T-Mobile shifts to data overage fees

After championing its position to not charge overage fees for capped data customers, T-Mobile has made an about-face.

The change applies to those subscribed to the carrier’s 200 MB monthly data limit, the lowest data plan available. As a way to entice non-data-intensive customers to its service, T-Mobile said even if they went over the 200 MB allotment, they would be able to continue using data without any overage charges.

What they would face instead would be highly throttled data speeds. This led to a double-edged sword for customers – if they reached their limit in a short amount of time, they’d be stuck with really slow download speeds for the rest of the month and couldn’t even get full-speed service if they were willing to pay overages. On the other hand, they never saw an unexpected fee on their bill, and arguably, the only people who would sign up for such a plan would not be highly concerned about throttled speeds in the first place.

Nevertheless, T-Mobile confirmed in a statement that effective August 13, “Customers will incur overages of $0.10 per MB when they exceed 200MB of data ($10 for 10MB) up to a maximum monthly payment of $40 with Value plans or $45 with Classic plans for data including the 200 MB add-on fee.”

Clearly, either T-Mobile needs the overage fee revenue or clueless customers signed up for the cheapest rate and then complained when their data speed slowed down.

However, the new fee structure does not apply to T-Mobile customers signed up for the 2 GB, 5 GB, or 10 GB monthly packages. Those subscribers can continue to eat up data to their heart’s content, but will be throttled after they exceed their monthly plan limit.

Regardless of what triggered the quick change of face, T-Mobile is with Verizon and AT&T in the group of carriers that now do not offer unlimited data plans.

Sprint, meanwhile, has managed to keep its unlimited data service up and running, even with its high-speed 4G network now running on virtually all of its latest devices.