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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Clauses would seem difficult to defend in court
3/7/2012 3:53:19 AM
"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.
"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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