Important information about Assurance Wireless Broadband Internet Access Services on the T-Mobile Network and T-Mobile's Open Internet Disclosures.
This page provides information about Assurance Wireless's Broadband Internet Access Services. "Broadband Internet Access Services" refers to services that provide the capability to transmit data to and receive data from all or substantially all Internet endpoints. The network practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms applicable to Assurance Wireless-branded customers on T-Mobile's 2G, 4G LTE and 5G networks are described below. This page does not describe practices, characteristics, or terms that apply when roaming. This page also includes links to other documents containing further information applicable to our Broadband Internet Access Services.
This information applies to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), Lifeline and prepaid services.
Assurance Wireless customers with questions about network practices or policies may contact customer care directly from their device by dialing *611 from their handsets or by the methods listed on our contact page.
What terms and conditions apply to Assurance Wireless’ Broadband Internet Access Services?
Broadband Internet Access Services are subject to the Assurance Wireless Terms and Conditions at https://www.assurancewireless.com/legal/terms-and-conditions.
Where can I find pricing and other terms and conditions for Assurance Wireless broadband Internet access?
Assurance Wireless terms and conditions, including guidelines and policies on such topics as service plans, activation procedures, data usage and dispute resolution, can be viewed at the bottom our online homepage under “Terms and Conditions” link under the legal column, including the “Important Service/Product Specific Terms”.
Assurance Wireless offers mobile Broadband Internet Access Services for smartphones and feature phones, over T-Mobile’s network. T-Mobile provides service on its 2G and 4G LTE broadband networks. If applicable, your data plan may feature a designated allotment of high-speed data, after which your data speed may be reduced or your data access may be suspended for the remainder of the billing cycle. If your data plan features a designated allotment of high-speed data, certain uses of the network may not count against that allotment.
Your plan includes access to the technologies, features, and services that were made available and indicated as included when you first activated your current rate plan. You may have temporary access to new services while they are being tested or made available for purchase. Temporary access to some new technologies, services, or features (e.g. advanced 5G use cases) may provide noticeable network experience benefits, like significantly increased speeds, lower latency, or other performance improvements. Your temporary access may end at any time, but we may begin offering access for purchase. For example, T-Mobile is leading the industry in introducing new messaging capabilities which allow you to send larger file attachments and have bigger chat groups. T-Mobile initially gave some users access to this new messaging service whether they had a data plan or not; but going forward, you may need to have a data plan or feature to use this new type of messaging and the data used to send and receive them may count towards your data allotments and the prioritization threshold for heavy data users.
Your plan may include video optimization features which, when connected to the cellular network, deliver a DVD-quality (up to 2.5 Mbps) video experience with minimal buffering while streaming. Some qualifying video providers may choose to self-optimize their video content, see listing.
In some instances, video optimization may also identify and treat downloads of video files as if they were real-time video streams. However T-Mobile offers content providers a way to opt-in to a protocol to help identify video downloads and ensure they are not treated as streaming video. Additional information, including technical criteria for content provider participation in the video file download protocol, is found here. Customers should check their rate plan for specific video optimization information.
What speeds and performance can Assurance Wireless branded Broadband Internet Access Services customers expect? Where are these speeds available?
Many factors affect the speed and performance that customers experience, including the programs running on the device, proximity to a cell site, weather, the capacity of the cell site, the surrounding terrain, use inside a building or moving vehicle, radio frequency interference, how many other customers are attempting to use the same spectrum resources, any high-speed data allotment, the rate plans or features you select, and uses that affect your network prioritization, such as whether you are using Smartphone Mobile Hot Spot (tethering) or for the vast majority of plans, if you are a Heavy Data User (as defined by your rate plan). For Assurance Wireless-branded customers, a "Heavy Data User" uses more than 35GB of data in a billing cycle. This threshold number is periodically evaluated, may change over time, and may differ for other brands. The term “Heavy Data User” does not apply to a small number of Sprint-branded and T-Mobile branded plans, so users on those plans would continue to be prioritized higher regardless of data usage. In addition, Assurance plans use video streaming optimization when connected to the cellular network to deliver a DVD-quality (up to 2.5 Mbps) video experience with minimal buffering while streaming and reduce high-speed data consumption. The plans optimize data streams that are identified by our packet-core network as video; video providers may also choose to establish protocols to self-optimize their video. See your rate plan for video optimization details.
