FTC files suit against AT&T for 'deceptive & unfair data throttling'

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  • Reply 21 of 58
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,798member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Firelock View Post





    The problem with your logic is that throttling speeds effectively limits the amount of data you can download or upload. Any "unlimited" data plan has to figure both throughput and volume for it to be meaningful, and the FTC is right to call them out on this. The poster who made the dripping water analogy is spot on in this case.



    No.  Because in that case, there is never unlimited data since there is not infinite speed.   They set no cap on data.  They don't promise anything on speed, which can be affected by both throttling as well as technical limitations.    Some customers may have been in an EDGE area or even GPRS area only and would have a much lower overall possible amount of data they could download in a month of constant downloading compared to a 3G customer.  That however is not what is being claimed here.  The claim is that the throttling itself is unlawful because of the "unlimited" claim even when they never claimed the whole thing was unlimited, just that the data plan was unlimited (no cap on data).

  • Reply 22 of 58

    This is just like the similar action they are taking against Verizon if I remember correctly (haven't heard about it in a while).  They don't necessarily have a problem with AT&T throttling heavy data users.  What they have a problem with is the fact that they are only throttling heavy data users that are on the unlimited plan.

     

    Take an area where the AT&T tower has a high amount of traffic.  One customer has an unlimited data plan, and when he hits 5GB during the month he suddenly gets throttled down to dial up speeds.  Meanwhile another customer who is paying for 10GB a month goes past 5GB and does not get throttled at all.  This is what the FCC has an issue with.  If the customer who pays for 10GB a month were to also get throttled once he passed 5GB then they would not have a problem with AT&T throttling customers, because they were doing it equally to all customers in that area.  It is the only enforcing it on unlimited data customers that the FCC has an issue with.

  • Reply 23 of 58

    Virgin throttles download speeds when you pass 2.5GB in a month, 3.5GB with tethering.  However they make it abundantly clear when and much you will be throttled.  I can live with that.

  • Reply 24 of 58
    ibeamibeam Posts: 322member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    Go buy unlocked devices next time.

     

    The upfront cost is alot ( my 6+ was $920 with tax) but it gives you the ultimate freedom to switch anytime a carrier is playing dirty.


    How much less is the off contract monthly cost at T-Mobile?

  • Reply 25 of 58
    chadbag wrote: »

    No.  Because in that case, there is never unlimited data since there is not infinite speed.   They set no cap on data.  They don't promise anything on speed, which can be affected by both throttling as well as technical limitations.    Some customers may have been in an EDGE area or even GPRS area only and would have a much lower overall possible amount of data they could download in a month of constant downloading compared to a 3G customer.  That however is not what is being claimed here.  The claim is that the throttling itself is unlawful because of the "unlimited" claim even when they never claimed the whole thing was unlimited, just that the data plan was unlimited (no cap on data).

    Since I work in the ad business and I have had wireless carriers as clients, I know very well exactly how they word their advertising. They say "unlimited data with speeds up to X." The customer rightly assumes that they will get the as much throughput as the carrier can provide and will not artificially limit this. To use another analogy, it is like having an all you can eat pizza buffet, but the restaurant only bringing out one pizza an hour. They could bring more easily, but they purposely limit the number of pizzas they make specifically because you bought the all you can eat buffet and they don't want you eating too much. This practice goes against the common understanding about all you can eat buffets that the restaurant will make as much food as they can to serve your needs, and won't artifically restrict how much they serve.

    For you to continue arguing your point means you are being purposely obtuse, or you are really that slow on the uptake, which is why I won't respond any further.
  • Reply 26 of 58
    ibeamibeam Posts: 322member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    The problem is AT&T never disclosed their throttling policy when the original contract was signed.

     

    And if they did change their policy the customer has the right to cancel without any penalty.

