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AT&T throttling unlimited data users starting at 2 GB per month based on location

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
The story of an AT&T customer having his bandwidth throttled after transferring only 2 GB of a so-called unlimited data plan has created a maelstrom of press, and has forced the company to detail exactly how it handles the increasingly overwhelming demand for data.

The number two U.S. mobile carrier announced in October, 2011 that it would reduce the connection speed of the "top 5 percent" of unlimited data users, though recent complaints reveal that throttling can begin after only 2 GB which is well under the 3 GB "limited" plan that carries the same monthly cost.

According to The New York Times, John Cozen was among the first to be throttled, or have his data speed limited until the next billing cycle, after using only 2.1 GB of data.

Cozen posted an email exchange with AT&T's customer service that claimed he was in the top five percent of heavy data users, and thus would be throttled as per the company's new guidelines. He goes on to say that the rule is unfair given that the cost for AT&T's unlimited data plan is equal to the $30 per month tiered plan customers pay for 3 GB of bandwidth.

AT&T's unlimited data plan is a relic from the launch of the first iPhone, and customers who took advantage of the premium service were grandfathered in when the company axed the option in 2010 as it moved to a completely tiered system.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said that, as of summer 2011, the top five percent of heaviest data users averaged 2 GB or more per month. He goes on to say that throttling is on a case-by-case basis, and that the limit varies on spectrum availability and data use from other customers.

Siegel's comments in an online support document on AT&T's website.




“There’s a very good chance you wouldn’t be slowed,” Siegel said, noting that less than one percent of customers were affected by the policy in January.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 65
Right, is there anything in the EULA that says they can't throttle? Anything at all? If there is, we can't do anything about this.

If there isn't, I want a $100 billion class-action lawsuit and a ruling that makes it illegal to claim something is unlimited in any sort of bandwidth-related situation when it isn't.

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post #3 of 65
Yea but 1% of what? 1% of 1,000,000 phones would be a pretty large number of users affected.
post #4 of 65
They have the right, but that's extra weak considering Unlimited users are essentially paying for 3GB of metereed data anyway at $30/month. IOW, they should at least allow 3.1GB of usage because being jackasses.

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post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Right, is there anything in the EULA that says they can't throttle? Anything at all? If there is, we can't do anything about this.

If there isn't, I want a $100 billion class-action lawsuit and a ruling that makes it illegal to claim something is unlimited in any sort of bandwidth-related situation when it isn't.

If the blood sucking lawyers haven't figured it out by now there must be a reason such a lawsuit hasn't been filed yet. This is so blatant as to be truly stunning in its audacity.
post #6 of 65
Why do these unlimited users continue to complain and bang heads against the wall? Just switch to the damned 3GB plan, you're never going to be back in a situation where you get all the data you want while others pay for it. Go to 3GB, pay for your overages like an adult, and maybe even go outside and enjoy the sun.
post #7 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Why do these unlimited users continue to complain and bang heads against the wall? Just switch to the damned 3GB plan, you're never going to be back in a situation where you get all the data you want while others pay for it. Go to 3GB, pay for your overages like an adult, and maybe even go outside and enjoy the sun.

Or AT&T can stop selling plans that they don't want you to use it. They want your money, but they don't actually want you to use any data..

They force people into data plans that don't need them.. whatever it takes to milk everyone of more money.
post #8 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synergi View Post

Or AT&T can stop selling plans that they don't want you to use it. They want your money, but they don't actually want you to use any data..

They force people into data plans that don't need them.. whatever it takes to milk everyone of more money.

They stopped selling them awhile ago, now it's just those that are grandfathered in who get to keep them but they are doing everything in their power to make sure you don't want to keep them.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Why do these unlimited users continue to complain and bang heads against the wall? Just switch to the damned 3GB plan, you're never going to be back in a situation where you get all the data you want while others pay for it. Go to 3GB, pay for your overages like an adult, and maybe even go outside and enjoy the sun.


Yes very adult....Pay more for less...This isnt a loophole...This is what ATT offered people.
post #10 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1swift View Post

Yes very adult....Pay more for less...This isnt a loophole...This is what ATT offered people.

And per your contract they are giving you what they promised.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

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post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Right, is there anything in the EULA that says they can't throttle? Anything at all? If there is, we can't do anything about this.

