Putting a limit on ‘unlimited:’ Clearwire booting contracts of its biggest data gobblers

Imagine going to an all-you-can-eat buffet and getting thrown out for eating too much. Replace the grub with internet data, and that’s what is happening to some Clearwire customers.

Apparently, Clearwire’s “unlimited” data plans aren’t exactly “unlimited,” and some people are being kicked off the service because of over-usage. They’ve taken to the social media airwaves to express frustration.

Clearwire responded to these complaints by pointing the customers to the company’s legal AUP page. Here’s what it states about “unlimited” usage:

The term “unlimited” means that we will not place a limit on how much data you upload or download during a month or other particular period. However, the term “unlimited” does not mean that we will not take steps to reduce your data rate during periods of congestion or take other actions described in this AUP when your usage is negatively impacting the Internet experience of other subscribers to our Service.

Clearwire spokesman Mike DiGioia said that while the company does not have a specific limit on the unlimited plans, “we manage our network towards providing a consistent experience for every user in a given area.”

“One user excessively running heavy bandwidth applications can adversely affect the speeds and service quality for their neighbors,” he continued. “It is rare that we take this step and when we do it affects an extremely small percentage of our total user base. We typically contact users to notify them of this type of situation first in order to provide an opportunity to make necessary changes.”

But some of the customers — or, now ex-customers — were given no such notification.

According to Broadband Reports, some of those users only used around 5GB per month.

Here’s what Clearwire posted on its Facebook page about the issue:

We have noted speculation that users with as little as 5GB per month of usage have received such notifications. This is simply not true, as no user receiving a notification from CLEAR has used less than many, many multiples of this level of usage. Those customers receiving the notification are downloading and/or streaming very large amounts of data — usually over prolonged time periods — that are well outside of normal usage patterns for our typical customer, and these customers are directly impacting other customers’ ability to receive quality service or service at all.

This comes on the heels of last month’s reports of some Clearwire customers seeing their service throttled back to speeds around 256 kbps.

Clearly, it seems as though Clearwire doesn’t want to let one data hog ruin the internet experience for several others.

“Ultimately, the goal is to provide a consistent, fast and high-quality experience for everyone by not letting a very small number of heavy users dominate available bandwidth,” DiGioia said.

Previously on GeekWire: Clearwire touts strong spectrum position as revenues fall

  • Guest

    I hope Clear has a good time explaining to the Attorney General why they are limiting so-called “unlimited” plans. This behaviour is unacceptable.

  • larry

    the only thing is Clearwire is acting up today is because of evil sprint and now they wanna kick us to a side and now they mention to cap are internet is that some sh*t clearwire gets all mad when people leaving bad comments but they won’t show it but they will say other stuff like i wish to have u back as a customer or have a nice weekend just to type words what there get paid 4 that’s why clear is a sell out… up to this day u will loss out as long with sprint bye bye company”s that’s if clear dont make a deal with sprint