Virgin Mobile, the Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) prepaid brand, in October will begin throttling the connection speeds of customers with smartphones that use more than 2.5 GB of data per month. The company said less than 3 percent of its customers currently use that much data monthly.
Virgin already caps its Broadband2Go subscribers who use more than 2.5 GB of data per month. The company in May said it decided to cap the plans to ensure an optimal user experience for its customers.
Virgin's decision to throttle heavy smartphone data users, however, is surprising considering it is owned by Sprint Nextel, which has been using its unlimited data plan as a competitive advantage against Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility (both of those companies stopped offering unlimited data usage plans to new customers), and as a tool against T-Mobile USA, which also throttles heavy data users.
T-Mobile offers tiered data plans for smartphones and charges $10 for 200 MB, $20 for 2 GB, $30 for 5 GB and $60 for 10 GB. If customers go over their allotted data cap T-Mobile will throttled down to an EDGE, or 2G, experience of around 100 Kbps or less.
Virgin, meanwhile, did not say how much it will throttle customers' data speeds, but it did warn that if they reach the level where they are being throttled, they may experience slower page loads, file downloads and streaming media.
- see this press release
- see this CNET article
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