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T-Mobile To Throttle Customers Who Use Unlimited LTE Data For Torrents/P2P

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the who-torrents-over-mobile-anyway dept.

Networking 147

New submitter User0x45 writes: Here's a nicely transparent announcement: "T-mobile has identified customers who are heavy data users and are engaged in peer-to-peer file sharing, and tethering outside of T-Mobile’s Terms and Conditions (T&C). This results in a negative data network experience for T-Mobile customers. Beginning August 17, T-Mobile will begin to address customers who are conducting activities outside of T-Mobile’s T&Cs." Obviously, it's not a good announcement for people with unlimited plans, but at least it's clear. T-mobile also pulled the backwards anti-net neutrality thing by happily announcing 'Free Streaming' from select music providers... which is, in effect, making non-select usage fee-based.

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In before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47664897)

people who don't know what false advertising is.

Re:In before (0, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 months ago | (#47665161)

Silly bastards! You thought Unlimited meant Unlimited... When what it really meant was "This is an awfully good way to part some gullible fuckwit and his cash."

God bless America, where sociopaths not only succeed, but have in fact become masters of all they survey. Soon will be thanking them for harvesting our organs.

Lionel Hutz, esq., RIP (4, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | about 3 months ago | (#47665259)

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do these sound like the actions of a man whose had ALL he could eat?

Re:In before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665261)

When Olive Garden says unlimited bread sticks, are they legally required to give you every bread stick they ever produce?

Re:In before (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 3 months ago | (#47665351)

If you can ingest it... yes.

Re:In before (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 3 months ago | (#47665399)

Absolutely. They should be punished for their flagrant false advertising.

Re:In before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666013)

No actually, what they advertise is unlimited from the phone and some limit (5GB IIRC) from a tethered device. I have to believe that most people running torrents are doing so from a PC.

Re:In before (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665247)

People are falling for the "Unlimited = Unmetered" again like they did when people first discovered file sharing at universities and cable ISP's, crushing the ISP's upload bandwidth.

With wireless, it's entirely within reason to throttle down Peer2Peer file sharing because the bandwidth is equal going up and down. If you have a good signal you can get 75Mbits (up or down, but not both at the same time.) But regardless of using that bandwidth, those CDMA symbols are still being used, so just one person in a cell sector can monopolize the entire available spectrum.

Re:In before (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#47665741)

This doesn't even stike me as an "Unlimited vs Unmetered", argument, this strikes me as a, "for live, personal, in-person client use vs for server-type or impersonal use" argument.

Back when I had a cablemodem in 1997, I knew that if I was caught hosting services I could have my service shut off requiring me to sign up for a business-grade account. They weren't terribly picky though, so basically so long as I didn't host a web server on port 80 and didn't have tons of incoming mail on port 25 I was probably alright, and since my connection was never shut off it was indeed alright. Later I had a business-grade DSL line/account with full reverse-resolve and several static IPs, and I could literally do anything that the law didn't prohibit me from doing. I had DNS with reverse resolve, web, mail, FTP, etc, and it was never an issue at all. It cost a little more than a residential account, but not significantly more.

Re:In before (5, Interesting)

BronsCon (927697) | about 3 months ago | (#47665891)

Actually, they're pretty clear about their terms of use, and there's no restriction on the *amount* of data, so it is, in fact, unlimited. I'm saying this as an affected user; I fully expect to get a call from T-Mobile about my data usage, as I'm uploading >10GB/mo via an automated process, and have been doing so for the past year or so. Honestly, I've been expecting the call for some time, so I'll actually be surprised if I don't get it sometime this year.

That said, the process in question is uploading video to YouTube, so it's just as likely they won't flag it because it's not continuous and it's not P2P.

I do know that AT&T cut my wife's grandfathered unlimited data down to 2GB, with a warning and throttling at that point, while charging her the same price I was paying for 4GB on the same account. That's one of the reasons we're no longer with them. T-Mobile isn't doing that here, and I really have no complaints with how they're handling it; I'm surprised they didn't do it sooner.

This is going to end so well for them! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47664909)

Doesn't World of Warcraft use torrents to distribute its patches? And there are millions of WoW subscribers.

I suggest you guys call now and complain that you are not being given the service that you are paying for. You pay to access the internet; their job is to deliver it.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (5, Informative)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 months ago | (#47665005)

There is no unlimited tethering, and they aren't throttling capped data.

They are throttling phone based P2P, and (as I read it) separately, unauthorized tethering.

WoW distribution, needing to be tethered, would be capped data and not throttled.

It's people like me that have downloaded movies on the go to watch that would be throttled.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (3, Informative)

ProzacPatient (915544) | about 3 months ago | (#47665693)

There is no unlimited tethering, and they aren't throttling capped data.

