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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I got the message earlier this month
2/15/2012 1:23:49 PM
I got the message earlier this month and heard about people in the same area getting them at around 2.2GB (metro Atlanta). It was my first time breaking 5GB at 5.1GB.
What infuriates me is that I should not be compared to the top 5% of "all" smartphone users or the top 5% of local smartphone users: OF COURSE I am going to use more data if I maintained an unlimited plan! I should only be compared to the top 5% of grandfathered-in AT&T Unlimited Data Plan users. Even then, I am a techie and I expect to use more than 90% of the masses of smartphone users: THAT'S WHY I HELD ON TO AND PAID MORE FOR UNLIMITED! Being in the top 5% doesn't put me in some ridiculously over-the-top abuser category like they imply, so that is the FIRST part of this that needs to be challenged.
RE: I got the message earlier this month
2/15/2012 3:21:45 PM
I'm also a tech and use my phone for streaming radio and GPS navigation while on long trips to sites that I do every day. I have to answer emails constantly and upload 2-3 MB pictures often for work. I also download lots of apps, watch video sometimes, and browse the web very often on my phone. I also use it to check my college homework assignments, lectures, and other school material.
I have kept WIFI off completely. months at a time and usually only do around 3GB of day per month. The only time I went at or past 5GB is when my home Internet went out for over a week and I was bored.
I'd say 5GB is just right for me at least and I would wager for about 99% of all users. I would see it acceptable to throttle after 5GB, but not quite to the point of making your phone useless.
AT&T is really asking for it. They have people with unlimited plans which would mean they are returning customers. I guess the question to ask is would you rather have a customer of only a one 2-year contract or two of them with the second contract slightly less profitable. It makes no sense for AT&T to upset their repeat customers and make them defect to other service providers.
AT&T has no case IMO. You can get a 3GB plan for the same amount as the unlimited plan, but the extra 2GB (to make it a total of 5GB) should at least be allowed as you don't have a 2 year customer but at least a 4 year customer.
Instead, AT&T treats their repeat customers worse than their new customers by giving the new customers a full 3GB at full speed but throttle unlimited customers that pay the same amount but get screwed sometimes only after 2GB.
That is total BS.
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