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  (Source: thenextcorner.net)
AT&T's contracts for unlimited data users have always stated that restrictions could be applied

After catching some heat for throttling unlimited data last month, AT&T may receive a little less flack due to contract clauses that always stated it had the power to limit such services.

AT&T currently does not offer unlimited data plans for new subscribers. Instead, it switched to tiered data plans where a certain amount of data was allotted to customers for a set price. Currently, these plans are set at 300 MB/month for $20, 3 GB/month for $30, or 5 GB/month for $50. However, customers who did have unlimited plans before they were axed had the option to hold onto the unlimited package.

Last year, AT&T said it would throttle unlimited smartphone users starting October 2011, which was set to affect the top 5 percent of heavy data users. AT&T planned to slow data speeds once the customers reached a certain point, but never specified when that point was.

Just last month, AT&T unlimited users took to the internet when some realized that their unlimited data was throttled only after 1-2 GB. Some complained that they received notices from AT&T saying they were reaching their slowed point only after 1.6 GB, and others have said their download speed dropped to 256 Kbps after 3 GB of data.

Now, a website called TOSBack, which tracks changes to the terms of service of different companies, showed that AT&T has had a clause in its contracts regarding unlimited data plan restrictions since 2007 -- right before the iPhone came out.

"AT&T reserves the right to (i) limit throughput or amount of data transferred, deny Service and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited above or whose usage adversely impacts its wireless network or service levels or hinders access to its wireless network," said the clause in AT&T's contract from June 26, 2007.

Today's version is quite similar, where section 6.2 points out that AT&T can restrict those who negatively impact its wireless network.

"AT&T reserves the right to (i) deny, disconnect, modify and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited or whose usage adversely impacts its wireless network or service levels or hinders access to its wireless network," said today's AT&T contract.

Source: MacRumors



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Google definition
By vapore0n on 3/6/2012 11:12:54 AM , Rating: 3
"adversely impacts"
Id take that as the key word. The person using data must be hindering the network so bad, that its hindering the network unusable by other users.

Over here we call that "prime time", where data speeds go down due to the amount of people using it, not by how much they are using.

Maybe AT&T should look into upgrading their network, so that their network wont be [I]adversely affected[/I] when people use the service they pay for.




RE: Google definition
By drycrust3 on 3/6/2012 2:23:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Maybe AT&T should look into upgrading their network, so that their network wont be [I]adversely affected[/I] when people use the service they pay for.

You are correct, AT&T should upgrade their network, but that costs money, which brings us to the question of where does that money come from? Obviously it comes from their paying customers. Notice that? The responsibility for paying for the upgrades is placed upon their existing paying customers. So how should AT&T distribute the cost of the network upgrades a small percentage of users forces AT&T to carry out?
As I've said before, the biggest users are the ones who should pay the biggest amount because they are the ones who put the biggest stress on the network. Charging those customers more also encourages them to moderate their behaviour (or move to another phone company), which reduces the urgency for network upgrades.


RE: Google definition
By conejo99 on 3/6/2012 2:56:01 PM , Rating: 2
And you are correct, it does cost money for AT&T to upgrade their network, and that money must come from somewhere. However that just explains why AT&T wants to do this, it doesn't give them the contractual right to do so. It seems to me that the important point is that AT&T can throttle uses to protect its network, not to force customer's into changing their contract. Limiting heavy users at peak times is a reasonable way to enforce the contract, but arbitrary limits do not seem reasonable.


RE: Google definition
By tamalero on 3/8/2012 12:47:15 AM , Rating: 2
Hang on, weren't they given millions of gov money to expand and upgrade their networks.. and they used it to just merge and buy smaller ones?


RE: Google definition
By sleepeeg3 on 3/7/2012 1:16:14 AM , Rating: 2
That is your subjective interpretation. Contractually, AT&T gets the final say.

"AT&T reserves the right to limit throughput... to anyone it believes "


RE: Google definition
By conejo99 on 3/8/2012 10:16:47 AM , Rating: 2
I'd love to be a lawyer with the legal right of discovery in order to determine if AT&T actually believes that, or is just saying it believes that in order to pursue another objective.


contract
By tekzor on 3/6/2012 10:40:27 AM , Rating: 4
I think there should be a mutual agreement contract that does not ass rape the consumer with terms like UNLIMITED*. Company's are protecting there themselves through these contracts while the consumer has no defense against this manipulation.