Yes and no. I originally went with T-Mobile because their tethering plan seemed like a bargain compared to the other telcos; Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, but they must've dropped it at some point because it's apparently something they don't offer anymore because when I went to upgrade my phone a few months ago they asked me if I wanted to keep it. They told me that if I did dropped it I wouldn't be able to get it back because my account was grandfathered in and that they don't offer it anymore otherwise. Mind you they still have tethering but not unlimited tethering it seems.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 months ago | (#47665969)

They only allowed unlimited tethering for a very brief time.

It's still pretty fair though, I think it's allowed for all capped plans, and my unlimited plan (which they are pretty kind about) comes with 3GB free tethering, with extra for a fair price (looks like this is 5GB now).

Honestly, I've found T-Mobile pretty strait forward with what they include, and it to be generous (compared to others). I get free (slow, but workable for e-mail, yelp, web, and sort-of maps) data worldwide, enough tethering to use in a pinch for most circumstances, with extra available (comporable to other networks price), and and I use data quite high with no issues.

I have the $70 unlimited plan, the $80 that replaced it has 5GB tether.

The price bump from 70-80 came with a reduction in fees too, so it was essentially a wash.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (3, Informative)

ChrisSlicks (2727947) | about 3 months ago | (#47665037)

You play WoW on your phone or use your phone as your only home internet connection? Seems unlikely.

At least they are being honest and upfront about the services they provide and that gives the customer the freedom to choose appropriately.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (2)

skipkent (1510) | about 3 months ago | (#47665177)

I use T-Mobile as my ISP at home... We use an old phone as a hotspot, have three laptops and two xboxes.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1)

almitydave (2452422) | about 3 months ago | (#47665335)

When I first got my smartphone, the T-Mobile salesman in the T-Mobile store said she used her T-Mobile phone as a hotspot for all her home internet access. Is this no longer allowed, or are you exempt if you pay the sucker tax for Wi-Fi tethering? (I say sucker tax because you can do it for free if you root your phone, and there's no technical reason they should care).

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1, Troll)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 3 months ago | (#47665051)

bittorrent is used for lots of legitimate distribution outside of WoW, too. Just another case of a carrier selling a level of service they had no intention of supporting. "We'll advertise 'unlimited' [chuckle] data and leave the floodgates open for a few months so people think we're serious about service. We'll get a ton of new customers, then bring down the hammer as soon as we hit our subscriber target."

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (4, Informative)

GNious (953874) | about 3 months ago | (#47665151)

Irrelevant - if T-Mobile's T&C says you cannot use the service for bittorrent or other P2P protocols, and the T&C was available at the time the customers signed up, T-Mobile is fully within its remit to throttle these.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1, Troll)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 3 months ago | (#47665253)

And Comcast et al. are completely within their rights to throttle you for the same reasons. Just because it's legal doesn't make it ethically right or any less abusive towards their power users.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (2, Insightful)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 3 months ago | (#47665363)

Of course it this case it IS ethically right. There's no moral requirement to let abusive users who violate the TOS take up far more than their share of a limited resource.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (3, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | about 3 months ago | (#47665425)

Where do those who determine what is and is not ethical come down on the issue ISPs who introduce artificial scarcity by refusing to re-invest the revenue that they generate from their customers into infrastructure upgrades that would allow them to support the internet usage habits of ALL of their users?

Artificial Scarcity? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665663)

T-Mobile is not "introducing artificial scarcity. Comcast is; they refuse to properly provision their network. T-Mobile, on the other hand, can get no more bandwidth. They're putting in cells as fast as they can (I'm enjoying the money, not the weather) but it's not an artificial limitation. What they're doing is applying QoS so that everyone on the cell has a useable connection. Very different than AT&T and Verizon's caps that will apply EVEN IF YOU'RE THE ONLY CUSTOMER ON THE CELL.

Re:Artificial Scarcity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666001)

Yes, throttling really is the correct choice here. When the bandwidth is available, they will probably still get full speeds, but when other users on the network need to use it, they will be throttled. I have a similar setup on my home router since it is the only way to have fair and low latency connections for everyone. I like to use this script: http://git.coverfire.com/?p=linux-qos-scripts.git;a=blob;f=src-3tos.sh;hb=HEAD

I have heard however, that the codel algorithm really only works for wired connections, so wireless qos that a cell carrier would need might be more tricky.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666125)

Just because it's legal doesn't make it ethically right

umm, yes, it does. As a matter of fact, from an ethical standpoint, I would rather argue that laws your representatives passed support ethical behavior you demand than your supposition of the reverse. And abuse? Well, see here, you've already tricked an argument from me. You'll have to come back tomorrow.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665681)

irrelevent - unlimited means unlimited, period.

No exceptions.

With the 4G LTE spectrum "REQUIRING" free tethering, if T-mobile uses 4G-LTE spectrum at all, then by law they have to allow it, no T&C will get around that FCC mandate.
.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 months ago | (#47665743)

Irrelevant - if T-Mobile's T&C says you cannot use the service for bittorrent or other P2P protocols, and the T&C was available at the time the customers signed up, T-Mobile is fully within its remit to throttle these.

