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Advertising Networking Verizon Wireless Networking

Sprint Will Start Throttling Customers Who Exceed 23GB Monthly (sprint.com) 153

CNET reports (and CTO John Saw explains on the company's blog) that Sprint has decided to taper access to a slice of its "unlimited" wireless data customers, by throttling access (not curtailing it, at least) to those who slurp down more than 23 gigabytes per month -- the same cap that T-Mobile has imposed. If you think "throttled" and "unlimited" don't quite jibe to describe the same service, you're not the only one to quibble: CNET notes that regulators have "begun scrutinizing the carriers' practice [of slowing access past a cap]. In June, the Federal Communications Commission threatened to fine AT&T $100 million for deceiving its customers by mislabeling its service as unlimited. The FCC also challenged Verizon when the company planned to expand its data throttling policy to its 4G customers. The company retracted that policy last fall. In June, Verizon also stopped slowing unlimited-data traffic for 3G customers."
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Sprint Will Start Throttling Customers Who Exceed 23GB Monthly

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  • Slow anyway (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @05:32PM (#50754919)

    When I had Sprint it was so f'ing slow that there's no way I could ever approach 23GB. I always figure that's how they could get away with "unlimited" data plans.

    • It really depends where you are. If you're in their 3G area, you'll be lucky to get 0.3 Mbps. But if you're within range of their 4G cells, about 5 Mbps is typical, with some areas getting 20-35 Mbps. When i bought my house last year, it had Sprint 4G coverage, and I lived off of it (I have an unlimited plan and my phone is rooted so I can tether) for 2 months while waiting for my cable Internet install date. I averaged about 60 GB/mo for those two months. (My normal usage is only about 300-500 MB/mo,
    • by Andrio ( 2580551 )

      I had Sprint back from 2011-2013. The data was so slow, when I first signed up I called them a few times, wondering what was wrong, because there was just no way that the data could actually be that slow. Over the next two years, I had developed a somewhat perverted fascination with the slowness of Sprint's network. I ran speed tests all the time just to see those 50-130 kbps speeds (that's bits, not bytes). It's like when you have a sore in your mouth, and you keep touching it with your tongue just to veri

  • Lad balancing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @05:36PM (#50754927)
    FTFA:

    Sprint said customers will still be able to use unlimited amounts of data without overage charges, but for moments when the network is congested, traffic from heavy-data customers will move more slowly. Sprint said the policy operates in real time and only applies if a cell site is constrained. Performance for an affected customer returns to normal as soon as the local traffic returns to normal.

    Doesn't seem all that diabolical. The alternative is the end of unlimited plans (which is probably coming anyway).

    • Yipes...bad fingers. Bad.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) *

      Sprint said customers will still be able to use unlimited amounts of data without overage charges, but for moments when the network is congested, traffic from heavy-data customers will move more slowly. Sprint said the policy operates in real time and only applies if a cell site is constrained. Performance for an affected customer returns to normal as soon as the local traffic returns to normal.

      Doesn't seem all that diabolical. The alternative is the end of unlimited plans (which is probably coming anyway).

      Exactly. And remember we are talking about wireless... In other words streaming to your cell phone. If you are streaming so much data to your phone that you are effecting other customers, there's no reason why you should not expect to be "prioritized".

      Let's not start this ridiculous "they sold me unlimited and it's not", because we know that's not the case. There is no data cap, you just can't hog the pipe.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        only in america, when somebody promises you something for nothing, you can sue them when they don't deliver!

        • Re:Lad balancing? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sribe ( 304414 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @06:07PM (#50755053)

          only in america, when somebody promises you something for nothing

          Since when is a ~$2,000 contract "nothing"???

          • look, no matter how much you whine, 23GB of data is PLENTY for a month. they got good reliable service and plenty of data. the company may have said some puffery, but companies do this all the time. often when you buy clothes or shoes there's an implied promise of endless orgasms, but it's not like you can sue if you don't get endless orgasms. or maybe YOU would...

            • All those *updates* add up pretty quick.

            • Which isn't the issue. The issue is that they are applying a limit to those customers above and beyond the inherent limits in the system. They are getting special negative treatment.

              • i say these hoggy users should be cut off from the teat! go watch your porn on a laptop!

                • They can be cut off by not renewing the contract when its term is up. That is the legal way for Sprint to deal with this issue. As long as Sprint keeps renewing the contract then they must keep abiding by the contract. Unlimited means not applying limits in any shape or form.

