Sprint Will Use Throttling to Manage Network Congestion

Posted by at 1:04 pm on May 8, 2014

Beginning in June, Sprint will slow down the browsing speeds available to the top 5% of its customers in congested regions.

The change applies to Sprint’s post- and pre-paid customers. Some customers have already received text messages explaining the change.

Sprint explained the change will affect the top consumers of mobile data, but only when they are in a congested area. This change “will enable us to provide more customers with a high quality data experience during heavy usage times,” said Sprint in a statement provided to FierceWirelessTech. “Once the customer is no longer connected to a congested cell site, or the site is no longer congested, speeds will return to normal.” Sprint has long marketed “unlimited data” as a way to differentiate itself from its competitors, all of which sell data but the bucket.

Sprint’s pre-paid arms, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA, have long throttled customers who exceed certain usage amounts. This marks the first time Sprint will throttle its own-branded customers. According to Sprint, it developed “fairness algorithms” on both its CDMA and LTE networks to “dynamically allocate available bandwidth in a way that is fair to all users.”

Sprint further noted that the change isn’t being implemented due to sudden spikes in traffic, but instead reflects a continuing increase in usage.

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