Home - , , - It's Not Just Virgin Mobile, Top 5% of Boost Mobile and Sprint Users Will Be Throttled Too

It's Not Just Virgin Mobile, Top 5% of Boost Mobile and Sprint Users Will Be Throttled Too

Those new Virgin Mobile data management rules that we covered yesterday will apply to Boost Mobile and Sprint Prepaid and postpaid customers too. FierceWireless is reporting that Sprint and Boost customers are receiving text messages advising them of the change, which is effective June 1, 2014. The messages direct customers to verbose Web pages detailing Sprint's Web Management policies. The pages for Boost, Virgin and Sprint brands all contain identical new clauses reading;

To more fairly allocate network resources in times of congestion, customers falling within the top 5% of data users may be prioritized below other customers attempting to access network resources, resulting in a reduction of throughput or speed as compared to performance on non-congested sites.

Though the exact amount of data used before a customer falls within the top 5% of data users will vary from month to month, currently customers who typically use 5 GB or more in a given month are likely to fall within the top 5% of data users.

The top 5% of data users will be determined on a monthly basis. If a customer is identified as falling within the top 5% of data users, the customer will be subject to network prioritization for the following month.

It's hard to say what exactly what impact these new policies have on users until they go into effect next month. But what Sprint is saying they will do is clear, each month the top 5% data users will be identified and during the following month those users speeds will be throttled whenever the network segment they are connected to is congested. This new throttling happen to these users even if they haven't used up their current hi-speed data allotment which is 2.5GB on Virgin Mobile and Sprint prepaid and 500MB to 5GB depending on plan with Boost. This change also brings the era of unlimited high-speed data on Sprint postpaid to an end.

As FierceWireless points out, what Sprint is doing isn't new. Verizon and AT&T have had similar data management policies in place since 2011 and T-Mobile assigns lower priority to prepaid plans. 

Unlimited mobile data is an increasingly endangered species. The carriers initially used cheap unlimited data to sell the public on always connected smartphones and tablets. Now that we're sold, and with voice and messaging revenue declining operators are cashing in on the demand for data. At least AT&T and Verizon prepaid are. Both will let you buy more high speed data for $10/GB. Boost and Virgin will let users pay to start a new month when their plan's included high speed data allotment is used up. But it's not clear if starting a new month will restore normal priority to a user in the top 5% data users group.

Image by Hourann Bosci, on Flickr Creative Commons License some rights reserved.


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  1. 1 T-mobile has mainly taken shots at AT&T to get to where they are now and it has worked out fine. 2 now that Sprint is prioritizing all their brands data speeds including postpaid it is time to take serious shots at Sprint for not having truly high speed data. 3 I know there is constant rumors of Sprint buying T-mobile but we know that will likely never get approved by FCC and DOJ if it's ever even announced. So, until that is ever announced T-mobile should now target Sprint hard in advertising and marketing and identify themselves as the only National carrier with truly unthrottled high speed data for everybody. PS Yeswap what do you think was a bigger failure Son/Softbank buying about 80% of Sprint or Google buying Motorola in 2010 for about 13 billion and deciding to sell in 2013 for about 2 billion?

    1. The dollar figures you refer to for Google's purchase/sale of Motorola are misleading for at least four reasons:

      1) You rounded the figures to slant in your favor. Google purchased Motorola for $12.5B (which you rounded up to $13B), but sold it for $2.9B (which you rounded down to $2B).

      2) When Google purchased Motorola, Motorola had $3B cash on the books that got transferred to Google.

      3) Between purchase and sale, Google sold off Motorola's set-top box unit division (Motorola Home) to Arris for $2.35B.

      4) When Google sold Motorola to Lenovo, Google kept Motorola's Advanced Technology and Projects group (including Project Ara) and retained rights to many (most? all?) of Motorola's patents.

      When you use the correct dollar amounts and subtract out the value of the portions sold prior to or retained after the the Lenovo sale, then Google basically paid $4.25B for Project Ara and Motorola's patents. The valuation of these two sets of assets is debatable, but Google's losses (if indeed they were losses at all) were much smaller than the $11B your comment suggests.

    2. T-Mobile does throttle but in a covert way, start passing 25gb and you'll see what I mean. So what Sprint is doing is nothing new, but its network data speed is not the best and it makes this article very funny. Spark is slowly spreading because they have to rebuild infrastructure in the process.

    3. @mike:

      1) The numbers mloudt are fair and not misleading since he is quoting off the top of his head plus he did use the word "about" to qualify the numbers.

      2) If you want to get technical over the TRUE amount Google overpaid for Moto, all you had to do was look at Acquisition Accounting or the amount of goodwill created from the transaction. Note goodwill is simply an accounting term for the difference between consideration paid and the fair market value of acquired assets, respectively. Your $3 billion cash argument is specious because you need to look at the amount of goodwill.

      3. Then you have to understand that Google bought a "money-losing" enterprise. Check out this article that spells out the huge sinkhole http://www.businessinsider.com/motorola-is-just-burning-cash-for-google-2013-10 -- again, your $3 billion cash argument is specious. That $3 billion of cash was sucked up in part due to the huge ongoing operating losses.

      I don't want to debate either the accounting or the economics because this is NOT the correct venue.

      What I like to do is stay on topic. The last tip I gave to Dennis was the Exceed 2 for VZ prepaid. Let's just keep the discussion on prepaid phones.


    4. Point taken. However, it is a little disingenuous to take the high road saying that this is not the venue for debate, and then engaging in debate, while trying to shut down any possible retorts.

      One thing I will say, however, is that even if mloudt was remembering the dollar amounts off the top of his head (which there is no evidence to say one way or the other), the amounts ARE misleading, even if it was unintentional. His rounded figures imply an $11B loss on sale, while the "actual" amounts imply ~$9.5B loss on sale. (Unless you think $1.5B--about 50% of the final sale price--is not a large amount of money.) Same goes for the differences accounted for by selling off Moto Home and keeping Advanced Tech and the patents. I am not criticizing mloudt the person; the figures ARE misleading.

      Since you don't think this is the right venue for debate of this matter, you can have the final word.

      Two things we can both agree on:
      1) Prepaid is the way to go.
      2) prepaidphonenews.com is the best site for prepaid phone news.

  2. I wonder if this will affect Republic Wireless throttle policy. With them, you can be in their "high" usage group once every six months without a throttle.

  3. Sprint's data is already so slow I can't believe they would consider slowing it further. With their poor coverage, high prices and slow data I don't understand how Sprint keeps any customers?

  4. Octavio "T-Mobile does throttle but in a covert way, start passing 25gb and you'll see what I mean"

    A twenty-five GB limit per month is one I can live with, even if it means I have to stop streaming quad-density HD films 25 hours a day.

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