Comcast and T-Mobile to suspend internet data caps for the next 60 days

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
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Comcast and T-Mobile have announced suspensions of their internet data cap policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Comcast says it will no longer charge overage fees for home internet customers that go over its broadband data caps, while T-Mobile says it’s removing all data caps for its mobile customers. AT&T and Verizon have taken similar measures.

“During this extraordinary time, it is vital that as many Americans as possible stay connected to the internet — for education, work, and personal health reasons,” Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson said in a statement. “Our employees also live and work in virtually every community we serve, and we all share the same belief that it’s our Company’s responsibility to step up and help out.”

Earlier today, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it had signed both Comcast and T-Mobile, as well as many other firms in the broadband and telecom industries, to its new Keep Americans Connected pledge. The pledge asked that companies not terminate service for residential or small business customers, waive any late fees incurred due to the economic effects of the virus, and open access to public Wi-Fi hotspots to “any American who needs them.”

It also asked these companies to suspend data caps due to the sharp spike in work-from-policies being implemented throughout the country to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. After the FCC confirmed that Comcast and T-Mobile signed the pledge, both companies have come out and announced the steps they’re taking try and alleviate pressures on customers.

In addition to suspending data caps for 60 days, Comcast says it will make its Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots free throughout the country and it will not charge disconnect or late fees. Comcast yesterday announced it will increase the internet speed of its Internet Essentials tier, which is targeted toward low-income families.

T-Mobile, which is also instituting these new policies for a 60-day period, says its suspending data caps, giving customers 20GB of additional hotspot / tethering data, increasing the data allowance given to schools and students who rely on its EmpowerED program, and making it free to call countries “severely impacted” by the coronavirus.

Comments

Tell me when they give out free service _

No. I don’t have to listen to you.

I pay $50/month for unlimited data, will that be credited from my bill for the next two pay periods?

Great question, comcast should refund customers working from home that already pay to have unlimited data. It’s ridiculous that they charge more to bring your own device and not pay fees. If you use their equipment, pay a rental get unlimited for 50% off. This company needs to start over and rethink how they treat their existing customers

Update:

Got email today from xfinity about $100 credit without ever asking or doing anything online. Pleasant surprise, didn’t think it would be so easy.

You should switch to "xFi Advantage." It’s $15/mo and includes the modem rental and unlimited data.

The one good thing about this virus is that it’s basically forcing providers to admit that data caps are bullshit.

Yep because their excuse before was to limit the 1% of people that goes over 1TB. Why implement something that is just a 1% issue? This is because they know it’s more like 50% instead. I’m sorry this isn’t 2005 anymore. It’s all about streaming now so at least have a reasonable limit like 3TB for 2020. 1TB is a joke especially if you have a family. All of these provided have wishful thinking that customers will flock to their tradition TV subscriptions to avoid going over their data limit. No thanks!!

caps work even worse in the current streaming environment than against torrenting boogeymen. people will save up their precious jiggabytes to watch stuff in the evening, then they’ll all try to hit netflix at once and block up the tubes. the real answer is for the isp to not oversubscribe so much and and be smart about managing traffic at peak times.

I hope they manage it in a just and right way for us all

1TB?! My home internet caps at 300GB. Middle America…

How about if they just, you know, never brought the mean-spirited and greedy things back, given that we don’t need them at all and the companies will make a massive profit either way?

Capitalism is about making profit right? I can’t knock it

Once the data caps are removed it will be hard to bring them back. That is why they were reticent to agree to them.

I guess maybe now is the time to play my Google Stadia. Thanks, virus, for doing what Comcast should have done a long time ago.

it’s a good & ethical move by these companies. Easy to complain "what about what I’m already paying"…gimmie a break all you TP horders. All caps are removed so no throttling, though the nets might have to manage that as more folks use at same time all day but still it’s a big thing.

I did laugh at what a POS T-Mobile has become….rather than just include hotspot caps they are being magnanimous and adding a whole 20gb more… fuck you T-mobile, I’ve been a customer for in the neighborhood hood of 17yrs and right now i kniw i will reevaluate after the human race finishes dying off…

Yeah! Entitled complainers are the worst!

Well listening to all these complainers who think they shall receive free data has me confused! Nothing is free in this world but food stamps and medical if you can’t afford to buy food & medical attention. T-Mobile removing data caps for 60 days is welcomed for me. I pay 50$ bucks a mouth plus 60$ bucks of MetrobyTmobile. After using 50gbs of T-Mobile data I sometimes receive slowed data throttle while outside moving around but not at home all month. So for me I appreciate (No data caps) Hopefully I don’t receive slowed data while outside. Good (Prime Video’ing & Amazon music’ing it yall!

What does this prove? That the data caps are in place to get you to pay more (price gouging), not to protect the network from reduced speeds or dropouts. Screw the telecoms!

All news are about this virus…

This is going to be a great opportunity to see if TRULY "unlimited data" is actually going to put a strain, and how much of a strain, if any, on these providers’ networks. They have preached long and hard about how data is such a scarce commodity and is the only way they can charge for something in various ways in their business models. One possible result is that it will show just how badly provisioned the carriers and providers are with data back-haul capability across the country. That has always been their main problem. They sell these "unlimited" home internet and cellular plans and then do not provision their operations and cellular sites with enough back-haul capacity to handle anything close to what users demand, and end up creating false "caps" on how much data customers can use. On the other hand, if these providers end up handling the extra demand and usage with no problems at all, it will make the whole concept of capped unlimited data entirely moot and unnecessary. I hope the result is the latter.

More people working from home and streaming and so, if no outages is going to happen, this means that datacaps are nothing more than a price gouging trick!

So why again do we need the net neutrality regulations when the free market seems to be working perfectly fine, even in the case of an emergency?

Yup. It works wonders:
USA + 2020 + Data caps = the only first world country in twenty first century to have capped internet.

But here is a real kicker: US owned IPSs in EU and rest of the Eastern Europe offer capless internet. As a matter of fact they offer this package right now 500Mbps/200+ TV channels/HBO/Few 4K channels/Phone service and Android TV box fall for $50 per month on 24 month contract.

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