On Thursday, the online retailer Wal-Marts announced it was cutting its online internet service to 1 million customers.
The move, which the company says is in response to “increased data usage” among customers, comes as the company grapples with a record $13.3 billion loss for the year, the most recent for which data is available.
Walmart is also facing criticism for its service shutdowns, as it is one of the largest retailers to not offer Internet access to employees.
“As a result of the recent surge in data usage at our stores, our online services have been temporarily disabled,” the company wrote in a statement.
“We are working closely with our network management and other partners to ensure we have the right solutions for our customers, and will provide an update as soon as we can.”
It is unclear how many employees have been impacted.
“The company will continue to make adjustments to its business operations as warranted, and we will continue providing the best customer experience,” a spokesperson told Reuters.
The company has long relied on its online store to deliver high-quality goods and services to customers and also serves as a source of revenue for the company.
In addition to offering high-end goods and entertainment to its customers, the company also provides the vast majority of its service through online stores, with a smaller portion being provided through its brick-and-mortar stores.
However, the closure of the online services comes amid increasing concern about the growing role that mobile technology is playing in everyday life.
“Mobile Internet and the growth of data usage have led to increasing concerns about our business and our operations,” Wal-mart CEO Doug McMillon wrote in the statement.
“[It’s] our hope that we will be able to continue to work with our partners and stakeholders to address the data use issues impacting our customers.”
In a statement, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expressed similar concerns about the trend, saying that “unnecessary data usage is undermining the ability of the nation’s Internet infrastructure to deliver services to its millions of customers.”
The FCC noted that the trend had become more pronounced in recent years, with “data usage exceeding 1.4 gigabytes per second in 2014, and reaching 5.2 gigabytes of data per second by 2019.”
While the agency is aware of the issue and working with the companies impacted, it said that the “full spectrum of data providers are in the process of assessing whether or not to provide additional data service to their customers.”