Ina Fried

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Sprint’s Virgin Mobile Decides to Hold Off on Throttling Heavy Users

Sprint, which boasts of its totally unlimited plans for its main brand, has delayed a plan that would have started throttling Virgin Mobile customers who used more than a certain amount of data each month.

The company announced in July that it would start in October to reduce the data speeds of customers who used more than 2.5GB of data in a given month. Virgin Mobile said at the time that the move would affect fewer than 3 percent of its customers, who would then have their access returned to full speed the following month.

Today the company said it had delayed that plan until sometime in 2012. The announcement was noted, almost as a footnote, at the bottom of a press release announcing two new Android phones coming to the prepaid brand.

Asked to explain the move, a Virgin Mobile representative told AllThingsD, “We have decided to delay the reduction of data speeds until 2012 to ensure we have all the necessary systems in place so that our customer experience will remain positive.”

The company didn’t say when in 2012 the move would take place, but the representative said that the company “will provide further information on timing beforehand so our customers have advance notification.”

T-Mobile has relied on throttling extensively to manage data use on its network, while both AT&T and Verizon largely rely on overage charges to deal with those who exceed their data plan in a given month.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik