New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Sprint Throttles Top 1% of Data Users, No "Truly Unlimited" Data For US iPhone Users [Updated x2]

Though Sprint, the United States' newest iPhone carrier, has been running advertisements touting its "truly unlimited" network, the carrier is throttling smartphone customers who use "excessive" amounts of data, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
For those that want to abuse it, we can knock them off," [Sprint CEO Dan] Hesse said at an investor conference Thursday. He said Sprint pares back data use for about 1% of users, a practice known as throttling.


"You'd be shocked how much data you use in a month," Sprint asks in a recent television advertisement. "What happens if you go over? With Sprint, you don't have to worry; only Sprint offers truly unlimited data."

Hesse did say there were no plans for Sprint to move to tiered data plans like Verizon and AT&T have switched to in recent years, however it appears that there is no longer any US carrier that offers "truly unlimited" data plans for the iPhone.

Update: As pointed out by TechCrunch, Dow Jones seems to have misinterpreted Hesse. The throttling only applies to customers who use excessive data while roaming on partnered networks -- "a guy in his house in rural Montana" for example. Sprint's fine print notes the carrier will begin throttling after 300 MB of "off-network" data usage.

Update 2: Sprint has now clarified the situation with a blog post indicating the carrier does not throttle any customer's data usage, even for those with excessive roaming usage. The carrier does, however, have terms in place that permit it to terminate the contracts of users with heavy roaming usage, and it attempts to reach out to those customers and work with them before terminating their contracts.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

42 months ago
"For those that want to abuse it, we can knock them off"

Correct, using as much data as you want on an unlimited plan is definitely abuse.

Why do all the carriers in the US suck?
Rating: 24 Votes
42 months ago

I use my iPhone quite a lot and I reset it over a month ago. Since then it's reporting it has downloaded 154MB of data.

Can someone explain what these excessive users actually find to download on their phones that puts them in the top 1%?

Someone on MR posted that they purposely ran Pandora all night long on mute...those are the kind of people that made this happen
Rating: 20 Votes
42 months ago
Wait wait wait, hold up.

If they allow you to use as much data as you want a month regardless if its throttled or not, its still technically unlimited right?

Should read there is no truly Un-throttled data plans for iPhone users in the U.S.
Rating: 19 Votes
42 months ago
The top 1%?

Occupy: Sprint
Rating: 19 Votes
42 months ago
Will "unlimited internet" ever truly exist on a mobile network without some sort of small print limit/throttling for excessive use?
Rating: 18 Votes
42 months ago
Why does this not surprise me in the least?
Rating: 16 Votes
42 months ago
Truly unlimited (

Someone needs to teach them the definitions of "truly" and "unlimited".

I was contemplating switching over, but not any more.
Rating: 12 Votes
42 months ago

Guys, what are you doing on your phones that needs this much data? I run my phone on Wi-fi only. I will admit I am an excessively frugal person but I talk to friends on some of those crazy +$100 plans with everything just to figure out how they can justify THAT much data usage. I have not gotten an answer yet...

If you stream video content then even a 30 minute show could use 600MB+.

If you add in Apps, Web Browsing, Streaming Audio etc. or tethering with a computer then you've got a lot of usage.
Rating: 11 Votes
42 months ago
Since they have ads that point specifically to T-Mobile's throttling, could someone claim false advertising? Or are they simply saying that they could throttle people they think are abusing the system (i.e. not simply throttling everyone in the top 1%)?
Rating: 11 Votes
42 months ago
Its one thing to say you don't throttle when you do, but its another to completely make it the foundation of your entire 'Come to Sprint' iPhone campaign...

What a joke...false advertising.
Rating: 11 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]