 188   +30

    Where does it say that I believe there is only one term and condition?
  19. mctommy

    mctommy TS Booster Posts: 188   +30

    The plan specifically spells out that you have unlimited except for tethering for which you have 7gb. In the past other US cell phone companies have charged an extra $10 to even be able to tether.

    They don't offer the unlimited service so that you use your phone as a hotspot to replace a regular landline ISP like comcast, frontier, AT&T, verizon, and others.
    agb81 likes this.
  20. Trajer

    Trajer TS Rookie

    Exactly. It's because they didn't expect people to use so much data, but guess what? People like to watch a lot of HD streaming videos and play online games! **** adds up quick.
  21. cwobara123

    cwobara123 TS Rookie

    From my understanding an "unlimited plan" should have "unlimited data". If your limited to 7GB just F-ing say it. Average Americans just need to learn what a GB is and maybe things would change. Oh ya, this is a drunk post.
  22. Hexic

    Hexic TS Addict Posts: 271   +127

    It's clear that not many individuals are actually reading the full article.

    The deal is that you pay for 7GB of tethering data, after that your speeds cut down. Tethering data. Not your regular LTE data. The agreement that everyone signed off on before they got their T-Mobile plan. Most importantly, the article states that they are going after users who are intentionally rooting their phones AND using programs, spoofing techniques to trick the service into thinking that they aren't using the service as they are.

    In a nutshell, they are following up on those select users who are intentionally, and nefariously abusing the system. This is a good thing.. if you have the unfortunate luck of being on T-Mobile's network, this may help you. And if you may be one of those individuals who are attempting to gyp the system.. it's amusing to think that it would go untouched. Every company watches their own data analytics.

    Clarification over, rant done. :)
    Phr3d and agb81 like this.
  23. nakamichi217

    nakamichi217 TS Rookie

    I have a 6gb limit on my smartphone for tethering and I use compression agents. I use an IPad rather than my smartphone because I have bad eyesight and the smartphone screen is too small for me. But somehow I manage with my 6gb of data. I do think 2tb do data is ridiculously excessive. Especially on a mobile device. I think people are rooting their phones and hooking their laptops up to be tethered to download torrents illegally. That's what I think. These dingbats will screw it up for everyone. I use my IPad for business on the road when I fly and take trains everywhere. If I want to stream content I do so at home on my broadband connection. That is only once a week. I'm too tired to watch TV most of the time. I usually pass out when I get home because I'm always working.
    agb81 likes this.
  24. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Guru Posts: 503   +42

    Tbh it is near damn impossible (if not impossible) to prevent this and differentiate between normal data used on the phone itself and if tethered. The only real way as described is by using third party apps but then are tmobile going to start banning sim free mobiles, or unlocked mobiles from other networks from being able to connect to their network unless they start adding usernames/passwords and connection apps to their phones?

    I have a 24Gb limit and I will use that limit as I see fit, either from my phone or as an extension to my laptop or my kids phones in the car if I need to. I can guarantee you now as it stands you can not stop me.
  25. kanehi

    kanehi TS Rookie Posts: 41   +6

    Because it can be used as router and up to ten people can access it at the same time which can zap data like crazy. Tethering is being used inappropriately by stealing data given to that subscriber.
    mctommy likes this.

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