Back in August, Verizon turned heads when it said it would begin to use "Network Optimization" for those few customers still on the old unlimited data plans. In layman's terms, it meant that Verizon intended to throttle the speed of the top 5% of unlimited data users on LTE networks, something that's already in place on the carrier's aging 3G system. But today, the very first day that the policy was set to go into practice, the company seems to have backed down.
It's impossible for new customers to buy unlimited mobile data from Verizon. But this wasn't always the case: back in the glory days of, uh, 2010 and earlier, Verizon Wireless was still offering true unlimited data for as little as $30 a month. It's been increasingly hard for users who want to keep their unlimited data to do so: since late 2012, they haven't been able to buy a new subsidized phone without switching over to a plan with a data cap, and the "grandfathered" unlimited data customers who download the most are already subject to "network optimization" when using Verizon's 3G network.
In this age of tiered data plans, an unlimited option is increasingly hard to come by. Well, little T-Mobile is looking to attract more customers by offering just that – an new unlimited data plan. The carrier already offers an unlimited option on its contract plans, but now that tier is being extended to its popular Monthly4G prepaid service.
The offering will come in at $70 per-month and replace the current $70 Unlimited talk/text and 5GB data plan.
The war on data throttling has been raging on for what seems like forever, with many users left furious that their carrier would slow data speeds to a crawl after X amount of gigabytes (usually two). While most carriers draw a clear line as to when throttling will occur, AT&T has taken a rather shady approach with its unlimited customers in the past, simply stating that "the top five percent of users" will be throttled.
What happens when AT&T sends Fox News' Shep Smith a text message letting him know that he's in the top 5% of data users and will be throttled? A hilarious rant about AT&T ensues, complete with comparison to crack cocaine. Check it out:
Back in July, Sprint announced plans to begin throttling speeds for customers who use more than 2.5GB of data in a month on its pre-paid subsidiary, Virgin Mobile. Naturally, this announcement did not sit well with Virgin customers, despite Sprint's claim that the change would only affect "3% of all data users."
However, the Now Network has decided to delay this throttling plan until sometime in 2012 to "ensure [they] have all the necessary systems in place so that [their] customer experience will remain positive."
There's no word as to exactly when this changeover will take place, but the company "will provide further information on timing beforehand so [their] customers have advance notification."
So, Virgin customers, breathe a sigh of relief, because it looks like you'll be able to bathe in unlimited data for a while longer.
Ah, the data saga continues. Throttling has been a long-time practice of T-Mobile, which drastically slows data speeds for users who go over their set-amount of high-speed access. AT&T recently announced a similar practice, slowing the top 5% of users who were grandfathered in on unlimited data plans.
Verizon also made a drastic change to its smartphone data packages recently, switching from an unlimited-only offering to a tiered setup. Now, even furthering the changes to its data structuring, Big Red will begin implementing "network optimizations" to all existing customers with unlimited plans on 3G devices in September.
In what can only be described as a real sphincter-clencher for Sprint customers, the nation's last true unlimited smartphone data provider has made a move that may signal the eventual end of that philosophy.
Yesterday, Sprint announced that customers on its Virgin-branded pre-paid arm, Virgin Mobile, will now be subjected to data throttling after 2.5GB of usage in a month. Sprint claims this will only affect 3% of all Virgin mobile data subscribers.
T-Mobile is starting to get aggressive with customer acquisition and retention, and in light of less than stellar fiscal performance and the news of the AT&T deal, it's not hard to see why.
On April 13, the carrier will begin offering a new off-contract smartphone plan, and it's a steal - for $59.99 a month (down from $79.99), you'll get unlimited talk, text and data*. But, there are some significant catches.
It almost seems like more worthwhile news comes from XDA-Developers forum members than from carriers and manufacturers, doesn't it? This time around, it's user sino8r with a handy guide on how to modify the ROM on your rooted phone so that your carrier doesn't throttle your data. In other words, this one isn't for the inexperienced or faint of heart.
What exactly do we mean when we say this isn't for the rookies?