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AT&T offers settlement to iPhone user who sued over 3G throttling

post #1 of 72
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AT&T has offered a settlement to a California resident who successfully sued the carrier in small claims court for throttling his unlimited 3G data plan.

iPhone user Matthew Spaccarelli won an $850 award in a California court last month. He sued AT&T after discovering that the speed of his grandfathered-in "unlimited" 3G service was being reduced after just 1.5GB to 2GB of data usage, despite the fact that the company offers a 3GB for the same price.

Spaccarelli had originally asked the court to award him $10,000, but the judge granted him $85 for each of the 10 months left on his contract.

Though AT&T has said it plans to appeal the decision, the company has reached out to Spaccarelli to discuss a settlement, the Associated Press reports. The carrier also undertook a routine legal move of asking him to refrain from mentioning that it had offered to start settlement talks.

However, Spaccarelli says he is not interested in a settlement and has posted AT&T's legal documents online, encouraging consumers in similar situations as him to follow his lead.

AT&T has also threatened that it could shut off Spaccarelli's service because he has admitted to wirelessly tethering devices to his iPhone in violation of AT&T's terms of service. For his part, Spaccarelli says he doesn't care if they do because winning the case was what was important to him.

The carrier began throttling the top five percent of customers based on data usage last October after warning in July that the policy would go into effect.




A week after the small claims court decision was handed down, AT&T implemented a new throttling policy. The company said it would begin reducing download speeds of unlimited 3G subscribers after their usage exceeds 3GB, while 4G LTE subscribers would be throttled after 5GB.

Rival carrier Verizon also has a policy to limit downloads of its most-active customers, though the company calls it "network optimization" rather than throttling. Those limitations, however, only take place when a users is on a "congested cell site."

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

AT&T has offered a settlement to a California resident who successfully sued the carrier in small claims court for throttling his unlimited 3G data plan.

iPhone user Matthew Spaccarelli won an $850 award in a California court last month. He sued AT&T after discovering that the speed of his grandfathered-in "unlimited" 3G service was being reduced after just 1.5GB to 2GB of data usage, despite the fact that the company offers a 3GB for the same price.

Spaccarelli had originally asked the court to award him $10,000, but the judge granted him $85 for each of the 10 months left on his contract.

Though AT&T has said it plans to appeal the decision, the company has reached out to Spaccarelli to discuss a settlement, the Associated Press reports. The carrier also undertook a routine legal move of asking him to refrain from mentioning that it had offered to start settlement talks.

However, Spaccarelli says he is not interested in a settlement and has posted AT&T's legal documents online, encouraging consumers in similar situations as him to follow his lead.

AT&T has also threatened that it could shut off Spaccarelli's service because he has admitted to wirelessly tethering devices to his iPhone in violation of AT&T's terms of service. For his part, Spaccarelli says he doesn't care if they do because winning the case was what was important to him.

The carrier began throttling the top five percent of customers based on data usage last October after warning in July that the policy would go into effect.




A week after the small claims court decision was handed down, AT&T implemented a new throttling policy. The company said it would begin reducing download speeds of unlimited 3G subscribers after their usage exceeds 3GB, while 4G LTE subscribers would be throttled after 5GB.

Rival carrier Verizon also has a policy to limit downloads of its most-active customers, though the company calls it "network optimization" rather than throttling. Those limitations, however, only take place when a users is on a "congested cell site."

[ View article on AppleInsider ]

If I'm paying for each GB of data then I shouldn't be throttled.
post #3 of 72
I am curious? Why do they have to throttle down the usage. Does it have to do with too much traffic on the cell towers? Does it caused an over load on the cell towers (network)?
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post #4 of 72
Good for him. I wouldn't settle either, tell them to shove off and put them on blast.
post #5 of 72
Never again- Verizon iPad only.
And I encourage everyone on here to do the same- FUDGE 'em.
post #6 of 72
I think since I have unlimited data and my contract does not expire until mid 2013 they should not be able to make any changes, which they have, they have started throttling my data this act should be considered a violation of contract, and I should be able to leave them without paying any penalties.
post #7 of 72
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Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post

Never again- Verizon iPad only.
And I encourage everyone on here to do the same- FUDGE 'em.

They have the same rules, and they lie more then AT&T, that's why I dumped Verizon, and Sprint that like a abortion gone wrong.
post #8 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

I am curious? Why do they have to throttle down the usage. Does it have to do with too much traffic on the cell towers? Does it caused an over load on the cell towers (network)?

Yes. Limited bandwidth. A few pigs at the trough spoil it for everyone else.

