Number four wireless carrier Sprint announced on Friday that it will begin throttling the connection speeds of unlimited data customers that use more than 23GB of data in a monthly billing period.
The new policy is an attempt by the carrier to protect the majority of subscribers against a “small minority” of unlimited data customers who eat up network bandwidth.
Sprint’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. John Saw:
“One way we aim to make the customer experience better is to protect against the possibility that a small minority of customers might occupy an unreasonable share of network resources. With that in mind, we are introducing a new Quality of Service (QoS) practice that applies to customers who choose an unlimited data handset plan launched Oct. 16, 2015, or after, or customers who choose to upgrade their handset on or after Oct. 16 and remain on an existing unlimited data plan. For these customers, if they use more than 23GB of data during a billing cycle, they will be prioritized on the network below other customers for the remainder of their billing cycle, only in times and locations where the network is constrained. (These customers will still be able to use unlimited amounts of data without the worry of overage charges.)”
Saw says approximately three percent of Sprint’s postpaid unlimited data subscribers are using an overwhelmingly disproportionate amount of the carrier’s network resources. “Our goal with QoS is to prevent some portion of that three percent going forward from negatively impacting the other 97 percent of customers,” says Dr. Saw.
Sprint joins number three carrier T-Mobile in throttling unlimited data customers who use an unusually large amount of data each period. The Magenta Network announced in August that it would set a soft cap of 23GB per monthly billing period on it’s unlimited customers. Sprint and T-Mobile are the only two of the big four wireless carriers who still offer new customers unlimited data plans. AT&T and Verizon still have grandfathered-in unlimited customers, and also throttle their data when they reach a soft cap each month.