AT&T Throttling Unlimited Data Users After Only 1-2 GB
February 15, 2012 9:35 AM
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Customers are outraged, saying AT&T is just trying to get them to use tiered data plans
Unlimited data plans seem to be a thing of the past for most U.S. carriers. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all
axed their unlimited data options
over the last year, but users who had unlimited data before the plans were cut could typically continue to do so -- except the experience hasn't been so great for AT&T customers.
AT&T currently does not offer unlimited data plans for subscribers. Instead, it switched to
tiered data plans
where a certain amount of data was allotted to customers for a set price, unless they go over that amount, which leads to extra monthly fees.
In 2011, AT&T announced that it was planning to throttle unlimited smartphone users come October 2011. This would only affect the top 5 percent of heavy data users, where their data speeds would be reduced significantly once reaching a certain point.
AT&T never revealed when speeds would slow down for these users, but made sure to notify them via SMS that they were approaching that point. The problem was, unlimited users were noticing that they were reaching this point after only about 2 GB of data used. In some instances, users even received these notices at only 1.6 GB of data used.
"They're coaxing you toward the tiered plan," said Gregory Tallman from Hopatcong, New Jersey, who has an unlimited plan from AT&T for his iPhone 4S. He received a warning from AT&T after only 1.5 GB of data used.
From October until the present, AT&T unlimited data customers have been jumping to forums and news outlets to complain about AT&T's over-the-top throttling. Customers feel they are getting ripped off, since the $30 tiered plan is currently offering 50 percent more data than AT&T's grandfathered unlimited plans.
The kicker is that throttling heavy users doesn't help improve the data network because they typically consume this data during off-peak hours, according to
AT&T announced that it was getting rid of unlimited data plans back in 2010.
T-Mobile followed suit
in May 2011, and
Verizon Wireless killed off its unlimited plans
in July 2011. Sprint is the only remaining provider of unlimited data plans, and insists
unlimited data is here to stay
While unlimited data continues to slowly die off, carriers like
and Verizon Wireless are currently working on offering shared and
family data plans instead
, where users can share one batch of data for various devices such as smartphones, tablets and USB modems for laptops.
But shared data efforts aren’t getting AT&T completely off the hook. Just last week, AT&T announced a crushing blow for users: the
smartphone upgrade fee
doubled from $18 to $36, effective February 12, 2012.
Channel 9 News
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2/15/2012 10:55:37 AM
Before I start, I don't the way tiered data plans are setup and I don't like the fact that unlimited plans are gone(except sprint). Anyways:
It is when you start adding up all of their users. I
a couple of things might have happened. The providers were not prepared for the huge increase in network traffic these smartphones brought them. I am sure it costs a lot of upgrade their networks to support the increase of traffic and by doing so would cut too much into their profits to upgrade it enough to meet demands. And out of pure speculation, businesses make more money by charging extra fees like going over your limit so a tiered plan would allow them to do this.
I have a grandfathered unlimited plan and the places I go the most, I have access to their wifi. More and more businesses have free wifi. Just ask. It doesn't help when you are on the move but it sure help reduce the amount of data you use a month. Plus the speeds are faster.
Maybe I just haven't been paying attention all of my life but this "race to the bottom" when it comes to services offered by huge corporations is interesting, if not scary.
2/15/2012 11:17:33 AM
I'd figure I get my money's worth. A while back I relied on a mix of wifi and cell data but many times it would be spotty unless I stop into a Starbucks or McD's (NYC public wifi is a bit bad). I'm also on the go a lot where wifi isn't available but 3G/ 4G is.
Either way I'm paying for it and 1 - 2GB of data is not obscene.
2/15/2012 12:23:28 PM
I see where you are coming from. I am not saying not to use 3G/4G or to get what you think your money is worth out of your data plan.
However, these data caps are not going away and most likely are going to get worse before they get better. My suggestion was merely a way to reduce total bandwidth used unnecessarily when there is wifi around. This would allow you to have the maximum amount of "uncapped" data speed available for when you are truly mobile.
Granted with people more on the move, like yourself, that is a little harder to do. But it is at least worth a try. I am sure you will agree with me, but I am glad I am still on the unlimited plan even with data caps in place. At least we won't get overage fees.
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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