In an announcement made earlier on Friday, America’s fourth largest wireless carrier, Sprint, has announced that it intends to throttle data speeds of users who use up over 03 GB of data in one billing cycle. While speed throttling is a thorny subject, Sprint believes it is well within its rights to go ahead and implement the strategy, which, it says will help improve the QoS (quality of service) for a huge majority of users. According to the company, it will start reducing the bandwidth of customers who’ve hit the 23 GB ceiling with immediate effect. The strategy will be applicable for customers who chooses to subscribe to any new unlimited data handset plan launched today onwards, and also for customers on the current $70 unlimited plan, if and when they choose to upgrade their handset. The automated prioritization however, will only be implemented at cell sites which are constrained under heavy data traffic, and the carrier promises to restore speeds back up to normal levels once the congestion eases or the customer moves to a less congested site.
Sprint is also claiming that about 97 percent of its users stay well within what it calls the industry standard 23 GB limit, and says it is unfair to not be able to offer high quality service to them because of the overly data-hungry 3 percent. The carrier however, also clarifies that its real-time prioritization keeps updating the congestion status of each cell-cite every 20 milliseconds. The carrier claims, this would help it to restore full-speed for users once the overall congestion at the site returns to normal, as prioritization is applied or removed every 20 milliseconds automatically after the 23 GB ceiling. Customers who haven’t hit the ceiling meanwhile, continues to receive full-speed irrespective.
It is worth mentioning that earlier this month, Sprint increased the price of its unlimited plan from $60 to $70 per month. T-Mobile is the only other major carrier still offering unlimited data plans, but the carrier also reduces speeds for its unlimited users after the 23 GB threshold. Both AT&T and Verizon meanwhile, have long withdrawn their unlimited plans for new customers. The practice of throttling data speeds has also seen AT&T being fined $100 million by the FCC for what the regulator said was deceitful advertising. Verizon also had to stop slowing down data speeds for its 3G customers under pressure from the FCC.