*its not really unlimited but pay up anyway, LOLZ TOO BAD.




RE: contract
By djc208 on 3/6/2012 12:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
You have plenty of power, just don't sign the contract. The can't force you into it. They know that most consumers aren't going to spend the time and money to read the fine print, or any print really. They see "unlimited" and start signing. Ever wonder why you need a 12 page contract to agree to a simple "unlimited" contract?

I'm not trying to defend these companies, but we do it to ourselves here. We're not willing do go without, so we just complain that the carriers won't give us what we want. Of course they don't, not as long as you keep buying what they're selling.

Addicts don't love their dealers, but it's not like the dealer cares as long as they keep buying.


something for nothing...
By shaidorsai on 3/6/2012 6:48:37 PM , Rating: 2
I dont have AT&T...I have Sprint and it works fine for what I use it for. I just dont understand the thought process for people harping all over AT&T for making people pay for a service they agreed to...does everyone think they are special and should have something for nothing?

I am equally puzzled/amused at the people that did not read the contract they signed and now want to complain to the heavens about how evil a "business" is for making them abide by the contract they signed...seriously?

People act like their hair is on fire because AT&T wants them to pay 10 bucks extra for twice the bandwidth (PER THE CONTRACT THEY SIGNED) while standing at the gas pump putting 15 dollars more per week in their gas tank because Mobil feels like it....at least AT&T was upfront about it and has a valid reason.

Why no outrage at the price of gas ? Why no outrage that CATV costs 120 per month? How about a box a cereal costing 7 bucks ? Seriously...AT&T is hardly the only company that charges...in fact they seem pretty reasonable when you look around!




RE: something for nothing...
By adamlvndtx on 3/7/2012 12:14:08 AM , Rating: 2
Your statement makes no sense. Yes, you should read the contract, but when you use a couple of words to broaden your definition of service you provided-thats where the problem is. Limiting data that a company say is "stressing a network" is a company problem, not a customer problem. If ATT or Verizon can not handle the customers needs, then they should not be accepting anymore applications for services. If they do, which is what is happening now because their crying about "stressed networks" then they are the "evil business" trying to ripe people off.


RE: something for nothing...
By JediJeb on 3/7/2012 3:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
..does everyone think they are special and should have something for nothing?


Yup they sure do. That is what they are being taught all through school and on most media now days. Everyone is a winner, no one looses. You can be anything you want to be, and don't need to work hard to get there.

There is no more teaching people that you must work hard to achieve success, or that you get what you pay for, or if you don't work you don't eat. Instead of being taught REALITY as young people are growing up, they are taught it once they are thrown into the deep end of life with no life jacket.


That's AT&T for you
By masamasa on 3/6/2012 11:13:27 AM , Rating: 2
Better read the fine print if you sign anything with them.




RE: That's AT&T for you
By Solandri on 3/6/2012 5:17:52 PM , Rating: 3
You're supposed to read the fine print before signing anything of importance with anyone. It's not just a matter of the other guy trying to trick you, it's a matter of knowing exactly what it is you're agreeing to.

A cell phone contract covers the transfer of hundreds if not thousand of dollars over the term of the contract. Even if the carrier's salesman is making $100/hr, forcing him to sit there for 30 minutes while you read the whole thing is a minor inconvenience in comparison.


AT&T
By adamlvndtx on 3/7/2012 12:06:08 AM , Rating: 2
First off, for those who say that customers should change their usage of their phone are wrong. If I sign a contract with a carrier for unlimited data and now that you have more customers than your network can handle-who's fault is that. NOT MINES!! ATT should not limit a person's data usage just because it "stresses" their network nor should a person be charged more just because they like to use their phone. It makes no sense to pay all that money and can't even use it because you stress the network if you look at your phone. I wish people would just leave ATT and go to sprint. Sprint may not have the best network, but it works and they are a lot cheaper and don't cry about data usage.




RE: AT&T
By JediJeb on 3/7/2012 3:03:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If I sign a contract with a carrier for unlimited data and now that you have more customers than your network can handle-who's fault is that.