                  It is not up to you to decide how someone uses the data they have purchased.

                  • i think when something is a limited shared resource its up to everybody to make sure that people use the resource responsibly. maybe instead of capping it they should name and shame to top hogs on their website. with he phone numbers. i would be happy to give them a calL!~

                    • And you get that by sharing out the resource (air time) over the *current* users. It doesn't matter how much someone used yesterday or even 5 minutes ago. They used their fair share at those times. If you are on at 2 in the morning and you are the only customer on the tower then your fair share is the entire capability of the tower. If there are 5000 customers using the tower at once then your fair share is 1/5000th of the tower. The only really grey area is do you measure this over the second, minute

                    • sprint is doing smart slimming only when resources are low. if there's not enough food and you've already had a full dinner then when the food line is long maybe you should step aside for the people who haven't had anything to eat yet

                    • This isn't a food line.

                      Lets say the user used the 23G watching netflix at night and now needs the internet to be doing work during the day. Is it really fair that his work usage gets penalised because he watched netflix at night when he bought a unlimited contract.

                      If he bought a 23G contract which said "If you are over 23G and there is congestion we will speed limit you." then I would have no complaint as he mismanaged the data he has purchased.

                    • The difference is I live in a society with rules and fair treatment for your neighbor and heart but you seem to be in some sort of Donald trump Ann rand utopia.

                    • So what is fair about penalising someone for using something in the past that would just go to waste if it wasn't used? You can't save up cell time on a tower to be used later. You either use it when it is available or it is gone.

                      As for these so called data hogs they aren't. This is the Sprint CEO using emotive words to get you to buy into his attempt to con you which appears to have succeeded.

                      If the unlimited data users were being given priority then you would have a valid complaint but they are not. Th

                • i say these hoggy users should be cut off from the teat! go watch your porn on a laptop!

                  Great idea! The screen is much bigger (See? Size DOES matter) and it's easy enough to tether the computer to the phone for connectivity. Heck, now I can even run it split screen so when one video gets boring maybe the other side won't be. it's only twice as much data -- NP with an unlimited account.

                  Thanks for the idea!

          • Re:Lad balancing? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @09:06PM (#50755661)

            only in america, when somebody promises you something for nothing

            Since when is a ~$2,000 contract "nothing"???

            Over 2 years that's $83 per month and most of that is paying for the handset.

            The thing about people who think their big contributors is that they actually aren't. Your $83 per month is nothing to a multi-billion dollar business in an industry with extremely high barriers to entry (and forget mentioning regulation, they're insignificant. The major barrier is the cost of infrastructure when it comes to the telecommunications industry). Industries like telecommunications aren't worried about losing one customer, mainly because they know that there's someone from a rival telco who has the exact same idea.

            You've reminded me of an event I witnessed in a liquor store a few months back. This guy in an average looking suit was berating the only clerk because he wouldn't carry a carton of beer out of the cool room for him. The guy certainly didn't look disabled and there was no-one else to man the counter. The argument boiled down to the fact the guy just didn't want to carry his own stuff and he was using every arrogant trick in the book. The old "I pay you wages", "I earn x hundred thousand a year", "I'm important", "I'm going to get you fired" and all the other tropes people with little man syndrome love to use. Then a old bloke in jeans and a jumper walks up to him and says "sunshine, you're no-one" and hands him a business card before taking his wine to the checkout. The arrogant guy was livid, threw the card to the ground and stormed out.

            I picked up the business card, it was a card from a mining giant and said "Director". The guy in an unassuming outfit buying wine was one of the richest people in Perth. I had to shake his hand and tell him he was a great bloke.

            Sorry for the Grandpa Simpson story (yes, I had an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time), but its a good lesson that you should never think you're too important and being humble and polite is more likely to get you what you want.

            • Your $83 per month is nothing to a multi-billion dollar business...

              Conversely, your 23gb of data should really be 'nothing' to a company that moves exabytes.

              • by mjwx ( 966435 )

                Your $83 per month is nothing to a multi-billion dollar business...

                Conversely, your 23gb of data should really be 'nothing' to a company that moves exabytes.

                I agree here. Mostly.

                My telco gave me a "free" 1 GB of data with my pre-paid recharge this month. I have no illusions that the data has a much lower actual cost than they're claiming.

