T-Mobile has revised its data prioritization threshold for unlimited data plans, raising the bar from 28 GB previously to 30 GB.
According to a T-Mobile representative, the move comes as part of the Un-carrier’s regular efforts to update its traffic management threshold every three months. Since the carrier has implemented this particular traffic management technique, the threshold has increased every quarter as customers use more and more data. However, the spokesman said the 30 GB figure represents how much data the top 3 percent of T-Mobile customers consume. That is, it’s not a representative figure for the vast majority of users.
The spokesman stressed that the threshold represents the point after which customers may experience slower speeds in traffic congested areas. Those slower speeds only last as long as demand is high or until the user moves to another tower. The threshold, he stressed, is not a hard cap and is reset every billing cycle.
T-Mobile’s ever-increasing threshold is now significantly higher than the prioritization limits set by other carriers. Verizon customers face slower speeds after 22 GB of usage on its new unlimited plan, as do AT&T customers. Sprint users may see a slowdown after 23 GB of usage.
With all four carriers now offering unlimited plans (many with HD video), analysts have warned a “capacity war” might follow as data usage continues to rise – even among the lower 97 percent of users. Verizon told Wireless Week it’s “very confident” in its ability to sustain unlimited plans and noted it has added “tremendous capacity” through small cell deployments. But Sprint has argued spectrum holdings (like its own 120 MHz in the top 100 markets) will be key further down the line to accommodate growing data use.