It appears that Smile 4G’s unlimited internet promo is throttled

In the first part of our experiment with Smile 4G’s unlimited internet promo, we raised the question of whether the service was truly unlimited, and so far, it seems so. Our reviewer has not been cut off yet. However, it might just be that Smile has bandwidth throttling in place for this promo.

Bandwidth throttling is the intentional slowing of Internet service by an Internet service provider. It is a reactive measure employed in communication networks to regulate network traffic and minimize bandwidth congestion. Many ISPs that offer “unlimited” service throttle your connection after you cross a fixed threshold. It appears that this threshold for Smile’s promo is 45 GB.

Smile 4G throttled

Our reviewer has reported that since crossing 45 GB sometime on the evening of Boxing Day, his connection speeds have dropped below 1 Mbps. He has called customer care to find out if there was a network error but was assured that they wasn’t any. Also, we had him test the service at various locations around Lagos. All of them returned speeds below 1 Mbps. Have a look at screenshots of our speedtests in the last 24 hours::

smile unlimited speedtest four

smile unlimited speedtest three

smile unlimited speedtest two

smile unlimited speedtest one

Now, video streaming is much choppier with a lot of buffering and everything internet based is significantly slower. It has been over 24 hours of this phenomenon. Our man hasn’t once experienced a return to regular Smile 4G speeds of between 7 and 15 Mbps since Boxing Day evening when this started. As far as we can tell, it looks like Smile 4G throttles the unlimited promo after the user hits 45 GB usage. Incidentally, 26th was also 14 days after he subscribed, so perhaps there is a chance that the threshold is time-based e.g. half a month? If we get any further updates from our reviewer or from Smile, we shall put it up on this page.

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9 comments

  1. My angst is with the pervasive atmosphere of under_disclosure by service providers.

    Why must there always be fine prints on almost all offers? How about being totally transparent and letting a subscriber know all the wrinkles and make a totally informed decision?

    If you are going to throttle or there are other conditions attached to any plan, promo or offer, disclosing totally would be great.

    Sigh!

  2. Hahahahahahaha. I understand it’s the same story with Spectranet with their double data awoof bonus. These ISPs are just not trustworthy.

  3. For Double data on Spectranet, I was told (via SMS) that I consumed 20GB from 24th to 26th of December. I use 20GB per month, and they said it was doubled to 40GB.

    How did I consume 20GB in less than two days?

  4. I’m not even sure if anyone is surprised at this. I have my suspicious that, at times of higher usage eg. public holidays, throttling can easily slip in as par for the course. Maybe some are happy for some degree of internet access that they don’t complain about the throttling.

    Is there such a thing as a half monthly tariff? It would be interesting to know if anyone else using the Smile 4G “unlimited” data bundle has experienced throttling after consuming 45GB of data.

  5. I spoke with a SMILE staff at one of their outlets. He denied any throttling of this plan. I’ll suggest you visit their office with your computer to iron things out.

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