Let’s talk about bandwidth throttling. There are a number of internet subscribers who are asking questions about bandwidth throttling on unlimited data plans that they have subscribed to (or want to subscribe to). Here are answers to key questions being asked.
What is bandwidth throttling?
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. I lifted that definition straight out of Wikipedia. That definition is as accurate as it gets.
In other words, throttling helps preserve the stability of the network. Or the pockets of the network provider. Yes; that too. Throttling is often also a cost saving measure.
Is bandwidth throttling legal?
Yes; bandwidth throttling is legal. It may be unethical if your provider does not disclose that a data plan they are offering is throttled. You might even be able to get away with using them for misleading you. But if the throttling is disclosed upfront, you have no case. You can vote with your money and go to another ISP.
How common is the practice?
Internet service providers and network providers all over the world throttle data for the same reason that your network does.
Every time you see a data plan labeled “Unlimited”, you can be almost sure that some sort of bandwidth throttling is involved. If you hit a certain threshold, your internet connection speed gets throttled. What would be ridiculous is for a provider to throttle the connection to an unusable speed. Like one Nigerian 4G LTE network that first specified 512 Kbps (they have since seen the light and repented).
But in today’s world of data guzzling smartphone and gadgets, bandwidth throttling is a practice that may be here to stay. True unlimited data plans do not exist; users may just not have hit the limits yet.
I hope that this article has helped clarify the issues involved.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.