A multi-university study released this week concluded that Sprint has been throttling the bandwidth of customers using Skype, Microsoft’s popular internet-based video chat service. The study was produced by researchers at the Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts using Wehe, a phone app designed to monitor the behavior of mobile network providers when users access streaming services such as YouTube or Netflix. The goal of the project is to detect instances in which network providers are giving differential treatment (i.e., varying throttling rates) to certain applications. Nearly 630,000 tests have been conducted using Wehe since January. The app is available to both Android (4.4+) and iOS users, allowing most smartphone users to participate in the research. In a summary of its findings Thursday, the Wehe researchers said they’d discovered a “significant number of instances of Sprint throttling Skype.” While a vast majority of throttling cases involved Android devices, the researchers attributed this in part to dataset bias, disclosing that 84 percent of their tests involved Android devices. Even so, Android users appear to be affected at a “higher frequency” than users of iOS devices, they said. The researchers noted that while the tests had produced “strong evidence of Skype throttling” on Sprint’s part, they were unable to reproduce the throttling themselves. “This is likely because it affects only certain subscription plans, but not the one that we purchased,” the researches said. An analysis of the data by the Seattle Times revealed suspected throttling of Skype users by Sprint in… [Read full story]
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