Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Networking Wireless Networking

Virgin Mobile To Start Throttling Broadband2Go 257

Posted by timothy
from the oh-did-we-say-unlimited? dept.
Daevad writes "Virgin Mobile sent an e-mail today informing me of their plans to start throttling the Broadband2Go Plan. The web site doesn't seem to reflect the change yet, but here is the message they sent to me: 'Here at Virgin Mobile, our mission is to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Sometimes that means making difficult choices in order to provide the best possible service to the greatest number of customers. To make sure we can keep offering our $40 Unlimited Broadband2Go Plan at such a great price, we're putting a speed limit in place for anyone on that plan who uses over 5GB in a month. How will it work? Starting February 15, 2011, if you go over 5GB in a month on the $40 Unlimited Plan: Your data speeds will be limited for the remainder of the monthly plan cycle. During this time, you may experience slower page loads and file downloads and lags in streaming media. Your data speeds will return to normal as soon as you buy a new Broadband2Go Plan. This change will only affect plans bought on or after 2/15/2011. How will it affect me? Keep in mind, 5GB is A LOT of data. To give you an idea, it's about 250 hours of web browsing or over 500,000(!) emails. So this change shouldn't affect you unless you're a heavy downloader/streamer/etc.'" Just when I was getting comfortable recommending it to people, too. I do prefer a slowdown to an absolute cap, but this sours me a bit on the (locked-to-Sprint) MiFi I bought to use the Virgin service.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Virgin Mobile To Start Throttling Broadband2Go

Comments Filter:
  • Yup, classic bait and switch.
    • Re:Bait and switch? (Score:5, Informative)

      by timeOday (582209) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @07:10PM (#34871000)
      From the summary: "This change will only affect plans bought on or after 2/15/2011."

      You even have a month to buy in to the old plan if you so desire, which I find surprising.

      • by Veovis (612685) *

        From the summary: "This change will only affect plans bought on or after 2/15/2011."

        You even have a month to buy in to the old plan if you so desire, which I find surprising.

        Even so, it would only be good for 1 month.... You can't prepay multiple months like you used to be able to with AT&T prepaid data.

      • Re:Bait and switch? (Score:4, Informative)

        by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000.yahoo@com> on Thursday January 13, 2011 @10:00PM (#34873012)

        You even have a month to buy in to the old plan if you so desire, which I find surprising.

        Not quite. Virgin's Broadband2Go [virginmobileusa.com] is month to month, there is no contract. So if you pay for B2G service on 14 February you will not be throttled throughout the rest of February but after 14 March you will be throttled if you go over 5GB.

        I fully support this. Normal users won't use that much, however for businesses and such that need more bandwidth Virgin should offer higher priced plans with more bandwidth.

        Falcon

    • Wrong (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lord Ender (156273) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @07:26PM (#34871254) Homepage

      Virgin mobile is a no-contract company. If they locked you into a contract and THEN started to throttle, that would be a bait and switch. But with no contract, you can decide to stop buying more airtime if you don't like the new terms.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LordNimon (85072)

        Then what are you supposed to do with your $150 mifi device? What about people that bought it for Christmas thinking that they'd get unlimited mobile Internet for $40?

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Steveftoth (78419)

          Whine about it on the (slow) internet or sell it on ebay?

        • Then what are you supposed to do with your $150 mifi device?

          Sell it on eBay [ebay.com].

          Falcon

          • by afidel (530433)
            Except Virgin doesn't allow BYOD. If they did I would buy a decent unlocked Android phone for the wife, they only offer the awful Samsung Intercept.
            • Re:Wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

              by EEPROMS (889169) on Friday January 14, 2011 @12:20AM (#34874026)
              WOW you guys in the USA really need to define the legal term for "unlimited' in court, here in Australia "unlimited" means just that, if you throttle the service you are not allowed to use the term "unlimited" any more.
        • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday January 14, 2011 @02:42AM (#34874744)

          The network you get is still unlimited. It's not like you could actually use an infinite amount of bandwidth before - unlimited simply means you can keep using the internet as much as you like. That remains true after you pass the (very reasonable) 5GB cap, it's just that it gets a bit slower at the end. I think they have hit upon the nicest possible way to offer "unlimited" internet with reasonable real-life restrictions to keep bandwidth hogs from chewing up way more bandwidth than they are paying for.

          • by Znork (31774)

            Which means it'd be perfectly acceptable if they offered it as a 20kb/s connection with burst capabilities, which is the actual usable bandwidth you have available over time.

            It's simply a matter of honesty; if they aren't offering unlimited use at a specific data transfer rate, then they shouldn't claim they are.