Irrelevant - if T-Mobile advertises their shit as "unlimited" then they need to be held to that.
Advertising claims, contracts, etc. should be enforced hierarchically, with the largest, loudest, most-repeated, etc. claims ruling over the smaller, hidden, whispered, or quickly-spoken ones.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1)

Calydor (739835) | about 3 months ago | (#47665061)

There are currently 6.8 million WoW subscriptions (not subscribers due to people with multiple accounts etc.) worldwide.

If it's an even split between the three regions, that's about 2.3 million WoW accounts in the US. The population of the US is 318.5 million people. T-Mobile has about 50 million customers according to Wikipedia.

Some quick and dirty math: 50 million is about one sixth of the US population. One sixth of those 2.3 million WoW accounts comes to about 400,000 accounts.

400k angry people is a lot, sure - but since the patch can ALSO download directly from Blizzard's servers I don't know how many will even realize the problem that way.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 3 months ago | (#47665437)

last I tried it (admittedly, a couple of years ago), even blizzard's torrent-based downloads were pretty slow. Extracting the torrent file and handing it to Azureus was normally vastly faster. I'm not sure what they were doing differently.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665493)

Nearly everything distributes via some sort of bastardized torrent protocol these days. Have you watched your network activity while downloading a new nVidia driver via the desktop app, lately?

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666167)

I don't play WoW (or, at least, not in many years), but back when I did, the patcher used P2P technology. Alternatively, you could download the .torrent file and use your own client. Still, they were the same thing. But yes, Blizzard did run servers entirely for seeding the patches.

Only if you went out of the way to download a manual patch did it come directly as a client-to-server connection.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (3, Informative)

cmorriss (471077) | about 3 months ago | (#47665249)

It's only for TETHERING beyond the allowed limit on unlimited data connections. Let me say that again, TETHERING only and only when you've used up you're tethering allowance for the month. Hell, they basically said you can tether as much as you want for everything else, which is pretty freaking cool.

If you've got tons of bittorrents running over your TETHERED t-mobile connection beyond 2.5 GB/month, you're a douche. You brought this on yourself and no cell phone company should have to put up with it.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665339)

Two words: manufactured scarcity.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665899)

Last I checked they have not repealed the laws of physics nor has anyone disproved the Shannon Harley limit recently. T-mobile has only a finite amount of radio frequency spectrum available to them. If you don't believe me, then get 10 gigabit networking running on 20 Mhz of spectrum on 2.4 Ghz wifi. There might be a Nobel Prize for you if you do.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 3 months ago | (#47666147)

Radio frequencies and traffic that can be fit to be carried on them are a naturally limited commodity. There is nothing "manufactured" about their scarcity, unless you're into Intelligent Design and are accusing the Creator.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665375)

so torrenting right from the phone is still cool?

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (5, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 3 months ago | (#47665421)

I can't necessarily disagree. I know, I know, the /. refrain is "if it's not unlimited they shouldn't have called it unlimited!" Fine. Maybe they should say "almost unlimited." What they're trying to say is that you don't need to watch a meter when you're checking your email and surfing the web on your phone. But come on, torrenting movies over your phone data plan? Really? You think the network can handle that?

Yeah, McDonald's says "free refills." But I'm pretty sure if you try to hook up a garden hose to the soda fountain and pump gallons of coke into a drum they're going to kindly ask you to leave.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665585)

And on top of that, they don't cut you off, they just throttle you.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1)

Snowgen (586732) | about 3 months ago | (#47665951)

And on top of that, they don't cut you off, they just throttle you.

The point is, though, that T-Mobile sells unlimited data to everyone, and what they charge extra for is unlimited 4G LTE data. So if you're being throttled, you're not getting the 4G speed you paid extra for.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (3)

godrik (1287354) | about 3 months ago | (#47666369)

I am an unlimited 4g lte customer of t-mobile. And when I asked what unlimited meant, the seller told me exactly what it meant. unlimited up to 2GB per month (which is a lot, I never reached it), then throttled down to a slower speed which still allows you to check emails and navigate.

I even frequently use my phone as an internet acecss point for my computer. But I don't dump the web when I do so. So it never was a problem. The only people that reach the throtling are pretty much people that explicitely try to push the limit and know very well they are not supposed to. If you are smart enough to route P2P application through your phone network to use the "unlimited" internet, you are probably smart enough to know what unlimited actually means. So yeah, I get it, companies are misrepresenting, but does anybody actually get tricked by that?

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (0)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 3 months ago | (#47665869)

What they're trying to say is that you don't need to watch a meter when you're checking your email and surfing the web on your phone. But come on, torrenting movies over your phone data plan? Really? You think the network can handle that?

What the fuck is the point of paying for 4G speeds just to browse the web or check email? I thought video was the reason to pay more for speed. You're saying that's not true, and that we should be paying more so that we can get each email a few milliseconds sooner?

