That's Cap! T-Mobile Threatens to Throttle All FWA Users Who Exceed 1.2 Terabytes of Monthly Usage

 T-Mobile FWA.
T-Mobile FWA.

T-Mobile, now the fifth largest supplier of home internet in the U.S. with 4.776 million fixed wireless access (FWA) customers as of the end of 2023, is now imposing usage caps on its customers who exceed 1.2 terabytes of data per month.

T-Mobile instituted a "soft cap" on just new Home Internet users in January, threatening to reduce their speeds during periods of high network usage if the customer was over its allotted 1.2 TB.

"As of January 18, 2024, new T-Mobile Home Internet customers who exceed 1.2TB of data usage for the current billing cycle will be prioritized last on the network," reads the company's internet policy page.

As noted by The Mobile Report (by way of Light Reading), the soft cap has been extended to all users, not just new ones, with T-Mobile now warning in its terms of service that, "During congestion, Home Internet customers may notice speeds lower than other customers and further reduction if using >1.2 TB/mo., due to data prioritization."

According to data released in February by analytics and SaaS provider OpenVault, average home internet data usage for Q4 was 641 gigabytes. Also, 21.6% of users now exceed 1 TB of monthly data usage.

Introduced in 2021, FWA services from T-Mobile and Verizon have very quickly undercut what had been accelerating pandemic era broadband customer growth for the cable industry, delivering "unlimited" high-speed internet over cellular networks that's cheap, and can be signed up for and cancelled easily.

T-Mobile is currently offering 5G Home Internet for $40 a month if customers sign up for autopay.

Their still dominant market share in U.S. home internet dinged but not destroyed, captains of cable industry have adopted a "what me worry?" ethos in regard to the FWA competition. Since the economics of these cheap home internet services are built on excess capacity from mobile networks, they'll stop thriving when that capacity dries up, cable execs say.

Meanwhile, cable operators are beginning to fight back with low-priced home internet options of their own. On Wednesday, for example, Comcast introduced Now Internet, which delivers 1 megabit-per-second speeds, and unlimited data, for $30 a month.