Also, as discussed below, data for customers on many T-Mobile and Sprint branded plans is prioritized before the data of Assurance Wireless branded or Metro by T-Mobile branded plans. The vast majority of Assurance customers receive higher priority than the small fraction of customers who are Heavy Data Users. Customers may notice reduced speeds in comparison to customers with a higher priority during network congestion.
For more information regarding prioritization, see the discussion below in
"How does Assurance Wireless address network priority for its plans?"
Customer devices also have varying speed capabilities and may connect to different networks depending on technology. Even within coverage areas and with broadband-capable devices, network changes, traffic volume, outages, technical limitations, signal strength, obstructions, weather, and other conditions may impact speeds and service availability.
Additionally, T-Mobile offers other services to its customers that use the same network infrastructure and resources as its broadband internet access services and are given priority over other traffic on the network. These other services currently include calling-related services: Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), Voice over LTE (VoLTE), and Video over LTE (ViLTE); and data priority for Wireless Priority Service; more may be added, e.g. to serve other publice safety needs. .These services may affect the availability of network resources for broadband internet access services, including those from Assurance Wireless, in times of congestion. Similarly, Wireless Priority Service traffic may preempt other traffic during times of extreme congestion, which means that in rare cases we may interrupt an active data or voice session to support public safety needs.
Speed and Latency
The term "speed" is commonly used as a shorthand way to describe the rate at which a particular broadband Internet access service can transmit data. This rate (or speed) is typically measured in the number of kilobits or megabits transmitted in one second (Kbps or Mbps). Some applications like email or basic web browsing do not require a high-data speed to function very well, while other activities like high-definition video streaming or transferring large data files are better experienced with higher data speeds.
Latency, also known as delay, is the amount of time from when a data packet is sent to when it is received. For Broadband Internet Access Services, latency is usually expressed as the round-trip time in milliseconds ("ms") that it takes for a data packet to travel between two end points on the Internet (from point A to point B and then back to point A). Some applications, such as email, can tolerate a substantial amount of latency without any noticeable impact on the application's performance, while other applications, such as real-time video conferencing, require lower latency to function properly.
Based on internal analysis and projections from third-party, crowd-sourced data and subject to the factors described above and below, T-Mobile expects Assurance branded customers with recent broadband-capable devices and qualifying service will experience the following speeds and latency on our 5G and 4G LTE networks. These ranges are projections based on roughly the 25th and 75th percentiles of network tests.
5G Network (On-Device):
- Download speeds: Typically between 60 – 281 Mbps
- Upload speeds: Typically between 4 – 23 Mbps
- Latency: Typically between 19 – 37 ms
T-Mobile anticipates download and upload speeds for the 5G Network (Via Smartphone Mobile HotSpot/Tethering, for Plans Including 5G Tethering to be below those for 5G Network (On-Device). Latency should be similar. T-Mobile will provide additional information here regarding speed and latency percentiles as the 5G network is further deployed and more crowd-sourced user data is collected from 5G capable Assurance devices. Please review this page for updated information as the 5G rollout is ongoing and new 5G capable devices are introduced.
