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T-Mobile’s CEO is going to war with (some) of his customers

August 31, 2015, 9:32 PM UTC
John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, at a press conference on March 18, 2015 in New York City.
Photograph by Steve Sands—WireImage/Getty Images

John Legere, CEO and president of T-Mobile, has pledged a dogged pursuit of users who he says are intentionally getting around the company’s data limits.

In an open letter posted on the company’s website, Legere calls out around 3,000 T-Mobile customers who are exceeding tethering data limits through covert means and therefore excessively using the company’s 4G LTE network. As a result, some customers are using as much as 2TB of data per month, writes Legere, and the company has had enough of these data hogs.

“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,” said Legere.

Currently, T-Mobile’s $80 unlimited plan gives 7GB of data usage for the company’s Mobile Hotspot tethering service, which enables computers and tablets to gain Internet access through a smartphone’s data plan. If customers breach the data ceiling, tethering speeds are throttled unless they purchase more data. A small section of users, however, are downloading apps, rooting their phone or writing code all in the name of hiding their tethering data usage and skirting the limits.

Some observers have argued Legere’s post is hypocritical, as T-Mobile aims to position itself as the wireless carrier with the fastest data speeds and least restrictive data plans. Legere addresses this in his post and further tweets, writing that: “These abusers will probably try to distract everyone by waving their arms about throttling data. Make no mistake about it – this is not the same issue.”

Legere, known as the “bad boy of telecom,” is often outspoken, calling his competitors “lame” and engaging in public Twitter battles with peers such as Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.