T-Mobile gives Data Tethering Abusers the Smackdown

If you've been finding ways to work around T-Mobile's data tethering caps, get ready for a smackdown because company CEO John Legere is gunning for you. He said customers who find ways to work around the 7GB monthly tethering cap are stealing and that's going stop. About 3,000 people are being targeted, and will get bumped from their unlimited data plan to a capped entry level plan.

Tethering abusers: Don't make T-Mobile angryTethering abusers: Don't make T-Mobile angry. You won't like them when they're angry.

According to Mr. Legere, some of these people have been using as much as 2 terabytes of data a month. He said,

These violators are going out of their way with all kinds of workarounds to steal more LTE tethered data. They're downloading apps that hide their tether usage, rooting their phones, writing code to mask their activity, etc. They are "hacking" the system to swipe high speed tethered data. These aren't naive amateurs; they are clever hackers who are willfully stealing for their own selfish gain.

T-Mobile's unlimited data plan includes 7GB of tethering per month, which is more data than some competitors offer on their regular monthly plans. That tethering lets customers use their iPhone or other smartphone as a hotspot so computers can get online when Internet access isn't otherwise available.

The company claims it has systems that can track down who is abusing their tethering plan so customers who accidentally go over their monthly cap won't get the ugly notice. For those 3,000 users who have been going out of their way to game the system, however, Mr. Legere has words for you.

"We are going after every thief, and I am starting with the 3,000 users who know exactly what they are doing," he said. "No more abuse and no risk to the rest of our customers' experience. It's over."

The warnings started going out on Monday, and if the tone of Mr. Leger's warning is any indication, the offenders he's targeting can expect swift and merciless justice—figuratively speaking—if they don't change their ways.

The rest of T-Mobile's customers can go about their business as usual. Mr. Legere loves you because you play by the rules.