Flawed forward planning by the carriers is to blame. Why they ever offered unlimited data in the first place is beyond me.
post #9 of 72
Blast it with piss!

Good job mate!

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post #10 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

I am curious? Why do they have to throttle down the usage. Does it have to do with too much traffic on the cell towers? Does it caused an over load on the cell towers (network)?



No..... they claim it does but it doesn't its all about wanting all your money and over charging you to get your money.....
post #11 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

Yes. Limited bandwidth. A few pigs at the trough spoil it for everyone else.

Flawed forward planning by the carriers is to blame. Why they ever offered unlimited data in the first place is beyond me.

This has very little to do with lack of planning. it is plain greed. Any network admin worth his or her salt can look at bandwidth usage and know when they are reaching capacity. Rather than increasing capacity to meet new customers being added, AT&T is throttling existing customers to allow them to bring in yet more customers on an already saturated pipe.

They are blaming the users, but is is they who are responsible for managing their pipes given their current capacity. Selling a user a contract for unlimited bandwidth, and then complaining when they use it is idiotic. I still can't believe that they allow these phone companies to change any terms of a contact at any time. That isn't a contract, and it offers no protection at all to the consumer. I can't understand why congress continues to allow this to happen.
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post #12 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

Yes. Limited bandwidth. A few pigs at the trough spoil it for everyone else.

Flawed forward planning by the carriers is to blame. Why they ever offered unlimited data in the first place is beyond me.

Please don't forget they said they needed more spectrum, so they tried to purchase T-Mobile, and one the U.S. Government shut that down, AT&T had to pay T-Mobile $4 billion dollars but in the end they paid $3 billion dollars cash and $1 billion in spectrum go figure if they needed it why they give it a way lying a**holes.
post #13 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by eacumm View Post

I think since I have unlimited data and my contract does not expire until mid 2013 they should not be able to make any changes, which they have, they have started throttling my data this act should be considered a violation of contract, and I should be able to leave them without paying any penalties.

Most likely there is nothing in your contract about guaranteed minimum connection speed so what exactly was violated?
post #14 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Most likely there is nothing in your contract about guaranteed minimum connection speed so what exactly was violated?

The problem is someone has already won their case with AT&T arguing the same point you are.
post #15 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by eacumm View Post

They have the same rules, and they lie more then AT&T, that's why I dumped Verizon, and Sprint that like a abortion gone wrong.

T can't even deliver a hot spot for the new iPad and gives a pathetic 250mbs for $15! That's 6cents a Mb vs VZ 1000Mb at $20= 2cents at each others lowest plan. And only 30 cities available.
At&T is scummy dude.
post #16 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

Yes. Limited bandwidth. A few pigs at the trough spoil it for everyone else.

Flawed forward planning by the carriers is to blame. Why they ever offered unlimited data in the first place is beyond me.

Does it cost cell phone companies money for people to access 3G? besides tower maintenance and electricity?...
It's all about the money to these people. If the cost doesn't make sense, neither does unlimited data. Thats what i can't stand. Why have a smartphone when it costs an arm and 2 legs to be SMART?
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post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Most likely there is nothing in your contract about guaranteed minimum connection speed so what exactly was violated?

let's see they did not mention anything about throttling my service in the contract, so therefore they are violating the contract.
post #18 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

Yes. Limited bandwidth. A few pigs at the trough spoil it for everyone else.

Flawed forward planning by the carriers is to blame. Why they ever offered unlimited data in the first place is beyond me.

Don't be surprised once the new iPhone arrives in Oct if AT&T doesn't end unlimited contracts because it will be 4G LTE and not 3G anymore. I hope that prompts an exodus once and for all. The bastards!
post #19 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by eacumm View Post

let's see they did not mention anything about throttling my service in the contract, so therefore they are violating the contract.

It does not mention speed so exactly what part of the contract is being violated?
post #20 of 72
The whole point of 4G/LTE is to have faster service so if they are going to claim 4G/LTE then it had better be speeds based on that otherwise they could be in for more legal trouble related to 4G/LTE speeds not working as advertised....particularly for people who are paying by the GIG. In reality this is the biggest consumer give away ever. AT&T is just finding ways to screw it up. Whoever is running that company is messing up big time and Verizon is going to eat AT&T's lunch if AT&T isn't careful.
post #21 of 72
This guy was a data hog, pure and simple. Using 3G from his bed (Hello! WiFi anyone?) Anyway, AT&T is not to blame here. Lets face it, there is not enough bandwidth to go around and that means all carriers don't have enough. When continued investment by carriers and with more spectrum made available (I hope), things should improve within a few years. But don't whine and complain and support these data hogs who are causing these problems for moderate users.
post #22 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjgchicago View Post

This guy was a data hog, pure and simple. Using 3G from his bed (Hello! WiFi anyone?) Anyway, AT&T is not to blame here. Lets face it, there is not enough bandwidth to go around and that means all carriers don't have enough. When continued investment by carriers and with more spectrum made available (I hope), things should improve within a few years. But don't whine and complain and support these data hogs who are causing these problems for moderate users.