4G LTE Network (On-Device):
- Download speeds: Typically between 8 – 43 Mbps
- Upload speeds: Typically between 3 – 18 Mbps
- Latency: Typically between 24 – 40 ms
4G LTE Network (Via Smartphone Mobile HotSpot/Tethering, for Plans Including 4G LTE Tethering):
- Download Speed: Typically between 4 – 35 Mbps
- Upload Speed: Typically between 3 – 7 Mbps
- Latency: Typically between 24 – 40 ms
These ranges represent network performance nationally and may differ from future network conditions or from what was part of your current rate plan when you first activated it. As described above, your experience may also differ based on, e.g., your choice of rate plan and device. You may occasionally experience speeds, latency, or other network capabilities outside the ranges available as part of your service.
T-Mobile constantly works to improve performance on its network and to pursue advanced and next-generation technologies and services. For example, T-Mobile is in the process of deploying its 5G network, including layering millimeter wave, mid-band, and low-band spectrum over the 4G LTE network, and rolling out and low-band 5G. Currently, T-Mobile's 5G millimeter wave network is available in select areas (see https://www.t-mobile.com/devices/samsung-galaxy-s10-5g#maps). The low-band 5G network is available nationwide, although coverage may not be available in some areas (see https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/5g-coverage-map). Devices operating on T-Mobile's nationwide 5G network may use multi-band dual connectivity; customers with 5G-compatible devices may receive service via both T-Mobile's 4G LTE network (including during VoLTE calls) and its 5G network to support their connectivity.
In recent years, T-Mobile has aggressively built out its high-speed data networks. T-Mobile’s network does provide 2G connections in many areas. These connections are used by a very small percentage of customers without 4G LTE/5G-capable devices or, in limited cases, when customers with 4G LTE/5G-capable devices are unable to connect to the LTE network. Based on internal and crowd-sourced testing, we expect Assurance Wireless-branded customers with broadband-capable devices during use of these older technologies to typically experience download speeds lower than 100 bps, average speeds lower than 30 Kbps, and latency greater than 350 ms. This customer experience may be sufficient for extremely limited data applications such as some messaging.
Some plans may, however, also include maximum speeds for some services. For LTE coverage information relating to specific geographic areas, see our Assurance Wireless coverage map. For 5G coverage information, see our T-Mobile coverage map.
How does Assurance Wireless manage the flow of data on the T-Mobile network?
T-Mobile engineered its network to provide consistent high-speed data service, but at times and at locations where the number of customers using the network exceeds available network resources, customers will experience reduced data speeds. In those cases, T-Mobile and Sprint post-paid customers who choose certain rate plans, Metro by T-Mobile pre-paid customers, and Assurance Wireless customers may notice speeds lower than customers on some other T-Mobile branded and Sprint branded rate plans, which are prioritized higher on the networks. To provide the best possible experience for the most possible customers, T-Mobile implements 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 Assurance Wireless, T-Mobile or any T-Mobile affiliate on the basis of such competition. Applications or services that would interfere with T-Mobile's delivery of a customer-chosen plan or feature, e.g. content filtering, may be unavailable while the customer continues to choose that plan or feature.
For additional information on network management practices, see the discussion below in Network management for extremely high data usage and tethering and How does T-Mobile address network priority for Assurance Wireless plans and brands?
T-Mobile’s network uses streaming video optimization technology. Streaming video optimization improves overall data usage management of the network, resulting in greater network speeds and throughput for other customers using data because less network payload is dedicated to video. For customers on limited high-speed plans, optimization also helps customers stretch their high-speed data while streaming video. For video that is not self-optimized by the video provider, T-Mobile adjusts the delivery rate for streaming video, which causes the video to be delivered in lower resolutions and to use less data.
Video optimization occurs only for data streams that are identified by our packet-core network as video or where the video provider has chosen to establish protocols to self-optimize its video. Some videos, like those consumed via VPN or while tethering, may be difficult to identify as video and therefore cannot be optimized. The streaming video optimization process applies to all content identified as video regardless of the content itself or the website that provides it. While many changes to streaming video files are likely to be indiscernible, the optimization process may impact the appearance of the streaming video as displayed on a user's device. In some instances, video optimization may also identify and treat downloads of video files as if they were real-time video streams. However T-Mobile offers content providers a way to opt-in to a protocol to help identify video downloads to ensure they are not treated as streaming video.
