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AT&T to start throttling heaviest data users on October 1st

Posted: , by Alan F.

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AT&T to start throttling heaviest data users on October 1st
Are you a data hog? Starting October 1st, AT&T is going to be changing the way it deals with subscribers like you. Those with unlimited data plans who find themselves in the top 5% of the carrier's data users each month will notice that the speed of their data connection will be slower toward the end of the users monthly cycle. AT&T can't cut off those with an unlimited data plan, but what the carrier can do is make the wait for data longer by reducing-or throttling-the speed at which data is sent and received. The goal is to prevent the heaviest data hogs, which historically has been only a small percentage of users, from hogging what is becoming a very crowded and limited mobile network. The carrier says that the 15 million customers using tiered plans and the majority of those with unlimited data will not be affected.

Those AT&T customers in the top 5% of data users end up using 12 times more data per month than the average AT&T subscriber. While those in the top 5% of AT&T data users starting October 1st could see their data speeds throttled, the carrier will first send out multiple notices and give customers a grace period. Once a user's data speed is throttled, it will remain at the lower speed until the beginning of the next new billing cycle.

To be in the top 5% of AT&T data users requires someone to use a incredible amount of data, according to the carrier. What could put you on the list is streaming large amounts of video and music daily over AT&T's network. Sending large video files, and playing some video games use a large amount of precious spectrum. Here is a great tip-data sent or received while on a Wi-Fi network does not count toward computing the list of the top 5% data users. AT&T is trying to conserve spectrum and by throttling data hogs, it is actually giving customers an option. They can decide to slow down on using data or they can continue to use the network with the risk of having to settle for slower speeds for a limited amount of time.

According to AT&T's press release, data throttling will not help solve the carrier's spectrum shortage.The carrier says that the only thing that will relieve the spectrum shortage problem in the near term is allowing its purchase of T-Mobile to be completed.

source: AT&T via PhoneScoop

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posted on 31 Jul 2011, 04:29 7

1. AhmadAlsayegh (Posts: 254; Member since: 18 Jul 2011)


America, where the unlimited is limited..

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:45

21. ZayZay (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)


If they merge they might as well go with the T-mobile name.

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 10:40

36. bigdawg23 (Posts: 388; Member since: 25 May 2011)


T-Mobile was the first to throttle people. I will be interested in what the cut off is. My typical data is 1.5-2.0GB per month. For some reason it is at 2.4GB with 8 days to go.

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 11:14

38. Nerdsftw (unregistered)


It isn't just a few gigs for a cut off. It's several tens of gigs for the top 5%. You're talking like 50-100gig users.

2.5-5gb is standard usage.

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 13:40

40. NeXoS (Posts: 278; Member since: 03 May 2011)


America, land of freedom (for rich corporations).

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 04:48

2. tamelion1117 (Posts: 9; Member since: 02 Feb 2011)


At&t switched to tiered data several months ago. Prior to that change, their data usage, at least on smartphones was unlimited. I, myself have been grandfathered in and still have the unlimited data, and I have been assured that when I upgrade from my old and tired blackberry to the latest and greatest android, that I will still have the grandfathered unlimited plan. All of that said (sorry for rambling), I think that 'if' someone is paying for data usage, they should be able to use it as they see fit. This is most likely at&t's play to go after those people that may have been using suspicious amounts of data. It doesn't matter if we like it or not. Tiered data and data throttling seems to be the direction that all carriers are either going in, or will soon. All the carriers seem to match, rather than try to compete. For instance, when at&t changed to the tiered data structures, VZW was all about making it look like they were a better carrier because they still offered unlimited, which they later changed on 7/7/11.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 04:58 3

3. mr. droid (Posts: 278; Member since: 21 Aug 2010)


I wouldnt have at&t for any reason. (I am not kidding, I would just get a track phone before I went back to at&t, or maybe even just forget all about having a cell phone) and now that verizon got rid of their unlimited data and t-mobile slows you data speed down if you use a lot of data.. Good bye big cell phone carriers. Saving all the money here so I can buy out of my contract that I signed two months ago with verizon and go to sprint.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 05:09 1

5. tamelion1117 (Posts: 9; Member since: 02 Feb 2011)


I haven't had too many issues with at&t, to be honest, but i know some people that have had some horrific experiences with them, as well as some that have had issues with t-mobile, Verizon or sprint. I have had issues with VZW and Sprint. Issues that will deter me from EVER choosing to go back to either of them. that being said, I wish you luck with buying out your contract and with your future with sprint. I know with them being the only carrier that seems to offer truly unlimited data, it's going to make it a very appealing option to a lot of people. I'm just not one of those people.

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 11:06

37. remixfa (Posts: 14044; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


they dont offer unlimited data to people any more. this only affects those on grandfathered plans.


True unlimited... in america?!? naaaah!! Sprint's is still truely unlimited i think, and Tmo's is throttled after a limit that YOU set (200mb,2gig,5gig,10gig). Even on the 10 gig limit, your still saving nearly 50 bux a month compared to VZW/ATT with their 4 gig plans that allow overage. And none of Tmobile's plans have overages. They just throttle down after the self imposed limit. And Tmobile's phones are faster than ATT and Sprint and the same as VZW for now..

