Yesterday, we peered at the fine print in T-Mobile’s contract for its new G1/Android/”Gphone” Google phone, and were flabergasted: The carrier told users that if they used more than a gigabyte of data per month, it would essentially brick their phone.
This made zero sense: We could see (theoretically) T-Mobile charging heavy users a tariff if they binged on bandwidth. But going ahead and making their phone less useful seemed to be an odd strategy. Particularly for a carrier courting early adopters who are bound to use way more data than Joe and Jane cell phone user.
We’d love to hear what T-Mobile execs were thinking, in part because the story would presumably require several drinks to explain. But today they’re telling us that they’re no longer thinking that. The 1GB rule is gone, replaced with something more nebulous and yet-to-be-defined. And presumably less stupid:
Our goal, when the T-Mobile G1 becomes available in October, is to provide affordable, high-speed data service allowing customers to experience the full data capabilities of the device and our 3G network. At the same time, we have a responsibility to provide the best network experience for all of our customers so we reserve the right to temporarily reduce data throughput for a small fraction of our customers who have excessive or disproportionate usage that interferes with our network performance or our ability to provide quality service to all of our customers.
We removed the 1GB soft limit from our policy statement, and we are confident that T-Mobile G1 customers will enjoy the high speed of data access over our 3G network. The specific terms for our new data plans are still being reviewed and once they are final we will be certain to share this broadly with current customers and potential new customers.
As always, the devil is in the details. But if we had to wager we’d bet that T-Mobile will leave everyone except the most over-the-top bandwidth hogs alone. Whatever it costs to satisfy the first wave of Android users will be well worth it. And it will certainly be a better use of money than a PR campaign apologizing for telling subscribers to go screw themselves.
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