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (4, Insightful)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 3 months ago | (#47666117)

Loading webpages faster? Sure. Loading a video on youtube? Sure. But torrenting (and thereby also uploading) a 1.2GB Blu-ray rip? Come on, man. That's not what cellphone data plans are for and we all know that.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 3 months ago | (#47665789)

So running the bittorrent client on the phone and then copying the downloaded data to a separate computer is okay?

I'm not sure I follow the reasoning there. The impact on the T-Mobile network is no different doing it this way than the "douche" way. The only difference is that the end user is inconvenienced. QOS-by-annoyance?

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 3 months ago | (#47666351)

Torrents are designed to have many points sending small amounts of data. It's not for giant pseudo-servers. With lots of people, net downloads should be almost as fast.

Hell if you ran the software self-throttling uploads, we'd never have these issues.

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665649)

here's an idea, quit whining about getting caught abusing your carrier's terms and conditions and simply turn off the fucking p2p transfers in your stupid game

Re:This is going to end so well for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665773)

So WOW runs on your smartphone? It's unlimited data usage on a smartphone, not unlimited data on your PC tethered to your smartphone via an app that bypassed the restrictions the carrier placed on tethering.

Clear? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47664917)

It's not at all clear, especially on whether they are capable of filtering the traffic as they claim. It's far more likely that they will simply filter at an arbitrary usage metric, which will undoubtedly catch many of the people they wish to target, but also net a fair number of innocent users who are simply leveraging the "unlimited" plan for which they pay. Who wants to take the bet that complaints from these people will be neatly swept under the rug?

Re:Clear? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 3 months ago | (#47665031)

All people using more than the "arbitrary usage metric" are "innocent users who are simply leveraging the 'unlimited' plan for which they pay!" T-Mobile has no legitimate business throttling people based on what quote-on-quote "kind" of data they're using.

And I say this, by the way, as a T-mobile user on a non-unlimited plan (i.e., one of the people allegedly "harmed" by the "excessive" users).

Re:Clear? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 3 months ago | (#47665099)

Let me pre-emptively clarify: T-Mobile has no legitimate business throttling people based on what quote-on-quote "kind" of data they're using just because they've exceeded that arbitrary threshold.

Normal QOS, i.e., throttling people based on what "kind" of data they're using only during times of network congestion, even if it's the first byte of usage during that billing period, on the other hand, is perfectly okay.

just enforcing terms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47664959)

no big deal. could be worse, they could be terminating accounts, charging outrageous overages, or reporting usage to organized crime..err i mean industry trade group lawyers.

Re: just enforcing terms (1)

Redbehrend (3654433) | about 3 months ago | (#47665093)

I agree, with both sides but you always will have people that abuse the system which makes them have to do this. The fact that this "hurts" mostly people that break the TOS in the first place I don't see the big deal. It does hurt normal customers which always happens but in my eyes I'd be passed if everyone was torrenting and p2p that aren't even for their phone too...

Unlimited tethering ?? WTF ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665345)

Does anyone have a plan with Unlimited tethering from t-mobile??
I have an Unlimited plan, but that is data to the phone, it always had some limit if I turned on 'hot spot' (tethering)
However I have a 64G uSD card in the phone, easynews will download binaries via the web interface however a 800mb or so mkv is about the limit of the battery.
BTW it gets hot.

Whelp, we'll have to waste global bandwidth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47664973)

By obscuring that traffic through VPN

Re:Whelp, we'll have to waste global bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665925)

Being a smartass huh? They will respond by having adding VPN traffic to the list of throttled services, then you will cry like a little pussy.

Ummm... (0)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47664987)

I realize that bittorrent is presumptively the protocol used entirely by piratopedophile terrorists and all; but what kind of bullshit excuse do they offer for treating one data-heavy use differently from another? Is this purely about making those pesky unlimited customers use less data by crippling their service in various ways, or is their network riddled with devices that can't handle the volume of connections a decently active bittorrent transfer tends to create, like some mid-90s router?

Re:Ummm... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665077)

What excuse? The excuse that they've identified it specifically as a huge bandwidth hog on their networks and, given the practical realities of sharing bandwidth among multiple users, disallowed p2p services in the terms and conditions that those users agreed to when they signed up. Nobody said anything about pedophiles.

everybody's using it == must be legitimate (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 3 months ago | (#47665329)

Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.

Re:everybody's using it == must be legitimate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665725)

At the risk of repeating myself to an idiot, who said anything about "legitimate"? Nobody is making a moral judgement on p2p; it is simply that running torrents 24/7 is an incredible bandwidth hog that affects other customers sharing the network and so they deny it for practical reasons.

Re:Ummm... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 months ago | (#47665153)

So if you were running an ISP, what would you do to bandwidth hogs? QOS, Throttle, or just drop them as a customer? Perhaps a courteous letter or warning?