Honestly, 90% of users never go over 2 gigs. probably 95% or so go over 5 gigs. You have to try pretty hard to hit the 10 gig limit.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 11:07

17. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Don't you have unlimited if you signed two months ago?

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:21

19. Interesting... (unregistered)


Taco is correct here, if you signed your contract with a 29.99 plan with a smartphone you will have retained the unlimited plan. Look over your bill and ask a rep before you spend a large amount of money to buy out of a contract that is still giving you what you need/want.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 05:04 1

4. Goldeneye (Posts: 357; Member since: 22 Jan 2011)


An excellent way to kill 2 birds with a stone, get rid of unlimited users and persuade the feds that the T mobile acquisition is necessary, very clever, I must say

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 05:12 1

6. tamelion1117 (Posts: 9; Member since: 02 Feb 2011)


Being an at&t customer, I hope that the acquisition does go through. It's a win/win for customers of at&t, but seems to be a partial loss for t-mo customers as their usage charges will most likely go up. It'll be interesting to see how it all plays out if at&t is successful with the buyout of t-mobile, that's for sure.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 06:56 6

7. bert (unregistered)


So if both at&t are throttling their customers unlimited data speeds how does it justify at&t need to purchase more spectrum from tmobile? both companies are throttling because according to them they are already burdened with usage. How about investing in your infrastructure and not pay your ceo an insane amount of money. I compare it to owning a bus which only has capacity to hold 50 people but greed pushes you to rip out (data throttling) the seats from underneath the customers you already have just to accomodate more people. It is not the customers fault for your great commercials but failing to back it up with substance.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 08:08

8. likeag6 (unregistered)


Eh wateva its not like att offers great speeds anyways were I live in los Angeles zip code 90022 its right in the city i dnt live in the middle of nowhere every other company has a faster network than at&t. T-Mobile gets 5-10 mbps, sprint wimax 4-9 , Verizon 4g 10-15 mbps, metro pcs 4G 3-5 mbps. On my att samsung infuse 4G I get 1-3 mbpson a daily basis the highest I EVER gotten was 4. Not its not my phone cuz I know other people also on at&t wit Samsung infuses that bitch about slow internet. Also those speeds I posted from other companies are from people at work/ family members with those companies that have done speed tests in front of me. I seen the speeds they get with my own eyes.its embarrassing I'm the only one with slow internet speeds I'm embarrassed to do speed tests in front of them cuz they just laugh at how crappy at&ts data network is.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 08:08 3

9. The_Miz (Posts: 1496; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


It's those damn Android phones. They're such data hogs with the constant widgets running and the numerous data hungry apps. Maybe Apple will put and end to Android so people can stop data hogging.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 08:11

10. rwolf1984 (Posts: 518; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)


lol...

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 08:48 7

11. snowgator (Posts: 3275; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


With you Miz. Glad someone is standing up against this horror. Hopefully, once Noble Apple has removed evil Google from our sites, there will be no more throttling, tiered pricing, patent wars, rolling blackouts, weakening bridges, orphans, or "Smurf" movies.

Next week, Miz brings insight and his education to the debt problems:

"IT BLOWS!!! IT IS EVERYONE ELSE'S FAULT!! We can solve it by just hitting Google management over the head with steel chairs....."

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 09:38

15. megamrambo (Posts: 37; Member since: 19 Jul 2010)


All of you are a bunch of Fagggggzzzz! Android is Better than IOS becuase of that reason!!!! peices of Dips**t!

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 10:11 1

16. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3040; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


@snowgator, Best response ever.

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 14:31

41. rican (Posts: 132; Member since: 02 Jul 2011)


haha awsome response i liked how you put the smurfs movie in there

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 08:53 2

12. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3040; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


Seriously before at&t even had barely any android phones they were talking about their data plans because of the iPhone. If you want to blame this on anyone its apple. Verizon started theirs too after they got the iPhone as well. Imagine that!

I bet the miz doesn't even have an iPhone he just wants to look cool and diss on android on the time.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 08:53

13. The_Miz(isheep) (unregistered)


I, The_Miz am truely sorry for what i had said, i am such a J3rk, Apple paid me to say all this stupid sh(ee)t. I beg for forgiveness from all Android fans. D@rm Apple,

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:05

24. Mitzie (unregistered)


You don't understand him at all... he's actually getting off from peoples' responses to his trolling. Too much effort though, he hasn't realized you can search almost anything and find perfectly good pron out on the internets.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 09:12

14. Gsmalltheway (Posts: 151; Member since: 15 Aug 2009)


And that would include my roommate. He used over 100gb in one month. Mostly torrenting of course.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 11:11

18. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Yea people like him are abusing unlimited in my opinion.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:49

22. ZayZay (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)


If it's unlimited why would how much they use matter. What, they can't have cake and eat as much as they can cram in a month?

