Share this Story

Sprint to Begin Throttling Data for Top 5 Percent of Users in Areas With “Heavy Congestion”

Softbank-owned Sprint may have the slowest LTE service in the country, but that is not stopping the carrier from implementing bandwidth throttles on some users. Sprint announced that, beginning next month, the “top 5 percent” of users in areas experiencing “heavy congestion” will see “slower-than-normal data speeds until the congestion has passed.” Customers will receive a text reminder of the new policy before it goes into effect. 

The change applies to the entire Sprint network, including prepaid customers on Boost and Virgin Mobile. Affected subscribers will generally be those who use more than 5GB of data, Sprint said.

Throttling may help to marginally improve speeds, but Sprint still has a lot to worry about. The carrier’s tri-band Spark network falls short of promised speeds, and comes with annoying limitations, such as lack of support for simultaneous call and data usage. The company also lost nearly half a million subscribers during Q1 of this year.

Will the rumored merger with T-Mobile save Sprint? Who knows, but the carrier needs to do something quick if it wishes to convince subscribers to return.

Via: Fierce Wireless
  • TC Infantino

    Congested on Sprint’s network means if there are more than 3 people trying to access the internet at the same time.

  • ckeegan

    Did Sprint not say publicly that they would would NEVER throttle data a year or two ago?

    • Tojen1981

      After all the empty promises Sprint has thrown out there, you still believe what they say?

      • ckeegan

        Oh, I could care less. Sprint coverage is horrible in my area, I would never go with them.

        • Tojen1981

          Oh yeah, same here. Sprint has no coverage where Iive. Everybody that I know who has them still hates the service.

  • DC_Guy

    Sprint throttling data? Isn’t that, in itself, an oxymoron?

  • LisaPNevarez

    Sprint announced that, beginning next month, the “top 5 percent” of users in areas experiencing “heavy congestion” will see “slower-than-normal data speeds until the congestion has passed.” Customers will receive a text reminder of the new policy before it goes into effect.


  • Ajmobileguru

    Verizon to my knowledge does not throttle. I have frequently used up a lot of data and never noticed a slowdown. Not even when I hit 200GB. And before some wisecrack comes and says its because of people like me that VZW no longer offers unlimited, I would say I pay for unlimited and I get unlimited.

  • mark

    It seems it’s everywhere you go Sprint’s network is congested. I bet those 5 percenters won’t even know the difference.

  • Ryanmax

    Sprint – “home of unlimited dialup”. Now, “home of unlimited throttled dialup”.
    “We are bringing HUGE improvements to our network – that is our Network Vision – ETA next year” – rinse and repeat, year after year and

  • Tojen1981

    Does seem like a horrible deal, as long as they remove the throttle during times when congestion isn’t an issue(i.e. evenings/early mornings). Sprint problem is they’ve been whoring out their overtaxed 3g network to too many MVNOs. Hard to keep the post-paid(higher ROI) customers around doing that.

  • bkosh84

    What a way to say “FU” to the users that are actually able to use their network at a fast speed. Holy cow…

    • TylerCameron

      Tell me how data caps truly make the network better? You’re not reducing the load on the network, because the data still flows the same…
      The only way to really keep QoS high is to instead, have speed tiers. They’re simpler, they get rid of dataphobia thay people have now, and power users will pay to have higher speed data. People who don’t need above 3mbps pay for 3mbps. And they’ll be able to still maintain the stupidly high profits they make. Paying $500/month to use 50GB of data is completely unacceptable.

  • Kenny Woodard

    Throttling sucks. AT&T does it to me every month after I reach 5gbs. Which means I get about 5 days with 25mb/s and the other 25 days with about 50kb/s speeds..

    • XboxOne

      Stop using so much data then.

      • Kenny Woodard

        I don’t have a choice, I live in a very rural area with no access to high speed internet. Which means my only option is to use AT&T’s network.

  • Hershel

    not sprint but rather soft bank doing all this.

    wish sprint stayed 100% american…..

  • Droid Ronin

    What a crock. But really, how does one reach 5 GB a month when your download speeds at 50K/s on Sprint’s network?

    • Hershel

      sucks to live on the mountian

      • zurginator

        Also sucks to live in GA. Or AL. Or TN. Or anywhere else i’ve used Sprint.

  • 213ninja


  • Matt G

    Hey Sprint at least you have that awesome Framily plan still!

  • miri

    Been using 50GB/mo at 30Mbps. That’s top 10% at worst, right?

    … right?

    • thelolotov

      I use more than 50 GB a month when I’m in Texas with my girlfriend, her family lives in the middle of nowhere, and there are NO ISPs around there that can provide more than 2 Mbps without terrible latency, or monumental cost. So, I tether, and we use my unlimited Verizon 4G. Much better.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Lmfao.. Oh Sprint I knew this day would come.

  • Brandon Tietsort

    I use almost 5GB alone for Google Play Music. I average 8-12GB a month. c’mon Sprint….

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Who does that? Cache locally.

      • SomeDooD

        What if I need the extra storage space and cant cache?

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          Well you have to pick either getting throttlled by Sprint or Deleting stuff.

          • Hershel

            sounds like the ass holes who complained baout those who bought larger ipods. not everyone wants to choose what music to bring with them

      • Hershel


        not everyone likes to cache…

        • Brandon Tietsort

          @cmhys90:disqus No cache

      • thelolotov

        I do. Because Motorola designed the Droid 4 in a moronic fashion, where there’s 8 GB of internal storage, 8 GB of an internal SD, and then there’s the sd slot. So I have a 64 GB SD card, but I can’t use it, because every app is coded to store everything on internal storage, or the first SD card it sees. Guess which SD shows first? It’s not my gigantic, unused 64 GB SD card. And a lot of other phones are designed either like this, or they have only internal storage, no SD, and Android 4.4 limits SD usage even further.

