As many T-Mobile subscribers are aware, T-Mobile offers both cellular as well as mobile device connections through its various branded or co-partnered products. On the mobile device side, tablets and broadband USB modems are the primary categories of service available through the company. Both utilize a broadband feature for quick download or upload of large amounts of data by users. As more and more businesses are utilizing mobile broadband, T-Mobile realized that they couldn't simply place a fixed cap on monthly mobile broadband data - some customers are more than happy to pay a little extra when their data use goes over before the end of the monthly billing cycle.
At the beginning of July 2012 T-Mobile made it clear that new changes were coming through with regards to how broadband data users would be treated by the company’s service provisions. Long story short, mega data users can either pay higher fees for the luxury to behave the same or they can realize their use being limited speed-wise to what they are willing to pay for.
Infrastructure Cost Allocation in Play
The problem for T-Mobile being addressed with the pricing changes has to do with the fact that broadband is becoming mainstream, with customers big and small expecting access to fast service and data movement, particularly with video, music and software downloads. T-Mobile notes that its traffic has grown almost 150 times since the beginning of its broadband service availability for businesses. Many of the broadband devices like mobile hotspots available through T-Mobile also include these features, adding to the demand. In addition, the evolution of 3G to 4G data speeds has also exacerbated the traffic pressure on T-Mobile systems. However, the company can only manage so much traffic through its system without incurring higher costs. So it is now passing on those expenses to the high-demand users that move significant amounts of data on a regular basis.
Pricing Adjustments to Expect
Broadband customers won’t necessarily see any change in their current plan with the modifications. Instead, when the customer exceeds what he has already agreed to pay for by speed and monthly data size category, one of two things will happen: either the customer will pay more for continued access as before, or he will see his broadband speed suddenly slow down to a crawl (2G speeds or about 80-150Kbps). Overage fees when triggered now account for approximately $20 per month for an additional 500 megabytes of data at a minimum and as much as $75 per month for a 10 gigabyte overage. Where a customer instead wants to still have access but at lower speeds, the change will charge $25 per month for 500 megabytes and up to $78 per month for 10 gigabytes. Business customers can expect to see the changes go through by the end of July 2012.
In-between levels of data demand are broken up at 500 megabytes, 2 gigabytes, 5 gigabytes and finally 10 gigabytes. Prices differences for the above changes range between these levels of data demand.
T-Mobile’s data pricing changes are being marketed as a benefit for business accounting and service cost projection. Being able to expect a flat rate rather than fluctuating figures provides a business a more predictable cost platform for the services already procured. While the aforementioned may be true for the accounting-types, customers will generally have to watch their limits to avoid new costs. However, knowing that an overage will simply be a set fee does make the tracking to per user a bit easier overall.
Broadband equipment and related accounts that will be affected include:
• 4G devices that draw down heavy data plans, including smartphones.
• Tablets including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus as well as the T-Mobile SpringBoard
• Laptop sticks such as the Rocket 3.0 USB Laptop Stick
• The various 3G/4G T-Mobile Mobile Hotspots.
Despite the pricing changes, the broadband network that many of the business accounts use is not necessarily going to see a geographic availability increase. T-Mobile notes that 4G coverage will still be limited to certain location, predominantly urban areas, versus suburban and rural regions.
It's not too often that rate increases by cell phone company's are seen as a positive thing, but in this case, for a lot of existing T-Mobile mobile broadband users this is welcome news. T-Mobile is now in line with the other three major mobile providers in that users now simply pay more when they need more mobile data.
For business users, T-Mobile's old data overage policy could be "catastrophic". Image being out at a client site doing that sales presentation you've banked all year on, when all of sudden the download speed of your mobile hotspot goes from a speedy 8 Megabits per second over 4G, down to a measly 0.1 Mega bits per second over 2G. Previously, T-Mobile subscribers didn't even have the option of paying for additional high speed 4G above and beyond the limits of their data plan. For many users the new data overage policy is likely a welcome change - for others, it means keeping a more watchful eye on their data use as the monthly limit approaches.
Category: Mobile Hotspot News