      • by RMH101 (636144)
        Instead I'm going to offer to pay them an unlimited amount of money for their phone service, up to an acceptable-use policy limit of $5/month.
    • by rayd75 (258138) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @07:33PM (#34871374)

      Far better than the AT&T bait and switch with iPad plans... remember that? Changed before the device was even available for a full month. Still, this is the fairest cap I've seen a wireless provider implement so far. Throttling users at their limit actually makes much more sense than cutting them off cold. Unless you are one of the people who thought cellular service would be able to truly replace landline service, (having no concept of the very finite bandwidth available via RF) 5GB is a lot of data. ...and if you run into it by accident, you can still use your service for less bandwidth-intensive things like email, light web access, or reloading your Virgin Mobile account.

      • Still, this is the fairest cap I've seen a wireless provider implement so far.

        I'm guessing you're in the US. I pay 299 SEK (about 45 USD a month) for my cell phone and subscription; granted that's not including free minutes or texts, but I get 10 GB data with that. Go over 10 GB and I'm throttled to 0.2 Mbit/s.

        And I'm fairly certain you can get even better and fairer deals than what I'm on.

      • by Graff (532189)

        Far better than the AT&T bait and switch with iPad plans... remember that? Changed before the device was even available for a full month.

        I don't know about you but I got grandfathered [gizmodo.com] on my plan. I still get unlimited data from AT&T for the same price as before. There was no bait-and-switch involved. If you got the plan before the change then you can have unlimited data for $30/month, if you got the plan after the change then you can get 2GB for $25/month and each additional 2GB is $25.

      • by RMingin (985478)

        Far better than the AT&T bait and switch with iPad plans... remember that? Changed before the device was even available for a full month. Still, this is the fairest cap I've seen a wireless provider implement so far. Throttling users at their limit actually makes much more sense than cutting them off cold. Unless you are one of the people who thought cellular service would be able to truly replace landline service, (having no concept of the very finite bandwidth available via RF) 5GB is a lot of data. ...and if you run into it by accident, you can still use your service for less bandwidth-intensive things like email, light web access, or reloading your Virgin Mobile account.

        I dunno, I've still got my AT&T 29.99$/month unlimited data. I occasionally horse around and blow way past 5GB/month just to feel I'm getting my money's worth, too. It would be bait and switch if they pulled it from me, not just because they're no longer offering it to you.

      • by hansg (264039)

        Sure, it's better than many alternatives.

        But maybe, just maybe they shouldn't call it, i don't know, unlimited?

        /Hans

      • Just thought I'd point out that the nice thing with the Virgin Mobile (at least with the Mifi anyway), you can use the device to fill up or reactivate your account even if you have exhausted it.

    • I shopped around for a new cell phone plan for several weeks before finally deciding to go with Virgin Mobile, and it's thanks to the fact that I am travelling for my job, because they don't even have stores where I come from so I picked up a prepaid at a Sprint store close to where I am now. They have very sensible plans, and in fact seem to be the only ones who understand that it makes much more sense to limit voice than texts. (All their plans have unlimited text and data; you just get more or fewer minu

      • by lbgator (1208974)

        I recently switched providers too. I hate the idea of contracts that come with "free phones". I went with cricket and have been very surprised/happy with their service. $55/month for unlimited voice/text/data ($60/month after taxes). No contract and the service has been very reliable. Not as good as Verizon was but I was paying well more with Verizon for limited talk/text and no data.

        If you don't like the way that the big players treat you then put your money where your mouth is and give some of the up and

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Yup, classic bait and switch.

      Well, wait. Just to be clear. Virgin offers an "unlimited" plan for cell phones. The author of the article bought a MiFi (mobile hot spot) to use on this service that's sold for cell phones. And he's pissed that now they are going to slow down the data after 5 gig.

      Do I have it wrong?

      Would he still be mad if they had said "This service is now unlimited only for single cell phones, not for mobile hot spots"?

      Or maybe Virgin has been selling this service specifically for people

      • by afidel (530433)
        No, he bought a device on their broadband2go [virginmobileusa.com] plan "the only internet you'll ever need" that has been and is still advertised as unlimited data for $40/month.
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Got it. Yes, it's bait and switch. Virgin sucks for doing this. 5gb per month for a service that's sold for mobile hot spots isn't even in the same neighborhood as "unlimited".

  • NOTICE: Broadband2Go Terms of Service have changed which potentially impact download and upload throughput speeds on the $40 Broadband2Go Plan when monthly data usage exceeds 5GB. The new terms and conditions will apply to new and existing customers purchasing Broadband2Go Plans on or after 2/15/11. Read More: http://www.virginmobileusa.com/legal/terms-of-service-virgin-mobile#bb2g [virginmobileusa.com]
  • by Bullseye_blam (589856) <bullseye_1@NoSPAM.yahoo.com> on Thursday January 13, 2011 @07:22PM (#34871180) Journal

    Or, printing (!) 1,789,569,706 times!