Re:Ummm... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#47665205)

So if you were running an ISP, what would you do to bandwidth hogs? QOS, Throttle, or just drop them as a customer?

It's called fair queuing. Serve all active customers equally. I switched WISPs because my old one couldn't handle bittorrent and so banned the protocol, so there is definitely something to the idea that their network might be shit and thus they might be banning it because it causes service to degrade even when they do fair queuing.

Re:Ummm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665239)

1. T-Mobile only throttles after you hit your limit
2. This is made clear in ToS and if you are too lazy to read ToS, the sales person also mentions it in the store.
3. P2P is forbidden as other's have pointed out. No regular ISP has forbidden P2P on their networks AFAIK.

Re:Ummm... (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 3 months ago | (#47665251)

Cap bandwidth during (and only during) peak usage periods, similar to "unlimited nights and weekends" voice plans.

Re:Ummm... (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 3 months ago | (#47665279)

So if you were running an ISP, what would you do to bandwidth hogs?

QOS. When the network is congested, "bulk data" like BitTorrent should get a lower priority than low-latency data like streaming audio/video. When it isn't congested, there's no need or reason to throttle at all.

(And if your network is still congested when only streaming data is left, then it means you need to upgrade your network!)

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665955)

Networks should never be congested in the first place.

It's one thing to saturate your home Internet wich has a limited speed, but that should NEVER happen on the ISP level.

Re:Ummm... (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 months ago | (#47666155)

And if your network is still congested when only streaming data is left, then it means you need to upgrade your network!

So you're ok with subsidizing your consumer dollars for an upgrade to benifit P2P users? No right or wrong answer, but one that needs to be both asked and answered just so we are all clear of the cost implications here.

Re:Ummm... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47665635)

So if you were running an ISP, what would you do to bandwidth hogs? QOS, Throttle, or just drop them as a customer? Perhaps a courteous letter or warning?

If it became necessary, throttle them; but without regard for what sort of traffic makes them bandwidth hogs. My problem is not that networks don't have infinite capacity to deal with high demand situations; but that the various throttling measures put into effect seem to be focused against certain types of traffic and/or subscriber types that the operator dislikes, rather than being based on volume.alone. You can't avoid volume based throttling unless you pay enough for a guaranteed non-oversubscribed line; but if there is a crunch doing your throttling based on what sorts of traffic you like least, or what customers you like least, seems like a bad road to go down.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665187)

Because wireless services are actually really shitty, pretty much as you said.

A bunch of people constantly connecting to the same nodes (like when P2P clients send out hundreds of requests to different IPs), it seriously bogs down the system hard.

This is a case of them cheaping out on the actual backbone, again.

Re:Ummm... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665195)

You can saturate a gigabit connection from a single person seeding Bittorent P2P traffic. The amount of connections it creates is insane too. It's like standing on the rooftop of your home and throwing money on the ground in the ghetto. You don't have enough lawn space for all the hoards of people waiting to fight over it. P2P bandwidth is high because people are fighting for resources to access "free" shit.

ISOs, FOSS.... yeah what the fuck ever man. It's Movies, Music, Porn, and Games. STFU and get real. P2P is 99% illegitimate traffic and highly illegal.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665511)

Highly?

As a new T-Mobile customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47664989)

Who gets enough speed to torrent? Hell I'm on edge 40% of the time! WOOT! FU AT&T.

Re:As a new T-Mobile customer (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 months ago | (#47665089)

When I'm in my home area, my T-Mobile is often faster than my cable (198xx zip code).

Re:As a new T-Mobile customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665147)

Same. I hit over 50 mbps in with T-mobile LTE in my area. Fastest I can get for cable broadband is 50 mbps.

Uh? (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 3 months ago | (#47664991)

Uh... Who is mad, or desperate enough, to use torrents on a unreliable, slow and capped as hell cellular connection?

Re:Uh? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 months ago | (#47665117)

I've done it when hotel service what terrible, and I wanted to watch a TV show on a channel they don't have.

Usually I use Usenet though. When I get LTE it's faster than cable, and I've never had an issue with my regular 9GB of usage (generally legit from Hulu, Netflix, and various podcasts).

Re:Uh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665135)

Anyone who doesn't live in a major city.

Many times the cellular networks are extensively developed in low population areas. There are several towns where I live where Wired ISP's only exist in the immediate "downtown" area of the city. The costs of connecting customers outside of that area far outweigh the potential income. While wireless internet providers (900Mhz) exist they are an expensive option and typically do not provide the speed that a cell service would provide. Hell, even in the city, my cell phone routinely gets higher download speeds than my wired connection and at a price that is more affordable considering I have both voice and data service.

Many people just rely on their cell phones for all internet based activities and do not want to pay for tethering.

Using a cell phone as the sole internet connection more common than you think.

Re:Uh? (4, Insightful)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 3 months ago | (#47665235)

Uh... Who is mad, or desperate enough, to use torrents on a unreliable, slow and capped as hell cellular connection?

