updated 06:48 am EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
Top 5 percent of users will be throttled on congested areas of Sprint network
Sprint will begin to throttle the highest bandwidth users in some markets, in order to improve its data network for other users. Starting in June, the top 5 percent of prepaid and post-paid customers in congested areas will see their browsing speeds culled, with customers of Boost Mobile and Virgin also facing similar bandwidth restrictions in congested regions.
FierceWireless reports text messages have been sent to a number of customers about the measures. The message states "Beginning 6/1/14, to provide more customers with a high quality data experience during heavy usage times, Virgin Mobile USA may manage prioritization of access to network resources in congested areas for customers within the top 5 percent of data users."
Sprint's support pages claim the "heaviest data users consume a disproportionate share of network resources and cause a negative user experience for the rest." Sprint is said to use a "proportional fairness scheduler algorithm" for allocating network resources both during and outside of congestion periods, with users identified as a heavy bandwidth user being designated a lower prioritization over normal traffic. The prioritization will only apply when in a congested area, so in time periods when the network is quieter or in locations with low traffic, the restrictions will not affect these specific users.
The top 5 percent will be determined on a monthly basis, with users subjected to network prioritization for the following month, though users still managing to fall in the top 5 percent when under the measures will continue to endure them until their usage is sufficiently curtailed. As to what constitutes a top 5-percent user, Sprint has not provided guidance on exactly how much data needs to be used, but advises that customers typically exceeding 5GB in a month are likely candidates.