Cell phone companies throttle users to drive them to higher-priced data plans

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile all say they have the ability to selectively throttle users in times and places of congestion. But instead of throttling solely to prevent network overload, they’ve designed throttling policies to affect only certain users that they want to push onto pricier plans. Even former wireless industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler, now the FCC chairman, says it’s true.Wheeler and others have objected to carriers throttling only those users who had been grandfathered into unlimited data plans that are no longer offered to new customers. When ordered to justify its throttling policies, Verizon Wireless told the FCC that users without monthly limits are the only ones who need to be throttled because their plans don’t provide incentives for limiting use.In reality, Verizon and other carriers let customers on limited plans use far more unthrottled data than “unlimited” customers as long as they pay overage charges or buy more expensive plans. Rather than throttling solely to prevent congestion, carriers throttle to push customers onto plans with data caps.

via Analysis: Wireless data caps more about profit than congestion | Ars Technica.

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