Video streaming optimization, when connected to the cellular network, delivers a DVD-quality (up to 2.5 Mbps) video experience instead of a higher resolution version (e.g. HD), which is better suited for larger screens. Video optimization is not applied when a device is using Wi-Fi to connect to a non-T-Mobile network.
Network management for extremely high data usage and tethering
Very heavy data at times and places of competing network demands can affect the network performance for other customers.
To provide the best possible experience for the most possible customers on their Assurance Wireless-branded plans, and to minimize capacity issues and degradation in network performance, T-Mobile manages significant high-speed data usage on the vast majority of its consumer offerings through prioritization. Heavy Data Users (customers using over 35 GB on Assurance Wireless plans in a bill cycle), will have their data usage prioritized below the data usage (including tethering) of other customers at times and at locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources, which may result in slower data speeds. At the start of the next bill cycle, the customer's usage status is reset, and this data traffic is no longer prioritized below other traffic. Customers who use data in violation of their Rate Plan terms or Assurance Wireless Terms and Conditions may be excluded from this calculation. Tethering data is included in this calculation. Data used for Assurance Wireless’s customer service applications do not count towards customers' usage for this calculation. To help avoid application of this practice, and reduce mobile data consumption, customers can set automatic updating of apps, podcasts and file downloads to run off Wi-Fi (making sure to connect to Wi-Fi to update applications and system periodically).
Similarly, while Assurance Wireless permits tethering pursuant to the terms, conditions and allotments of your data plan, significant tethering usage can affect on-device network performance for all customers. To ensure the best possible on-device experience for the most possible customers, and to minimize capacity issues and degradation in network performance, the T-Mobile network prioritizes on-device data (except that of Heavy Data Users, as described above) over tethering data at times and at locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources, which may result in slower tethering speeds.
Where the network is lightly loaded in relation to available capacity, a customer whose data is prioritized higher than other traffic will notice little, if any, effect from having higher priority. This will be the case in the vast majority of times and locations. Customers may notice reduced speeds in comparison to customers with a higher priority during network congestion. At times and at locations where the network is heavily loaded in relation to available capacity, these customers will likely see significant reductions in data speeds, especially if they are engaged in data-intensive activities. Customers should be aware that these practices may occasionally result in speeds below those typically experienced on our 5G or LTE networks, including a greater likelihood of reduced speeds in the lower end of the speed ranges. Depending on the extent of network congestion, these customers may notice more frequent impacts to some video streaming, file downloads, and other high-bandwidth activities. T-Mobile constantly works to improve network performance and capacity, but there are physical and technical limits on how much capacity is available, and in constrained locations the frequency of heavy loading in relation to available capacity may be greater than in other locations. When network loading goes down or the customer moves to a location that is less heavily loaded in relation to available capacity, the customer's speeds will likely improve.
You can check your data plan usage at any time by signing in to https://myaccount.assurancewireless.com/my-account/login
Customers have a select amount of how much high-speed data they receive under their service plan, and, where permissible, may purchase additional data. If your total high-speed data usage exceeds your selected high-speed allotment during a billing cycle, you will not have access to data for the remainder of that billing cycle.