                However the problem isn't the data volume, it's bandwidth that's limited. Volume is just the way telco's regulate it. If everyone had unlimited caps, a small number of people will just stream and download constantly. Given that mobile connections have extremely limited bandwidth (5-20 MHz) to be shared (time and frequenc

            • They fight over less than nothing for each customer -- look at all the contract buyout plans where another company will buy out your current contract (pay your early termination fees) and give you a better deal on top of it . Yes that $83 means a lot, multiplied by millions. They fight over years of negative profit per customer.

              This is all about just forcing truth into claims of "unlimited" in advertising. No, you don't get to advertise unlimited-asterisk-pay-no-attention-to-the-little-man-behind-the-cur

        • only in america, when somebody promises you something for nothing, you can sue them when they don't deliver!

          What did Sprint offer that they are not delivering on? Have they added a data cap to "unlimited" accounts? You know, I don't think so.

          So what have they done? They have said that they will prioritize Data Hogs such that other customers retain some kind of decent up/down speed. "Unlimited" does not mean you get the whole pipe.

          And really, why would anyone download 23 GB in a month on their cell phone data plan? Because you are an asshole? Maybe if you are near WiFi you should be using that and be a "good neigh

          • by Anonymous Coward

            And really, why would anyone download 23 GB in a month on their cell phone data plan? Because you are an asshole? Maybe if you are near WiFi you should be using that and be a "good neighbor"? Oh, that's right, you're selfish and unrealistic 20-something.

            Because they paid for an "unlimited data" plan and weren't aware that actually using it made them an "asshole"? Because they don't have an available wifi access point? Because they don't have any alternate Internet connection and want to watch some Netflix?

            • by tomhath ( 637240 )
              Because they rooted their phone (which violates the contract) and use it as their wifi access point. They are paying for phone service, not unlimited internet for their home entertainment system.
              • by adolf ( 21054 )

                Does Spring not allow tethering using standard, built-in Android methods?

                • by tomhath ( 637240 )
                  Tethering is allowed, however: 1) you pay extra for a plan that allows it, and 2) You only get limited data (I think 6GB is the max)
            • Because they paid for an "unlimited data" plan...

              Again, Sprint has not imposed any type of cap on their data consumption.

              • by mark-t ( 151149 )
                Sure they have... By having a decision on the quality of service to offer someone based on the *QUANTITY OF DATA * that the person has consumed. that's a data cap.... the fact that they just throttle speed rather than stop traffic entirely just amounts to a policy decision, but since that decision is based on the volume of data that was downloaded, that volume is still by all rights a data cap.
            • Re:Lad balancing? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @07:05PM (#50755245)

              it takes a special kind of asshole to watch netflix on a cell phone. it's like being on a rubber dinghy with an asshole, and he uses the last remaining water to wash his socks.

              • by jhol13 ( 1087781 )

                Bloody hell, back here (Finland) they advertise netflix-like services for tablets. Slogan goes "you can watch what ever you like where ever you like, when ever you like" and the picture shows a mobile phone and tablet. But then, they do not limit 4G in any way.
                Not that I mind some cap, but 23G is smallish (less than a movie per day).

              • ...it's like being on a rubber dinghy with an asshole, and he uses the last remaining water to wash his socks.

                What? I don't get it. You guys are sitting in a rubber dinghy, where, in the middle of the desert?

          • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

            They have said that they will prioritize Data Hogs such that other customers retain some kind of decent up/down speed. "Unlimited" does not mean you get the whole pipe.

            So how much should you get?
            Do you also consider people who pig out at buffets to be Food Hogs?

            Where do you draw the line? 5G? 10G? 15G? 23G? And if Verizon can name that line, why don't they sell 23G fast + unlimited slow internet?
            That's what I have from T-Mobile now (10G fast and then significantly throttled for the rest of the month), but surprisingly T-Mobile actually sells it as a 10G plan.

            • I think that the problem is actually the fact of the ISPs (cellphone or fixed) selling a service that they are not able to provide. For example, my mobile operator sells me a 1mbps plan but their structure can only provide me actually 256kbps. The carriers insist on selling what they will never be able to fulfill and that is the problem.
            • Do you also consider people who pig out at buffets to be Food Hogs?

              You mean those all-you-can-eat buffets that throttle you by requiring food go in your mouth rather than a take-out container, and then put a cap on kicking you out at closing time?

