A judge in Southern California on Friday awarded $850 to an iPhone user who was throttled on AT&T’s network, according to the Associated Press. Judge Russell Nadel of Ventura Superior Court in Simi Valley found in favor of Matt Spaccarelli, who filed a small claims case against AT&T last month. Spaccarelli argued that the carrier unfairly slowed speeds on his iPhone 4’s unlimited data plan and said his phone was being throttled after using a mere 1.5 gigabytes to 2 gigabytes of data per month, even though AT&T’s 3GB monthly plan costs the same price of $30 per month. Judge Nadel awarded Spaccarelli $85, instead of the $10,000 he requested, for each of the 10 months left on his contract — totaling to $850. More →
Sprint, a carrier that often touts itself as the only carrier with “truly unlimited” data plans, actually throttles its heaviest data users. Speaking at an investor conference on Thursday, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse admitted that Sprint imposes limits the top 1% of data hogs. “For those that want to abuse it, we can knock them off,” Hesse said. The executive explained that Sprint needs to throttle — or slow down the data speeds — of its heaviest users in order to make room for the growing number of smartphone users on its 3G and 4G WiMAX networks. Earlier on Thursday Sprint detailed its first 4G LTE markets, which will roll out in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio during the first half of this year. More →
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 →
In line with earlier rumors, T-Mobile confirmed on Monday that it will launch its first 4G mobile hotspot on Wednesday, April 13th. Built by ZTE, the T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot will allow up to five devices to connect via Wi-Fi and share T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ cellular data service. The unit will run $79.99 with a new two-year contract, and a new $84.99 data plan will be available at launch. The new plan provides 10GB of mobile broadband per month with no overages — instead, data speeds will be throttled when the 10GB soft cap is reached. More →
T-Mobile on Tuesday announced the addition of two new unlimited plans to its portfolio. Dubbed “Even More” and “Even More Plus,” both plans afford subscribers with unlimited nationwide voice calling, unlimited messaging and unlimited data. Both plans also include 2GB soft caps, so customers who go over 2GB in a single billing period will have their data speeds reduced, or throttled, until the next billing period begins. T-Mobile says its 4G smartphone users average about 1GB of data each month. “Consumers today are looking for even more value and flexibility from their wireless plans,” said T-mobile SVP of Marketing, John Clelland, in a statement. “While data plans for many of our competitors continue to be very expensive, T-Mobile is lowering the price of our unlimited plans and offering more options, making it easier than ever for customers to step up to a richer mobile data experience on our 4G network.” The $79.99 Even More plan is available to contract customers while the $59.99 Even More Plus plan is available to customers on a month-to-month basis. Both plans become available for a limited time beginning Wednesday, April 13th. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
According to a PDF memo available on Verizon Wireless’ website (for now), the company will begin to throttle the data-throughput speeds of customers that consume an “extraordinary amount of data” and “seamlessly” optimize content for smartphones. Hit the jump to read all the details. 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 →
Rumors are starting to fly around the the interwebs about the alleged throttling of upload speeds by everyones favorite wireless carrier AT&T (note: sarcasm). Users are reporting — on Apple’s discussion boards amongst other places — upload speeds topping out at around 100 Kbps in areas that consistently had much higher upload speds. If you’re wondering if your upload speeds are what they should be, go ahead and grab Speedtest.net (available for Android, Apple, BlackBerry, Palm) and let us know what your clocking in at. Currently, I’m seeing 1.8 Mbps down and 1.2 Mbps up in Boston, MA, however…BG is seeing around 300 Kbps down and around 50 Kbps up in New York, NY (ew). How about you? 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?
Consumer advocacy groups are up in arms after a closer look at XOHM’s acceptable use policy reveals the following interesting distressing information:
“To ensure a high-quality experience for its entire subscriber base, XOHM may use various tools and techniques designed to limit the bandwidth available for certain bandwidth intensive applications or protocols, such as file sharing.”
Not only do we have Sprint/XOHM saying they have the right to throttle the WiMax connection but they provide no information on how they will do it, nor what criteria will actually trigger the throttling. Haven’t they learned from the whole Comcast debacle where Comcast faced a lawsuit by the Florida Attorney General for arbitrarily shutting down those deemed to be “heavy users” without providing the exact bandwidth cap that triggered the penalty? We wont even get into Comcast’s recent bandwidth throttling plan that resulted from the FCC’s investigation into their BitTorrent packet hijacking disaster. Or how about T-Mobile that just last week had to retract their 1GB cap after public outcry and replaced it with an even more vague policy that will throttle only a “small fraction of our customers who have excessive or disproportionate usage”. We think Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, sums it up nicely:
“We are very troubled by this development and the larger moves across the wireless industry to limit consumer access to the legal content and services of their choice. We hope that Sprint will quickly disclose exactly what tools and techniques it plans to use, and demonstrate why it is necessary to maintain a closed network when consumers demand an open Internet.”
We and many others anxiously await Sprint’s answer.