AT&T releases throttling guidelines for smartphone owners with unlimited data plans

Tue, Mar 6, 2012


Hot on the heels of a lawsuit that saw an iPhone owner receive a $850 judgement from AT&T over allegations of data throttling in contravention of his “unlimited data” contract, AT&T is going on the offensive, so to speak, by highlighting the circumstances under which users with unlimited data plans will find themselves subjected to throttling measures.

In the past, AT&T has categorized any iPhone user who gobbles up enough data to put him in the “top 5% of users” as someone eligible for data throttling. AT&T has since discarded the nebulous criteria and replaced it with more tangible guidelines. HSPA iPhone users now have a 3GB maximum while other smartphone owners with LTE devices have a hard cap of 5GB.

Users will receive a message from AT&T as they approach the threshold but nothing thereafter. So all you data hogs out there, keep an eye for any messages from AT&T before you get your ass throttled.

Even with reduced data speeds, these customers will still be able to email and surf the web, and continue to use an unlimited amount of data each month.

Not impacted by this program, launched last year, are customers on our tiered data plans.

The reason reduced speeds only apply to unlimited smartphone customers is because their data usage is significantly higher than those on tiered plans. For example, in January, the top 5 percent of our unlimited data plan customers used an average of over 50 percent more data than the top 5 percent of customers on tiered plans.

Once throttling kicks in, it will only be in effect for the current billing cycle and speeds will return to normal for the next billing cycle.

AT&T has an FAQ up on the issue over here for your perusal.




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