With most data plans, throttling is something we all have to live with. At some point in the month, you might hit a threshold that downshifts your downloads, but to what extent? Most are left guessing at why that video won’t load, frustrated by the entire experience. Today, the FCC announces that T-Mobile has agreed to provide a clearer picture on what throttling means for you, and will release accurate details on throttled customer data speeds, rather than potential speeds your device isn’t getting.
Until now, T-Mobile simply provided a picture of what your device could be doing on their network. That wasn’t really helpful if you were already being throttled, and unable to use your phone as you normally would. A link to a speed test — which T-Mobile doesn’t count against your data plan — would tell you all about how great t-Mobile’s network was, not how your device was performing on it when throttled.
Here is the full context of the agreement, according to the FCC:
— Send customers a text message once they hit their monthly high-speed data allotment linking to a speed test that customers can use to determine their actual reduced speed
— Provide a button on customer smartphones linking to a speed test that will show actual reduced speeds
— Modify the text messages it currently sends to customers once they hit their monthly high-speed data allotment to make it clear that certain speed tests may show network speeds, rather than their reduced speed. The modified texts also will provide more information about the speeds that will be available after customers exceed their data cap
— Modify its website disclosures to better explain T-Mobile’s policies regarding speed test applications and where consumers can get accurate speed information
T-Mobile isn’t dedicating themselves to throttling customers less; this just tells you what your device is actually doing on their network, in real-time. It’s a welcome change, but also a bit troubling it wasn’t in place already. Still, knowing how your device performs during throttling is important, and could even encourage you to upgrade your plan based on your usage.