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Network Management/Open Internet
Information Relating to Virgin Mobile’s Broadband Internet Access
Where can I find pricing and other terms and conditions for Virgin Mobile's broadband Internet access?
Virgin Mobile's terms and conditions, including guidelines and policies on such topics as service plans, activation procedures, data usage and dispute resolution, can be viewed at the bottom of our online shopping pages. Legal and service policies for Virgin Mobile and each of its sub brands (e.g., Assurance Wireless) are set forth in the “Important Service/Product Specific Terms” for Virgin Mobile or the particular sub brand.
Detailed information on all of Virgin Mobile's broadband internet access service plans for phones, mobile hotspots, and more can be found on Virgin Mobile's online shopping pages.
What is the Virgin Mobile policy for online privacy?
What should I do if I have a question or concerns related to my Virgin Mobile broadband Internet access?
For questions that are not answered on this page, in most instances, Virgin Mobile customers may contact customer care directly from their device by dialing *611 from their handsets or by the methods listed on our contact page.
For information on resolving disputes with Virgin Mobile, please review our terms and conditions under the heading "Dispute Resolution" located in the Important Service/Product Specific terms applicable to your service.
What performance can I expect from Sprint's data networks?
Virgin Mobile service is powered by Sprint.
Sprint regularly measures the performance, coverage and speed of its 3G and 4G data networks in an effort to ensure our coverage maps are accurate and up-to-date. Network average speed and latency estimates are based on a combination of independent third-party testing and Sprint-generated results. Coverage isn't available everywhere, and speeds may vary considerably from these averages based on factors both within and beyond Sprint's control such as network problems, software, signal strength, your wireless device, structures, buildings, weather, geography, topography, etc. It is important that you consider the capabilities of your device, Sprint's network coverage, and Sprint's expected speed and latency estimates for Sprint's network technologies in determining whether Sprint's data services are right for you.
Information on Virgin Mobile/Sprint's network performance and coverage can be found at: our network and coverage page.
Frequently Asked Questions About Network Management
Virgin Mobile is committed to providing the best mobile broadband Internet access service experience possible for its customers. To ensure that all customers enjoy the best possible network experience, Sprint uses reasonable network management practices that are consistent with mobile broadband industry standards and guidance provided by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Sprint's network management practices are primarily used for and tailored to achieving legitimate network management purposes taking into account Sprint's network architecture and technology.
The following Frequently Asked Questions are intended to help clarify for Virgin Mobile customers what we mean by network management and explain Sprint's network management techniques and approaches.
Why does Sprint manage its network?
Sprint manages its network with the goal of delivering the best possible mobile broadband Internet access experience to all of its retail customers. Mobile network resources are not infinite. Managing the network is essential to promote the use and enjoyment of mobile data by all network users. Sprint uses reasonable network management practices that are consistent with industry standards for protecting Sprint's network and customers and for managing the delivery of mobile broadband services. Just as the Internet continues to change and evolve, so too, will Sprint's network management practices to address the challenges and threats on the Internet.
If Sprint didn't manage its network, network users would be subject to the negative effects of spam, viruses, security attacks, network congestion, and other risks and degradations of the service. By engaging in reasonable and responsible network management, Sprint can deliver the best possible mobile broadband Internet access experience to all users of the network.
How does Sprint manage its network?
Sprint uses various tools and techniques to manage its network and deliver its services. These tools and techniques are dynamic, like the Sprint network and its usage, and Sprint may update the tools and techniques it uses. Sprint's network management activities include managing congestion and allocating resources among users on the network, optimizing certain content and applications, identifying spam and preventing its delivery to customers, detecting malicious Internet traffic and preventing the distribution of viruses or other harmful code or content, and using other tools and techniques that Sprint may be required to implement in order to meet its goal of allowing Virgin Mobile to deliver the best possible broadband Internet experience to all of its customers.
How does Sprint manage congestion on the network?
Sprint employs a holistic approach to managing congestion on its data network. Sprint's first goal is to avoid congestion altogether by directing traffic to the best available spectrum resources and cell sites. Sprint also attempts to avoid congestion by managing tonnage on its network. Finally, when congestion does occur, meaning that the demand on a particular sector temporarily exceeds the ability of that sector to meet the demand, Sprint relies on the radio scheduling software provided by Sprint's hardware vendors to allocate resources to users.