        • TylerCameron

          Play Music has supported music to SD for a while…

          • thelolotov

            You didn’t read my comment. Yes, it supports storing music on SD, but it only tries on the first SD, which is 8 GBs of internal storage. Not the 64 GB monster that I have. So every single app is storing data on the 8 GB fake SD. So there’s essentially no room.

  • This is how it begins, they’ll see how beneficial it for them, and then throttle everyone.

  • flosserelli

    So they will throttle 0.25 MB/s to 0.1 MB/s. I don’t think anyone will notice.

  • The Narrator

    I hope Verizon does it so the cocky Verizon unlimited users will shut up 😉

    • mcdonsco


    • hfoster52

      Verizon does this already same model as the rest of the carriers.


      • T4rd

        Except, as that link states, that only applies to their 3G data, not LTE like Sprint is throttling here.

        • hfoster52

          Yeah I will admit I didn’t fully read it. I use 8-10gb a month on VZ and never have an issue. But it won’t take much to move them I am sure to push us unlimited over to a tiered data plan.

      • crazed_z06

        Ive used 20gb on verizon unlimited with no ill effects.

        Sprint is trash.

    • d-rock

      LOL yes yes it’s envy for sure…just glad I’m not one of the capped VZ customers who has to share with the unlimited users taking up 50GB/month.

      • TylerCameron

        There’s nothing wrong with using 50GB.
        If you’re a person who staysbin one location, constantly using 100+GB/month, you’re abusing the network and are lowering QoS for everyone else ON THAT TOWER. But let’s say you’re on a road trip, or you do a lot of them? Or you have an hour and a half bus ride from school every day, AMD you use as much as 100GB per month. You’re not abusing the network because you’re not really affecting QoS for everyone else, since you’re not connected to a tower long enough for it to matter.

    • JP

      They (Verizon) cannot throttle 4G LTE speeds on the 700mhz band it’s part of the stipulation that they agreed to when bidding. That doesn’t cover other bands such as AWS which they will probably throttle but it would be on a tower by tower basis. They can throttle 3g all they want and they will be throttling for a while as their cdma 3g isn’t set to be taken down through 2020.

    • You’re just upset you gave it up.

      • The Narrator

        My WiFi is faster

        • So is mine, at 170/22. But you can’t get WiFi everywhere.

          • The Narrator

            That’s why I find it. I use my data hours every day for 30 days and never go over 5GB or so. Not sure what y’all be doin

          • This may be a shock to you, but not everyone does EXACTLY the same thing on their phone as you, so their usage may differ. Besides, you can’t “find” WiFi on a mountain, on the highway, or in the middle of nowhere.

          • TylerCameron

            Well.. You can’t “find” Sprint on a mountain, on the highway, or the middle of nowhere either :p

    • dark_funk

      Verizon has this for 3G users on unlimited plans. 4G data users aren’t impacted by it, probably because they stopped selling unlimited plans around the same time 4G became common.


      Honestly, this is the right way to handle heavy data users (as opposed to dropping unlimited). If everyone’s on unlimited, give lighter data users priority during times of network congestion. Easy to explain, and intuitively fair.

      • TylerCameron

        On what planet is 5GB “heavy usage”
        The true fair way is, instead of data tiers, they should do speed tiers just like ISP’s

    • You’re just jealous!!!!

  • Kyle Null

    Sounds reasonably fair. I don’t think that the cutoff should be 5GB though.

  • Maxim∑

    Sprint is so slow here, its hard for me to exceed data cap.. There version of LTE is equivalent to T Mobile’s 3G/HSPA+

    • Marc

      TMo’s HSPA+ is pretty speedy in my area. Downloads with 2.5MB/s are easily possible…

      • CivilDroid

        :P…..just poking fun!

        • Brandon Jiang

          you do realize there’s a diference between MB/s and Mbps? 2.5 MB/s is equivalent to 20 Mbps….

          people learn your terms.

          • Sum Ting Wong

            20mbps is fast…in 2001.

          • Brandon Jiang

            In 2001, 2G didn’t even exist. And 2G is frickin’ 0.1 Mbps. Wtf are you even saying

          • michael arazan

            Technically 8Mbps = 1 MB

          • CivilDroid

            In my defense, i didnt have time to check my units or facts….humorous time was of the essence

      • miri

        HSPA+ is 5~10Mbps here which, for the first 6 months of Sprint’s LTE rollout was about twice as fast.

      • thelolotov

        Lolwut? I get like, 5-30 Mbps depending on where I am, with Verizon. I have no love for Verizon, but as long as they’re the only one I can get excellent coverage, unlimited data (grandfathered), and a keyboarded phone (Droid 4) I’m stuck with them, it seems.

        • TylerCameron

          Ugh but the Droid4 has this awful screen with the pixel layout that’s ugly as is sin..

          • thelolotov

            Keyboard is far more important to me. When the Droid 5 comes out, hopefully the screen is better.

      • archercc

        Is that a typo? I have HSPA+ on Big PInk and I usually get 18Mb/s+

        • Marc

          Sure you are talking MB/s? And not Mbps?

          • archercc

            Oh I see, YOU were talking MB/s. So I guess that would put you in the teens regarding Mb/s. I was confused because its rare that anyone uses bytes for network transmission rates.

          • Marc

            Yeah, but that’s the speed you actually see in the progress bar while downloading.
            You are definitely right though.

        • Tojen1981

          Just depends on how congested the tower is. I see about 2Mbps on t-mo HSPA+ where I live. LTE is smokin fast though. Seen 33 down/10 up during the afternoon.

    • Hershel

      sprint is fine in my area…