     


    There was no throttling when the original contract was signed. When the customer purchased a new phone under a new contract, they were informed of the new policy and chose to sign the new contract anyway.  The term grandfathered isn't 100% true. For awhile AT&T wasn't throttling anyone except really big data hogs, but now I think they throttle everyone on unlimited once they reach 5 GB. I used to have unlimited but when we added phone lines and iPads, it just made more sense to go with the family plan. You never get throttled and they just charge you $10 for each 1 GB if you go over your plan.

  • Reply 27 of 58
    When they first started this, I thought OK, I guess 5GB is alot of data, and maybe their network is not able to handle it. Fast forward to 2014 and now they offer "double your data for free" promotions for people with 15GB and up plans. So much for network management.

    So they can give away 15GB/month+ to people for $0, but I get capped at 5GB, because I have stuck with AT&T and my unlimited plan for the past 7 years?

    I wonder what percentage of people still have unlimited plans and how many of them go over the 5Gb limit?

    I know I have had mine from iPhone day 1 - approximately 87 months, and I know my average is well under 2GB. I'm sure there are a lot of people who still have unlimited plans who use well under the 5GB limit.

    I would like to see something that says what the average data use is per month for the remaining unlimited people.
  • Reply 28 of 58
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by chadbag View Post

     

     

    What part do you not understand?  Show me where AT&T said that the accounts were "unlimited" in all respects?  The unlimited referred to the amount of data.  They would show 500mb / 1Gb 3/Gb / unlimited or similar types of listings.  "Unlimited" is obviously referring to the amount of data.

     

    I am not condoning AT&T's throttling, but AT&T never offered unlimited speed.


     

    good thing the FCC isnt living with your blinders on.

     

    its implied and assumed that you will continue to receive the same level of service (speed) with you unlimited data.  otherwise it'd be like an "unlimited" buffet restaurant insisting you use a thimble instead of a plate for all visits to the buffet, thus hampering your ability to actually *utilize* the unlimited offering.

     

    kind of a "durrr" thing to me. you arent smarter than the FCC, so dont try to be.

  • Reply 29 of 58
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Firelock View Post





    Since I work in the ad business and I have had wireless carriers as clients, I know very well exactly how they word their advertising. They say "unlimited data with speeds up to X." The customer rightly assumes that they will get the as much throughput as the carrier can provide and will not artificially limit this. To use another analogy, it is like having an all you can eat pizza buffet, but the restaurant only bringing out one pizza an hour. They could bring more easily, but they purposely limit the number of pizzas they make specifically because you bought the all you can eat buffet and they don't want you eating too much. This practice goes against the common understanding about all you can eat buffets that the restaurant will make as much food as they can to serve your needs, and won't artifically restrict how much they serve.



    For you to continue arguing your point means you are being purposely obtuse, or you are really that slow on the uptake, which is why I won't respond any further.

     

    exactly -- this guy is just another IT dude who likes to argue contrarian because it makes him feel smarter than he is. kinda pathetic.

  • Reply 30 of 58
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Firelock View Post





    Since I work in the ad business and I have had wireless carriers as clients, I know very well exactly how they word their advertising. They say "unlimited data with speeds up to X." The customer rightly assumes that they will get the as much throughput as the carrier can provide and will not artificially limit this. To use another analogy, it is like having an all you can eat pizza buffet, but the restaurant only bringing out one pizza an hour. They could bring more easily, but they purposely limit the number of pizzas they make specifically because you bought the all you can eat buffet and they don't want you eating too much. This practice goes against the common understanding about all you can eat buffets that the restaurant will make as much food as they can to serve your needs, and won't artifically restrict how much they serve.



    For you to continue arguing your point means you are being purposely obtuse, or you are really that slow on the uptake, which is why I won't respond any further.

    But that is exactly what buffets and all-you-can-eat providers do.  Go to Red Lobster or Olive Garden and buy one of their "all the _____ you can eat" deals and then see if they'll bring you your next plate the second you finish the first.  Not going to happen.  They will take their sweet time in bringing you your next round--prioritizing orders from people who are waiting on their normal meals.  Exactly like AT&T is doing here.  I agree with chadbag--without a quality-of-service clause in your agreement, the fact that you assumed that your speed would be the same everyone else is just that, an assumption.  Having said that, I think whether this is a problem that should be litigated is a matter of degree.  If I was served one shrimp an hour after paying for all the shrimp I can eat (and not provided a refund when I complained), that would be deceptive.  I don't know if AT&T is over the line here or not, but it's not a black and white case.