Techniques to Direct Traffic to the Best Available Spectrum Resources and Cell Sites: All mobile networks, including Sprint's, employ a Radio Access Network ("RAN") that manages connectivity between mobile client devices and the core network. The RAN functions to identify mobile devices permitted to access the network and their locations and assigns the mobile device to an available frequency band and cell site serving the location. The RAN also controls device "hand off" between neighboring cell site resources to balance load across network resources or as a mobile device moves from one location to another. Sprint's RAN manages connections between mobile devices and cell sites operating on multiple frequency bands (800 MHz, 1.9 GHz, 2.5 GHz) and multiple air interfaces (CDMA, EVDO, LTE). As part of managing those connections, Sprint's RAN is designed to dynamically connect customers to the best available spectrum resources and cell sites-and reassign those connections as circumstances change.
Managing Tonnage: The majority of Sprint's traffic management efforts are aimed at avoiding congestion by managing the total volume of data transmitted, referred to colloquially as "tonnage." Sprint manages tonnage by optimizing certain applications on the network such as video and web traffic. This optimization improves page load times and reduces video stalling, while also eliminating wasted data transmissions that result from lack of coordination between applications, the network, and a device (for example, stopping transmission of a video after a customer has stopped viewing it). It also matches media transmission quality to the capability of the device viewing the media.
Allocating Resources During Times of Congestion: Despite its best efforts to prevent congestion through managing tonnage and directing customers to the best available network resources, the demand on a particular network sector sometimes temporarily exceeds the ability of that sector to meet the demand. During these times, Sprint relies on the radio scheduling software provided by Sprint's hardware vendors to allocate resources to users. This radio scheduling software includes a set of generic fairness algorithms that allocate resources based on signal quality, number of users, and other metrics. These algorithms are active at all times, whether or not the cell is congested; however, during times of congestion, the algorithms operate with the goal of ensuring that no single user is deprived of access to the network.
Quality of Service (QoS): To help protect against the possibility that unlimited data plan customers that use high volumes of data may occupy an unreasonable share of network resources, Sprint employs network prioritization or QoS on the Sprint network. Customers who choose unlimited data handset plans launched on or after October 16, 2015, or customers who choose to upgrade their handsets on or after October 16, 2015, and are on unlimited data plans, that use more than 23GB (to be adjusted periodically) of data during a plan cycle will be de-prioritized for the remainder of that plan cycle as compared to other customers at times and places where the availability of network resources is constrained. Affected unlimited data customers will continue to be able to enjoy unlimited amounts of data without the worry of overage charges or hard, full bandwidth reductions. Customers subject to prioritization may experience reduced throughput and increased latency compared to other customers on the constrained site and as compared to their normal experience on the Sprint network. Unlimited customers may also notice temporary changes in the performance of data intensive applications such as streaming video or online gaming when subject to prioritization. These temporary reductions in performance will only occur at times and places where capacity is constrained. Performance will return to normal as soon as the resource constraints have been relieved or the customer has relocated to a non-constrained location. Unlimited data customers potentially subject to lower QoS will be notified when their individual data usage reaches approximately 75% of 23 GB so that they may modify their usage to avoid network management practices that may result in slower data speeds. We will notify customers when they have reached the 23 GB threshold and become subject to de-prioritization.
Real-Time Traffic Management System (RTTMS): Another tool Sprint has deployed to help improve the customer experience for the majority of customers during times and places where network resources are constrained is Sprint's RTTMS. When a Sprint site is resource constrained, RTTMS works to identify the users consuming the most site resources, and reallocates a portion of the resources serving the data intensive users to other users engaged in less resource intensive activities. When RTTMS is activated on a resource constrained site, customers engaged in data intensive applications may experience reduced performance until the site becomes unconstrained or the user moves to a non-resource constrained site. Users of the resource-constrained site that are not engaged in data intensive activities should expect a better experience than they would have on the site if RTTMS not activated. Sprint's RTTMS is user, content, application, and device agnostic and is intended to provide an improved experience for the majority of users when resources are constrained.
How does congestion management impact me and my data services?
The goal of congestion management is to ensure that all users during times of congestion have access to a fair share of the network resources and that no user is starved of resources. When congestion occasionally occurs, customers may experience reduced throughput or speed compared to their normal experience on non-congested sites.
How often does Sprint use congestion management?
Because of the peaked nature of mobile data traffic, congestion management software is actively looking for network congestion at all times. When it detects congestion, the fairness algorithms described above operate with the goal of ensuring that all customers are allocated a fair share of network resources.
To help reduce congestion, Sprint evaluates its overall network performance and enhances its network by adding capacity or making other network adjustments to help improve network performance.
Does Sprint employ any type of data compression or optimization on the Sprint network today?
