At T-Mobile’s Uncarrier 5.0/6.0 event last week, they announced a new plan that lets you stream music from certain apps over their network with no data caps and no overages. At the time, they also mentioned whitelisting speed test apps like Ookla’s SpeedTest as well. They wanted to make sure that even if you had hit your data cap and were being throttled, you could still test their network and get a true speed reading. T-Mobile is doing everything they can to make their network and their brand look good. If they let users get true speed test readings, they are guessing that it will help their network performance will look better.
We’re getting confirmation that T-Mobile is whitelisting these apps from Fierce Wireless today. T-Mobile sent them a statement that said, “The Ookla Speedtest.net application is designed to measure true network speed-not show that a customer has exceeded their high-speed data bucket. Other speed test providers are also whitelisted.” So that’s cleared up. Speed test apps won’t hit your data cap, won’t cause overages, and won’t be throttled should you go over your data allotment for the month.
This move is clearly just PR for T-Mobile, but it’s smart. Music apps including Slacker Radio, Pandora, Spotify, iHeart Radio, and Samsung’s Milk streaming service don’t count against any data allotment on your monthly plan if you’re using Tmo’s Music Freedom plan. Some folks have pushed back at T-Mobile over this deal, claiming that it negatively impacts net neutrality. Technically, this type of favoritism isn’t entirely neutral. The reason it’s ok is in the details. These apps and the companies behind them are not paying Tmo for the privilege. T-Mobile is not creating fast lanes or in any way prioritizing these data packets, either. They just aren’t counting the used data against their customers. The motive is to help customers, and it’s not a thing that is being sponsored or backed by the companies that have created these streaming music services.