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Virgin Mobile to throttle 'unlimited' mobile broadband

Bandwidth penalty for transferring 5GB imposed

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Virgin Mobile's US division has decided its network can no longer support truly all-you-can-eat mobile broadband without slowing down uploads and downloads.

VM's Broadband2Go package provides customers with unlimited data transfers for a $40-a-month fee. From 15 February, they will still have access to as much data as they like each month, but their bandwidth is throttled when they exceed 5GB, for the rest of the month.

T-Mobile US did the same thing in April 2010.

This is an interesting approach to the problem of consumers who dare to think that subscribing to an unlimited package means they can send and receive lots and lots of data. VM's conclusion: they can't, not without affecting other users.

British mobile internet users have grown accustomed to either paying a premium for the data the transfer beyond a contracted limit, or to having their access cut until the start of the next 30-day period.

VM clearly feels it needs to dissuade customers from transferring too much data, but it's choosing to squeeze their pipes rather than pummel their wallets.

VM said using the package for email, browsing and music downloads shouldn't be affected - they won't be using much more than 5GB, if they go past the limit at all. But it is likely to hinder very active torrenters and folk downloading or streaming movies from the likes of iTunes and Netflix.

That will come as a blow to many, particularly as we're all being increasingly encouraged by technology and media companies to connect more kit to the net, and access ever more multimedia content through it. ®

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