Build it! Data Throttling Detection

The big telecoms finally have unlimited plans, a welcome relief from typically punitive overages. Despite what they want you to believe, however, there is nothing innovative about their approach. Freedom Mobile has been doing unlimited data for years, starting all the way back to when they were still called WIND; so for the better part of a decade, many Canadians have had their data throttled.

What is throttling?
It may sound counterintuitive, but unlimited data plans still have a data limit. The difference with unlimited is that you aren’t charged when you go over the limit. Instead, the data speeds are reduced so that you can’t use the service at full speed anymore. This is called throttling.

Here's what happens when you're throttled.
After reaching your data limit, the wireless provider will apply an artificial limit to your data speed.  Most of the carriers offering this type of service will tell you that everything works when you're throttled, but some services like streaming video will be affected.  The truth is that artificially slower speeds affect everything, from loading web pages to posting on Instagram.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it works but slowly, and sometimes it doesn't work at all.  Plus, if you keep using data after you’ve been throttled some companies throttle you even slower...and slower... and slower.

How do you know if you’ve been throttled?
Normally your carrier sends a text message, email, or app notification, but sometimes your internet speeds just get slowed down and you don't know why.  If you're in an area with poor signal strength it can be confusing - is it my plan, or the network? 

Taking it a step further with Connectivity Monitoring
As part of the Connectivity Monitoring feature, we want to help everyone understand what’s happening with their wireless service. You won’t have to be one of our subscribers to use this feature.

We are building technology to help identify if you’ve been throttled, and what level of throttling you’re at.

To make this happen, we’re building three levels of Passive Scans;

  • Off: the app doesn’t measure or collect any connectivity data, so we can’t help you here.
  • Anonymous: the connectivity measurements are anonymized and can’t be associated with you or your device, but they contribute to the overall understanding of network performance. To test for throttling you will have to run an Active Scan.
  • Intelligent: all scans are attributed securely to your profile, allowing us to build a complete picture of your connectivity. Wherever possible we will proactively notify you about throttling or anything else impacting your experience.

You will also be able to run an Active Scan whenever you want, which is similar to a traditional ‘Speed Test’. If something doesn’t seem quite right you can use this to try and identify the problem.

As our members contribute scans our machine learning tools will work away in the background.  Our goal is to be able to tell you when you were first throttled, what speed you were dropped down to, and when speeds returned to normal - and show how your experience compares to other Canadians similar to you.

Help us Build It!
So, what do you think? What other features would you like us to build for Connectivity Intelligence?

Tell us in the comments!

01:05 2020/04/03

Greetings How much % will your service be throttle free ?

17:36 2020/04/06

We plan to offer unthrottled service with pay-per-gig data and unlimited rollover. We expect the CRTC ruling to allow us to operate in this way, but have to wait until they announce the rules.

11:55 2020/03/29

I live in a rural area. Due to flood plains etc. our land lines could ever only offer us dial up for an internet connection. So we have had years upon years of cell phone boosters and trying a lot of ways to have a life that includes cell service and access to online use by cell phone or WiFi in the home. On long weekends with campers and rv’s coming out from the city the Download and upload speeds get so drastically reduced. Having the knowledge and understanding of what’s happening then allow you challenge your carrier with knowledge about what your talking about. I’m so happy to see thing kind of information becoming available.

17:38 2020/04/06

I'm glad you like it! We've landed on the method for collecting data from phones, and as we expand the data set we should be able to deliver many insights to our members.

00:47 2020/01/19

Sounds great

09:07 2019/11/20

Instead of unlimited data it's better to have roll over data because not everyone uses that much data. Over time it will be like you have unlimited data. I have 8.5GB on currently carrier but in reality only use 2.5GB. I only have that plan because it includes US roaming. If it wasn't for that I would go with lower data plan. If only my current carrier would let me roll over unused data. Much of my data goes unused and is lost forever.

23:14 2019/11/14

I want 5$ plan that gives me 100 minutes and 150 text messages per month. I could pay more like 10$ for unlimited voice and text or 15$ for unlimited voice/text/data. but that's my limit. right now u have unlimited talk and text for 10$ and I buy my data with esim with some other company. will dot mobile allow the consumer to buy their services separately like that. i.e talk/text with dot mobile and data with someone else ? (think of it like cellphone with robellus, internet with tekstart,tv with cogeplorenetaw)

23:15 2019/11/14

correction: right now "I" have

17:40 2020/04/06

There's nothing to stop you from using two SIMs if your device supports it. If you use us for Data there will be a small monthly fee on top of buying data per gigabyte. Since we will sell data with unlimited rollover, the monthly fees cover our monthly fixed costs to provide the service instead of building it into the data price.

23:30 2019/10/26

Sign me up

18:13 2019/10/22

I am interested in Canada/US calling. We live in Florida for winter and having to have two phone plans is a problem. We never know if our US phone will work until we land!

06:54 2019/10/21

So unlimited data plan isn't really unlimited. Learnt something new

10:25 2019/10/22

We're hoping that tools like this help our members better understand what they're getting compared to what the sales person or advertising promised. You and I understand 'unlimited' to mean one thing, but it's not at all what's being sold.

01:30 03/13

unlimiited is impossible from any carrier. You will always be limited by the carriers maximum bandwidth X the hours in a day.

18:01 2019/10/11

Glad you opened this discussion! I wonder if it would be helpful for members to be able to report back (even if the answer/response needs to cached/be uploaded through Wi-Fi later) on what applications work/do not work while being throttled. Information can be displayed back in some easy format or available as a report. I hope members can get behind this concept. Finding ways to improve the information available about the quality of connectivity to any end user in Canada is a great problem to solve alongside of services compatibility and other member powered insights.

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