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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


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 ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,774member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 73
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    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)?
  • Reply 3 of 73
    whozownwhozown Posts: 128member
    Good for him. I wouldn't settle either, tell them to shove off and put them on blast.
  • Reply 4 of 73
    isheldonisheldon Posts: 570member
    Never again- Verizon iPad only.

    And I encourage everyone on here to do the same- FUDGE 'em.
  • Reply 5 of 73
    eacummeacumm Posts: 93member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 73
    eacummeacumm Posts: 93member
    Quote:
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 73
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,254member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 73
    galbigalbi Posts: 968member
    Blast it with piss!



    Good job mate!
  • Reply 9 of 73
    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.....
  • Reply 10 of 73
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 73
    eacummeacumm Posts: 93member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 73
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    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?
  • Reply 13 of 73
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,774member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 73
    isheldonisheldon Posts: 570member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 73
    rmb0037rmb0037 Posts: 142member
    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?
  • Reply 16 of 73
    eacummeacumm Posts: 93member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 73
    isheldonisheldon Posts: 570member
    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!
  • Reply 18 of 73
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    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?
  • Reply 19 of 73
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,774member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 73
    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.
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