Sprint Throttling Image Bandwidth via their Data Cards

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To those of you considering getting on-the-road Internet access via Sprint, it should be noted that via their latest software update, it looks like they’re compressing images before sending them through to your computer. After recently limiting downloads to a meager 5GB / month last summer (we signed up just before the limit was imposed, and we average 20GB / month, including using WiFi whenever possible), this is another blow to anyone who relies on using the Web to work while RVing it up.

What exactly does this mean? Basically, what Sprint is doing is compressing images before allowing you to download them. For those unfamiliar, “compressing” basically means making the images smaller in file size by lowering their quality, which means a faster download but an uglier image. And of course, any image you see on the Internet, you’ve essentially downloaded, including website graphics, Facebook pictures, etc.

The good news is that if you keep using their older software, you won’t experience this issue. This is a Windows-based problem, as far as I know. Recently Sprint changed something on their network and I’m no longer able to even access it with my data card on my Mac.

Looking forward to other alternatives, the new iPhone 3.0 update promises to bring tethering (using your iPhone’s Internet connection to fuel your computer’s downloading). However, AT&T still hasn’t signed on, even though they offer tethering to their Blackberry users. If that does go through, it’ll be nice to get 3G speeds on AT&T’s vastly expanding network (as opposed to Sprint’s very limited “nationwide” network) right from the iPhone.

Personally, I find that a bit of a smack in the face considering AT&T is now boasting about how 2 out of 3 smartphone users are on their network, a fact made true only by iPhone users. If iPhone were instead on Verizon or Sprint, AT&T wouldn’t be seeing such results, for sure.