We all knew it was coming and AT&T finally made good on it’s threat to throttle excessive unlimited data users. Claiming that it is only the top 5% of all data users that may be affected, but of those 5%, not all will necessarily be throttled with data speed decreases as it depends on their network and if it needs to be throttled to lessen the load on the network. Imposing these data speed handcuffs on users who exceed 2gb of data per month, AT&T has felt the wrath of users much like they will get from this article. The problem is not in some owners who have professed to using over 10gbs or more per month, something I can do quite easily while traveling on business. The problem is that the threshold AT&T has set forth is a meager 2gb! This is incredibly low and even challenges power users who do not stream data! For example, my wife is a facebook-o-haulic. She does not stream Netflix, or Pandora. Emails, Texting, QVC, and TONS of Facebook including massive amounts of Zynga games. She exceeded 2gbs on our 2gb plan and forced us another $10.00 expense. Another Death Star customer Mike Trang told the AP:

…that as a top data consumer, download speeds on his phone slowed from a few seconds to upwards of two minutes for average web pages, rendering his phone “basically useless” until the billing cycle regenerates.

To further confuse the issue of who is going over the limit and causing the most problems, Data subscribers of the AT&T 3gb plan for the same rate of $30 as unlimited plan users will not be throttled, it is just the unlimited plan users who will get throttled at 1.5-2gbs! We have all heard that other US Carriers like Sprint are in the midst of phasing out their unlimited plans too, but let’s hope that they phase it out in a way that makes more sense than AT&T.

[via Forbes]


  1. How do we see what our throughput is? I’d like to be able to track this. Thank goodness most of the time I just use wifi, but that’s crazy.

  2. I dont have unlimited data and it feels like get throttled between 9am and 4 pm when i am at work and need a solid connection. But maybe its just At&t’s crappy network.

  3. At 20 days into my monthly cycle, 112.5MB or Unlimited, so no worries right now. Before I started using WiFi at home and office I was using close to 2GB every month, so I understand how easy (and unreasonable by AT&T) that is.

    None of the alternate plans have tempted me enough to drop Unlimited. But $15/500MB, which is more than reasonable would probably do the trick.

    So now, why exactly do I want that battery draining LTE technology on my next phone. So I could stream 3/4 of a movie once a month. Or show off to friends at how fast my phone is on a night out and then rely on WiFi for the rest of the month. The faster they make it, the less they give you. Sorry, but I don’t get it.

  4. @Jim S – Bingo! You hit the nail on the head. They are rolling out LTE phones while simultaneously imposing throttling and lowering data plan caps. The faster pages load the more people will try and consume so unknowingly people will consume much more data and when they call in to see why their bill is super high they won’t figure out any reasonable explanation because it won’t be any big data hog it’ll be all those websites that they visited.

    I didn’t have cable tv or broadband internet for a couple months and in those two months i was using 4GB-5GB each month on AT&T and had the 2GB plan. Now since getting broadband internet and wifi i’m at day 30 of 31 and i’ve used 803MB of my 2GB plan. Not a single instance of Netflix has been played on my phone this month aside from a 15 minute viewing while at home on WiFi.

    Of course using things like Netflix on your mobile device outside of WiFi is going to become a thing of the past. If I was a streaming service company i’d be lobbying hard for WiFi coverage expansion in their service areas. Without this they’ll be facing a tough road ahead.

  5. Don’t worry. I figure in 6-9 months there will be a 5GB/$60 plan, and they will try to convince you how good it will be with 4G. They just need to get more users off of unlimited data first.

  6. I use less than 3g per month. Maybe I should switch off the unlimited plan so I can stop worrying about this.
    My problem is a lousy connection at work that takes up most of my break, trying to keep the news and blogs flowing so I can read them all in the short time I have available.
    I am worried that changing my plan will not help as I have had this problem since my first internet connected phone.

  7. @JRDemaskus I don’t think it will help you by switching off unlimited. AT&T network just plain sucks at times in certain places where there are several users. I live and work just south of Houston (NASA area) and have been having data connection problems for the last few years. I am on the 2 gb plan.

Comments are closed.