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AT&T to Throttle Heaviest Data Hogs

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Jul 29, 2011, 3:27 PM   by Eric M. Zeman
updated Jul 29, 2011, 3:30 PM

AT&T today announced that it plans to throttle back the speeds available to wireless data customers who fall in the top 5% of data users. The company explained in a press release, "Starting October 1, smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5% of heaviest data users. These customers can still use unlimited data and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle. Before you are affected, we will provide multiple notices, including a grace period." AT&T didn't define what the top 5% of users means and said the actual number varies from month to month. AT&T noted that streaming video and music all day over the cellular network, as well as uploading HD video and playing multiplayer games is what typically adds up data usage the fastest. This change will not apply to customers with tiered data plans. AT&T says that the vast majority of its customers will not be effected by this change.


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Jul 29, 2011, 4:48 PM

So does this mean we can opt out of contract??

This is a good way out as far as I'm concerned.
It's in the contract that att can change what they want at anytime
If anything needs to regulated it truly is the matter of contracts and terms of service that wireless providers have to abide by. In any other reality this would be an obvious breach of contract. It's like paying for a ride on the bullet train and the...
We may change any terms, conditions, rates, fees, expenses, or charges regarding your Services at any time. We will provide you with notice of material changes (other than changes to governmental fees, proportional charges for governmen

Aug 3, 2011, 12:55 PM

Seriously people...

Look, when att says top 5% this really truly does only apply to a handfull of people. Half of those whining and complaing are no where near that point!!! Tmo does the SAME THING and thats after 2gb of data is used on their promotional plan. Yes, the network is bogged down, and that is precisely why this is being done....and in refrence to a previous post, good luck trying to begin a lawsuit, the contract is clear, and no where does it state that AT&T cannot make changes to data speeds. Your data is still unlimited. If you actual read the contract your signing yu will see the clause where it states that AT&T holds the right to deny, disconnect, or modify service if it is deemed harmful, or adversely affects the wireless network or hinders its...
ATT Rep...

Good comment. I have all my old contracts scanned in PDF format and whatb you say is there 100%, and has been since the early days of cellular service.

I think Boost mobile says it all - and in plain English. "Unlimited does not mea...
Phoneman 721

Aug 12, 2011, 1:16 PM

Get Over It

OK, people, get over it!

First of all, I am not surprised at all. When AT&T and then Verizon went tiered (and T-Mobile throttled back at a very low level) it was pretty obvious that this was coming to those who were grandfathered in with unlimited data.

Secondly, in spite of their ads, don't be surprised when Sprint takes one or the other approach as well.

Third, everyone should have known this was coming with more reliance on "the cloud" that EVERYONE (including Apple) is pushing. More and more apps will be in "the cloud" and that means more and more data use. Everyone acts surprised...but it's just a return to the past.

Those of us who have been around for a while remember when we paid $40 a month just to have voice service ...
Part 2...

I would also remind all of you that ALL of the contracts I have seen reserve the right of the company to modify the terms at any time. "Grandfathering In" is a great promotional tool, but let me remind all of you that it is not guarantee...

Jul 29, 2011, 7:32 PM

ATT is on right track

This will only make the experience better for all att data users. This is a smart thing to do. really there is no need for that much usage anyway with wifi being everywhere. No reason to have unlimited data plan anyway. unlimited is overrated and nobody should be streaming anything over cellular data network anyways. 🙄
right! you keep telling yourself that.
You, sir, are damaged.
Dude. Are you serious or just 46 years old? More and more media is becoming mobile, and who the f**k wants to tether themselves to their house to get decent Wi-Fi?? Cause you sure as hell aren't gonna find it at the golden arches. That crap is barely...
@ ken 6271, its people like you that started this whole money sucking tiered data thing. If the networks can't handle it the what junk equipment are they spending our hard earned money on?
Im just saying that its hard to go over the caps anyway..the tiered pricing is reasonable...all smartphones come with wifi capable to lift the burden of the network...all carriers are not building there networks for the purpose to allow these types of...
There is even talk that dsl and cable companies may go tiers for data...

Jul 29, 2011, 4:00 PM

The Truth:

At&T press release: "Our network is so congested and sluggish, becuase it has poor architecture and we put no money into it, so, to make sure that we can keep signing people up and take their money, we will be limiting all of our customers unlimited data fetures by slowing speeds down significantly. Not doing this would mean we are not making every cent that we possibly can. We thank our customers for paying full price, becuase with us, the word "netWork" is almost an oxymoron.
I have 9 lines with them. No joke. I think I'd like to try Sprint again. Maybe they won't screw me again. Maybe.
You have no idea what you're talking about and you've been all over this article spewing bile from your mouth without having a clue what's going on. All you do is say things that sound good because you're angry without really even knowing how this wil...
Simply boycott them if you feel that strongly.

