Sprint Throttles Heaviest Data Users, CEO Says

Sprint Throttles Heaviest Data Users, CEO Says

Sprint is throttling its heaviest data users, putting a damper on the carrier’s claims of truly unlimited data.

The Overland Park, Kans.-based carrier’s CEO Dan Hesse said his company throttles the top 1 percent of data users. Hesse went on to say Sprint reserves the right to knock off users who misuse data.

“There are certain things in our terms and conditions, those abusers, we can manage them and we do that quite aggressively and cut them off,” Hesse said at an investors’ meeting. “So for the vast majority, your 98-99 percent, to them it’s an unlimited experience.”

Many wireless carriers have instituted the method of throttling data, but Sprint’s decision to do so rings particularly hypocritical, given the amount of focus the carrier’s ads places on its decision to offer unlimited data. Given its advertising promises, Sprint executive Bill White quickly jumped to clarify Hesse’s remarks.

White said Hesse was referring to the carrier’s businesses Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, which both throttle data of excessive users. Sprint does not throttle unlimited contract customers, according to White.

The clarification repairs Sprint’s veracity regarding the iPhone ads it runs, which claim it does not “limit” the iPhone, but the carrier is gradually moving away from unlimited offerings. The company ended unlimited data for all netbooks, notebooks and USB cards.

Tablets and wireless hotspots also must be used with tiered plans, as Sprint continues to cling to its promises of unlimited data plans for smartphones only. The carrier was likely forced to make the select concessions in response to the spectrum crunch, as well as heavy expenses incurred getting its LTE network off the ground.

Sprint continues to stand strong with its unlimited data to differentiate itself from competition, but reports of some users’ data being throttled is the latest sign it may not be able to last forever.

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