  • So this change shouldn't affect you unless you're a heavy downloader/streamer/etc.

    The Windows SDK alone is a gigabyte and a half, and a six-month upgrade to a popular GNU/Linux distribution is nearly a gigabyte.

    • by PReDiToR (687141)
      And you're doing this on your cell/SIM/mobile data plan?

      I've just been hit by the T-Mobile "unlimited" debacle, but for anything like that I'd be creating a new user and logging it in to a coffee shop WiFi (McGonads is free) to do crap like that, if I didn't have home internets.

      I'd never log my user in whilst on a hostile network. Downloading some RPMs/DEBs or (in my case) doing a "pacman -Syu" can be quite easily done from a temporary account, providing moody OS updates in a timely manner is a bit beyo
  • by John Whitley (6067) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @07:38PM (#34871464) Homepage

    What would you have Virgin Mobile do instead? So far, this is among the most reasonable takes on the problem I've seen to date. Let's lay down some assumptions:
    1) The cost-per-user for the service has turned out to be too high at the current pricing.
    2) Analysis shows that a small percentage of users are super-heavy traffic users gobbling up many, many GB per month.

    Virgin Mobile could then:
    1) Up the plan pricing for everyone to accommodate the upper-end of the bell curve's massive usage. This will penalize the overwhelming majority of users for a few users' overuse. (Isn't that just the same crap that everyone complains about with stupid no-differentiation rulemaking in schools? "It has to be the same for everyone.")

    2) Keep the same pricing, but impose a throttle that imposes a penalty only on those users who are breaking the pricing model. They still get service, but at a degraded level.

    3) .... ??? (Your Answer Here.)

    • 3) Offer different plans at different prices for different users. People use a lot of their product and the only thought that comes to your mind is "punish them"?

      You use terms such as "overuse" and "breaking the pricing model". The users bought an unlimited connection at a given price. Why blame them? Also, how do you know Virgin has any problems with profitability? This only cuts their costs without losing many customers. This is the smart thing to do for them regardless of their profits.
    • Stop calling it "unlimited". The caps are fine as long as they're honest about them, and not hide them.

    • by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:00PM (#34872514) Homepage Journal

      Here are some options that Virgin Mobile isn't doing:

      • shutting off a user's connection as soon as they reach the cap
      • throttling or blocking on a per-application (e.g. bittorrent and youtube) basis
      • charging a large fee for exceeding the quota

      Network capacity is a finite resource. It looks like Virgin Mobile is dealing with that in the most reasonable way. Good for them.

  • Seriously, this is important to me. I have my MC760 hooked up to Windows 7 (don't ask) running virtual-AP software (buggy as hell). I was considering going for a mifi but this story puts the kabosh on that idea. No more downloading 'criminal minds' episodes. More importantly, no more attending class online. Which means, for me, that virgin mobile has lost its value proposition. Oh well, I spend $50 on the device...good bye Virgin Mobile, it's back to Starbucks & McDonald's for me.

  • by imemyself (757318) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @07:41PM (#34871524)
    Honestly, I agree with people that are saying that 5 GB is very little for a normal Internet connection. But who the hell uses mobile broadband for their primary internet connection. I've been thinking about getting VM's broadband to go to occasionally use when I can't get wifi since its so cheap. But I can't imagine using any kind of mobile broadband (regardless of carrier) as my primary Internet connection that I would use to download ISO's / movies / etc. For me, mobile broadband / tethering is something to use when I'm away from my house, and can't use wifi for some reason. Maybe this will change with Wimax, but we don't have that yet here...
    • Re:Not a big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by damnbunni (1215350) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @08:14PM (#34871952) Journal

      There are lots of people who use mobile broadband for their primary internet connection:

      Those of us who can't get anything else.

      I live just outside a good-sized city. I'm not in the middle of nowhere.

      I can't get cable. I can't get DSL. I can't get FIOS. I can't get UVerse. I can't get WiMax.

      My choices are 3G or satellite, and satellite is even more limited and slower than 3G. And costs more. And is less reliable.

      • by afidel (530433)
        Have you looked for a fixed location WiFi based ISP often called WISP's? My buddy in the Texas hill country that can't even get a cellphone signal from any provider uses a WISP and T-Mobile with UMA for calls.
      • Well that sucks. As an idea though: Do you guys have prepaid plans with decent data packages these days? You could buy a bunch of cards and swap 'em out.

        I can buy 5GB for 15 on my prepaid card here in Germany, as often as I want (usually I just buy one per month, since it's only for my phone, and the package expires monthly - it's on vacation that I might buy 5 or 6 packages in the space of a week). Isn't there something similar in the States?

