T-Mobile Raises Unlimited Data Prioritization Threshold From 32GB to 50GB

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T-Mobile has made a name for itself by bucking industry norms and charting its own path. From special T-Mobile Tuesday promotions, to enticing bundle offers, to generous "unlimited" data throttling limits, the third-place wireless carrier usually takes a customer-centric approach to its business model (well, if you don't count that brief Apple Watch Series 3 blunder).

Today, T-Mobile is taking yet another step to appease its customer base by raising the "prioritization point" after which your data speeds can be throttled to dismal levels. For AT&T and Verizon Wireless, that limit is set at 22GB. Sprint sets its limit at 23GB, while T-Mobile previously bettered the completion with a 32GB prioritization point. Now, it has been raised to a much more generous 50GB.

T-Mobile is practically begging customers to punish its nationwide LTE network, with Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray writing in a blog post, "50GB of data usage means a T-Mobile customer is basically the top 1% of data users, and to put it in context, you could stream a full 2 hours of Netflix every single day – that’s 30 SD movies – and never even reach that point! You’d still have roughly 8GB to go."

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This move is meant to kick a little dirt in the eyes of AT&T and Verizon, after third-party testing earlier this month confirmed that T-Mobile has the fastest LTE data network among the top four U.S. wireless carriers. While T-Mobile has been steadily increasing speeds, the top two players have seen speeds fall thanks to the expansion of unlimited data plans earlier this year.  

Ray is quick to point out that slower download speeds – as a result of prioritization -- only come into effect if you 1) have consumed over 50GB of data in your current billing cycle and 2) you are currently connected to a sector of its network that is experiencing heavy congestion. Only then will you be throttled back to the lower speeds.

"But this impacts them only very rarely, like when there is a big line, and it resets every month," adds Ray. "If you have a lot of congestion in your network (I’m looking at you, Verizon & AT&T), these lines can be long and deprioritized customers can be waiting a long time."

The new 50GB prioritization point goes into effect starting tomorrow for T-Mobile customers on unlimited data plans.