Monday, February 13, 2012

Bandwidth Throttling

Hello Everyone!

Today I’d like to talk about Bandwidth throttling.  I figured with the way companies like AT&T and Verizon wireless keep trying to charge more for less and the way our smartphones require more and more data each day, some of you out there may become victims of Bandwidth Throttling.  But even if you don’t become a victim, it’s still good to know what it is and how it could happen.

First we need to go back and understand something.  A couple of years ago pretty much all of these companies offered Unlimited Data.  But even then it was never really “UNLIMITED”.  If they felt you were using up too much data they would Throttle your connection, this means that they would slow down your connection like crazy making it almost useless.  It was ok because they were technically still providing data, so you couldn’t say that they were not giving you unlimited.  With Android phones and iPhones becoming so popular, their networks started to suffer more.  So now they had to throttle even more than before.  In order to get rid of the confusion they decided to get rid of the UNLIMITED plans and give you actual limits.  So instead of paying $30 a month for UNLIMITED you were probably now paying $30 for 3GB of data.  If you used more than 3GB they would charge you something like $10 to give you another 1GB and so on.   However, those of us who were customers before the change had the option of keeping our Unlimited plans until we decide to make a change on our plan, then we can only chose from the new plans.

The problem now is how some companies have decided to deal with the UNLIMITED customers that have been there longer.  

AT&T in my opinion is by far the worse.  If you live in a city where traffic is pretty heavy (internet traffic) then they’ve been known to throttle people on Unlimited plans as early as 2 Gigs of Usage.  So you could be paying $30 a month for unlimited and your friend could be paying $30 a month for 3GB and your friend can enjoy his 3GB but you are throttled after 2.  This to me seems EXTREMEY unfair.  Once you are throttled it stays like that until the next billing cycle. 

Verizon is also doing it but they are being somewhat nicer about it.  Normally they wait till way past 5GB of usage (normally being key word here) before throttling and even then they only throttle if the network in your area has very heavy traffic.  The good thing here is that as soon as the traffic in your area dies down, you get back to your faster speeds. 

T-Mobile also does throttling but they at least have the decency of making it clear when it’s going to happen.  Their limit is 5GB, once you pass that you will get throttled. 

Sprint is currently the only one that does not Throttle you.  Their Unlimited means unlimited . . . . so far.

So do be careful when watching youtube videos on your device or streaming music over Pandora and stuff like that.  Remember that if there is a Wi-Fi hotspot in the area you should always try and connect to that before doing anything that consumes a lot of data. 

Hope this has been of some  use for ya!

Javier Torres

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