Theory and practice of the Data Cap

Written by on October 30, 2015 in Guest Blog with 1 Comment

policy process procedure words on three red diceSprint has announced that they will limit be de-prioritizing customers that hit a 23Gb Data Cap on congested cells. Sounds fair to me, there is a lot of stuff you can do with 23Gb, I have yet to ever reach my 8Gb Data Cap. So why the uproar every time the dreaded Data Cap rears its head? I understand the problem with marketing any plan with a data cap as “unlimited”.  I wholeheartedly agree that consumers should know what they are buying. This all doesn’t explain why are Americans so afraid of the big Bad Data Cap?

According to Sprint’s announcement they are trying to protect the vast majority (97%) of subscribers who are using and not abusing their network. According to Sprint CTO Dr. John Saw..

One way we aim to make the customer experience better is to protect against the possibility that a small minority of customers might occupy an unreasonable share of network resources. With that in mind, we are introducing a new Quality of Service (QoS) practice that applies to customers who choose an unlimited data handset plan launched Oct. 16, 2015, or after, or customers who choose to upgrade their handset on or after Oct. 16 and remain on an existing unlimited data plan. For these customers, if they use more than 23GB of data during a billing cycle, they will be prioritized on the network below other customers for the remainder of their billing cycle, only in times and locations where the network is constrained. (These customers will still be able to use unlimited amounts of data without the worry of overage charges.)

Having said all that, AT&T and T-Mobile reserve the right to do exactly the same thing. Frankly I don’t see the preoccupation with the data cap, in particular in this case where it is a “soft cap” for deprioritizing purposes on congested cells. I have to assume the average Joe will not get all the complexities behind the network engineering and figure the big bad Telco is trying to take another hard-earned dollar. The fact is that if you are being deprioritized under these kind of conditions you are more than likely doing something dubious. I am sure there are at least a few fiends out there supplying entire neighborhoods with free or “subsided” Internet access, who are probably very concerned about the data cap.

There is always the fact that Americans view anything that might take away their “freedoms” with a great deal of suspicion and I guess the term data cap does sound limiting. 97% of the subscribers are behaving well within “normal bounds”, that sure sounds like it constitutes a democratic majority to me. However I never did understand how the US Electoral College works, it’s more complex than network management, that’s for sure.

More Here [Sprint] and [PC Mag]

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About the Author

About the Author: Jonathon has been lurking around the Telecoms and Internet space for the last 20 years. He is now a man on a mission – that being the reformation of the Industry Analyst business. He is working with his co-conspirators on transforming the Industry Analyst world forever as an Expert with EMI. .


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  1. santosh says:

    Nice Article on data cap.

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