Ever since Verizon and AT&T introduced unlimited plans earlier this year, each of the big four have been tweaking their plans and trying to make it the most attractive for consumers. T-Mobile is the one doing the tweaking today, confirming rumors that we heard earlier this morning. Today’s changes deal with T-Mobile’s “prioritization point,” otherwise known as the point where T-Mobile begins throttling your data speeds.
For those who need a little refresher, all of the big four carriers implement usage thresholds within their unlimited data plans. Go past that usage threshold and the carrier reserves the right to slow down your speeds – throttle you, in other words – during times of “network congestion.” For Verizon and AT&T, this threshold is 22GB, and until today, T-Mobile’s was 32GB.
Today, however, T-Mobile announced that it will raise that threshold to 50GB. This is a fairly significant upgrade, and one that many users probably won’t hit. For heavy data users, this bump up probably won’t make a huge difference, but for people who only do a moderate amount of streaming, this increase likely ensures that they’ll be able to enjoy consistent speeds throughout the entire month.
We’ll see what happens from here, but with T-Mobile widening the rift between other carriers’ caps and its own, Verizon and AT&T may very well follow suit. T-Mobile’s new threshold more than doubles the threshold from Verizon and AT&T, and that may be enough to tempt users away. After all, with all four carriers now offering unlimited data in one form or another, the deciding factor for a lot of customers will be the perks associated with those plans.
Though this new unlimited showdown has given us four different definitions of the phrase “unlimited data” – one per carrier – it is nice to see the big four make so many tweaks to their plans in response to what the competition is doing. Which carrier do you get unlimited data from? Head down to the comments section and let us know!
Update: A T-Mobile spokesperson gave us the following statement, underscoring their approach to prioritization rather than throttling:
“Prioritization is a traffic management tool to help ensure everyone has a great experience. Throttling is different – it limits speed constantly, while prioritization simply puts the heaviest users at the end of the line, and they may only notice slightly slower speeds in a time of high network demand.”