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Virgin Mobile comes clean about broadband speed throttling

Things move quickly these days. Yesterday we ran a story about Virgin Mobile‘s practice of throttling mobile broadband speeds once customers reach 5GB per month. That doesn’t seem right for a service that was advertised as having no limits. I have nothing against data throttling, as long as the company is up front about it. Yesterday, Virgin Mobile did just that. The company announced a 5GB cap for its $40 Broadband2Go plan. After customers reach that cap their speeds are reduced to 256 Kbps until either they renew early or the new month starts. This goes into effect on February 15.

In the above-linked article, PC Magazine’s Sascha Segan runs down some issues customers might face with these changes. A Virgin representative said that, “Customers who use BB2Go for typical email, internet surfing and reasonable downloading will likely not be impacted/notice any difference,” but people have different definitions of reasonable. Any kind of video streaming can quickly use up the 5GB, as can music downloads and other forms of entertainment.

At least now Virgin customers know what they’re signing up for. I can’t imagine signing up for something advertised to be unlimited, and then, in the middle of the month, getting horribly slow speeds. Thankfully, Virgin has come clean about this and will allow consumers to make more informed decisions, rather than learning by trial and error.

7 Responses

  1. gleapman Says

    “At least now Virgin customers know what they’re signing up for.”

    Are you kidding? Virgin Mobile changes the rules seemingly every 4-5 months. When I spent $100 on the modem, they had a $20/30-day plan. That’s what I signed up for. A few months later, they jumped the 30-day plan to $40…but now I’m stuck with the $100 modem and no $20 plan. A few months after that, they again offered the $20/30-day plan, but only if you bought the modem from Walmart. It’s the same damn modem, but since my $100 didn’t go to Bentonville, Arkansas, I don’t get the “new” $20 plan. Real fair. What’s next? Who knows. Buy from Virgin Mobile at your own peril, because whatever you think you’re buying will almost certainly change quickly…and for the worse.

    Posted on January 14th, 2011 at 11:48 am
  2. squid Says

    Like i ever get 256k out of my MC760 usb stick.
    I’m lucky to get 128k in bursts. As long as they don’t throttle under that, I’ll see no difference.

    Posted on January 16th, 2011 at 4:08 pm
  3. Fricassee Says

    Virgin Mobile as of 01/27/11 is still advertising their “3G Broadband to Go” for $40 unlimited with no mention of throttling after 5 gigs. That really sucks.

    Posted on January 27th, 2011 at 6:31 pm
  4. Virgin Mobile discontinuing $40 unlimited Broadband2Go | Prepaid Reviews Says

    [...] this appears to be a significant development. We learned last month that Virgin Mobile planned to throttle speeds of Broadband2Go users who go over 5GB per month. Now it appears that the unlimited broadband plan will be eliminated [...]

    Posted on February 10th, 2011 at 9:51 am
  5. jpainter Says

    It got worse! According to their site, they will now throttle at 2.5 GB usage, not 5GB!

    Posted on February 16th, 2011 at 6:10 am
  6. paul Says

    Oh it gets much worse than that. I have a family member that works as rep. He has the inside scoop. After march there is no unlimited anymore. It will be $50 a month for 2.5 GB that’s it. you will not be allowed to go over. :(

    Posted on February 17th, 2011 at 3:40 pm
  7. Adam San Says

    3G speeds should depend very much on where you live. The closer to cities, the better. You can check on VM’s website for quality coverage. Also, don’t forget about taking advantage of Wifi, that will help keep under the 2.5GB limit. (I know this sounds very obvious, but doesn’t hurt to say, right?)

    Posted on July 2nd, 2012 at 9:50 am

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