So, are you a paid shill for the telecoms?

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post #23 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjgchicago View Post

This guy was a data hog, pure and simple. Using 3G from his bed (Hello! WiFi anyone?) Anyway, AT&T is not to blame here. Lets face it, there is not enough bandwidth to go around and that means all carriers don't have enough. When continued investment by carriers and with more spectrum made available (I hope), things should improve within a few years. But don't whine and complain and support these data hogs who are causing these problems for moderate users.

So basically the federal government is to blame here on some level. They are being slow, inefficient and unresponsive.
post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjgchicago View Post

This guy was a data hog, pure and simple. Using 3G from his bed (Hello! WiFi anyone?) Anyway, AT&T is not to blame here. Lets face it, there is not enough bandwidth to go around and that means all carriers don't have enough. When continued investment by carriers and with more spectrum made available (I hope), things should improve within a few years. But don't whine and complain and support these data hogs who are causing these problems for moderate users.

Perhaps your missing the major point in that year after year AT&T has provided crappy signal with every excuse under the sun. And now they can't even deliver hotspot functionality for the new iPad launch. AT&T signals are the worst - always have been- dropped calls-rated at the bottom of every consumer poll - year after year. We're not making this up. It's history.
post #25 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

Yes. Limited bandwidth. A few pigs at the trough spoil it for everyone else.

FALSE. There is no evidence whatsoever of that.
post #26 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

Yes. Limited bandwidth. A few pigs at the trough spoil it for everyone else.

I take offense to your analogy. I don't use a fraction of my monthly allotment (although it's unlimited). I'm only using ~ 1 GB. Surely I'm within the 95%. Yet you call us all pigs in your analogy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

Flawed forward planning by the carriers is to blame. Why they ever offered unlimited data in the first place is beyond me.

This IS the real problem. Their too greedy to expand the bandwidth. As why they offered unlimited in the first place. It's because they wanted to suck people like me dry while justifying why I should pay their extortive monthly prices in the first place. They knew they over-booked the seating at the show (Animal Farm playing).
post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whozown View Post

Good for him. I wouldn't settle either, tell them to shove off and put them on blast.

This!
post #28 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjgchicago View Post

This guy was a data hog, pure and simple. Using 3G from his bed

Again, false. There is no evidence of that.

The responsibility is on the provider- this bs where it;s thrown on their customers is the most ridiculous profit strategy I have ever heard.

Only people who don't understand technology at all and are sensitive to playground mentalities of sharing and being greedy like we are talking about cookies at nap time fall into line and side with ATT. By the way, all of these opines on the matter along these lines is strictly emotional knee jerk sensationalism and have zero impact whatsoever to resolve technical problems. So yea, how does it feel to be manipulated by ATT's successful marketing campaign to define bandwidth in a self serving profiteering manner hook line and sinker?

because on a technical level- nothing they have released jives with reality.
post #29 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by HverbeckCtacey View Post

This guy was a data hog, pure and simple
post #30 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris_CA View Post

Most likely there is nothing in your contract about guaranteed minimum connection speed so what exactly was violated?

It was implied that I was buying a 3G service. To me that means 3G speeds. If you purchased a house, wouldn't you consider the mortgage contract void if they later came and tore it down and put up a shed?
post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

This has very little to do with lack of planning. it is plain greed. Any network admin worth his or her salt can look at bandwidth usage and know when they are reaching capacity. Rather than increasing capacity to meet new customers being added, AT&T is throttling existing customers to allow them to bring in yet more customers on an already saturated pipe.

They are blaming the users, but is is they who are responsible for managing their pipes given their current capacity. Selling a user a contract for unlimited bandwidth, and then complaining when they use it is idiotic. I still can't believe that they allow these phone companies to change any terms of a contact at any time. That isn't a contract, and it offers no protection at all to the consumer. I can't understand why congress continues to allow this to happen.

