T-Mobile UK has quietly removed the option for customers in its only unlimited data plan to tether other devices, which could be a sign that operators are struggling to find a cost-effective way to address the looming crisis to mobile data.
Previously, the full Monty plans (the cheapest of which is £36 per month) enable customers to connect their laptops, tablets or any other Wi-Fi enabled device to their phones. This allowed them to share the phone's data connection with other devices, avoiding the need for a separate contract.
However, last August 8 the tethering option was silently withdrawn from new subscribers. While it still includes unlimited data plans, this is limited to using only the handset.
This is frustrating for anyone considering the full monty for tetherability plan. But more than that, it is a sign of what we already know to be true: with the explosion of data consumption on mobile devices well ahead of supply of additional capacity, the unlimited data contract as we know it will end.
The only way around this would be if the operators to work out a way to handle the extra traffic (and hence increased costs to them) in a manner that is cost effective as part of an unlimited package.
Media outfits contacted T-Mobile to ask why they had chosen to eliminate the option of tethering. What they replied was brief and uninformative statement below, it seems that the operators do not really want to talk about the crisis of the data.
"The Full Monty is designed for Internet use on your smartphone. Includes unlimited data allowance for use of our Internet service on your phone at a great price," said a spokesman for T-Mobile. "Since August 08, the detention is allowed for new customers in the terms and conditions of the Full Monty."
There were changes in the terms, it seems. The first time the package came out, it includes tethering, but a week later, it was not. T-Mobile’s customer service said that the withdrawal of tethering was because the network was "getting hammered".
T-Mobile spokesman had kindly note that there are still contracts that offer the option of holding. However, none of these include unlimited data. He also confirmed that people who are already in the plans Fully Monty before August 8 could still tie.
In the UK, there are currently only two mobile phone providers with unlimited ("all-you-can-eat") Data plans that provides customers device tethering.