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American teen gains free unlimited data by hacking T-Mobile's network

A 17-year old US teen recently discovered that he could gain unlimited (and free) access to 4G internet on his mobile device through the use of his T-Mobile pre-paid SIM.

T-Mobile logo

Jacob Ajit, a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology discovered the data restriction workaround whilst at home and bored one Friday night.

Pre-paid SIM cards from T-Mobile are designed in a way that enables a subscriber to purchase additional T-Mobile services via their mobile device without needing to visit a T-Mobile store or by logging into their T-Mobile account via wiFi. The service works even if they have no remaining data in their pre-paid allowance - useful!

What this means is that the pre-pay SIMs always have access to mobile data despite whether the subscriber has any of his or her allowance remaining, however access to the internet is blocked, the data connection is there but users can't use it for anything more than topping up their account.

Or so T-Mobile though...

 Jacob Ajit

Mr Ajit discovered that despite his pre-paid SIM expiring he could still use the popular Speedtest app by Ookla to track his mobile internet speeds.

The tech savvy student then realised after a bit of computer wizardry that he could set-up a remote server on his PC and then by browsing the internet through that remote server he could surf the web using T-Mobile's 4G network from his non-active pre-paid SIM.

Ajit reported his findings to T-Mobile and also published his findings on Medium. He has also stated that he's since taken down his remote server and is still waiting for a reply from T-Mobile.