This article was published on August 31, 2015

T-Mobile is going after people that hack their phones to get unlimited tethering data


T-Mobile is going after people that hack their phones to get unlimited tethering data
Owen Williams
Story by

Owen Williams

Former TNW employee

Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

T-Mobile’s CEO, John Legere, posted a lengthy open letter over the weekend warning customers that those exploiting the network to download beyond the limits of its “unlimited plan” will be actively sought out and cut off by the company.

The unlimited 4G LTE plan includes a fixed amount of data for tethering use and customers are rooting their phones to bypass the 7 GB limit, using up to 2 TB on their hotspots.

To do this, the data usage is masked as coming from the mobile phone, when it’s actually being used by a tablet or computer.

Legere isn’t happy about it, saying that “we are going after every thief, and I am starting with the 3,000 users who know exactly what they are doing.” He claims this is for the benefit of everyone else on the network and “won’t let a few thieves ruin things for anyone else.”

The company also posted a lengthy FAQ about the plans it has to cut off these customers with answers to confusing questions like “doesn’t unlimited mean unlimited?” and “why isn’t tethering unlimited on the unlimited plan?”

Customers caught exceeding the plan will be warned, then will lose access to their unlimited plans and ultimately be restricted to the “entry-level limited” plan.

T-Mobile is beginning to enforce the new rules from today.

Stopping Network Abusers: An Open Letter to T-Mobile Customers [T-Mobile]