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T-Mobile gets slapped wrists for its deceiving Full Monty tariff

Updated ASA rules it's not unlimited
Wed Apr 17 2013, 11:58
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FUSCHIA MOBILE OPERATOR T-Mobile has had its wrists slapped by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which has ruled that its Full Monty tariff is deceiving.

T-Mobile advertises its Full Monty tariff as unlimited. This managed to convince us and many other T-Mobile customers - given its unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and "unlimited" data each month - that it is unlimited.

However, the ASA ruled on Wednesday that T-Mobile's unlimited plan isn't, in fact, unlimited, due to T-Mobile's traffic management policy.

The advertising watchdog wasn't too pleased about T-Mobile's peer-to-peer restrictions in particular, which sees T-Mobile slowing down uploads and downloads during peak hours of 8am to 2am.

The ASA noted that T-Mobile's restrictions meant there was only "a six hour period during the middle of the night during which peer-to-peer activity was not slowed down". It also said that T-Mobile's permission of tethering led customers to believe that they could engage in high-speed peer-to-peer activity, which - because of the mobile operator's restrictions - they couldn't.

Because of this, the ASA told T-Mobile that the unlimited claims used in its advertising cannot appear again in their present form, and T-Mobile seems to have already changed its advertising.

The ASA said in its ruling, "We noted that the Full Monty plan was described as having 'unlimited' UK internet and that this was in the context of a mobile data service on a handset. We considered that 'unlimited' was a general claim about the whole service, rather than about a specific aspect of the service."

It continued, "We considered that consumers were likely to expect that services, or features of services, described as 'unlimited' were not unduly limited and that where policies existed, which limited speed of access, that the restrictions could reasonably be considered to be moderate only."

The ASA, bizarrely, didn't oppose T-Mobile's speed restrictions, but we do. T-Mobile has admitted that customers on its Full Monty plan are limited to download speeds of just 4Mbit/s. T-Mobile defended this policy by saying that average 3G speeds reach only 3Mbit/s. However, we ran a speed test on our T-Mobile iPhone 5 and reached a peak download speed of 14.57Mbit/s.

T-Mobile's price plan also limits customers to upload speeds of just 1Mbit/s. Shockingly, during our speed test we reached a peak upload speed of 22Mbit/s.

In a statement sent to The INQUIRER, T-Mobile looks to reassure its customers by saying that speeds available on all devices are "sufficient."

A spokesperson said, "We are pleased that the ASA has ruled that the majority of our traffic management policies are compliant with the CAP Codes. However, we will take on board the ASA's findings on peer to peer file sharing and make the necessary changes to our network traffic management.

"Our customers should rest assured that the speeds available to them on our Full Monty plans are sufficient for all devices and users - including data downloaders with the latest smartphones, and data services such as video streaming, social networking, browsing, emailing, and music downloading."
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