I can't speak for where you live specifically, but here in the northeast, I can tell you this much:

1.) T-Mobile is, in most metro-ish areas, as reliable as any other carrier. Also, it's not beyond the realm of realisticness to presume that users torrenting on their phone aren't torrenting while driving - if you're stationary and have four bars of LTE signal, T-Mo is pretty damn solid.

2.) I've gotten 2.5MBytes/sec down on my phone. Not during peak hours, of course, and somewhat varied based on what tower I'm connected to, but >1MByte/sec is quite common - and triple the speed of my home DSL.

3.) T-Mobile still offers kitchen-sink unlimited data plans if you pay enough. On those, they have a cap on tethering, but on the phone, you can download as much as you want. Since Android has a handful of bittorrent applications, it's entirely possible to be torrenting on an unlimited, uncapped data plan.

I don't blame T-Mo for doing what they're doing. Torrenting, by nature, takes a significant amount of bandwidth, requires lots of network connections, pounds the Carrier NAT with connections that can't be completed, requires a metric ton of extra routes, and doesn't stop seeding unless the user sets it as such.

If there's a protocol that's terrible from a cellular provider's standpoint, it's bittorrent. Blocking it on cell phones is about the least objectionable form of "network non-neutrality" that a carrier could implement. On a similar note, I don't know that T-Mobile's music streaming policy is terribly unfair, since they're whitelisting all the major streaming music providers. If they made Pandora free while Slacker had to pay, that's not 'net neutral'. Since everyone who streams audio is included, it's a blurry area for net neutrality.

Re:Uh? (1)

gauauu (649169) | about 3 months ago | (#47665285)

On a similar note, I don't know that T-Mobile's music streaming policy is terribly unfair, since they're whitelisting all the major streaming music providers. If they made Pandora free while Slacker had to pay, that's not 'net neutral'. Since everyone who streams audio is included, it's a blurry area for net neutrality.

While I mostly agree with you, it's not all of them. Google Play Music (which is the music streaming service that I primarily use) isn't included. (That being said, I regularly go over my 500mb quota, and I've NEVER been penalized or noticeably throttled when I do. So I can't complain at all)

Re:Uh? (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 3 months ago | (#47665357)

Ahh ... So I will improve my question, putting a little context. Here in Brazil, not even the "2G" (EDGE) signal works stably, 3G only works occasionally in the center of the great capitals and 4G is virtually nonexistent. And if that is not bad enough, most carriers provides an unstable connection that practically only serves to make you be charged (is charged per connection in many cases) and then stops working. So imagine what happens when you try to use torrents on this junk.

Re:Uh? (1)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about 3 months ago | (#47665441)

Ahh ... So I will improve my question, putting a little context. Here in Brazil, not even the "2G" (EDGE) signal works stably, 3G only works occasionally in the center of the great capitals and 4G is virtually nonexistent. And if that is not bad enough, most carriers provides an unstable connection that practically only serves to make you be charged (is charged per connection in many cases) and then stops working. So imagine what happens when you try to use torrents on this junk.

Your question begats two other questions:

1.) The site redirects to the T-Mobile USA website. I don't know how this works for other subsidiaries, and/or in other countries.
2.) The site explicitly specifies "Unlimited LTE". If you're torrenting at 20KBytes/sec, then your point certainly stands. If you're saturating an LTE tower during peak usages, then that's a different story...but it requires actual LTE service.

Re:Uh? (1)

swb (14022) | about 3 months ago | (#47665289)

I think there are some seriously cheap geeks out there with good T-mobile signal who have decided that unlimited data via cellular is both a better value and maybe even better throughput than whatever's available via a wall jack where they live.

So they tether, maybe even bridging it to their home LANs as their only internet access.

Sounds like a pain in the ass and unreliable as hell, but maybe they've got dedicated hardware which eliminates some of the unreliable part (external antenna, device dedicated to tethering to a dedicated wifi bridge, etc).

Re:Uh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666189)

Dunno.. but on T-Mobile I have had incredibly fast P2P transfers on an uncapped connections.

I'll have to test it out on the 17th and see if they only throttle P2P or if they just start making my phone sad.

No contract so I can easily just ditch them from the remaining balance on my phone which I could easily do.

I don't find the competition offering anything better.

My biggest month was around 30GB which was due to me traveling w/o a laptop and watching a bazillion hours of Netflix plus some torrents for GoT and Mad Men.

QoS is not a crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47664997)

You can abuse the word "unlimited" until it screams but the second you start saturating the network it is the responsibilty of any sane operator to slow you down.

Question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665003)

What if users use Torrents / peer-to-peer for legit reasons (i.e. - sharing files between friends for things related to school projects, fiction writing, images taken on trips; whatever)?

Answer: Doesn't matter. This company, like every other company, is using yet another cookie-cutter solution to solving quantitative problems.

