T-Mobile to hunt down tethering "thieves"

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has been known never to mince words when it came to the company's rivals. Now he is using that same aggressive attitude towards not rivals but "customers" that are gaming and hacking the system in order to abuse the carrier's network. To be more specific, he will be going after a small subset of individuals whom he describes as "stealing" data from T-Mobile by finding ways to go around set limits to LTE tethering, raking in terabytes of data per month.

Legere practically admits that "unlimited" is no longer the name of the game in the industry. T-Mobile offers high-speed LTE connectivity and even allows tethering to devices for free, something that usually comes at extra charge. However, there are, of course, limits to this and when users hit their data cap, tethering speed is dialed down instead of completely being cut off.

While this system works for a majority of T-Mobile's customers, or at least those who have come to accept such realities, a very small number of subscribers, "1/100 of a percent of our 59 million customers" in his own words, find ways to beat that limitation. Either by hiding their actual data usage, writing code to mask their identity, or hacking the system. These people are able to gobble up as much as 2 TB of data a month. Naturally, that adversely affects who much allocation and bandwidth is left to other subscribers on the network.

It's perhaps worth pointing out that Legere mentions rooting their phones, which in itself has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Rooting is just one of the doors that sometimes needs to be opened to make such workarounds possible. For a message that supposedly tries to precisely define the problem, it might also be adding to the confusion.

Legere hasn't revealed what he explicitly plans to do with the first 3,000 users that have been judged as thieves. And for sure there will be some voices raised in opposition to what some might call a witch hunt to divert people's attention from issues of tethering and limited "unlimited" data. Watch the drama unfold in the next few days once T-Mobile gets its whip cracking.

SOURCE: T-Mobile