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AT&T vs. Verizon vs. Sprint vs. T-Mobile – Is my phone being throttled? – Is my cell phone being throttled – Is my iPhone being throttled?

%image_alt%Throttling is the big elephant in the room with phone carriers now.  Throttling is when a carrier (i.e. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile) intentionally slows down your wireless data speed.  Why?  The carrier wants to ensure the whole network doesn’t get congested, leading to drop calls and overall slowness.  So, it takes a filter approach which is to slow down wireless network speeds for the those who uses the most data.

AT&T has been throttling the top 5 percent of its heaviest users of the unlimited plan.  That equates to using 3GB or more of data in a billing cycle.  Keep in mind that the AT&T unlimited plan is no longer available, and only available to those who were grandfathered in on old unlimited 3G plans.  But, for the rest of you newer non-unlimited AT&T plans, you don’t have to worry about throttling.  You are paying for your monthly data limit, whether it be 1GB or 2GB, and that’s what you get.  You’ll of course have to pay extra if you surpass that limit, but I haven’t heard of any throttling passed that limit.

What about Verizon?  Yup, they throttle the top 5% data hoggers just like AT&T does.  Verizon goes as far as saying that the user’s speed will be reduced for the remainder of the offending billing cycle as well as the subsequent one.  Wow!  That’s like being slapped with a double penalty for no reason!  Like AT&T, Verizon gave up its unlimited plan after the iPhone 3G days, but has grandfathered over older unlimited plan-holders.

Is T-Mobile one of the good guys?  Nope!  They throttle, or reduce speed, for those using more than 5GB of data each month.  I take exception with T-Mobile since they actively advertise they are one of the few carriers who still offer the unlimited data plan.  They might as well throw in the disclaimer that you’ll get 5GB of data when you pay for the unlimited plan, and then your Internet, email and streaming will come to a screaching halt.

What about Sprint?  Are they our saviors?  Yes, I’d say so.  It only throttles the top 1% of biggest data consumers who are roaming.  I can dig that.  If you’re outside your normal home area, or in a dead spot, it makes sense to limit your excessive data hoarding.  There has to be a limit somewhere and this puts that into place in a reasonable measure.

What’s the take-away here?  Sprint and T-Mobile tout themselves as being a class of their own by still offering unlimited plans.  T-Mobile should be embarrassed by heavily penalizing those who actually use their unlimited plans.  Sprint comes out as one of the good guys with a reasonable cap.  Verizon and AT&T do not actively offer unlimited wireless plans any more so we have to cut them some slack since they still grant them to those who bought them years ago.  But, I can’t believe Verizon slaps users on the wrists an extra billing cycle by still slowing down their data speeds.  That’s a bit extreme.  If you’re a big data user, Sprint is the one to go with as you’ll experience the fastest, unlimited data speeds with them.  They truly still know what it takes to provide solid technology service skills to the data-hungry public.%image_alt%

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