So when will the global mesh network be available? (2)

thieh (3654731) | about 3 months ago | (#47665053)

I suppose we probably have to build one giant mesh network instead of begging for the mercy of these providers no? Probably makes us harder to be spied on too if we don't use the same route to get to the same place every time

scapegoat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665073)

The dirty pirate is todays boogyman. Soon, it will be Netflix/YouTube users.

T-Mobile enforces their T+C's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665145)

It seems perfectly reasonable for a carrier to enforce their terms and conditions. If you agreed to them when you signed up, you shouldn't feel penalized when they throttle you for violating them. If they change their T+C, you get notice and can change to another carrier (without a headache, since there's no contract.)

I fail to see why this is even news...

RTFA: Actually use it & get throttled. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665163)

I actually read the article. I know, it's a faux pas. Live with it. As I read what T-Mobile said, I realize that all this fluff about Peer-to-Peer is meant to distract us from that little line at the end that reads:

or other applications that denigrate network capacity or functionality

In other words, T-Mobile doesn't care what you do. If you try to use the unlimited connection you've purchased, you're going to get throttled. Yet again, more BAIT & SWITCH! They only want customers who buy their expensive service and DON'T USE IT!

Two different issues, network-wise, IMO .... (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | about 3 months ago | (#47665183)

My first thought is, too many people out there want to act like "net neutrality" should mean free, unlimited use of all services whenever the carrier promises some sort of flat rate option.

More realistically, I think people need to differentiate between hard line based services and OTA services, which are currently far more expensive to maintain and to support high bandwidth over.

While I'd be very upset to find my cable company or a service providing broadband over fiber like we have at work was throttling us for using bit-torrent protocol or for "using the service with unauthorized devices" -- I don't have the same issue with it happening on a cellular LTE connection.

I think there has to be some level of understanding of the underlying limitations of the technology in place. When I use cellular data, I know up-front that I'm sharing a finite amount of bandwidth with everyone else in an X square mile area is on the service, using that same tower. That's just the nature of the beast -- and it's what gives me the ability to stay connected while very mobile, doing things I'd never be able to do at all otherwise, without traveling to a specific place with a landline connection.

Anyone keeping torrent downloads going on a regular basis over LTE really is just mis-using the service. Sure, there are probably some who live in rural areas who will complain they have no other faster options. But the bottom line is, cellular companies intend their data services to be used primarily in conjunction with their phone handsets, as a way to keep them connected for the Internet tasks you'd most commonly want to do on a phone. They also sell data cards and USB modems, but pretty much always with some strict limits on monthly data usage, or at the very least -- with an "unlimited" plan that contains a lot of exceptions to what unlimited means in that context.

Really, the only viable alternative is to wind up with pricing like the satellite internet services do; strict monthly usage caps with per megabyte overage fees on top of it. I think it's clear that the majority of customers vastly prefer just paying a reasonable, fixed monthly rate with a promise that "under typical usage scenarios, you can just use the thing whenever you like without worrying about extra costs for data".

Re:Two different issues, network-wise, IMO .... (3, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47665387)

Anyone keeping torrent downloads going on a regular basis over LTE really is just mis-using the service.

Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
Then come back here and and explain to me why it's silly for users to think they can use their connection for whatever they want to.

T-Mobile spent millions advertising lies and fraudulent claims just to sell service, and is now trying to cut off the users that actually used the service in the way they advertised it. If I were selling a moving service, and I put out ads showing us moving an elephant, how on earth could I complain when a customer actually asked us to move an elephant? That's what was advertised, that's what they should deliver. End of story.

Re:Two different issues, network-wise, IMO .... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 3 months ago | (#47665515)

I think it's clear that the majority of customers vastly prefer just paying a reasonable, fixed monthly rate with a promise that "under typical usage scenarios, you can just use the thing whenever you like without worrying about extra costs for data".

That's a funny word, "typical."

It seems to me there are only two possibilities: either the "typical" user doesn't use "too much" data (whatever that means) and no data caps are necessary (although QOS during peak usage periods may be, and that's OK), or the "typical user" does use "too much" data and the real issue is that the network provider needs to upgrade the capacity.

"Throttle all of a user's data after they've used N megabytes in a month regardless of current network congestion"-style caps are not necessary in either case.

Two different issues, network-wise, IMO .... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666025)

Don't tell me how to use my Internet, or that I can't use the speed I paid for. Fuck you.

Re:Two different issues, network-wise, IMO .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666171)

It's not 'your' Internet asshat; it's everyone's. How about this solution: T-mobile divides the amount of available bandwidth in a cell footprint between every customer currently in it, regardless of whether they're actually using any bandwidth at the time or not. Enjoy streaming terabytes of grandma porn at the speed you get then.

Good idea (0, Flamebait)

jones_supa (887896) | about 3 months ago | (#47665197)

Good decision. Only dickheads clog cellular radio frequencies with torrents. If you love pirating so much, you can obtain a wired connection for that.