              Yeah, I just get so angry at those places. They advertised all I could eat, then they want to apply reason to the deal after I'm in the door!

              Where do you draw the line? 5G? 10G? 15G? 23G?

              You put it somewhere reasonable, where the burden on the customer is not unjust, and the burden on the provider isn't unjust, either. Expecting the provider to support huge amounts of data tr

          • by adolf ( 21054 )

            There are people in the US who don't have proper broadband at their house (yes, even outside of Seattle).

            My parents, for example: They're not too awful far from any decent sized towns, but there's no cable or DSL in their semi-rural neighborhood -- folks half a mile away have cable and DSL, but there's no plans in place to put either on her road. They bought the house when dialup was the norm, and now they have a WISP which progressively throttles downloads. (A web page may load fast, but even a 40MB dow

            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              They probably didn't pay for "Unlimited" data. They probably paid for "Unlimited*" data. The asterisk is important and you should find out what those mean before signing something. If you don't agree with the terms then don't pay for the service.

          • by NoKaOi ( 1415755 )

            Sprint's policy is good for all its customers except Data Hogs who so narcissistic that they have no interest in anyone but themselves.

            The problem is that they paid for an unlimited plan. They probably chose Sprint specifically so that they could be data hogs, and is giving sprint thousands of dollars over the course of their 2 year contract. I wouldn't have a problem with this if they didn't call it "unlimited" on new contracts and in particular if they allowed those still under contract to complete the contract they signed up for. After the contract is up, I can understand, then those people can choose a different plan or provider or

    • I'd actually be all for an data plan where instead of a data limit I get throttled instead--where I can 'drink' as much as I can at whatever speed I'm paying for, and maybe have the option of buying a block of 'chugging' if I want it for some reason. I'd rather not get hit by data overage charges just because my ISP decided to be incapable of providing stable service, and a lot of sites seem to be eager to inject data-chugging ads on their mobile versions.

      My guess is that they actually introduced data caps

    • Sprint said the policy operates in real time and only applies if a cell site is constrained. Performance for an affected customer returns to normal as soon as the local traffic returns to normal.

      That's what companies say but it's never what they do. Back in the 90s, DirecPC (Now HughesNet) implemented The FAP. Fair (it wasn't) Access (it impeded access) Policy (no customer-facing employees knew about it so it wasn't much of a policy). After the class action was started, they claimed it was only used when a transponder was saturated. So I declared on the usenet group that I was going to leave a download going all night and if someone from DPC happened to send me a copy of the log, I'd show that

    • This does seem like the best policy, and what consumers really need to harshly strong-arm ATT and VZW into: zero throttling or data caps until the tower you're on is congested, then the highest users/abusers get throttled first/most. There's no reason to put up with throttling of your connection when it's 2AM and you're one of only 2 people using the local tower. If there's no actual congestion at that moment, then the practice is just them pressuring you to pay for a more expensive plan and really ought
  • How are they going to throttle their service any more that Sprint already does? I have Sprint and 3G is glacially slow (unusable for anything but email) and LTE only somewhat faster. I'm not even sure I COULD download 23GB in a month!

  • You can't have unlimited even with no throttling you will always be limited by the speed. I find it kind of weird how they tie data caps to speeds but not speeds to data caps. My home internet is 75 Mbs but does that mean I can use 75 Mbs 24/7? No. Do these wireless providers hard cap you? No. If anything I think this throttling is much more fair and truthful than advertising speeds with caps.
    • "I find it kind of weird how they tie data caps to speeds but not speeds to data caps."

      What's weird about it? They want to falsely advertise what they offer from the very beginning and they use the system that makes their false advertisement more palatable for their victi^H^H customers.

  • Couldn't they just lower the bandwidth, rather than choking customers?
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Depending on your definition of "lower" and "choking" that's exactly what they are doing. They are fairly sharing the pipe among all the users, with those who have used the most getting a smaller share, and those using the least getting a higher share, so someone who tries to use more will always get more, and someone who tries to use less will always get less.

      It's not a hard cap at 23G, but a lower priority once you enter the 1%er level.
  • by Falos ( 2905315 )
    Misleading headline, if what I hear is true. It's reactive throttling, not active. And to hit 23GB you're probably an upper member of the millions of streaming drones that have taken over the tubes. Literally. The statistics put streamers at more tube than everything else combined. So don't expect me to play a violin for your reduced speed, which it turns out is a minor impact unless you're (lol) streaming.

