Wireless carriers are playing favorites and the victim is always the same: the consumer. According to a new study from Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the four largest U.S. carriers — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile — are throttling internet speeds even at off-peak times. This means they are intentionally slowing the speed of video content that is streamed on the internet. Although service providers claim that they are doing this to reduce congestion during peak times, research found that the throttling actually occurs around the clock.
The most troubling part of the study is that wireless carriers are actually playing favorites with content providers. According to the study, AT&T slowed the speed of Netflix and YouTube content, but not Amazon’s Prime video streaming service. T-Mobile, on the other hand, throttled Amazon Prime video, Netflix and YouTube. The research contends that most of the time, wireless carriers are targeting video streaming apps.
A lifting of net neutrality rules by the FCC in 2017 left the door open for deals with certain video streaming services. It’s possible that certain companies are paying wireless carriers to move full speed ahead.
According to some wireless carriers, you get what you pay for. AT&T claims that the plan consumers choose can affect throttling. The “it’s not us, it’s you” argument would make more sense if the throttling was equal across the board. But it seems that wireless carriers are not equitable in what streaming services they target; carriers are favoring different video streaming services.
So what can consumers do? If you want to determine whether your videos are running at a slower speed than your other apps, download WeHe, an app designed to show you the speed of certain apps like YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, Skype and Amazon Video and compare them with other apps on your phone. And, if you’re unhappy with your bill or you think you’re overpaying for your service, Billshark can lower your monthly bill in minutes. Just send us your bills and you’ll never overpay again