Sprint today announced that they would begin throttling customers who used more than 23 GB of data during their billing cycle, regardless of whether they had unlimited data plans or not. The move, according to Sprint Chief Technology Officer Dr. John Saw, is to provide a better customer experience for the majority of their users.
The 23GB threshold is typical in the industry and other carriers have already implemented a similar practice. We agree this is a smart approach towards making sure a small number of customers don’t adversely impact the experience for others. Today approximately three percent of our postpaid subscribers are using overwhelmingly disproportionate network resources. Our goal with QoS is to prevent some portion of that three percent going forward from negatively impacting the other 97 percent of customers.
The carrier notes that 23 GB of data would allow a user to send 6,000 emails with attachments, view 1,500 web pages, post 600 photos to social media, stream 60 hours of music and stream 50 hours of video. Sprint also says that number is "far more" than most of its customers use in a typical billing cycle.
The change will affect those who choose an unlimited data handset plan after October 16 or to Sprint customers who choose to upgrade their devices on or after October 16. Those who go over 23 GB will see their data prioritized below other customers, which means they will encounter slower data speeds, but only in times and locations where the network is constrained.
This summer, T-Mobile also decided to update their plans to throttle customers. However, T-Mobile's soft data cap is 21 GB, slightly less than Sprint's choice. T-Mobile also announced that it would restrict customers who abused data tethering, saying some of its customers use up to 2,000 GB a month.