Ouch. I’ve been expecting a move like this somewhere, sometime and it looks like it is here. At least in Great Britain. On February 1 T-Mobile will impose a 500MB “fair use” limit on streaming or downloading video on mobile users. (Don’t confuse the phrase “fair use” here with how it is used when talking about copyright issues.) If you’re just looking at the web or doing email then you won’t bump up against the limit, but hey, watching video, well that’s another story. In fact, the press release says “If you want to download, stream and watch video clips, save that stuff for your home broadband.”
Like I said, I’ve been expecting this in an age when content companies provide more and more over the pipes that broadband providers have to increasingly admit can’t handle the load. There is real tension there on a lot of levels and video over broadband is just the most visible. Stories exist about AT&T asking Apple to restrict YouTube videos to the first 10MB when the original iPhone was released. And of course we’ve heard US carriers state over and over again that they can’t handle the traffic on fragile networks at the same time they try to sell us hardware and services that offer the promise of everything everywhere in an always connected world. My suspicion is we’ll see more of this in the future.
The press release doesn’t say what will happen if you exceed the 500MB limit, but I’m guessing extra costs are involved.
Press Release follows:
Changes to Mobile Internet fair use policies
T-Mobile is the only operator to give customers the Mobile Internet for a fixed-price. We never charge our customer’s more than they expect for their Mobile Internet in the UK.
Therefore you’ll never need to worry about how many emails you’ve sent, how long you’ve been on-line or the ‘data / GB’s’
Browsing means looking at websites and checking email, but not watching videos, downloading files or playing games. We’ve got a fair use policy but ours means that you’ll always be able to browse the internet, it’s only when you go over the fair use amount that you won’t be able to download, stream and watch video clips.
So Whats Changing? – From 1st February 2011 we will be aligning our fair use policies so our mobile internet service will have fair use of 500MB.
What Does This Mean? – We’ll always let you email and browse the internet and you’ll never pay more than you agree to. We do have a fair use policy but ours is there to make sure we deliver the best service possible to all our customers. This means that you’ll always be able to browse the internet.
So remember our Mobile Broadband and internet on your phone service is best used for browsing which means looking at your favorite websites like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, BBC News and more, checking your email and looking for information, but not watching videos or downloading files.
If you want to download, stream and watch video clips, save that stuff for your home broadband.