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H2O Wireless Throttling All High Speed Data to 8 Mbps

H2O Wireless LogoAT&T MVNO H2O Wireless has started throttling the "high speed" data on all its plans to 8 mbps for LTE connections and 4 mbps for HSPA+. The change, which was first noticed by a few HowardForums members on Sunday,  has been confirmed by a change H2O made to their Terms and Conditions page. Sometime in the last few days, H2O added  the sentence;

Download speeds max of 8Mbps (LTE)/4Mbps (4G). to Section 16. Data Service and Charges of their T&C's.

8 mbps is not really slow, in fact it's fast enough for HD video streaming, although just barely. AT&T's own Cricket brand has been throttling LTE to 8  mbps and HSPA+ to 4 mbps ever since AT&T acquired Cricket in 2013 and most Cricket users seem satisfied with the speed. Of course, if you routinely download massive files like feature length films or PC OS iso's  it's going to take a lot longer at 8 mbps than at the up to 100 mbps the un-throttled AT&T LTE network is capable of. But H2O plans do not include unlimited high speed data. The top plan provides 10 GB of high speed data for $60/month so downloading lots of huge files on H2O has never been practical or cost effective.

The carriers appear to be testing the waters with high speed data throttling using things like Cricket and H2O's 8 mbps throttle, AT&T's 3 mbps prepaid and postpaid unlimited data plans and Verizon's 5 mbps MVNO data throttle. I expect we will be seeing more operators adopt the practice of throttling high speed data, especially of lower cost plans like H2O's, but also on unlimited data plans. Operators clearlybelieve that when data speeds are throttled, customers use less data, and they probably have the data to prove it. Slower data changes user behaviour. If your 4K video stutters and HD doesn't, which will you watch? If OS updates take forever when using your mobile hotspot, but fly on your 100 mbps home WiFi connection, you'll wait to get home to update. I think someday mobile will switch from a quantity based model for selling capped high speed data to an unlimited data model where customers pay more for faster data like wired broadband already does.

Source: HowardForums (1), (2)

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23 comments:

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  1. If they can give unlijited 5mbps for $40 it will be a guge deal

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  2. That is why the T-Mobile MVNO's are doing so well.
    AT&T MVNO's cut back on alot of data extras as well as international calling perks.

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    1. I'll give you Ultra, but which other non-TF, T-Mobile exclusive MVNOs do you know to be doing really well?

      If some of the PPN article comments are to be believed, Lyca is a dead carrier walking...

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  3. Assuming AT&T forces H2O's hand in the matter, why is AT&T seemingly so paranoid?

    As Dennis noted, the highest tier offered is 10GB. Assuming all H2O customers are on the 10GB plan, is the AT&T network so crippled that it can't provide even 10GB at >8 Mbps? Has H2O grown so much (now not assuming everyone is on the 10GB plan, but a non-PAYG monthly data plan.)

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    1. I believe it's H2O's doing. MVNOs pay for data by the MB or GB. The more data customers use the less money H2O makes. AT&T has given MVNOs the ability to throttle data but it's up to the MVNO whether to use it or not.

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    2. @Dennis, so are you saying that H2O is hoping that throttling already limited data plans will discourage customers from using all the data they bought?

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    3. Yes. See the last paragraph of my post for an explanation of how throttling changes user behavior to reduce data consumption.

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  4. Boost mobile users on the unlimited data plan have download speeds between 0.06 and 11.5 Mbps it depends on the area the phone is receiving the 4g data. The speed fluctuations in Boost mobile service may be the same for H2O and Verizon and T-Mobile so these carriers are already decreasing customer data usage through spotty coverage. There are Boost Mobile customers that dropped their home internet, cable and phone and those customers use over 20gb of data each day or 600gb per month

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  5. Has anyone noticed that Airvoice hasn't done anything with their plans in a while?

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    1. Jason in PortlandJune 27, 2017 at 3:47 PM

      However, I wouldn't hesitate to give Airvoice (or a different prepaid AT&T-based product) a try. My time on H2O in 2015 was brief and dissatisfying to the point where I walked away by removing autopay information and leaving my phone turned off. Airvoice was prompt and courteous to my questions as a 'potential customer' as another example.

      Even though it's not "unlimited", I'm currently using the $45/mo. GoPhone plan as 6 GB of data is more than enough for my use. We can pick unthrottled options while we can.

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  6. Now there's no incentive to pick h2O over cricket, since iMessage and group texts on iPhones don't work on H2O.

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    1. I thought so too, but they upped their data buckets for the same price points as Cricket. So for everyone with an Android phone and iPhone owners who don't care about iMessage, they may like more data.

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  7. I'd be happy if Sprint would "throttle" my connection UP to 8mbps!

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    1. Yeah, it is much higher than the T-Mobile speed I get almost all the time.

      But even then, I am fine with 5mbps. It lets me stream anything I want.

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  8. Alright. Show me how to get to puretalk. I looked at their website but I still don't see anything for the double data..?

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    1. What double data? No one said anything about double data.

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    2. PureTalk also charges taxes and fees as well.

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  9. You had the article about Pure TALK USA doubling their data. I looked at the article and you wrote that it starts next month. Bummer that's when the free 1st month ends...

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  10. I've always thought the whole wireless model was poor, where they went from unlimited data to tiny data "buckets." Awesome, so I've got a shiny new LTE phone on a 50Mbps speed network with such a small amount of data I can hardly use and can blow through in a few hours (or less). They should have simply gone to the standard broadband model where different speed tiers command different prices. Don't care about speed and just need to do basic stuff? Here's your 1Mbps plan, with unlimited data. I'd take that any day over what we have now, with speeds unregulated or consistent and completely dependent upon how many people are on the tower. No one on? woo hoo, 80Mbps! Crowded tower? creep along at 1Mbps or less anyways. Stupid.

    The wireless industry should have gone to a metered speed platform long ago and kept unlimited data. Would have extended the network capability on the oversold towers and most people wouldn't notice the difference anyways. I can stream video at 1Mbps just fine on my 5 1/2" screen, too.

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  11. By the time metered connections become standard, I expect at least 30mbps/$60, as it shouldn't cost upwards of $100 just to stream 1080p in an increasingly 4k world.

    With that said, I wish H2O would throttle their speeds UP to at least 8mbps before even considering any kind of caps.

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  12. H20 wireless sucks. Each month I went through my 8 G of data faster and faster till finally I had data for about 2 weeks and could use my phone for nothing after the speed was so slow. You can't send pictures to anyone. Every month I was on the phone with customer service for at least an hour because of problems with auto pay. My prepay debit card would decline the auto recharge.
    I left for Sprint and will never go back

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    Replies
    1. Then you should've got a bigger data plan or a Gophone unlimited plan.

      Delete
  13. All except FreedomPop MVNO's are the same basically in price, they all want 30 bucks and up and 20 gets you next to nothing.

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