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Some T-Mobile Subscribers Complain Using Spotify Is Running Up Data Charges

A handful of T-Mobile customers report they have incurred charges while listening to Spotify, despite the carrier's promise of unlimited music streaming.

Some T-Mobile subscribers turned to Reddit to complain about problems with the mobile carrier’s new music freedom program, which allows customers to listen to streaming services without incurring data charges.

A few customers wrote that they had been racking up data charges while listening to Spotify — a problem they hadn’t encountered while tuning in to other streaming services, such as iHeart Radio or Pandora.

T-Mobile said it doesn’t have any indication that Spotify or any other music applications included in its program are drawing down customers’ high-speed wireless data buckets.

It could be that data charges were incurred before June 18, when Chief Executive John Legere introduced the music freedom offer, a T-Mobile spokesman said. The unlimited music offer is available to the 75 percent of T-Mobile customers covered under its Simple Choice plan.

The phone may be doing something in the background — say, downloading e-mail or updating apps — while the customer is streaming music. Some phones come with applications that report total data usage, but this doesn’t necessarily reflect how much of the customer’s high-speed data allotment is being consumed.

Lastly, non-music content — say, album art — may not be covered under T-Mobile’s unlimited music streaming promise, because it comes from a different data stream. The amount of such data is tiny, however — in tests with Spotify, it was roughly one percent to four percent of the data used, according to T-Mobile.

A spokesman urged customers who are experiencing problems to contact T-Mobile’s customer care. Spotify did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

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