UK mobile network operator T-Mobile is changing its Mobile Internet fair use policy to have a significantly reduced fair use limit of only 500Mb per month. Despite this change, T-Mobile are not going to let customers escape from their contracts prematurely – including those who signed up when the limit was clearly set at 3Gb.
However, one important new feature is that this 500Mb limit does not apply to "browsing", which they define like so:
"Browsing means looking at websites and checking email, but not watching videos, downloading files or playing games."
Help, I'm confused! What happens if I visit YouTube and play a video in my web browser? More alarmingly, I've been using email since the last millennium, but never knew I was actually browsing whenever I checked it.
Aside from the obvious ambiguities, it's pretty obvious that they have no way of enforcing this fair use limit accurately. What happens if I download an email which has a video attached, or if I tunnel all of my phone's network traffic over a VPN?
And perhaps the best example: If I browse around an HTTPS website, how will T-Mobile know that I am browsing? How can they distinguish a very large webpage from a small video? Quite simply, they cannot.
I've asked T-Mobile how they are going to count HTTPS traffic. I'll update this post when they respond, but hopefully just thinking about that question will surely make them realise the flaws in their new fair use policy?
Update: T-Mobile appear to have ignored my question. Maybe they don't know the answer.