If there isn't, I want a $100 billion class-action lawsuit and a ruling that makes it illegal to claim something is unlimited in any sort of bandwidth-related situation when it isn't.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe arbitration is mentioned in AT&T's EULA

If you are using their service there is a binding clause that explicitly prevents you from suing them or otherwise engaging in arbitration while on contract(at least).
post #12 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

They stopped selling them awhile ago, now it's just those that are grandfathered in who get to keep them but they are doing everything in their power to make sure you don't want to keep them.

Oh I know, I'm just saying, even when they sold them they moaned and whined about how it was all the data users that made their network suck. They will sell whatever gets them money, but they don't want you to use it.

Remember the iPad offer, unlimited data for 30 a month that lasted a month or two.. Classic AT&T..

Truthfully, I think its their plan to make people want to get the 3gig plan since its the same price. Then when 4g is everywhere, everyone will reach their caps much easier and faster, but they will have overages to keep AT&T happy.
post #13 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

And per your contract they are giving you what they promised.

Right...in a way.

The signed contract does not speak on this issue. From what I recall theres nothing that says you get the best speed available for your device. however clearly this is somewhat shady on ATT and all the Wireless company's part because thats clearly whats eluded to in your contract. Theres no other clause that says you'd have purposefully reduced speeds.
post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1swift View Post

Right...in a way.

The signed contract does not speak on this issue. From what I recall theres nothing that says you get the best speed available for your device. however clearly this is somewhat shady on ATT and all the Wireless company's part because thats clearly whats eluded to in your contract. Theres no other clause that says you'd have purposefully reduced speeds.

I think they do specifically state that they don't promise such things. All they promise for the Unlimited plan is that they won't actually cap your limit so they won't stop your data usage, just slow it down.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #15 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synergi View Post

Remember the iPad offer, unlimited data for 30 a month that lasted a month or two.. Classic AT&T..

That was such a dick move. I think that hurt the iPad sales and can't imagine Apple was too happy with their decision after Jobs announced these plans by AT&T on stage.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synergi View Post

Or AT&T can stop selling plans that they don't want you to use it. They want your money, but they don't actually want you to use any data..

They force people into data plans that don't need them.. whatever it takes to milk everyone of more money.

They're not selling the plans. They can't force you to quit it, so they're just making you look stupid for not making that decision for yourself.
post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synergi View Post

Truthfully, I think its their plan to make people want to get the 3gig plan since its the same price. Then when 4g is everywhere, everyone will reach their caps much easier and faster, but they will have overages to keep AT&T happy.

I guess that makes you a genius. When did you figure that one out?
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

They're not selling the plans. They can't force you to quit it, so they're just making you look stupid for not making that decision for yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

I guess that makes you a genius. When did you figure that one out?

Why are you being so harsh?

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Why are you being so harsh?

Because I'm so sick and tired of all the moaning about this policy. I wish they'd vote with their wallet or shut the hell up. Hearing this stupidity over and over each time "news" hits about somebody else being throttled, the dummies come out of the woodwork.
post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synergi View Post

Or AT&T can stop selling plans that they don't want you to use it. They want your money, but they don't actually want you to use any data..

They force people into data plans that don't need them.. whatever it takes to milk everyone of more money.

Bingo.

I'm in this category too, and got the same message last month based on about 2.5Gb of usage. One of the reasons I jumped on board to begin with was because it was promoted as an unlimited plan. I wouldn't have forked over my cash if I had known they would renege on the agreement--that's why it's called an agreement.
post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Because I'm so sick and tired of all the moaning about this policy. I wish they'd vote with their wallet or shut the hell up. Hearing this stupidity over and over each time "news" hits about somebody else being throttled, the dummies come out of the woodwork.

I know of a few people who set their phones to stream all day after they hit the throttle mark.

At 100K kbs for 20 days (first 2 GB hit in 10 days) you can add 20 GB
post #22 of 65
Everyone is rate limited. Otherwise only one person could use the cell tower at a time. They may just be limiting unlimited users disproportionately. AT&T could argue the 3 GB customers are paying for better quality of service. Hopefully this is just interim and AT&T will show us that they will provide us better service when they can provide us better service after the move to LTE.
post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just_Me View Post

I know of a few people who set their phones to stream all day after they hit the throttle mark.

At 100K kbs for 20 days (first 2 GB hit in 10 days) you can add 20 GB

Look up the phrase "tilting at windmills"
post #24 of 65
Why does everybody keep talking about LTE, as if it's some new buzzword and a must have? I don't give a shit about LTE, and I couldn't care less if my next device has it or not.

