The Google Phone: There's a Problem in the Fine Print

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 24, 2008

The Web is already teeming with analysis of the T-Mobile G1--the first phone to run the Android operating system, which we covered yesterday. Today, our sister site JKOnTheRun has some good critiques of the phone and its data plan, inlcuding lack of Exchange support, and no way to sync with a computer. However, a reader of WebWorkerDaily who responded to a post on the phone that I wrote alerted me to a problem with T-Mobile's data plan that in fact be the deal-breaker for some people. It's in the fine print, and here's the problem.

Check out this quote from the fine print on the T-Mobile G1 page:

"Data: If your total data usage in any billing cycle is more than 1GB, your data throughput for the remainder of that cycle may be reduced to 50kbps or less. Your data session, plan, or service may be suspended, terminated, or restricted for significant roaming or if you use your service in a way that interferes with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users."

What? If I go over a measly 1GB cap on data in a month, I'm allotted 50kbps? Sorry, T-Mobile, but that policy is not going to cut it for people who intend to use the G1 for data-intensive work. Once I reach 1GB I can't work anymore and my service may be suspended?

I noted this from the reader of my WebWorkerDaily post: "I just want to remind you AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint offer a more liberal cap: 5 gigabytes." The new G1 phone has one-click music downloading from Amazon built in. If I download a couple of albums I run the risk of not being able to use the phone for work for the rest of the month, or having my service suspended?

In addition to distinguishing this phone as running an open source platfrom, Google and T-Mobile should be trying to differentiate this phone from the iPhone with its integration with Google apps and services that can cater to working people. But a 1GB cap with threats behind the measly cap does not cater to working people. This should be fixed before the phone arrives in users' hands in October. Check out more from GigaOm on the data cap and some interesting thoughts on how "open" this phone really is.