  • T Mobile does the same with their mobile wifi. I pay to tether my phone, and full speed caps at 5 gig, and slows after that. I'm quite happy with it. Now if they'd offer a plan to restore speed after 5 gigs for a price, I might even do that.
  • by bky1701 (979071) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @07:59PM (#34871752) Homepage
    Hey, everybody! Don't worry about this. The free market will take care of it. The companies that shaft their customers will lose business. No need to worry.

    Right?

    ...Right?
    • by sjames (1099)

      The market can only "punish" the extremes of shafting the customer. With the DOJ and FTC asleep at the switch, we are racing to the bottom on many fronts, so shafted tends to be a constant. Only the degree of shafting varies.

    • If the baby bells that took hundreds of billions from the government and never delivered, then rolled out cell service, decide to hand that money back, it may entice a free market competitor. But you know that's never going to happen.
  • by damnbunni (1215350) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @08:08PM (#34871880) Journal

    If you don't already have the $40 'Unlimited' level on automatic update/renewal, you won't be able to buy it in the future.

    They're not going to offer it at all. Just the lower level, much more limited data (and those ARE a hard limit.)

    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/legal/terms-of-service-virgin-mobile#bb2g_plans_expiring [virginmobileusa.com]

    And they may cancel it completely in the future.

    • No they're not. they clearly stated in the email to me that you still still get $40 unlimited, however you are throttled back. What kills me are the people that insist that Verizon's or AT&T's plans were ever listed any different. Their "Unlimited" plans have been this way for at least the last 5 years.

      Regardless, with this news, I think the Mifi I just bought at the end of December is now going back to Virgin Mobile. In a few months I'll have similar access through my iPhone either on Verizon or AT

      • Did you look at the link I posted?

        From http://www.virginmobileusa.com/legal/terms-of-service-virgin-mobile#bb2g_plans_expiring [virginmobileusa.com]

        Until February 14, 2011, you may purchase or switch to the $40 Broadband2Go plan described below. If as of February 15, 2011 the last plan you purchased was the $40 Broadband2Go plan, you may continue to purchase the $40 Broadband2Go plan until further notice or until you switch to one of the other Broadband2Go plans. Once you switch to another Broadband2Go plan, you will not be abl

  • To make sure we can keep offering our $40 Unlimited Broadband2Go Plan at such a great price, we're putting a speed limit in place for anyone on that plan who uses over 5GB in a month

    Translation: To make sure we can keep offering our $40 "Unlimited" Broadband2Go Plan at such a great price, we're putting limitations on it, but still calling it unlimited. Simple, really.

  • by paiute (550198) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @08:26PM (#34872112)

    Manager: I'm sorry, sir. You have to leave the buffet now.
    Customer: But it says "All you can eat for $10".
    Manager: That is correct. That is all you can eat for $10.

  • 5 GB is a lot of data? 5 GB happens to be:

    1. About one hour of Netflix streaming, every day for a week.
    2. One fully-featured Linux install, with the bells and whistles.
    3. A Steam purchase of BioShock 2.
    4. About 20 minutes of uncompressed video from a decent camera.
    5. About 1% of a full system backup.

    • by luther349 (645380)
      yes but those thing your use your pc or a wifi hotspot for. they probably throttle you down to edge speeds, still useful for browsing but forget netflicks etc. i assume this is going to apply to there 25$ unimited data phone plans to. 5gb still could play wow all month long mmos use very little data unless theirs a update. we did wow for one month purely on 3g and used 250mb data. i still prefer that from being cutoff or being charged by the mb when i whent over if i ever did.
  • Keep in mind, 5GB is A LOT of data. To give you an idea, it's about 250 hours of web browsing or over 500,000(!) emails. So this change shouldn't affect you unless you're a heavy downloader/streamer/etc.

    So, if you use more than email you are a heavy user? If that's all people used the web for, I doubt it would even exist anymore.

  • Keep in mind, 5GB is A LOT of data. To give you an idea, it's about 250 hours of web browsing or over 500,000(!) emails. So this change shouldn't affect you unless you're a heavy downloader/streamer/etc.

    An honest rendering of this would be, "We really only intended for you to do unlimited emailing and web browsing (defined as reading through html pages very slowly, mind you; certainly not as enjoying the kind of content that we all take for granted these days). This won't affect you unless you are a moderat

  • Only carrier with their own towers and data infrastructure, which they are still investing heavily in.

    my plan is sold as;

    2,000 free minutes per month
    5,000 free texts per month
    "all you can eat" data per month (their quotes)

    For 30 quid a month, around 45/50 bucks, Samsung Galaxy S on android 2.2 included.

  • 5 gigi-bytes or 5 gigi-BITS per month?

    I wouldn't put it past them!

You had mail, but the super-user read it, and deleted it!

Working...