The Curious Relationship Between Sprint, Throttling, and Skype


Running Skype on a mobile device doesn’t seem controversial. For Microsoft, however, Sprint’s involvement with the operation of Skype comes with considerable controversy. Reportedly, Sprint has “throttled” Skype. The Microsoft Corporation isn’t thrilled over the throttling.

Throttling refers to the slowing down on speed for internet-based services. Skype runs text, audio, and video chat over the internet. Microsoft sees Skype as one of its more popular services. Looking closer at Skype’s performance statistics reveals some unpleasant information.

An audit revealed that data speeds experienced throttling over Sprint networks. Incredibly, Microsoft discovered throttling only occurs on the Sprint network. No other provider slows down any of Skype’s data.

The performance of 2,000 tests revealed a shocking figure. Roughly 34% of the tests revealed throttling. Such a high figure could yield a disastrous impact on perceptions of Skype. In the current program/app landscape, users have little tolerance for slow and flawed programs. If a video chat freezes, experiences lags and delays, or otherwise displays problems, the user will likely look for an alternative program. The user figures the problem rests with bugs in the app. He/she doesn’t think about data speed throttling as the true root of the problem.

Concerns arise about Sprint’s motivations for slowing down Skype’s data. Sprint could reduce the data with the intention of curtailing a data drain on the network. Some wonder, however, if Sprint sees Skype as competition to its calling service. Conspiratorial notions that Sprint deliberately throws wrenches in Skype’s performance aren’t substantiated. Speculation still abounds.

In an official statement, Sprint stated it doesn’t play favorites when allocating data. Microsoft has not issued a public statement. Microsoft may not have any options to pursue. The repeal of the net neutrality regulations eliminates certain aspects of legal standing. That doesn’t mean Microsoft has no legal options. The corporate giant’s legal team surely can take action if some rule or statute appears violated. Whether Microsoft will take action remains to be seen. So does the success of any legal challenge.


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