The telecom companies can't even keep up with the 3G demand today, so what good is a faster connection going to do? Are people going to stream Netflix on the trainride to work all of a sudden and use many gigs of data per day? I don't see that happening anytime soon. And let's not even mention what those kind of plans are going to cost. I also read something about LTE and battery life, that's another negative thing.

Maybe I'm unaware of something, but why should I or anybody give a shit about LTE?
post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synergi View Post

Then when 4g is everywhere, everyone will reach their caps much easier and faster, but they will have overages to keep AT&T happy.

Why would people reach their cap faster simply because the network will be faster with 4G? That doesn't make any sense. The wait time to play a video from YouTube or whatever will be shorter, but if their habits don't change their data usage will remain the same.
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post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Why would people reach their cap faster simply because the network will be faster with 4G? That doesn't make any sense. The wait time to play a video from YouTube or whatever will be shorter, but if their habits don't change their data usage will remain the same.

Really? You don't think no longer having to wait for your video/app/[what have you] to load, thereby allowing you to view more videos/apps/[what have you] in the same amount of time wouldn't have an effect on data use?

Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Really? You don't think no longer having to wait for your video/app/[what have you] to load, thereby allowing you to view more videos/apps/[what have you] in the same amount of time wouldn't have an effect on data use?

No, I don't. I would be happy with faster loading times, but would not change my habits because of LTE.
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post #28 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

No, I don't. I would be happy with faster loading times, but would not change my habits because of LTE.

Well, this is not about you, it's about everybody else. And you highly overestimate people if you believe that it wouldn't make a difference in their habits.
post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Well, this is not about you, it's about everybody else. And you highly overestimate people if you believe that it wouldn't make a difference in their habits.

I think the change would be subconscious more than anything else, so it's not about singling out someone's belief of the situation.

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post #30 of 65
This has class action lawsuit written all over it.
post #31 of 65
at&t sucks, for a variety of reasons. that's my general opinion.

i'm a heavy data user and always use 5 or more GB a month. i've had the unlimited plane since the beginning. my phone is not jailbroken, nor do i tether any other devices.

my billing cycle runs from the 11th-10th.

for the dec-jan cycle i received my "you're in the top 5%" on 20-dec. that was around the 2GB mark. for the rest of the cycle i was throttled to about 150Kb/s.

for the jan-feb cycle i've been doing a test and checking and recording usage every day around mid-day. until 3-jan i had used about 430MB. that day i consciously downloaded a 1GB file over 3G. the next day i got a text saying i was approaching the top 5%. on 4-jan i downloaded the same 1GB file three more times (well, almost 3, one of the downloads was interrupted). all of those were at the usual speed. that evening i received the "you're in the top 5%" message and ever since the speed has been throttled to about 150Kb/s. and, again, i entered the top 5% at the 2GB mark (confirming my suspicion).

the fact that others pay the same amount and get more data only says to me that at&t wants people off the unlimited plan and wants them to pay more money. the fact that at&t throttles users only says to me that at&t wants people off the unlimited plan and wants them to pay more money.

at&t sucks, for a variety of reasons. this is one.

if there are any lawyers reading these boards, contact me. i'd like nothing more than to join a class-action suit and expose at&t for the shysters they are.
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post #32 of 65
AT&T has a lot of nerve. The coverage in my part of New York stinks, yet we got throttled right at 2GB last month! I bought and paid for unlimited service ever since the first iPhone came out. My usage on average is far less than the last two months, but that fact isn't considered. They clearly are harassing us unlimited users to get us to go to the tiered system. For if we do, the reward is unfettered 3GB. It reminds me of the thugs some landlords in the city hire to harass the rent-stabilized tenants to vacate their apartments. It's not right. What we need is a class-action lawsuit to halt the harassment and let us end our contracts early without penalty. Now that Verizon has the iPhone, I'm ready to bolt. I would have done so last month, except for the ETF. This is price prohibitive with four iPhones on the plan (only one of which is throttled).

When I complained to AT&T, they told me that the speed is throttled back 50%, which might not be bad if you are in an area of good AT&T coverage. But in my area, it became clear that some throttled customers actually get better speeds than I do on a good, un-throttled day.

