Sprint is one of the only US carriers still offering an unlimited data plan, and that’s something that the company frequently touts. Starting today, though, customers on an unlimited plan will be subject to a throttling policy.
Sprint today announced what it calls a Quality of Service (QoS) policy that’ll prioritize heavy unlimited data users below everyone else when Sprint’s network is constrained. The threshold that users must cross in order to get be throttled is 23GB, which Sprint says is “typical in the industry.”
This new QoS policy will take effect for customers that sign up for an unlimited plan starting today, October 16. Sprint customers that were on an unlimited plan prior to October 16 will be subject to the QoS policy when they upgrade their phone and remain on an existing unlimited data plan.
Sprint goes to great lengths to point out that heavy data users will only be throttled when they’re in an area where the network is constrained. The prioritization that’ll throttle these users is applied and removed every 20 seconds, Sprint explains, and heavy data users will see their network performance return to normal once the network is no longer congested or if they move to a non-constrained site.
T-Mobile also offers an unlimited data plan that will de-prioritize customers that use more than 23GB per month, so it’s not terribly surprising to see Sprint put this new policy into effect. It’s just part of continuing to offer an unlimited data plan in the US. Sprint notes that 3 percent of its postpaid subscribers are using an “overwhelmingly disproportionate” amount of its network resources, so this QoS policy won’t affect most Sprint customers.