T-mobile throttling bandwidth

It is crucial to understand bandwidth throttling, a practice where an ISP like T-Mobile intentionally slows down your internet connection without cutting it off completely. This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions about your internet usage. ISPs may have various reasons for implementing bandwidth throttling:

  • Network congestion. Too many people in your area are using more bandwidth than what is available. This forces your ISP to place limits on individual users.
  • Prioritization. An ISP might prioritize some types and sources of data over others. T-Mobile could speed up connections to video streaming services with which it has partnered, which would slow down traffic from other sources.
  • Discrimination. An ISP might use bandwidth throttling to try to dissuade you from downloading or streaming certain types of data or from certain sources. Torrenting and video streaming are common examples.
  • Tethering. T-Mobile prioritizes on-device traffic over traffic sent to and from devices connected to a mobile hotspot.
  • Data cap. If you’ve exceeded your internet plan’s data cap, many ISPs will slow down your internet. Even so-called unlimited plans have soft caps that result in slower internet after you’ve passed the threshold. T-Mobile refers to mobile customers who have used more than 50GB of data in a single billing period as “heavy data users,” who are prioritized lower than other customers.

A VPN, a powerful tool that encrypts your internet connection and directs it through a server in a distant location, plays a significant role in preventing bandwidth throttling. By encrypting your connection, T-Mobile is unable to view its contents. Moreover, routing data through a remote server conceals the websites, services, and streaming sources you access.

Rest assured, a VPN is a reliable solution that prevents T-Mobile from discriminating against specific sources or types of data, such as certain streaming sites or BitTorrent downloads. It ensures your online activities remain private and secure.

How to prevent T-Mobile from bandwidth throttling

Getting set up is simple: sign up, install the VPN app, and pick a server location. If you think T-Mobile is throttling your bandwidth, follow the steps below.

Here’s how to bypass T-Mobile bandwidth throttling:

  1. Sign up for a VPN. We recommend NordVPN, but Surfshark and IPVanish are both great alternatives. All of these services boast no-logs policies, superfast speeds, and excellent streaming abilities.
  2. Download and install the VPN app for your device.
  3. Run the VPN app.
  4. Select a location. Nearby servers tend to be faster.
  5. Hit the Connect button.
  6. After a few seconds, the VPN connection will be completed. You should get a notification saying as much. You can now bypass bandwidth throttling as discussed above.
TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly for bypassing data throttling.


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Can a VPN prevent T-Mobile bandwidth throttling?

A VPN is not guaranteed to stop bandwidth throttling, but it can work in many instances. Some VPNs, such as NordVPN, come with a money-back guarantee so you can try them out risk-free.

T-Mobile officially does not discriminate against specific types of internet traffic or data sources. However, customers have complained in recent months about T-Mobile slowing video streams and limiting their resolution, choking speeds on so-called “unlimited” plans, and throttling data to tethered devices.

Here’s what T-Mobile says on its website about throttling:

To provide the best possible experience for the most possible customers on T-Mobile-branded plans, we implement network management practices on a content-agnostic basis, such as caching less data, prioritizing data usage, and video optimization. These practices do not discriminate against offerings that might compete against those offered by T-Mobile or any T-Mobile affiliate on the basis of such competition.

If T-Mobile discriminates against specific types or sources of data or restricts torrenting or streaming to alleviate network congestion, a VPN can help.

But if you’ve exceeded your data cap, then a VPN won’t help. The total amount of data transferred will pretty much remain the same whether you’re connected to a VPN or not, and all that data is still sent through T-Mobile’s network.

How do I know if T-Mobile is data throttling?

To find out if you’re being throttled, you first need to know what speeds T-Mobile has promised you. Look through your T-Mobile plan’s details for data caps, bandwidth limits, and other fine print.

Once you know how much speed you’re supposed to get, test it out. Speedtest.net is our preferred testing site.

If your download speed is significantly less than what’s in your plan, then you might be being throttled. Note, however, that this could also indicate an issue with your or T-Mobile’s equipment. Check to see if speeds dip at certain times of day or during certain online activities.

If your speed test results are notably higher than those obtained when torrenting, downloading, or streaming, then those specific activities could be throttled.

Try connecting to a VPN and testing your speed again. If your speeds are much higher while connected to the VPN, then it’s very likely that your ISP is bandwidth throttling.

Is it legal for T-Mobile to throttle my bandwidth?


Under the Trump administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the Open Internet Order, an Obama-era rule that stipulated ISPs treat all internet traffic the same. ISPs can now discriminate by application, device, content, or service.

However, even though it is legal, T-Mobile says it does not discriminate against particular devices, content, or sources of traffic and adheres to basic Open Internet principles.

T-Mobile throttling FAQs

Is a VPN the only way to avoid T-Mobile throttling?

While a VPN is one of the quickest and easiest ways to avoid T-Mobile throttling, you can try a few more things. For example, you could use a proxy service instead of a VPN. Not all proxies offer encryption but if you use one that does, you’ll be able to hide your internet traffic from T-Mobile and avoid throttling as a result. 

Alternatively, switching to a different ISP with a less restrictive data cap is possible. Of course, it also helps to monitor your data usage so that your data lasts longer. If you avoid exceeding your data limit, this should ensure that T-Mobile doesn’t start throttling your bandwidth.

Will a free VPN stop data throttling?

Unfortunately not! While free VPNs are understandably tempting, they’re best avoided for several reasons. In particular, the majority of free VPNs engage in bandwidth throttling. That’s because they have too many users and not enough servers to go around. To manage their network, they’ll resort to slowing your connection. This allows a free VPN to have more users per server and potentially make more money (be it through ads or by selling your browsing data!).

For this reason, you’re best off sticking with the best-paid VPNs that offer unlimited bandwidth. Then, you don’t have to worry about negative consequences during more bandwidth-intensive activities, such as streaming or torrenting.

What happened to video quality on T-Mobile?

In recent years, T-Mobile has made it their mission to provide customers with reliable data services and the best possible video quality.

However, depending on where you are located or what phone you’re using, your video quality might be lower than expected. This could be due to several different factors, such as throttling. This can result in low-resolution videos and audio loss during playback.

Can T-Mobile detect if I am using a VPN?

While it is possible for ISPs to detect VPN usage, T-Mobile does not explicitly mention any restrictions on using VPNs in their terms of service. Using a VPN with strong encryption and obfuscation technology can make it more difficult for T-Mobile to detect your VPN usage.

Does T-Mobile throttle unlimited data?

T-Mobile doesn’t slow down home internet, but they may prioritize other users over unlimited data customers during congestion, resulting in slower speeds. T-Mobile recommends the OOKLA speed test to check your speeds. Unlimited data means no caps, but T-Mobile reserves the right to deprioritize or throttle your data.