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AT&T to raise insurance, throttle heavy data users ahead of iPhone 5 launch

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
AT&T plans to raise insurance costs for iPhone users and begin to throttle the top 5 percent of its data users as it prepares for the launch of Apple's fifth-generation handset.

The wireless provider on Friday updated its insurance information webpage to note that starting Oct. 4, rates will jump from $5 to $7 for both new and existing customers.

As Electronista points out, the price hike arrives in conjunction with the establishment of a new device tier ( Device Tier 3) for iPhone and "other devices" that carries a $199 non-refundable deductible.

The changes go into effect the same day Apple has scheduled a media event to take the wraps off its latest line of iPhones. As such, the timing may suggest that Apple and it partners may begin accepting pre-orders shortly after the announcement, given the new insurance plan will go into effect the same day.

Another change coming to AT&T customers ahead of the new iPhone is the throttling of data speed for its heaviest users.

Some of these customers began receiving text messages from AT&T this week, advising them that their data usage places them in the top 5 percent of the network and warns of reduced speeds beginning Oct 1st. Reddit user skelatwork posted an image of a text he received from the carrier on Thursday, claiming he had used over 11GBs at the time.



AT&T released a statement in July preparing users for the bandwidth cap, though it has never outlined what usage statistics constitute being in the top 5 percent.
post #2 of 44
Occupy at&t!!!
post #3 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



AT&T released a statement in July preparing users for the bandwidth cap, though it has never outlined what usage statistics constitutes being in the top 5 percent.


Of course it didn't. This way it can claim any user is in the top 5%, thereby justifying throttle all users eventually.
post #4 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dualie View Post

Of course it didn't. This way it can claim any user is in the top 5%, thereby justifying throttle all users eventually.

Certainly all iCloud users.
post #5 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dualie View Post

Of course it didn't. This way it can claim any user is in the top 5%, thereby justifying throttle all users eventually.

Couldn't this be considered a material breach of the contract with it's users and allow users to break their contract, to go with, say Sprint- who says they will not throttle users?
post #6 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by iansilv View Post

Couldn't this be considered a material breach of the contract with it's users and allow users to break their contract, to go with, say Sprint- who says they will not throttle users?

Sprint does throttle users who exceed 5GB

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post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by iansilv View Post

Couldn't this be considered a material breach of the contract with it's users and allow users to break their contract, to go with, say Sprint- who says they will not throttle users?

How? You're still allowed unlimited data usage. There's no stipulation in the contract that states your data will always be at a high speed.
And now that the major providers have either tiered or capped data plans where are you going to go? Face it whether you like it or not you're stuck with your current provider for life.
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post #8 of 44
I received the email this week about high data usage (over 14 Gb in the past month with unlimited plan)

They can throttle all they want... I'm still gonna use it...

post #9 of 44
All they accomplish is stifle innovation and handcuff users.
post #10 of 44
At least they could have made it cheery - in a Sirius Cybernetics sort of way. Thank goodness ATT isn't in charge of everything...

"Hi there. You're among the top 5% of oxygen users this month. Click here to find out how to avoid reduced respiration rates."

By the way, what is the way to avoid reduced data rates? Stop using the service? Pay more?
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by iansilv View Post

Couldn't this be considered a material breach of the contract with it's users and allow users to break their contract, to go with, say Sprint- who says they will not throttle users?

If you are already OOC, it is a hollow remedy.
post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalpen View Post

(over 14 Gb in the past month with unlimited plan)

What on earth are you using that much data for?
post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

What on earth are you using that much data for?

Its purpose, probably.

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post #14 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

What on earth are you using that much data for?

Let me clarify, that is just for my 11 and 9 year old sons who share an iPhone. Everything from YouTube... a lot of YouTube to web surfing, etc. There is a lot on YouTube...
post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

What on earth are you using that much data for?

I was tipping 100GB/month at one time with my "contract violating" tethering.
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post #16 of 44
How are people hitting 11 gigs and higher without tethering? I stream Netflix to my tv from my phone, and the highest I've ever gone is 6.
post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by daylove22 View Post

Sprint does throttle users who exceed 5GB

It has never throttled my connection, even in the months when I have used 10-20GB. I never have a problem streaming video either.
post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dualie View Post

It has never throttled my connection, even in the months when I have used 10-20GB. I never have a problem streaming video either.

It will be very interesting to see how that changes if they get the iPhone 5 four days from now.

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post #19 of 44
Wouldn't it be a good time for a hard hitting lawyer to step up to the plate. You have to figure that in order to claim excessive use the customer has the right to know what is the limit. The publicity fall out would certainly be equal to Netflix, if not worse since people just have a negative gut reaction to ATT. Any brave soul out here?
post #20 of 44
You would like to think AT&T would help their customers by putting wifi everywhere in public spaces, trains, subways, malls etc. anywhere really. They need more than just a Barnes and Noble, McDonalds and Starbucks and where ever else it currently is.

