Sprint's unlimited data plan is about to get more expensive, and now the carrier is also saying that it'll start throttling the heaviest users of that unlimited data. Sprint CTO John Saw says as much in a blog post entitled "Protecting the 97 percent" -- a reference to the 97 percent of the carrier's customers that will go unaffected by this change. The company's new "quality of service" practice means that it'll start throttling users who go over 23GB of data in a billing cycle. At that point, their data usage will be prioritized below the rest of the carrier's customers, but only in "times and locations where the network is constrained."
Those customers will still get unlimited data, they just might not get it as fast as they were expecting. The overwhelming majority of customers won't ever run into this restriction, it seems -- as other carriers have already done, it looks like Sprint will be constraining the few to save the experience of the many. "Our goal with [the quality of service practice] is to prevent some portion of that three percent going forward from negatively impacting the other 97 percent of customers," Hall writes.
While that's not an unreasonable viewpoint to have, it still isn't exactly "unlimited" data if you're going to have your speed constrained. To that end, it looks like Sprint will be writing this into its customer agreements going forward. These new restrictions will only apply to people who new customers who purchase an unlimited data plan starting today, or current customers who upgrade their handsets and remain on unlimited data going forward.