You may also have the option to add a set amount of high-speed tethering. Depending on the capability of your device, tethering your device to other lawful devices is permitted up to 10 devices, pursuant to the terms, conditions and allotments of your data plan. Some video consumed while tethering may be difficult to identify as video and therefore cannot be optimized. Certain features, such as data used by the federal telehealth VA video Connect app, do not count against high-speed data allotments when detected by our network
Assurance Wireless Fair Usage commitment
The Assurance Wireless Fair Usage commitment is how we ensure that the highest number of customers have the best possible experience for the most common uses on T-Mobile’s network. To ensure that smartphones have fair access to the network, Assurance Wireless and T-Mobile monitor mobile hotspot/tethering usage on a regular basis to ensure that mobile hotspot usage is both reasonable and fair. Assurance Wireless mobile service is designed to be used primarily on smartphones. Mobile hotspot features are intended for personal mobile connectivity, not intended to be a complete broadband replacement for multiple users over an extended period of time. If you are a Heavy Data User and use a device as a mobile hotspot for the majority of your use over an extended period of time, Assurance Wireless may contact you to discuss your plan and your options.
Other network management
If you use your data plan in a manner that could interfere with other customers' service, affect our ability to allocate network capacity among customers, or degrade service quality for other customers, we may suspend, terminate, or restrict your data session, or switch you to a more appropriate data plan, or terminate your service.
Finally, certain uses of our network are also prohibited as described in our Terms and Conditions. For example, applications which automatically consume unreasonable amounts of available network capacity or are designed for unattended use are prohibited as they may interfere with our ability to provide a good service experience for the majority of our customers, cause capacity issues, and/or degrade network performance. See our Terms and Conditions for a list of prohibited uses.
For additional important Open Internet disclosures, including our Privacy Statement, please review the Frequently Asked Questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. They are treated just like any other data application on the network, and traffic from these applications is subject to the same reasonable network management practices as other data on the network.
Assurance Wireless or T-Mobile use a variety of physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards to protect our network from events that may negatively impact an Assurance Wireless customers' ability to use Broadband Internet Access Services. Assurance Wireless or T-Mobile monitors the network to protect against security threats, including spam, viruses, automated attacks, worms, distributed denial of service attacks, and other potentially malicious activity. When Assurance Wireless or T-Mobile detects a threat, we will attempt to prevent it from spreading across the T-Mobile network using a variety of security measures, which may include rerouting or limiting some traffic over our network until the threat is resolved.
Unless part of an opted-in customer service, Assurance Wireless or T-Mobile does not block lawful traffic based on content or subject. Occasionally, cases arise where Assurance Wireless must make a judgment, determining that the value of protecting our customer base from malicious or other adverse, network-impacting traffic outweighs access issues experienced by a few. Examples include Internet sources or destinations that are major sources of spam and sources that aggressively scan Internet addresses or those that have attempted attacks against T-Mobile infrastructure or customer end-points.
Assurance Wireless or T-Mobile blocks a limited number of Internet addresses that are disruptive or malicious and typically persistent, based on our review of third party industry-wide intelligence. Assurance Wireless or T-Mobile does not block sites based on content or subject, unless the Internet address hosts unlawful content or is blocked as part of an opted-in customer service.
For our Wi-Fi services, which are accessible in a wide range of commercial establishments and public venues, T-Mobile prevents the use of certain ports that are commonly used to spread malware and engage in other malicious activity.
Assurance Wireless customers may use our Broadband Internet Access Services to access any lawful application, including real-time applications, in a manner consistent with our Terms and Conditions. Assurance Wireless or T-Mobile reserves the right to take whatever measures are necessary to protect the network from potentially harmful devices and applications. The performance of a real-time application on T-Mobile’s network depends on the speed and latency of the subscriber's connection, as well as their data plan (see above for details).
Assurance Wireless is committed to protecting the privacy and security of our customers' personal information. For information on how Assurance Wireless protects its customers' privacy, please review our Privacy Statement.
For questions that are not answered on this page, in most instances, Assurance Wireless customers may contact customer care directly from their device by dialing *611 from their handsets or by the methods listed on our contact page. https://www.assurancewireless.com/help-center/contact
For information on resolving disputes with Assurance Wireless, please review our terms and conditions under the heading "Dispute Resolution and Arbitration" located in the General Terms and Conditions
applicable to your service. https://www.assurancewireless.com/legal/terms-and-conditions