There was a bit of a dust-up in the wake of a conference talk given by Sprint boss Dan Hesse yesterday in which he mentioned that the company's terms of service gave it the power to "knock off" its heaviest users:
By the way, when we say "unlimited," we have terms and conditions. Just like back in the old AT&T days when we launched Digital One Rate, you could abuse it, you know, like roaming, go and use it in your house in rural Montana all the time and you're roaming. We could cut you off. There are certain things in our terms and conditions, those abusers [...] we can manage them and we do that quite aggressively and cut them off. So for the vast majority, your 98-99 percent, to them it's an unlimited experience. But for people that want to abuse it and really run up the big data charge, we can knock them off.
But does that mean it's throttling speeds if you go way out of line? No, it doesn't — and to make sure there's no lingering doubt, Sprint posted some clarification in its forums today, bluntly saying that it "does not throttle any postpaid phone data users for on-network or off-network usage." It does, however, note that it has the power to terminate the agreements of egregious offenders — frequent roamers, for instance — but it'll get in touch first to try to get the customer to knock off the offending behavior. For now, it seems, "unlimited" is still "unlimited," which is fast becoming a dying breed in the wireless industry.