Android Meets Comcast: Throttling of Data Plan

The launch of the Google's first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1, was both widely anticipated and highly covered.  Of course, one big negative, one frequently pointed out as a real problem for the iPhone as well, is the associated carrier with the device.  T-Mobile has the smallest 3G footprint of any major carrier, and additionally --- well, the devil is in the details.

T-Mobile's advertised data plan for the $179 phone are $25 for unlimited data and voice and 400 text messages, or $35 for unlimited everything.  Well, that's when you really, really need to take out your magnifying glass, and take a look at their 3G details page (as linked to this story).  Look at the very bottom (emphasis theirs):

If your total data usage in any billing cycle is more than 1GB, your data throughput for the remainder of that cycle may be reduced to 50 kbps or less. Your data session, plan, or service may be suspended, terminated, or restricted for significant roaming or if you use your service in a way that interferes with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users. Some devices require specific data plans; if you do not have the right plan for your device, you may not be able to use data services. Some downloads, such as movies, music, and games, not included.

Reminiscent of Comcast and their throttling of high-usage customers?  Uh-huh.  While many might say "1 GB, that's plenty!" --- for some it won't be.  Let's not forget how these devices are sold --- carriers want us to use more bandwidth!  But then they stick in tiny print like this.  Already many users, because of the aforementioned small 3G network of T-Mobile, will be stuck at EDGE speeds, but 50 kbps?  Wow.

And the vague "interferes with our network or ability to provide quality service?"  Companies need to realize that vague statements like this only serve to fuel controversy.  No less vague than Comcast's previously hidden usage caps (oh, there's Comcast again), which we know was a thorn in the side of many.

So, readers, what do you think?  Is 1 GB really plenty in this data-centric age?  Will this change your view of the G1?