Orange has confirmed that mobile customers in Spain who exceed their monthly data allowance will soon see the speed of their connection cut halved from 64Kbps to 32Kbps.
The move affects all customers on the Canguro 35, 45 and 50, Ballena 35, Ballena 23, Delfín 25, Delfín 16, Delfín 12 and Ardilla 7 tariffs and will come into effect on 1 December. Pre-pay customers aren't affected by the changes. Orange said the move is to ensure its network remains useable for those customers who have not exceeded their data allowance.
Orange's 4G network in Spain went live in, using 2.6Ghz and 800Mhz spectrum and delivering speeds 10 times faster than 3G. (For Orange customers outside its 4G coverage area, the network offers speeds of up to 7.2Mbps.)
While 4G's higher speeds mean activities such as downloading large files and streaming videos are much quicker, it also has the knock-on effect of increasing the likelihood of a user exceeding their data allowance.
Those that do used to see their mobile internet connections throttled to 64Kbps which, while slow, meant email, web browsing and all-important social apps such as Twitter and Facebook should still work. Halving that speed to 32Kbps, as Orange is doing, will make even basic web browsing more difficult.
In a statement sent to ZDNet, Orange said it introduced the measure to preserve network bandwidth for customers who are still within their data allowance.
"Orange has introduced this measure to help avoid possible network saturation, reserving the bandwidth to maintain connection speeds for customers who have not exceeded their limit," an Orange spokesperson said.
Orange isn't the only Spanish operator to throttle speeds. Rival Movistar cuts mobile speeds to just 8Kbps once a data allowance is exceeded on a monthly contract, Vodafone cuts speeds to 64Kbps and Yoigo keeps its speeds at a maximum of 128Kbps.