Virgin Mobile announced that it will start throttling its smartphone customers that use the most data per month beginning March 23.
Throttling, in case you aren’t familiar with the word (by now, you probably are), means Virgin Mobile will slow down your Internet speeds to avoid overcrowding its network. Indeed, Virgin Mobile claims the change is “to make sure we can keep offering our Beyond Talk Plans at such great prices.” That’s PR-talk for “Hey, we’re trying here.”
Most Virgin Mobile customers won’t be affected by the throttling, however. The carrier will only flip the switch on lower data speeds for customers that use over 2.5GB of data per month and Virgin Mobile says that’s less than 3 percent of its customer base. If you are impacted, Virgin Mobile will send you a text message warning you that you’ve passed 2.5GB of data and to prepare to crawl through the rest of the month.
So, just how slow will the Internet connection get once the throttling begins? Data speeds will drop to 256Kbps or lower. Ouch.
Virgin Mobile originally planned to start throttling its smartphone users in October 2011, so heavy users should be pleased with the delay. Throttling will officially start on March 23rd, which is more than enough time to check your monthly usage and determine if you need to make any adjustments.