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Sprint Begins Unlimited Plan Throttling in Congested Areas

May 8, 2014 - Written By Nick Sutrich

The asterisk has struck again, this time it has finally made its way to the Now Network, better known as Sprint.  That’s right, the “Unlimited*” type plans that started with T-Mobile a few years ago seem to have made their way across the spectrum to Sprint, so now instead of “truly unlimited” as they’ve been advertising for years now you may or may not be put in a throttled plan if you use more than the allotted amount of data.  While T-Mobile has already changed this plan and allows you to pay for completely unthrottled unlimited data, the change for Sprint seems to be going backwards.  What’s the threshold?  Right now it looks like they’re targeting the “top 5%” as Sprint is putting it, which is anyone who uses over 5GB of data in an average month.  Considering we’ve seen people in the Terabyte club pop up out of the woodwork on certain unlimited plans out there, it’s not surprising to see Sprint and other wireless carriers try to calm these users down and get their bandwidth usage under control.  It’s also no secret that Sprint’s spectrum is stretched incredibly thin in some areas, and it looks like it might be these areas that are going to be targeted.

Sprint has cited that they are only doing this to users that have consumed over 5GB of data, and even then only during congestion periods in congested areas.  While there’s not an official list running around at this time, expect major cities to be the targeted areas here, as those would be the ones with the most wireless traffic needing relief.  This is also not going to happen all the time as with T-Mobile, where if you cross over your limit for high speed data you’re throttled for the rest of the month.  Also take note that this affects Sprint’s MVNO’s, namely Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA.  If you’re on any of these three networks and regularly use over 5GB of data per month be aware that you could be experiencing this starting next month, so if you’re trying to watch that new viral video on YouTube and even low quality keeps buffering, know that the culprit can probably be found here.  Also considering we’ve been seeing more and more about Sprint buying T-Mobile lately, it’s entirely possible that Sprint is just trying to get its users used to a T-Mobile type data plan if the merger plans ever end up going through.