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

John Legere
President and Chief Executive Officer
Some of you may have seen my Periscope this afternoon where I shared a preview of this blog -- and to those of you already supporting my position in social media, I appreciate it! However, I am following up now, because I want to make sure I am being really clear and transparent on this issue as we take action tomorrow morning.
 
This week, I am taking aim at a select group of individuals who have actually been stealing data from T-Mobile. If their activities are left unchecked their actions could eventually have a negative effect on the experience of honest T-Mobile customers. Not on my watch.
 
We’ve built the T-Mobile network to reach 290 million Americans with the fastest 4G LTE speeds around. We drive hard every day for our network to reach more people and to keep giving customers the fastest data speeds in the USA. I won’t let anyone jeopardize that. So we are going after a small group of users who are stealing data so blatantly and extremely that it is ridiculous.
 
Here’s what’s happening: when customers buy our unlimited 4G LTE plan for their smartphones we include a fixed amount of LTE to be used for tethering (using the “Smartphone Mobile HotSpot” feature), at no extra cost, for the occasions when broadband may not be convenient or available. If customers hit that high-speed tethering limit, those tethering speeds slow down. If a customer needs more LTE tethering, they can add-on more. Simple.
 
However, these violators are going out of their way with all kinds of workarounds to steal more LTE tethered data. They’re downloading apps that hide their tether usage, rooting their phones, writing code to mask their activity, etc. They are “hacking” the system to swipe high speed tethered data. These aren't naive amateurs; they are clever hackers who are willfully stealing for their own selfish gain. It’s a small group – 1/100 of a percent of our 59 million customers – but some of them are using as much as 2 terabytes (2,000GB!) of data in a month. I’m not sure what they are doing with it – stealing wireless access for their entire business, powering a small cloud service, providing broadband to a small city, mining for bitcoin -- but I really don’t care!
 
These abusers will probably try to distract everyone by waving their arms about throttling data. Make no mistake about it – this is not the same issue. Don’t be duped by their sideshow. We are going after every thief, and I am starting with the 3,000 users who know exactly what they are doing. The offenders start hearing from us tomorrow. No more abuse and no risk to the rest of our customers’ experience. It's over. If you are interested, you can find more info in our support forum.
 
I’m not in this business to play data cop, but we started this wireless revolution to change the industry for good and to fight for consumers. I won't let a few thieves ruin things for anyone else. We’re going to lead from the front on this, just like we always do. Count on it!
 
John Legere
President & CEO
T-Mobile USA 
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