Prioritized and Deprioritized Services by Network

Understanding networks’ prioritization policies can be tricky. Recently, I’ve spent some time digging through the major U.S. networks’ policies. I’ve created a web page for each network listing which services I expect to be prioritized and which services I expect not to be prioritized. Making sense of each network’s policies isn’t always easy, so it’s possible I’ve misclassified some services. Please contact me if you think any information is incorrect or missing.

2021 Update: Over the last few years, I’ve run a bunch of QCI tests to assess priority levels of different plans, and I’ve become more confident about my conclusions. Results from QCI tests can be found here.

2 thoughts to “Prioritized and Deprioritized Services by Network”

  1. I’m concerned by the lack of sourcing to MVNO priority here. There aren’t any firsthand sources, just conjecture and speculation. I understand firsthand sources are hard to find (that’s by design, thanks to intricacies of legal agreements MVNOs sign with their hosts), but there’s got to be a happy medium.

    I’d like to suggest a firsthand source from us, at least as it relates to our relationship with Sprint:

    “There’s a certain dark logic to it: serve your customers first and best and let the rest sell the leftovers. However that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s not true.

    The truth of the matter is, Sprint’s MVNO contract states that Sprint must provide its Customer MVNOs with service parity to traditional Sprint wireless voice and data service. It’s all laid out in very clear terms. Well, as clear as terms can be when lawyers come together to create a tome.

    In short, Ting voice, text and data traffic gets equal priority on the network as all traffic is equal regardless of which customer is using it.”

    Love the content and the discussion it spurs, Christian. Keep it up!

    1. Hey thanks Mitch! Some of the classifications are speculative–I hope I’ve done an ok job communicating that. I’ll update the Sprint page to mention that Ting subscribers likely have priority on-par with that of most postpaid Sprint customers.

      I had been hoping to do testing with Network Signal Guru to collect lots of QCI information across many carriers to see if I can arrive at firm conclusions on my own. Hopefully I’ll get around to more of that testing in 2020.

      Like you, I’m interested in relying on firsthand sources when they’re available. That said, I still take those with a grain of salt. E.g., taking some of Wing’s public statements literally would imply that AT&T’s FirstNet customers will never be prioritized above Wing’s subscribers (which is of course not true).

      As an open invitation to any carriers reading this: I’m always happy to publicly or privately discuss prioritization policies, especially if you think any of the information I’m sharing is inaccurate or misleading.

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