    Have those faggots not developed buffer solutions yet? Johnny the Pirate can not only queue up his
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      They have buffers, and always have. What they don't have is full downloads that would allow people to "steal" the movies.
    • by davidwr ( 791652 )

      And to hit 23GB you're probably an upper member of the millions of streaming drones that have taken over the tubes.

      Or you are tethering 7 or 8 computers whose OS-vendor sucked down a 3GB "major vers10n update" to each of them whether you asked for it or not.

      • by delt0r ( 999393 )
        I really hate that. Really. Even for non wireless. Hell even linux distros do that now. One reason i stick to slackware.
    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      Have those faggots not developed buffer solutions yet?

      No, they don't have the brains : http://mrbrains.co.uk/products... [mrbrains.co.uk]

      Do try and avoid bigoted insults, they make you look like a twat.

  • I have to question how anyone can use 23GB of data per month on a cellphone. Seriously, what are you doing with your life if you're using the Internet on your phone that much? It's excessive and I really can't blame Sprint for making the decision they're making, and anyone who is using anywhere near that much on their phone in a month on a regular basis, in my opinion, needs to take a hard look at what they're doing and why, and make some lifestyle changes.
    • by ShaunC ( 203807 )

      The real heavy hitters have to be tethering, but there are normal use cases that can consume 23GB a month on the phone itself. Streaming practically anything adds up faster than you might notice.

      Let's look at Spotify. They stream at 160kbps (72MB/hr) when you choose high quality, and paid Spotify users get a 320kbps (144MB/hr) option. Suppose you routinely leave Spotify streaming throughout your 8 hour workday; I know people who do this. Over the course of a month, 4 x 40-hour weeks, the 160kbps stream will

    • Your opinion is terrible. Maybe I'm on vacation and I hooked up my cell phone to the hotel's TV with an MHL cable and streamed movies from Amazon Prime in the evenings. Last time I checked, an HD stream from Amazon can run around 2 gigs per hour. You could exceed 23 gigs in a week just watching a movie a day. On a TV, not the phone's display. Did I just blow your mind??? I'm glad the world isn't limited by your imagination.

      • Your opinion is terrible

        and that is your opinon. If you don't like mine then that's tough for you.

        I'm glad the world isn't limited by your imagination

        Jerk.

    • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Monday October 19, 2015 @09:21AM (#50757471)

      I don't use much (3-4gb a month), but i can easily see how someone could do more:

      1) watching movies in bed
      2) tethering from a coffee shop.

      When you have unlimited, some habits also change...I have an unlimited plan now (promotion, obviously I wouldnt with my usage), and I'll do stuff like download a large game while walking to the subway because....I can.

  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Sunday October 18, 2015 @09:33PM (#50755785)

    just maybe, they are in those lovely parts of the US of A where they can't get decent broadband. You know, where the big pipe providers skipped because it wouldn't be profitable or promised a fiber rollout for everyone and didn't deliver.

    With this in mind, perhaps tethering is their only access to the net. Or, they're running a cellular enabled router ( Like say a Cisco 819 ) to provide a household with net access.

    So while it's possible someone is watching Netflix via their phone, or streaming music 25 hours a day, 8 days a week, don't rule out the possibility that, due to the carriers greed, their phone may be one of the few options they have.

    • I posted this a little while ago and didn't know I wasn't logged in show it shows up from an AC, but anyhow... This is ME! I have an old farm property 25 miles south of Milwaukee, just 3 miles west of I-94. Not "out there" by any means. Cable terminates 1 mile down the road; no DSL; no U-verse; HughesNet has strict caps; and the one microwave internet provider in the area, I don't have line of sight to their towers. So, I have no access to broadband via wire. I *do* have an unlimited data plan with good LT
  • If I'm grandfathered into a discontinued unlimited plan, keep letting me use the highest speeds that were available when you stopped offering the plan to new customers.

    In 2020 I'll either be content with "slow" 2015-era speeds or I'll switch plans (or carriers).

  • ** Hands around customer's throat **

    You're using too much bandwidth! Stop it!

  • at&t charged me at the end of last year almost $800 for data on my unlimited plan.

    do i have any chance of suing them? if you want to work pro-bono for 100% of the proceeds at the end, let me know.

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