What the...I don't... (0)

Enry (630) | about 3 months ago | (#47665243)

T-mobile also pulled the backwards anti-net neutrality thing by happily announcing 'Free Streaming' from select music providers... which is, in effect, making non-select usage fee-based.

You could look at it that way, I guess. I look at it as I get unlimited data access with the first 3GB per month at LTE speed, but any data from those selected services don't count against it. Kinda wish Amazon or Google music were on those lists, but the original deal I signed with T-Mobile a few months ago was 2.5GB at LTE and no 'free' services. I'd consider the deal now to be a good improvement over what I originally got. Does it prefer some music services over others? Yes. Does it cut my services or increase the amount I pay per month? No. Is my access to Amazon Music or Google Music affected? No.

Unlike Verizon and their sorta-but-not-really-anymore unlimited data service.

Tortured summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665381)

Is it just me who has trouble trying to understand the summary?

" backwards anti-net neutrality thing "

And then makes it worse here:

"making non-select usage fee-based."

What the hell does this mean? Non select usage?

Sorry, but they agreed to it. (1)

Striek (1811980) | about 3 months ago | (#47665577)

Yes, in this case, "unlimited" means "unlimited by quantity", not "unlimited by any means of delivery". Verizon's TOS clearly state that (emphasis mine):

You agree not to misuse the Service or Device, including but not limited to: (a) reselling or rebilling our Service; (b) using the Service or Device to engage in unlawful activity, or in conduct that adversely affects our customers, employees, business, or any other person(s), or that interferes with our operations, network, reputation, or ability to provide quality service, including, but not limited to, the generation or dissemination of viruses, malware or “denial of service” attacks; (c) using the Service as a substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections; (d) tampering with or modifying your T-Mobile Device; (e) "spamming" or engaging in other abusive or unsolicited communications, or any other mass, automated voice or data communication for commercial or marketing purposes; (f) reselling T-Mobile Devices for profit, or tampering with, reprogramming or altering T-Mobile Devices for the purpose of reselling the T-Mobile Device; (g) using the Service in connection with server devices or host computer applications, including continuous Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine-to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing applications that are broadcast to multiple servers or recipients, “bots” or similar routines that could disrupt net user groups or email use by others or other applications that denigrate network capacity or functionality;

And in the very next section states that:

WE MAY LIMIT, SUSPEND OR TERMINATE YOUR SERVICE OR AGREEMENT WITHOUT NOTICE FOR ANY REASON, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, if you, any user of your Device, or any user on your account: (a) breaches the Agreement;

They are well within their rights under the agreement that every user signed on to. Now while the classic argument is that nobody reads the TOS, that is not Verizon's fault, nor is it their responsibility to make sure you do, and it is certainly not their responsibility to verbally advise you of every condition of service before you sign. It is a perfectly fair argument that "unlimited" can mean "unlimited, but not to the point where it interferes with other users".

Now, some will argue that they have a responsibility to deliver truly "unlimited" services at the advertised bandwidth. However, I don't think it states anywhere in their user agreement that unlimited services are exempt from throttling. The affected users' bandwidth plans are still unlimited, however, at a slower speed, and even if it is stated somewhere that connections will not be throttled, they have already established under contract, their right to limit service in the event of a breach of the TOS.

The affected users still have unlimited bandwidth. They are being administratively punished for a breach of Verizon's TOS, which is a legitimate activity. They cannot cry foul because they don't like the terms. They agreed to them when they signed up.

Personally, I think Verizon is doing this the right way.

co34 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665669)

It's a marketing thing (3, Insightful)

Andrio (2580551) | about 3 months ago | (#47665735)

Most people with "unlimited" data will probably use anywhere between 3-10GB.

But there are people, on the same unlimited plan, that will use 100 or 200 or more GB a month. Now, since they bought "unlimited" data, this is fine. They're getting what they paid for. Some might argue that they are abusing the service, but that doesn't matter: they bought unlimited data, so they're using it.

The result is that people who might use less than 10GB of data a month by streaming lots of music and youtube video, are put into the same service tier as people who might basically run torrents on their phone, or even use it as their home broadband, racking up hundreds of GBs of data a month.

I think part of the problem is that right now the data tiers are silly. Plans basically offer triers that look like this:
500MB
2GB
3GB
UNLIMITED

There's this huge spike.

People who will stream slightly mare than average, and people who intend to use their data for massive broadband demands will have no choice but to go with the unlimited plan. How about some more reasonable tiers? Something like
1GB
5GB
20GB
UNLIMITED

I lost track of what my point was supposed to be so I'm going to stop typing now.

fro5t 4ist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47665873)

But now they're Cycle; take a hype - BSD's people playing can to any BSD 4roject, of HIV and other work that you Distribution make

UNLIMITED POST (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47666465)

nope. read the fine print, idiot.

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