Yes, Sprint deploys network optimization capabilities for video and web traffic, with the intent to improve overall user experience and increase network efficiency. Optimization helps improve page load times and reduces video stalling. The optimization technology provides for the elimination of wasted data transmission that results from lack of coordination between applications, network, and device, for example stopping transmission of video after a customer has stopped viewing it. It also matches media transmission quality to the capability of the device viewing the media.
What specific types of optimization does Sprint employ?
Video optimization is deployed for RTSP and HTTP video traffic and all HTTP web traffic. Video optimization is always deployed and active on the Sprint network for all identifiable video traffic. Although the purpose of the optimization techniques is to improve overall video viewing experience, it is possible that some users may experience minor discernable reductions in image quality when viewing video traffic on certain devices. These reductions should generally be offset by improvements in load times and reductions in video stalling and other experience improvements. Sprint's video optimization uses four basic technologies:
- Video Delivery Synchronization:
- Delivers video "just in time" to the mobile device. Intent is to eliminate network waste associated with transmitting video that isn't watched.
- Quality Aware Transcoding:
- Matches video quality with network conditions in real time. Optimizes video for the bandwidth available to the user. Intent is to minimize or eliminate annoying video stalling. Similar in concept to the optimization techniques already employed by sites using adaptive streaming.
- Video Transcoding:
- Transcodes video with intent to optimize the video experience for the user while efficiently using network bandwidth. Provides for the elimination of video waste using techniques like replacing less efficient video codecs with more efficient ones. Optimizes video for the mobile device the customer is using.
- Intelligent Caching:
- Caches optimized video in the network with the intent of eliminating delay associated with internet video sites.
Note that some customer may choose plans that include throughput limits for streaming video applications. Refer to your specific plan materials for information on video streaming policies relating to your plan.
What specific types of web optimization does Sprint employ?
Web optimization is deployed for all HTTP web traffic and is always deployed and active on the Sprint network for all identifiable web traffic. Although the purpose of the optimization techniques is to improve overall web viewing experience, it is possible that some users may experience minor discernable reductions in image quality when viewing web traffic on certain devices. These reductions should generally be offset by improvement s in load times and other experience improvements. Web optimization uses three basic technologies:
- Caching: Caches web pages to help avoid delays associated with retrieval of the same internet content multiple times.
- Text/Binary Compression: Lossless compression of data and binary files using standard compression techniques supported by HTTP-compliant browsers.
- Image Compression: JPEG and GIF compression designed to reduce the size of images while maintaining no user perceptible loss of quality.
Does Virgin Mobile have any prohibited applications or uses?
Yes, Virgin Mobile broadband internet access services are intended to be used for web surfing, sending and receiving email, photographs and other similar messaging activities, and the non-continuous streaming of videos, downloading of files or online gaming. To ensure the activities of some users do not impair the ability of our customers to have access to reliable services, Virgin Mobile prohibits use of our services in a manner that harms or unduly interferes with Sprint's network or systems or poses a security risk. Refer to Terms and Conditions and your applicable brand's service and product specific terms for more information.
Does Virgin Mobile discriminate against particular types of online content?
Virgin Mobile strives to deliver to its customers access to all the lawful, legitimate and non-infringing content that the Internet has to offer. However, we are committed to protecting customers from spam, phishing and other unwanted or harmful online content and activities. Sprint uses industry standard tools and generally accepted best practices and policies to help it meet this customer commitment. In cases where these tools and policies identify certain online content as harmful, Virgin Mobile may prevent the content from reaching customers. In other cases, these tools and policies may permit customers to identify certain content that is not clearly harmful or unwanted, such as bulk email or websites with questionable security ratings, and enable those customers to inspect the content further if they want to do so. Virgin Mobile does not block sites based on content or subject, unless the Internet address hosts unlawful content or is blocked as part of an opted-in customer service.
Does Virgin Mobile have rules regarding the attachment of devices to its network by customers?
Any device certified as being Sprint network compatible may be used on the Sprint network including compatible devices not purchased from Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile/Sprint will not activate devices that have been reported as lost or stolen or associated with accounts that are found not to be in good standing.
Manufacturers and developers who want to develop products for use on the Sprint's network can find information and assistance through Sprint's developer tools located at: http://developer.sprint.com/
Do device software upgrades affect the performance of my device on Sprint's network?
From time to time, Virgin Mobile may push software updates to your device to improve device features, security, and performance. These updates may include components that optimize the way your device and application on the device use network resources by, for example, managing connections between a user's wifi networks and the Sprint network or by managing the intervals at which certain background application connect to the network. Updates that manage radio resources are intended to improve performance and device battery life while also maintaining a high quality user experience.