Sprint will reportedly introduce a 5GB cap on mobile hotspot data for smartphone users beginning October 2nd. A purported leaked document obtained by SprintFeed states that Sprint’s $29.99 Wi-Fi tethering add-on for smartphones will no longer be unlimited beginning early next month. Additional data above the 5GB cap will be billed at $0.05 per megabyte according to the document. The new policy would not impact standard smartphone data, nor would it affect the mobile hotspot function on tablets. This is a slippery slope, however, and it could indicate that Sprint’s unlimited data plans are eating too much the carrier’s margins to be sustainable. Sprint has told BGR on numerous occasions that it will continue to offer unlimited data plans for as long as it can, and the carrier is expected to launch Apple’s iPhone 5 next month with unlimited data. Sprint did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
AT&T will begin to throttle data speeds during the first week of October, 9to5 Mac reported on Thursday. The carrier could move to throttle the data speeds of its biggest data users in an effort to ensure network stability for its first LTE devices, which are expected to launch later this year. It remains unclear how low AT&T will knock the throughput down to, but 9to5 Mac says Virgin currently forces data hogs down to 256Kbps until the next billing cycle after they use more than 2.5GB. T-Mobile also throttles its data speeds after users go over their monthly 5GB “unlimited” cap. The move should actually be beneficial for most AT&T customers looking for stable performance and will only affect those who use much more data than the average customer according to the report. More →
In a report today, Reuters noted that Verizon Wireless’ cellular data offerings are in for a major overhaul. “Verizon Wireless plans to kick off pricing changes this summer by eliminating smartphone plans that allow unlimited Web access for a flat fee,” reads the article. “It will replace them with tiered pricing that forces heavy data users to pay more for mobile data.” The report goes on to paraphrase Verizon Communications’ CFO, Fran Shammo, who explained that “after this change, which forces heavy data users to pay more, the company will look to soften the blow by offering more options such as family plans for data services.” Currently, Verizon Wireless smartphone users with family plans are required to pay $29.99 per line for cellular data. Non-family-plan smartphone customers can purchase unlimited mobile data (with a 5GB allowance) for the same monthly price. More →
A new report on Sunday states AT&T will soon introduce data caps to its wireline broadband subscribers nationwide. AT&T has confirmed the move, which will go into effect on May 2nd. The caps will be set at 150GB per month for DSL customers and 250GB for U-Verse subscribers. AT&T will charge $10 for every 50GB over the cap, though overages will not be charged until customers exceed the cap in three separate months over the life of an account. The carrier states that only 2% of DSL subscribers will be affected by the change, though it does not specify what percentage of its U-Verse subscribers might be affected. AT&T also confirmed that it will implement a notification system that will “proactively notify customers when they exceed 65%, 90% and 100% of the monthly usage allowance.” More →
AT&T on Thursday responded to a Better Business Bureau complaint alleging that the carrier is capping data speeds on new “4G” devices like the Motorola ATRIX 4G. The BBB grievance was part of a series of complaints, both public and private, pertaining to slower than expected upload speeds on devices like the ATRIX 4G and HTC’s Inspire 4G. AT&T responded to BGR’s request for comment earlier this week, but the carrier’s statement left some room for interpretation. Now, any vagueness has been eliminated, at least in the case of the ATRIX. “Be assured that AT&T has not ‘capped’ the upload speeds on the ATRIX,” an AT&T appeals manager stated in a letter to a customer. “The ATRIX is a HSUPA-capable device, and we currently are performing the testing and preparations necessary to ensure that, when we turn this feature on, you will continue to have a world class experience.” This confirmation that the ATRIX 4G will have HSUPA enabled in the future should help ease the tension among users who are currently experiencing slow upload speeds, though AT&T has not commented on why HSUPA was disabled to begin with. Hit the break for AT&T’s full response. More →
Some Motorola ATRIX 4G and HTC Inspire 4G owners on the AT&T network have been up in arms since purchasing their new 4G handsets. Despite the presence of “4G” in each moniker, users are experiencing slower than expected upload speeds on the devices. Some users like Zack Nebbaki have been so upset by the slow upload speeds, they’ve gone as far as to create a petition to voice their discontent. While we wish we had something more concrete to report, we just received the following comment from an AT&T spokesperson that may help put some minds at ease: “We have a number of HSUPA devices today and we will have more HSUPA-enabled devices in the future — new devices and updates to existing models.” The statement does not specifically refer to the ATRIX or Inspire so nothing is confirmed, but the mention of “updates to existing models” should at least give users hope that their 4G phones might be updated in the future.
Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference this afternoon, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo told investors that Verizon Wireless plans to move to tiered data plans in the near future. The plans, which could roll out as early as this summer, may be based on consumption, speed, or a combination of the two. “We are still working on the models,” said Mr. Shammo. The CFO mentioned that Verizon Wireless consciously decided against a tiered data option with the recently launched iPhone 4, noting that the company did not want to dissuade any potential buyers. When asked about the unlimited $30 data plan currently being offered for smartphones, Mr. Shammo quipped, “Everyone knows that isn’t long-term. We will move to tiered pricing in the mid-summer time frame.” What do you think Big Red customers? Sound off in the comments. More →
Perhaps it was too good to be true. In a conversation with PCMag, Virgin Mobile made known that its $40 per month truly unlimited data plan was going the way of the Dodo. Citing the need to implement network controls to ensure optimal experience,” the company said the $40 Broadband2Go plan would now carry a monthly cap of 5GB. Since all Virgin Mobile subscribers are on month-to-month agreements, the new 5GB cap will take affect on the first day of a new billing cycle after February 15th. Any Broadband2Go users out there upset? More →
It certainly was a good day for Cupertino-based electronics company, Apple Inc. The company’s stock hit an all-time high of $301.96 per share — before closing at a more modest $300.14 per share — and, according to Gartner research, Apple now holds 10.4% of U.S. computer sales.
