Comcast recently announced that it may soon begin charging additional fees to broadband Internet subscribers who go over their monthly bandwidth allowances. The cable operator currently suspends customers’ service if they repeatedly go over their 250GB monthly data allowances rather than charging any penalties. Instead of capping broadband customers at 250GB per month, however, Comcast plans to raise the cap to 300GB and charge $10 for each 50GB block of data above that limit, Digital Trends reported. The change is currently being tested with select customers but if successful, the company plans to implement the change across its network. Comcast began capping data in 2008, and it claimed the measure was necessary in order to manage its network. More →
Data caps that wireless carriers and internet service providers often implement on heavy data users may not be the right solution for avoiding network congestion. Instead, ISPs and carriers should throttle data speeds to ensure solid network performance. Research firm Diffraction Analysis recently set out to discover if “data hogs” — the few people on the internet who consume more data than the general population — really do have a negative effect on the overall quality of a network. Read on for more. More →
Sprint on Thursday confirmed that it will soon introduce a data cap tied to its mobile hotspot add-on for smartphone users. Currently, Sprint subscribers with compatible smartphones can pay an extra $29.99 per month for unlimited Wi-Fi tethering, which allows other devices to connect via Wi-Fi in order to utilize a Sprint phone’s 3G or 4G data connection. Beginning October 2nd, the mobile hotspot add-on will be capped at 5GB of data per month. Read on for more. More →
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.
T-Mobile on Monday introduced several new postpaid and prepaid plans headlined by a variety of throttled unlimited options that cater to a wide range of data-hungry smartphone users. The new individual unlimited plans start at $59.99 for unlimited nationwide voice calling and unlimited text messaging, and then become incrementally more expensive when unlimited data is added. Users can opt for unlimited data with 200MB of “high-speed” data for an extra $10 each month for a total of $69.99, 2GB of high-speed data for a total of $79.99, 5GB of high-speed data for $89.99, or 10GB of high-speed data for $119.99 each month. Once the high-speed data ceiling on one of the aforementioned plans is reached in a single month, data speeds will be reduced significantly — or “throttled” — until a new billing period begins. T-Mobile revamped several other postpaid plans and added two new prepaid options as well, and the details can be found in the press release below or on the carrier’s site. 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 →
Thursday turned out to be a nightmarish day for internet junkies across Canada, as the CRTC ruled that both Bell can proceed with plans to charge broadband customers per gigabyte of data consumed. Known as usage-based billing, the CRTC granted Bell permission to go ahead with the changes on the condition that it does not charge usage-based rates to wholesalers until all of its retail customers are switched over to usage-based plans. Bell did away with uncapped data allotments in 2006 and the vast majority of its retail customers are presently on usage-based plans. If and when all consumers are on the new plans, Bell will be able and willing to impose a cap of 2GB, 20GB and 60GB on its 512Kbps, 2 Mbps and 5Mbps services. Anyone who exceeds the cap will have to pay $1.12 per GB up to a maximum of $22.50. Exceed 300GB and pay an additional $0.75 per GB. Many wholesalers are crying foul over the ruling as it gives Bell an even greater advantage over its partners wholesales and significantly reduces competition in the broadband market as it will force rates to be raised. Bell has yet to comment on the ruling. More →
FierceWireless is reporting that U.S. cellular provider T-Mobile will no longer be hitting smartphone users with overage charges if they go over the 5GB monthly quota set on most data plans. However…the company did say it would, “throttle users’ speeds if they exceed that limit.” Details on the what a “throttled” user can expect to see for speeds where not divulged; although, we think wireless data at slower speeds beats the heck out of an astronomical phone bill. T-Mo also announced that those users with a 250MB monthly data plan will now be charged $0.10/MB for overages of their monthly allowance, a 50% reduction from the previous rate of $0.20/MB. Not earth shattering stuff, but definitely something that earns a little consumer karma for the #4 carrier in the States. Let us know what you think about the move in the comments. More →