Sprint: We won't throttle wireless data speeds on our network

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) is not going throttle or limit subscribers' wireless broadband speeds for excessive use of its 3G network or Clearwire's (NASDAQ: CLWR) mobile WiMAX network. However, the carrier said it will consider suspending the service of mobile broadband subscribers who use excessive amounts of data when roaming on other carriers' networks. 

Sprint's decision is in sharp contrast to the move taken by T-Mobile USA in April to throttle the speeds of users who exceed a 5 GB monthly data cap. Sprint, the nation's No. 3 carrier, has also indicated that it does not plan to follow AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) decision to move to a usage-based model for mobile data pricing.

However, documents uncovered by the blog Engadget Friday seemed to indicate that Sprint might begin throttling subscribers later this summer. Not so, according to Sprint. Sprint spokesman Mark Elliott told Dow Jones Newswires that the change in policy does not apply to users of Sprint's core services. "Sprint does not, nor plan to limit speeds, nor change a customer's ability to use any particular application or Internet site," he said.

Instead, any limits would apply to mobile broadband plans for devices such as mobile broadband cards and USB modems. The carrier said that excessive data use on these devices while roaming on other carriers' mobile broadband networks could cause Sprint to suspend the off-network service until the subscriber's next billing cycle. Additionally, a subscriber could choose to get a plan with off-network overage charges. Sprint plans to make the changes to off-network mobile data usage in the middle of July.

In April, T-Mobile said that instead of charging $0.20 per MB of data that users went over their 5 GB limit, the carrier will slow down users' speeds--but T-Mobile did not say by how much.

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)
- see this Engadget post

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