I'm currently living in South Korea and Olleh, one of the carriers of the iPhone here has "Olleh Wifi" everywhere for their customers, street, bus, subways, trains. It's really nice.
post #21 of 44
If the heavy data users cut back soon people that are using 5GB will be considered heavy users and be throttled. Keep in mind ATT said ' top five percent in their statement' so the rest of us are next
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BUSHMAN4 View Post

If the heavy data users cut back soon people that are using 5GB will be considered heavy users and be throttled. Keep in mind ATT said ' top five percent in their statement' so the rest of us are next

It still would ONLY be the top 5% so your 'the rest of us are next' comment is total BS meant to spread FUD.

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post #23 of 44
Isn't it nice to be able to tell ATT - F*** YOU VERY MUCH - NO LETTER TO FOLLOW.
post #24 of 44
I received the email as well, noticed I only reached 12.5 GB this month..They say they will throttle me next month if I do it again.

Why am I paying for unlimited if it isn't AT&T?
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post #25 of 44
The title "throttle heavy data users"... made me think of Homer Simpson choking Bart. "Why you little..."

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post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by maclvr03 View Post

You would like to think AT&T would help their customers by putting wifi everywhere in public spaces, trains, subways, malls etc. anywhere really. They need more than just a Barnes and Noble, McDonalds and Starbucks and where ever else it currently is.

I'm currently living in South Korea and Olleh, one of the carriers of the iPhone here has "Olleh Wifi" everywhere for their customers, street, bus, subways, trains. It's really nice.

Considering the United States is 92 times larger (land mass wise) and has almost five times more the population than South Korea, it isn't really feasible at all to expect a wireless carrier to cover the country in wifi "anywhere" or "everywhere" a person might be. Have a little common sense.
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by iansilv View Post

Couldn't this be considered a material breach of the contract with it's users and allow users to break their contract, to go with, say Sprint- who says they will not throttle users?

No, it's not. The contract allows them to make changes as long as they notify you. Furthermore, the contract specifically says that download speeds may vary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Mac View Post

Wouldn't it be a good time for a hard hitting lawyer to step up to the plate. You have to figure that in order to claim excessive use the customer has the right to know what is the limit. The publicity fall out would certainly be equal to Netflix, if not worse since people just have a negative gut reaction to ATT. Any brave soul out here?

Nonsense. First, many other carriers do the same thing. Second, you already know what the limit is - the top 5% of downloaders. How much data is required to put you over the 5% limit will change month to month, but probably not that much. It really doesn't matter. Since the contract does not require them to provide you any given download speed, they are free to change it at will.

Flipping whiners....


The insurance one is a killer. I got insurance for my daughter's phone (not an iPhone) because I figured that there was a good chance she'd lose it (and she did). We paid $5 per month for insurance for 24 months ($120) plus a $50 deductible, so her replacement phone was $170. That was better than if I had to buy a phone without a contract, but not all that much. With the new rates ($7 per month plus deductible up to $199), it wouldn't make sense in many cases. For the iPhone (which is the $199 deductible), you'd pay $$367 if you lose or break your phone. Now, that's still cheaper than buying a new one if you lose the phone, but not much. But if you simply BREAK your iPhone, you can take it to an Apple Store and have it replaced for $199 - so the insurance wouldn't gain you anything (other than $7 per month added to your bill).
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post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by maclvr03 View Post

You would like to think AT&T would help their customers by putting wifi everywhere in public spaces, trains, subways, malls etc. anywhere really. They need more than just a Barnes and Noble, McDonalds and Starbucks and where ever else it currently is.

I'm currently living in South Korea and Olleh, one of the carriers of the iPhone here has "Olleh Wifi" everywhere for their customers, street, bus, subways, trains. It's really nice.

Could you supply a cost breakdown?

Perhaps you could add it to Maemo Data Plan site. http://wiki.maemo.org/Data_plans

As we see here, virtually every mobile provider in the world throttles. And as far as "unlimited" data goes, there is virtually none that don't have a restrictive element to it. Just like the "all-you-can-eat" restaurants aren't.
post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by dualie View Post

Of course it didn't. This way it can claim any user is in the top 5%, thereby justifying throttle all users eventually.

Do you think they have their own fleet of black helicopters, too? \
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Mac View Post

Wouldn't it be a good time for a hard hitting lawyer to step up to the plate. You have to figure that in order to claim excessive use the customer has the right to know what is the limit. The publicity fall out would certainly be equal to Netflix, if not worse since people just have a negative gut reaction to ATT. Any brave soul out here?

