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The beginning of the end: Sprint starts throttling some unlimited data users

Sprint Throttling

Remember when we told you to brace yourself because the death of unlimited wireless data in the United States is imminent? Well, the beginning of the end is finally upon us: Sprint, one of unlimited mobile data’s last and biggest and last defenders, will soon begin to throttle some wireless subscribers with unlimited data plans.

FierceWireless on Thursday reported that Sprint is “slamming the brakes” on unlimited high-speed data for around 5% of its wireless customers in congested areas. According to the report, postpaid Sprint customers and prepaid subscribers on Virgin Mobile or Boost Mobile will be throttled.

“[Throttling] will enable us to provide more customers with a high quality data experience during heavy usage times,” Sprint said in a statement to FierceWireless. “Once the customer is no longer connected to a congested cell site, or the site is no longer congested, speeds will return to normal.”

How do you know if you’re at risk of being throttled? According to the carrier, subscribers who use more than 5GB of data in a single billing period could experience slowed data speeds.

What constitutes a congested area? Whatever Sprint decides constitutes a congested area.

Of note, Sprint did say that subscribers will no longer be throttled once the leave congested areas.

Below is an example of a text message received by subscribers who might be at risk of having their data speeds throttled:

Beginning 6/1/14, to provide more customers with a high quality data experience during heavy usage times, Virgin Mobile USA may manage prioritization of access to network resources in congested areas for customers within the top 5 percent of data users.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.