T-Mobile “unlimited” internet claim misleading, ASA says


The ASA said T-Mobile’s restriction of ‘peer-to-peer’ file sharing during peak times meant its claim internet was “unlimited” on its Full Monty tariff could mislead consumers

T-Mobile is to alter its policy on internet traffic management after the advertising standards agency (ASA) found its claims the Full Monty tariff came with “unlimited” internet could mislead customers.

For Full Monty customers, the operator slowed down peer-to-peer activity, which involves the uploading and downloading of content to and from file-sharing websites, during peak hours (8am to 2am).

T-Mobile had argued that the policy was “moderate” because it only affected a small percentage of their customers. It said its research had shown approximately 1.8 per cent of Full Monty customers used download services which included the type that was restricted.

But the ASA said that because the advert said Full Monty customers could use their mobile for tethering, this was “likely to lead customers to expect that they could engage in more bandwidth-intensive activities, such as peer-to-peer activity, using the mobile device in conjunction with a computer.

“As they [T-Mobile] had not provided evidence to show that the restriction was moderate and in line with consumers’ reasonable expectations of an “unlimited” service we considered the claim was misleading.”

The ASA also noted peak hours were between 8am and 2am and there was only a six-hour period during the middle of the night during which so-called ‘peer-to-peer’ activity was slowed down.

However it ruled T-Mobile’s management of upload and download speeds and the blocking of spam were all compliant with the use of the term unlimited.

T-Mobile 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.”

It is understood T-Mobile will continue to advertise its Full Monty tariff as having”unlimited” internet and will increase internet speeds for customers engaged in peer-to-peer activities.