Since they aren't charging you to go over a limit, it would be really hard to win a case along these lines.
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BUSHMAN4 View Post

If the heavy data users cut back soon people that are using 5GB will be considered heavy users and be throttled. Keep in mind ATT said ' top five percent in their statement' so the rest of us are next

My recollection is that's not exactly what AT&T said at the time. Wasn't it "top 5% of bandwidth users where it causes a problem for other users" or something like that? That seemed to leave the door open for them not to throttle anyone in areas where overall system performance wasn't affected by heavy usage from some users.
post #32 of 44
AT&T= WeThink Profitable
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Mac View Post

Wouldn't it be a good time for a hard hitting lawyer to step up to the plate. You have to figure that in order to claim excessive use the customer has the right to know what is the limit. The publicity fall out would certainly be equal to Netflix, if not worse since people just have a negative gut reaction to ATT. Any brave soul out here?


I have an unlimited plan, therefore I don't see how they can claim excessive use at all when unlimited speaks for itself. They just want to piss people off and make them cancel so they can get rid of all the unlimited plans. They've already tried to trick many of us out of our unlimited plans with that little stunt they pulled back around April.

And even on people with the 2GB plans....when they go over that they get charged so they are PAYING for what they use. In which case I don't see how you can charge someone for a service and then slow them down because they are in excess.

So in answer to your question, yes, I'm out here. But I see no reason to dwell on it until such time as they try and pull another trick or my service is negatively impacted.
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by BUSHMAN4 View Post

If the heavy data users cut back soon people that are using 5GB will be considered heavy users and be throttled. Keep in mind ATT said ' top five percent in their statement' so the rest of us are next

And those heavy users will automatically cut back, if everything above the current monthly threshold is dog slow, they will consume very little above that limit. Which puts the monthly automatically lower the next month. And as soon as the limit has come down to below 2 GB, people will voluntarily switch to the 2 GB plan.
post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

Do you think they have their own fleet of black helicopters, too? \

Do you seriously believe they won't shaft users in any way possible? There's absolutely nothing conspiratorial about that.

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post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

And those heavy users will automatically cut back, if everything above the current monthly threshold is dog slow, they will consume very little above that limit. Which puts the monthly automatically lower the next month. And as soon as the limit has come down to below 2 GB, people will voluntarily switch to the 2 GB plan.

Maybe you, too, missed the statement by AT&T where they claim the "top 5%" throttling will only take effect in areas where there's a network congestion problem. If everyone is below 2GB/month (the real number is likely far higher) then perhaps on one will be affected at all. Time will tell.

Of course our general inclination is to not let facts get in the way of a good rant.
post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Do you seriously believe they won't shaft users in any way possible? There's absolutely nothing conspiratorial about that.

My guess is they're quite happy for those using 100 GB/month to pick up their marbles and go elsewhere. Why not let those customers become someone else problem to deal with? They hardly lose any revenue and they rid themselves of the small handful of customers buggering up their network.
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Do you seriously believe they won't shaft users in any way possible?

Yes, I do.

Ultimately, companies survive and thrive by having happy customers. Someone who arbitrarily shafts their users in any way possible won't be around long.
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post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson1 View Post

Maybe you, too, missed the statement by AT&T where they claim the "top 5%" throttling will only take effect in areas where there's a network congestion problem. If everyone is below 2GB/month (the real number is likely far higher) then perhaps on one will be affected at all. Time will tell.

Of course our general inclination is to not let facts get in the way of a good rant.

I think the fact is that we don't know where AT&T exactly will take this, their statements are too vague to know either way. And maybe AT&T doesn't itself know how far it wants to go. My only point was that this top 5% policy throttling is a policy that if followed to the letter will lead to a continuous downward trend, it is pure mathematics based on the undeniable fact that limiting speed will lead to less consumption by almost every user affected by it except maybe a few edge cases.
But maybe taking things to their ultimate logical conclusions is less of national pastime in the US than it is in my home country.

That said, since the iPhone came to my current country of residence, no carrier (out of three) has offered a data plan higher than 1 GB/month and strangely enough there have not been riots on the street about it. The overage charges are 10 cent/MB but limited to $5 per day (ie, if you burn through your limit on day 10, you can get up to $100 of overage charge). But then the plans start at $25/month with zero minutes.
post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by applebjesus View Post

Considering the United States is 92 times larger (land mass wise) and has almost five times more the population than South Korea, it isn't really feasible at all to expect a wireless carrier to cover the country in wifi "anywhere" or "everywhere" a person might be. Have a little common sense.

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