Market analytic firm Gartner is reporting that U.S. PC sales grew by roughly 2.2% from Q3 in 2009 to Q3 in 2010. In that same time period, Apple PC shipments increased by 13.7% to total 1.83 million units. Apple is now positioned fourth in shipments amongst U.S. PC manufacturers, trailing third-place Acer by roughly 17,000 units. HP and Dell hold the number one and two spots respectively and collectively account for over 50% of U.S. PC sales.
Gartner’s study isn’t all flowers and lollipops for Apple. The iCompany did not manage to break into the top six vendors in worldwide PC shipments for Q3; the top six companies are (in order): HP, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Toshiba. The worldwide PC market grew 7.6% year-over-year.
If the lack of international mojo has the folks in Cupertino feeling a bit inadequate, just remember this: your market capitalization is currently $274.2 billion… that’s just over a quarter of a trillion dollars and more than double the market caps of HP and Dell combined. More →
Recently, T-Mobile released a statement detailing how it would handle customers who utilize more than 5 GB of data per month on their mobile devices. The statement reads:
Beginning on October 16, T-Mobile will begin to reduce data speeds when a customer reaches 5GB of usage in a billing cycle, in accordance with T-Mobile terms and conditions. This change should only affect extreme data users (less than 1 percent) and is being made to ensure that all subscribers receive the best Web performance available by limiting the number of extreme data users on our network.
The majority of T-Mobile customers should not be affected by this change. The new 5 GB threshold limit, which is equivalent to approximately 125,000 yahoo.com page visits, is enough bandwidth to satisfy most customers’ Web and data needs.
If a customer happens to reach the 5GB limit, they will receive a free text message informing them their data speed will be reduced. Customers will continue to have Web browsing capabilities but at slower speeds, which will be determined by their device type. Once their new billing cycle begins, data speeds will no longer be restricted.
Customers can track their data usage through My T-Mobile, MyAccount, or the SIVR.
Any T-Mobile users out there eclipse 5 GB of data per month on a regular basis? More →
A California smartphone user has filed a class-action lawsuit against his wireless provider, T-Mobile USA. The plaintiff became upset and sought legal council after T-Mobile sent him the following message:
Your data usage in this billing cycle has exceeded 10GB; Data throughput for the remainder of the cycle may be reduced to 50kbps or less.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs phone became “virtually useless” after his data speeds were throttled, and the user is now stuck in a 2-year contract with the not-really-unlimited mobile provider. Regardless of your feelings on this particular filing, it will be interesting to see how the case is ruled. A judgement in the classes favor could spur a tidal wave of similar suits as many U.S. carriers tout “unlimited” data plans that actually have a data cap. Any guesses on how the plaintiff hit 10GB of data in under a month? Our guess is pictured above. More →
With little fanfare, Comcast launched a new online file backup service called Secure Backup & Share for its broadband internet customers. The new service utilizes Mozy, an online backup solution that is currently managed by Decho Corporation, a subsidiary of EMC. Using a tool installed on your PC and soon Mac, the service will backup selected files to a secure online location that can be accessed from any web browser, including your web-enabled mobile phone. Three tiers of storage are available including the Standard 2GB plan which is free, the Preferred 50GB plan which is $4.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly, and the Premier 200GB plan which is $9.99 monthly or $99.99 yearly. Apparently Comcast forgot about its bandwidth cap and “network management techniques” when offering these plans as the 200GB plan comes dangerously close to the 250GB monthly cap and the uploading process will definitely cause you to max out your connection for more than 15 minutes which may result in your connecting being throttled. Comcast does not state whether the cap or throttling is waived for those accounts that purchase a storage plan, so we must assume that both are still in effect, a situation that certainly diminishes the attractiveness of these plans. It also begs the question, if Comcast’s network is so strained that it has to enforce a cap and utilize “network management techniques”, why are they offering a bandwidth-intensive online storage solution?
There wasn’t much relevant negative attention that came from Tuesday’s T-Mobile event showcasing the official announcement of the HTC G1. One large point of contention however, was the realization that the carrier planned to limit G1 owners’ 3G data throughput to 1 gigabyte per month. The imposed 1 GB limit would be a soft limit and excess data would be slowed or even impeded. No, no, no. Mainstream media, the blogosphere and potential G1 owners alike went right to work on the ridiculous stipulation expressing a great deal of – how can we put it lightly – concern. Well it took less than 24 hours for T-Mobile to respond to the outrage, and respond it did. In an official statement, T-Mobile has announced that the 1 GB soft limit on 3G data is kaput. According to the statement there will still be limits imposed and penalties for excessive usage but they will likely be far more reasonable.
We have a responsibility to provide the best network experience for all of our customers so we reserve the right to temporarily reduce data throughput for a small fraction of our customers who have excessive or disproportionate usage that interferes with our network performance or our ability to provide quality service to all of our customers.
Sure, that can be interpreted a variety of ways but the bottom line is T-Mobile is now under the microscope in terms of how it finalizes G1 data restrictions. It now knows it can’t pull off an unfair cap and the amended terms are expected to be much more reasonable once finalized. Good job people. As T-Mobile continues to roll out its young 3G data network there is absolutely no reason that it should be allowed to skimp on strength and reliability. 1 GB per month? Not a chance.