AT&T Contracts Have Always Stipulated Data Throttling Despite Customer Complaints
March 6, 2012 9:54 AM
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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.
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Contact The FCC
3/6/2012 7:37:20 PM
*** 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.
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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