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This is What Um…Limited Looks Like, Pt. 1



May 11, 2016



So you signed up for that “unlimited” plan from T-Mobile and happily cruised the digital world at warp speed on your new smartphone for a couple of weeks. Then things got weird. All of the sudden videos wouldn’t load, your browser began to crawl, and app downloads and updates became nearly impossible. Your customer experience went from 100 to 1. What happened?

The answer is you ran into the hidden truth of an “unlimited” mobile data plan from T-Mobile: throttling. When you hit your high-speed data allotment on a T-Mobile “unlimited” plan, your data speeds are reduced to the days of dial-up. This equates to an experience that is roughly 140 times slower. To put it in perspective, that’s equivalent to a car dealership selling you a Ferrari that turns into a tricycle halfway through the month. “Unlimited” plans such as these, which hinge on fine print and semantics, typify the kind of tricks wireless carriers use in their marketing campaigns.

In this series, we’re going to take a closer look at what happens when your mobile data is throttled; forget the magenta-hued hype, what does it actually look like when you try to do normal activities on a smartphone whose data pipe has been choked down to a drip?

Let’s examine a common activity: downloading an app. It’s likely that you will download a new app or app update at least a couple times each week. Maybe you found a cool new game or you hate your stock camera app, or maybe your mapping app needs an update to account for summer construction–chances are you’re going to update the apps on your smartphone rather often. (That’s kind of the point of having a smartphone in the first place.)

When you’re throttled down to 128Kbps, everything becomes a chore. Take a look at how long it takes to download a simple, 3mb app once throttled on T-mobile:

Okay, so 4 minutes doesn’t seem like an eternity, but that’s a TINY 3MB app. Candy Crush Soda Saga is 67MB. Want to play that hot new game? It will take over an hour and 20 minutes to download Candy Crush on a throttled device. That’s long enough to substantially drain your battery.

Want to know how long it will take to download a file on a throttled device? Check out this cool download speed calculator.  Remember, you’re now surfing the web at sloth speed: 128 Kbps.

If you’ve have had a similar experience and throttling is putting a kink in your lifestyle, let us know on our Facebook page, or email the Wireless ButlerWe’re always here to help you get the best deal on wireless service!

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