Jul 30, 2011, 4:13 PM

Make it more expensive

I think they should make anything over 2 gigs extremely expensive. I rarely see any kids in nearby parks, playing or getting exercise, just sitting at home playing video games and getting fat and getting diabetes. Going out to a restaurant, everyone is sitting playing with their phones and not interacting..make it $50 a gig!
And this is AT&T's fault, geeze, you're worse then those who blame them and Apple from everything from the war in Libya to the present debt crisis.

Aug 1, 2011, 7:29 PM

What a bunch of whiners

I'm so sick of everyone whining about how crappy AT&T is, I've been an AT&T/Cingular customer for 7 years now and have always been very pleased with my service, I still have my unlimited data plan and I typically do about 2gb of data a month, honestly 95% of people NEVER EVER touch 2gb and those who have unlimited and are complaining about being in that top 5% of data users, are probably using jailbroken iPhones and rooted Android phones that have free teathering and leave it on all day, and I'm sure I'm not gonna be the most popular guy on here by making that statement.

Jul 30, 2011, 12:44 AM

What's the point of...

...increasingly powerful smartphones if their network sucks ass? You got about a 45 minute battery on my HTC Inspire if I use Wi-Fi. IF I found Wi-Fi worth using. What's the point? Why wouldn't the public just say "**** this. " and switch to Wi-Fi-only tablets? Meh.
45 minutes of battery?


Jul 29, 2011, 3:48 PM

What a deal!

So many people rushed to get their 'unlimited' data plans to be grandfathered in only to be slapped in the face....the whole 5% of top users is total bs. I never exceed 3 gb of data ever. Two months ago my son was streaming a bunch of videos and had inadvertently turned the wi-fi off. With a week left in my billing cycle i was conveniently notified via text that i was within 500 mb of reaching my 5gb cap and that extra data would be charged accordingly if i go over. All of this 'soft cap' and 'heaviest users' rhetoric is garbage.
Stop lying. Since I got this crap inspire which uses tons of data because of HTC sense, my phone has used over 10 gb per month and never not once have I recieved a text from ATT about approaching a 5 gb limit. Stop spreading lies to try to discredit a...
I sure am glad I left ATT when I did.

Seriously what is the point in having a fast wireless network if it can't be used to view videos on a smartphone?

Aug 1, 2011, 4:01 PM

Stop the BS and this is the bottom line... Greed

In regard to mobile broadband specifically the Cost of Goods and Services (COGS) for the carrier to provide an induvidual end user their specific service the useage of that induvidual has little impact on that carriers cost of doing business. Moreover it doesnt matter if the end user is a data hog or uses the broadband minimally the cost varies quite little to the carrier's bottom line,

This is a clear case where the carrier can monitor, track, & measure and inviduals useage of wireless broadband and bill accordingly it is no longer a matter of adding a service order code and having the switch turn on a valve for the subscriber they now have a personally identifyable meter running on every single subscription on the tangable comodity know...
Well said!

Jul 31, 2011, 12:33 PM

They force us to be Data Hogs

I have Verizon and the new LG Revolution and the phone came pre loaded with Netflix on it and we have a Netflix account so I can watch full movies if I want and the phone even has the HDMI connection to plug into TV if I wanted but we have Bluray hooked to internet for that. Now Verizon is offering the Revolution with free 3 months Netflix so if you ask me they want us to be data hogs so they can charge more for usage and if we use too much they will slow down the speed.What a joke!

You realize that Verizon has been throttling data for months now on the top 2% of data hogs, right?

You also realize that this is the news article for ATT following suit for the top 5%, right?

Are you paying attention or are you ...

Jul 30, 2011, 8:42 AM

This may sound like I'm defending AT&T's position.....

It's not so much at&t position that I'm defending, but moreso businesses in general. If a company invests billions of dollars on infrastructure, I think they get some rights in protecting their investment.

I think it's a fair statement to say that most of the U.S. smartphone users don't use their phones the way that members of phonescoop use their phones.

I'd also say it's fair that most members here because we are tech enthusists, push our phones to the limits.

It's because of people like us that data speeds have been increasing over the years.

But on that same note, it's because of people like us that "unlimited" plans are going the way of the dodo.

I've heard people on here brag about using 45 to 60 gig a month, and jay ...
I use my phone strictly as a consumer. No app development, nothing like that. I streamed 6 seasons of a show on netflix along with a fair share of Pandora usage (literally any time I drove because the radio stations here suck.) and I cleared *barely* ...
I can agree with you on this point. I work for Verizon Indirect and I was furious when I heard that Verizon was going away from unlimited data, I wasn't worried about my usage being on an existing unlimited plan but what hurt is the selling tool. I us...
---" It's not so much at&t position that I'm defending, but moreso businesses in general. If a company invests billions of dollars on infrastructure, I think they get some rights in protecting their investment."---


I think we can all reco...