  • Reply 31 of 58
    ibeamibeam Posts: 322member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    I pay $120 for 2 lines, unlimited LTE, talk, text, international.  Plus 5 GB of mobile hot spot per device which i use for my WiFi iPad.


    We pay more than that at AT&T.

     

    Two iPhone 6 on a two year subsidized contract, plus two cellular iPads and a wifi hotspot, all with 6GB shared data and unlimited TXT for around $180 a month plus tax. Downpayment $400 for my iPhone 6 and $200 for hers, plus tax.

  • Reply 32 of 58
    nevermind. the post that was here might have been a kB vs kb issue (or one app or the other could also have used the wrong label).
  • Reply 33 of 58
    What is most unfair about the throttling is with a 10gb plan you will not be throttled at 5gb. Why do they get better down/up load speeds and with a far greater data usage than the unlimited data user? ATT originally stated the throttling was specifically for the "abusers" of the unlimited plans.
  • Reply 34 of 58

    If the FTC wins this one, AT&T will probably have to start selling plans with tiers based on speed.

  • Reply 35 of 58

    Got it, Chadbag isn't siding with AT&T, he's just saying they're right because there's an argument to be made on this semantic technicality.  It's the kind of technicality that makes some lawyers so unpopular. 

     

    It's true that the vague contract wording does allow for AT&T to pull a sleazy maneuver like this.

     

    It's true that future contracts will probably have clearer wording so consumers can know exactly what they can expect from carriers.

     

    It's true this will make dealing with AT&T and probably the other carriers more transparent, and reduce bait-and-switch tactics.

     

    And for that, thank you FTC!

  • Reply 36 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

     

    I pay $120 for 2 lines, unlimited LTE, talk, text, international.  Plus 5 GB of mobile hot spot per device which i use for my WiFi iPad.

     

    Tmobile does not play the shell game like AT&T.  You can buy your own device or if you buy the device from them they will finance it over 2 years.

     

    AT&T does all kind of BS when you bring your own device like offering $15 off per phone for data plans under 10GB and $25 off over 10GB.


     

    Yeah, I like T-Mobile a lot. I'm on the $30/month unlimited data plan. I get throttled at 5GB, and I only hit that limit once/year on vacation when the kids are using my phone for a hot spot for netflix on their iPods. Such a great value.

  • Reply 37 of 58
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,482member
    Reckon AT&T should have just forced Edge and 3G customers off the Unlimited when the contract cycle was up and avoided this situation. That's gonna be the result of this litigation, right; AT&T doing what Verizon did? Or is the thought that customers will be able to pull 10 - 20Mbps 24x7x365?
  • Reply 38 of 58
    kavokkavok Posts: 51member
    I had The first iPhone in 2007 with AT&T. Back then it really was unlimited. Back then there weren't so many people on their network. When they realized they were losing money because data was becoming more important than voice and text they tried to eliminate unlimited data and push people to limited plans. Some people didn't bite and that started the throttling. They never mentioned anything about throttling when they first offered unlimited data. The second they started throttling it was no longer unlimited because you are being punished for using it as originally intended. Other mobile companies jumped on the bandwagon. They all should be sued for false advertising because imposing ANY limits on data is not "unlimited". Call it what it is or deliver what you say you are.
  • Reply 39 of 58
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,482member
    kavok wrote: »
    I had The first iPhone in 2007 with AT&T.

    A bit OT but I still find it hard to believe it's only been 7 years.
  • Reply 40 of 58

    I wrote this a few years back—happy the FTC has finally caught on:

     

    http://danisageek.com/MacMan/Blog/Entries/2008/11/7_AT&T_Lawyers_Redefine_the_word_unlimited.html

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