MVNO Karma throttles data speeds of new Sprint-powered Neverstop unlimited data offering

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The MVNO Karma is throttling the download speeds of its subscription data plan in an effort to prevent customers from using it as their home Internet service, according to The Verge.

Karma launched as a WiMAX-based MVNO in late 2012, and in September 2014 it launched its first LTE product with Sprint, using the occasion to announce it had reached the 100,000-subscriber mark. Two months ago it unveiled Neverstop, a $50-a-month unlimited data service for users of its Go hotspot.

The company said 90 percent of its new customers opted to use Neverstop rather than its pay-as-you-go service, but the new offering may be too popular: Nearly 60 percent reported using Karma Go as their home Internet service, a company poll found, and some found ways to bypass a Neverstop system designed to prevent support for home video streaming and console gaming devices.

Karma responded by running tests that capped data speeds from 1.5 Mbps to 2.5 Mbps, down substantially from the 5 Mbps supported at launch. The company has yet to determine an appropriate speed that will satisfy most customers' demands without allowing them to use it consistently for data-heavy applications.

As mobile data traffic continues to ramp up due largely to the increasing popularity of mobile video, network operators and MVNOs are increasingly struggling with ways to keep customers happy even as they try to minimize congestion. 

Even AT&T, which today reintroduced unlimited data for the first time in five years, said it may slow the transmission speeds of customers who use more than 22 GB per month.

For more:
- see this The Verge report

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