Sprint’s unlimited data won’t be so ‘unlimited’ after all, plans to start throttling speeds for heavy users

May 8, 2014
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Sprint Unlimited Data

According to Fierce Wireless, Sprint is soon going to be throttling their heaviest users in the company’s most congested areas. Customers of both Sprint’s postpaid and prepaid services, as well as their Boost Mobile and Virgin Moobile prepaid brands, are receiving notifications from the company informing them they’ll soon face a new prioritization management scheme.

text message sent to Virgin Mobile customers said:

“Beginning 6/1/14, to provide more customers with a high quality data experience during heavy usage times, Virgin Mobile USA may manage prioritization of access to network resources in congested areas for customers within the top 5 percent of data users.”

This would mean that Sprint is moving away from their “Truly unlimited data” ads and towards other carriers such as Verizon and AT&T who throttle users due to supposed capacity constraints (even though Sprint, AT&T and Verizon own a ridiculous amount of spectrum). Sprint contends the heaviest data users consume a disproportionate share of network resources and that it has employed “fairness algorithms” on its CDMA and LTE networks.

What exactly is the data amount every month that a customer can use before being throttled? Sprint’s isn’t sure but they did say that if you use above 5 GB a month that it is “likely” that you will be throttled. But really, does anyone need certainty in their wireless plan after spending world-record amounts for their phone and voice/data plans?

V3S1o

How many GB’s that a customer uses has little-to-nothing to do with real world economics or network performance as they are tied to executive desire for improved quarterly earnings. By making wireless data more precious and therefore costly, the wireless carriers can offset expected losses in the future (i.e., SMS/Voice Revenue/Etc…).

Why was AT&T putting data caps on unlimited users at around 2 GB’s yet offered metered plans with data caps of 3 GB’s or more? Anyone remember AT&T’s “because we can” tethering fee? And I haven’t even discussed the fact that Validas, a mobile intelligence company, has found that Verizon unlimited users were using less data than users on metered plans.

Verizon Wireless Logo

Sprint already faces criticism for the slowest LTE speeds and highest latency scores among the four largest carriers. Sprint lays claim to the second lowest LTE speeds in the world, according to one study. Probably one of their biggest advantages was its truly unlimited network, and now that seems to be going out the window, too.

Sprint customers on unlimited plans: what do you think of Sprint’s plan to throttle down your speeds? Will you stick with the Now Network if they go ahead with their plans to throttle down your “unlimited” service?

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