No telecom company PLANNED for a 5000% increase in data use over three years. NOBODY did. These companies have been planning and investing billions, though it may not be enough for you to blow time on YouTube. They aren't blaming any users! They merely ask users to start paying for what they use. This is not a tough concept. Nor is it unfair.
post #32 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjgchicago View Post

No telecom company PLANNED for a 5000% increase in data use over three years. NOBODY did. These companies have been planning and investing billions, though it may not be enough for you to blow time on YouTube. They aren't blaming any users! They merely ask users to start paying for what they use. This is not a tough concept. Nor is it unfair.

So when do they pay us back for all those dropped calls?
post #33 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjgchicago View Post

This guy was a data hog, pure and simple. Using 3G from his bed (Hello! WiFi anyone?) Anyway, AT&T is not to blame here. Lets face it, there is not enough bandwidth to go around and that means all carriers don't have enough.

I believe that once the carriers stop running commercials showing people who appear to upload and download videos all day long on the super-fast LTE network.

BTW, I hit 3GB a month (and got the lovely warning - WTF, I should use WiFi ?! - what am I paying stupid AT&T ~$120/month for???) for streaming an international radio station during my commute each day. That's a couple of hours of rather low bandwidth 128kbps (kilo, not mega) a day. I think it is dishonest to the extreme from AT&T to advertise heavy video use on their wonderful network but if you use it for a bit of radio streaming, suddenly you are a data hog and you are endangering the billion dollar network infrastructure. Please....
post #34 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRR View Post

Again, false. There is no evidence of that.

The responsibility is on the provider- this bs where it;s thrown on their customers is the most ridiculous profit strategy I have ever heard.

Only people who don't understand technology at all and are sensitive to playground mentalities of sharing and being greedy like we are talking about cookies at nap time fall into line and side with ATT. By the way, all of these opines on the matter along these lines is strictly emotional knee jerk sensationalism and have zero impact whatsoever to resolve technical problems. So yea, how does it feel to be manipulated by ATT's successful marketing campaign to define bandwidth in a self serving profiteering manner hook line and sinker?

because on a technical level- nothing they have released jives with reality.

Of course it is and if users USE MORE DATA, they should and will pay more. It's a pretty simple concept. You are just of of the "takers" out there who wants it for free, blames everyone and anyone and doesn't take the time to understand technology or what is really happening in the industry and with data usage. It is NOT an AT&T problem; it's an industry problem. Perhaps the "unlimited" plan was not a great idea, not was it smart for data hogs like you to expect a free ride. Hop on the toll rode buddy and grab your change.
post #35 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post

It was implied that I was buying a 3G service. To me that means 3G speeds. If you purchased a house, wouldn't you consider the mortgage contract void if they later came and tore it down and put up a shed?

They didn't throttle it to below 3G speeds.
post #36 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

The problem is someone has already won their case with AT&T arguing the same point you are.

Problem is that's just one small claims court judge. It's not like it's going to open any floodgates by setting a legal precedent.

I think the eventual shakeout of this is that ATT no longer grandfathers anyone into unlimited (I never understood why they did that anyway) and then within about 12 months, everyone is on a tiered plan or on a sinking ship (Sprint).
post #37 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

So basically the federal government is to blame here on some level. They are being slow, inefficient and unresponsive.

I fail to see how another law will help things. Didn't the current ones work? The man petitioned the court with his grievance and won. Precedence for others like me who wish to follow suit (pun intended).

I do not think it's proper for T to artificially limit speeds while claiming unlimited and stating UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+ without footnotes.

I also do not like that T treats tethered differently but that is clearly spelled out in the agreement.
post #38 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pjgchicago View Post

Of course it is and if users USE MORE DATA, they should and will pay more. It's a pretty simple concept. You are just of of the "takers" out there who wants it for free, blames everyone and anyone and doesn't take the time to understand technology or what is really happening in the industry and with data usage. It is NOT an AT&T problem; it's an industry problem. Perhaps the "unlimited" plan was not a great idea, not was it smart for data hogs like you to expect a free ride. Hop on the toll rode buddy and grab your change.
post #39 of 72
So then the fault is AT&T's. Don't sell fraudulent "unlimited" plans and then whine when users actually use it. Especially when they are doing the things your ad claims they can do. Poor AT&T whatever will they do with themselves. As brought up before if they are so hard up for spectrum how were they able to give some away to TMobile? Why would they have even made that part of the deal if they didn't have it to spare?
post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by iSheldon View Post

Don't be surprised once the new iPhone arrives in Oct if AT&T doesn't end unlimited contracts because it will be 4G LTE and not 3G anymore. I hope that prompts an exodus once and for all. The bastards!

I'm surprised they haven't with thenewipad. Although for the case of the iPhone, until 5.1 my phone said 3G with HSPA+. More than a technicality. At&T can't have it both ways.
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