If you sign the contract and even though it is called Unlimited yet within the contract itself it says they can limit your usage, then yes it is your fault and not AT&T's.

Is AT&T as guilty as many others for misusing words like "unlimited", you bet, but for those signing the contracts without reading them through, shame on you when AT&T decides you are going beyond the limits you agreed to. What AT&T should be hit with here are Truth in Advertising lawsuits instead of just whining about clauses in contracts that the signors did not read.


Contact The FCC
By rxk854 on 3/6/2012 7:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
*** Must Read ***

I urge everybody to file a complaint with the FCC. They will examine if there is a policy violation on unlimited plans regarding bandwidth throttling. Every complaint has to be answered by AT&T in writing within 45 days. Phone 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) or go online at www.fcc.gov/complaints

*** Example Text ***

I wish to file an informal complaint with the FCC against AT&T Wireless. I want to examine the possibility of “Policy Violations” and/or “Violations of Policy that are In Development” on the part of AT&T.

AT&T has determined that I am in the top 5% of monthly data consumption users, but has not clearly defined in specific terms (either in Kilobytes of Megabytes) how much monthly data usage they arbitrarily consider too much. And if this were a genuinely defined “Unlimited Data Plan”, it should not matter.

I am under a 2-year contract with AT&T’s grandfathered “Unlimited Data Plan”. I pay on time each and every month for this signed, committed, and contracted wireless service. I have also recently paid to upgrade my handset to an iPhone 4S 64GB for the express purpose optimizing my data speeds and enhancing my data performance.

AT&T banners itself as a “Network of Possibilities” offering 2 layers of network technology that deliver 4G or “Fourth-Generation Wireless” speeds that encompass HPSA+ (High Speed Packet Access Plus) and LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless technologies. Yet, AT&T is limiting my data by invoking “Bandwidth Throttling” and/or “Bandwidth Capping” at rates that are considerably less than even accepted 3G speeds.

“Unlimited” is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

1. lacking any controls : unrestricted
2. boundless, infinite

By Pure Definition, AT&T should not be able to sell an Unlimited Service by imposing limits.

I believe that AT&T has knowingly misled their customer base by offering an “Unlimited Data Plan” to capture early market-share. I believe to compensate, AT&T is now imposing intentional and substantial data limits. I believe that AT&T has oversubscribed their network capabilities while failing to upgrade their network capacities to support current market demand. I believe that we the customers are left holding-the-bag because AT&T has failed in the proper “Capacity Planning” and “Capacity Execution” of their network.

*** Additionally ***

(1) Be Sure To File An "Informal Complaint" vs. a "Formal Complaint". An Informal Complaints Insures That There Is No Cost To You. A Formal Complaint Is Used To Lay The Groundwork For A Law Suit ... Big $$$.

(2) Be Sure To Use The Term "Violations of Policies That Are In Development". This Covers Grey Areas Which Are Yet To Be Defined Under Current Laws.




By zenguy on 3/7/2012 3:53:19 AM , Rating: 2
"AT&T reserves the right to (i) limit throughput or amount of data transferred, deny Service and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited above or whose usage adversely impacts its wireless network or service levels or hinders access to its wireless network," said the clause in AT&T's contract from June 26, 2007.

The contract does not state that if ATT is having a hard time meeting the demands of all users, they can selectively throttle you. It says your actions must be the cause of the issue. I think ATT would be hard pressed to say you are THE cause of the issue any more than a single tractor trailer is the cause of slow traffic on the highway.

If ATT can provide 3GB as a "Standard" package for everyone and then consider this extreme usage that takes down their network is absurd. I would expect the levels for this to be Vastly higher, perhaps in the 100s of GB.

Alternately, if you were doing doing some nasty stuff such as attempted DOS attacks over your phone etc..., would seem like the proper use case for the clause.




Put the freaking phone away!
By mscyclone on 3/6/2012 6:28:11 PM , Rating: 1
Nothing is so important that we need to surf the internet for information, or play pandora, or answer email, or any number of other things, 24 hour a day. Put the phone down once in a while, have some good conversation with friends and loved ones, and instead of bitching because you are throttled back, stay away from your limit.

If you can't do this, you have much bigger problems than AT&T to deal with.




"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs














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