The Big Four carriers in the US have all joined in on unlimited data plans and it seems to be one hunky-dory time, right? Well, there’s a limit to even that “unlimited” data in the form of a speed limit when users hit a certain threshold.
The number varies between carriers with AT&T and Verizon keeping to 22GB and Sprint at 23GB while T-Mobile has gone above and beyond to 28GB. It doesn’t mean that de-prioritized users immediately see the hammer come down with 2G speeds for the rest of the bill cycle, but when it comes to a confluence of high traffic areas and periods, users will likely see cramped bandwidth first before others on the same cell tower do.
That is, until recently. T-Mobile specifically formulates its threshold cap from taking the amount used by the top third percentile of data users on a monthly basis every quarter. Apparently, analysis of data from the past quarter has warranted hiking that cap up from 28GB to 30GB.
By the way, Sprint supposedly reviews its limit “periodically”. The last metric Verizon was known to use was the fifth percentile of all unlimited data users with 3G or better devices back in 2011. For all we know, AT&T sets 22GB as an arbitrary limit based on the lack of explanation for the limit in its Broadband Information page.
That’s not to say that any of these carriers can change the way they assess this throttle cap metric. T-Mobile CEO John Legere has not yelled at us in a video to promote the carrier’s raising of the cap, though. Change on this end may not be as easy to follow.