Jul 29, 2011, 4:09 PM

***NEWSFLASH*** AT&T Hates their customers!

Let uncle Dan (Hesse) take care care of you. He will let you take all the data you want or could care for... I used 45 GB of data last month... My speed was not throttled and I didn't get a nasty gram from a bean counter and my bill did not have overage on it.
Lex Luthor voted in as new CEO of at&t. At&t scientists attempted to Clone Hitler, Miniturize the Nuclear Bomb, and put up new cell towers that emit Gamma radiation. When questions about this, CEO Luthor stated that although the new towers do melt f...
45 GB of data?!?! perhaps its time to go out and meet some real people and have a real social life.

Jul 30, 2011, 11:36 AM

Law suit time

I cant believe AT&T would pull such a thing and Verizon will follow. Unlimited I thought was as much as you use not putting a cap on it. Should be a way to sue them for this action. This pisses me off as I made sure I was grandfathered in with unlimited. I have been seeing ads about Verizon and their tiered data plan how great it is well the minimum is $30.00 for 2 GB thats not a deal, my wife only used 166 mb last month on the unlimited plan and that costs $30.00 WTH is going on with these greedy companies?
Is it AT&T's fault she only used 166mb? No. Verizon's plans are a little bit dumb honestly but what can you do?

You could easily change down to the $15 200mb plan if you're with AT&T, save yourself some money on her usage.

As far as your usage, ...
Ima sue youuuu!

Lol what grounds would you sue them on?

Get real dude. Welcome to America. This country is controlled by greed, are you new here or something?
AT&T's contract terms prevent you from suing them. You agreed to have any dispute with AT&T arbitrated.

Jul 30, 2011, 7:40 PM


ATT's Network has been in steady decline since they began to shut down the "EDGE" network. Granted, in places where you have GSM service, it's SUPER fast, but in all honesty, it's damn near impossible to get great signal unless you have an "X" ducttaped to that spot and you're standing there. Same goes for Sprint's WiMax (which they wanna dump for some reason, even though REAL network technicians think it's a MUCH better choice than LTE, but what does the EIA/TIA and tha IEEE know) And Verizon's LTE. They all blow. Once again, we're back to the 90's when it comes to service...and I find it rather peculiar. ATT isn't throttling because they don't have the infrastructure...they're doing it BECAUSE THEY CAN. VZW does it, Tmobile does it. Only c...
Excellent post man. Well said.
I really admire this post. Most of it has considerable accuracy and validity.

Unfortunately, your post will be ignored such as mine, because it is not the popular view of the high percentage of paid carrier representatives in this forum. They are n...

Jul 29, 2011, 11:58 PM

Even throttled.....

bet my connection will still be faster than the other providers here 😎
Been with AT&T for 5 years, but it's the devil I know. Where could it possibly be faster than Verizon?

Jul 30, 2011, 10:56 AM

AT&T Data Throttling Is Just a Political Stunt

Geese ATT, just quit you're whining! Face it, your buy out of TMO has pissed people off.

Something doesn't seem to add up, though. Either AT&T is exaggerating the impact of this five percent and making a spectacle out of the policy change as a political move to justify the case for why it "needs" the T-Mobile acquisition approved, or AT&T is not being completely honest with regard to how many users will be affected or what the impact will be.

The final statement of the AT&T press release regarding the data throttling policy supports that theory as well: "But even as we pursue this additional measure, it will not solve our spectrum shortage and network capacity issues. Nothing short of completing t

Jul 30, 2011, 12:19 AM

Everything in that press release is utter bull****

The summaries say it all: If speed matters, drop your unlimited and BUY MORE DATA from us. And, the only thing that can change this is the T-Mobile merger. Excuse me?! Isn't that an admission that your network is **** compared to Verizon or Sprint?! Isn't it also an admission that if the merger goes through, this plan will be unjustified?! Will you then drop tiered and bring back unlimited??? Lying sacks of sh!+
sorry for double post. Opera got confused. Had to retype. Didn't think it went through.

Jul 29, 2011, 6:09 PM

Wait a minute!

Part of ATT's plan to buy buy TMO (which they advertise in the new merger commercials) and the government's plan as well is to bring high speed wireless internet to rural areas where cable and land line phone companies won't or cant run cable or fiber optics for one reason or another.
But wait a minute, hold on. That fancy new high speed internet that's now available to you 3% who can't actually get it from a cable or phone company. There's a catch, a 5GB/month cap. Unlike the cable and phone companies who I'm sure have caps, just allot higher than 5GB.
So basically ATT is on one hand advertising the benefits of a TMO buy out while in the other hand already sticking it to the consumer. 👿
That was fast. 😳
Indeed. If I hadn't been grandfathered in, I'd have switched to Verizon.

Jul 29, 2011, 9:45 PM

Where is...

Jayshmay on this one?? I figured he'd be all over this article telling us all about his unlimited data with no throttling from Verizon...

Aside from that, I think we all knew AT&T was going to do this eventually.
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