My coverage at home is so bad, mine was one of the first areas to get the 3G MicroCell. Great, right. Yeah, up until the release of the IOS5. Now it no longer works, and AT&T has no fix in sight. My service tanked overnight, but heaven forbid I go over 2GB on an unlimited plan. Where's the justice?
post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch View Post


if there are any lawyers reading these boards, contact me. i'd like nothing more than to join a class-action suit and expose at&t for the shysters they are.


Count me in too.
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyberati View Post

AT&T has a lot of nerve. The coverage in my part of New York stinks, yet we got throttled right at 2GB last month! I bought and paid for unlimited service ever since the first iPhone came out. My usage on average is far less than the last two months, but that fact isn't considered. They clearly are harassing us unlimited users to get us to go to the tiered system. For if we do, the reward is unfettered 3GB. It reminds me of the thugs some landlords in the city hire to harass the rent-stabilized tenants to vacate their apartments. It's not right. What we need is a class-action lawsuit to halt the harassment and let us end our contracts early without penalty. Now that Verizon has the iPhone, I'm ready to bolt. I would have done so last month, except for the ETF. This is price prohibitive with four iPhones on the plan (only one of which is throttled).

When I complained to AT&T, they told me that the speed is throttled back 50%, which might not be bad if you are in an area of good AT&T coverage. But in my area, it became clear that some throttled customers actually get better speeds than I do on a good, un-throttled day.

My coverage at home is so bad, mine was one of the first areas to get the 3G MicroCell. Great, right. Yeah, up until the release of the IOS5. Now it no longer works, and AT&T has no fix in sight. My service tanked overnight, but heaven forbid I go over 2GB on an unlimited plan. Where's the justice?


So I take it that AT&T isn't working for you. Why not bite the bullet, pay the ETF, and go to a provider that works? If you're on an unlimited plan and it doesn't work for you, then that's on you. The phone is available on several providers.


On a different note. If you're going to throttle, go ahead...fine.....whatever. You suck. But at least do it at 3...make it even with the tiered people. Us on unlimited just don't pay overages. I am going to see if I can hit 3 this month.....see if they throttle me. I use between 1.6 and 2.2 monthly. Never been throttled before.
post #35 of 65
When IP5 comes out I'll be moving over to sprint. No use complaining otherwise. When we all start leaving for another carrier they will get the message
post #36 of 65
Kind of weird how AT&T's cancels the 2GB plan and adds a 3GB plan at a higher rate when they claim only 5% of the users actually exceed 2GB. Sounds like they're just trying to get something for nothing.
post #37 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

On a different note. If you're going to throttle, go ahead...fine.....whatever. You suck. But at least do it at 3...make it even with the tiered people. Us on unlimited just don't pay overages. I am going to see if I can hit 3 this month.....see if they throttle me. I use between 1.6 and 2.2 monthly. Never been throttled before.

There's no reason to throttle tiered people. We pay for it when we use more data. THAT"S THE POINT. ATT wants us to use more data. It wants unlimited users to use less. That's why ATT hates unlimited users.
post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pimptonius View Post

Kind of weird how AT&T's cancels the 2GB plan and adds a 3GB plan at a higher rate when they claim only 5% of the users actually exceed 2GB. Sounds like they're just trying to get something for nothing.

Exactly what the complainers here are doing. Pay for your data if you must use more than the rest of us.
post #39 of 65
I wish they had rollover gigabytes. I have been on an unlimited data plan from at&t since 2006 for my MBP. They charged $75 a month for that which is also grandfathered since they don't offer that plan anymore. I hardly ever use it so they are making some serious bank on my account. They better not even think about throttling me, even if I go over 2 gigs one month, which might just happen now with LTE. I upgraded to the new Elevate wifi hotspot and I really like it. I can get 4G LTE speed on my iPhone and iPad now by using the hotspot.

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post #40 of 65
i kept the unlimited on iPhone and iPad. I even have paid for it for years while using quite small data, because i didn't want to loose the plan.
Oh the hypocrisy of some people on this forum complaining about complainers!
i was offered this service, and I paid for it, so I don't know why anyone on this forum should take ATT side unless they work for ATT or they wish they still had an unlimited plan.
Go elsewhere? Why should I? Thank you but ATT need to stand up to their side of the deal.

I hope there is a lawsuit - ATT are being greedy and unreasonable. If they are offering a normal 3GB plan, they have no business throttling users below this limit. Maybe at 2x this limit - seems more reasonable
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