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 18:54

26. gaby1451 (Posts: 113; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


I joined the top 5% club without realizing last month. I was out of town staying with some friends who didn't have Wifi in their apartment and had my iPhone with me tethered to my MacBook Pro. I used it to Skype with my boyfriend, watch YouTube videos, and browse the web.

Over the course of 4 days my data usage skyrocketed to 3.2GB on a capped 4GB "data pro" plan with AT&T. I got an email from the company saying I was nearing my limit on my monthly data usage and if I went over I would be charged an extra $10 for 1GB or some like that.

Wah wah wah...

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:39

20. Moo (unregistered)


Abuse?

The person pays for unlimited which means unlimited.

1 tb per month

No matter they paid for it

If they can not do it refund or credit us

Blaming us for bad planning?

They offered unlimited no strings

There plan was to let us get used to unlimited

In the hopes alot would pay unlimited charges to keep it.

With less data of course

So slick the data pushers

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:54 1

23. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


It was meant for unlimited on a smartphone not to tether your computer to it and download hd movies all day.

Have you thought about the fact that business evolves and all business change their prices. Should carriers go out of business so people can keep plans from years ago?

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 19:32 1

28. wumberpeb (Posts: 443; Member since: 14 Mar 2011)


Goodness Taco, even you arent dumb enough to support throttling because you feel bad for the pockets of big businesses. Its really justified that they first offer unlimited, then continue to call it unlimited although its throttled for those that choose to get the most out of it? I get that illegal tethering shouldn't be condoned, but what if I used 90GB instead of 100GB and didnt tether? You think im contributing to the problem? My belief is that for every 5 users who use 15GB or more per month, there's 50 or more that cant crack 100MB. It certainly evens out, no arguing that

30 something billion goes a long way to fixing up your network, rather than buying out a competitor

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 21:20

30. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I don't think anyone would use more than 10-12 gb at most without tethering. Even that's a huge amount. The people affected by this will be people that are abusing unlimited.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 22:39

32. biophone (Posts: 1894; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Its unfair for at$t to sell you an unlimted plan then throttle you. I would rather that all cariers instead of tiering and everything to change your plan when you upgrade to an unlimted plan and if you go beyond 3gb you get throtled unless you pay more. Its pretty hard to use more then 3 without tethering. This shoild be good to stop abuse of unlimted and free up the network while still giving people all the data they need.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 22:42

33. dandirk (unregistered)


Unlimited \Un*lim"it*ed\, adjective

1. Not limited; having no bounds; boundless; as, an unlimited expanse of ocean.

2. Undefined; indefinite; not bounded by proper exceptions; as, unlimited terms. ''Nothing doth more prevail than unlimited generalities.'' --Hooker.

3. Unconfined; not restrained; unrestricted.

ummm how can you abuse "unlimited"...


Though people bitched about tiered services, I don't mind. At least they are defining their service.

If the "abusers" are causing so much havoc, then term the unlimited plan. They have to hold to the 2 year contracts, anything after that is month to month, it can be changed with just a little bit of notice. They do this all the time with txt rates etc.

My opinion is they were the ones to offer "unlimited", its not the customers who are abusing the plan it's AT&T.

If 10-12GB is pretty much "unlimited" in your opinion why didn't they just change the plan to that... 10GB plan? Makes sense to me, normal customers still use under the plan and "abusers" then have to pay.

Tethering charges are NOT a reason or cause of abuse. Wireless providers are not charging for it because it "abuses" the connectivity. They are charging for it cause they can. Proof of that fact is tiered plans... they are STILL charging for tethering when with tiered pricing it shouldn't matter if you use your data in 1 hour or 30 days.

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 23:10

34. dandirk (unregistered)


biophone - I like the idea of tiered with the option to voluntarily throttle... or the option to be charged extra like they have it setup.

The wireless companies are doing the right thing now with tiered, e-mailing/txting when close to your limit. So anything beyond the plan limit goes imho, they could charge $100 per GB for all I care (well if the customer knows its 100/GB, they are pretty good about listing overage prices).

Yet the fact that somehow the customer is abusing "unlimited" bugs the heck out of me. It cannot be done!

The Wireless companies are the ones that offered the plan. Their marketing people told them the customer likes the word "unlimited" more then 5gb or 10gb or 100gb... They had to "compete" instead of being honest with themselves and the customer.

They got themselves in this mess, especially when they are the ones selling the product that is able to consume that data. They know the capabilities of their own product before the customer.

Why is the customer to blame?

As for tethering... Imho that is no excuse and shouldn't be limited at all ESPECIALLY for tiered plans. Tethering doesn't auto-magically make the 3g faster and use more data!

I could see the "expected use" argument for feature phones, but not smartphones of the last few years where its a common feature to view full not mobile web pages, streaming music and movies just like on PC.

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 15:17

42. fyi (unregistered)


i agree with you completely.... 2gb of data is more than enough for an average user, but you you have the users that jailbreak/root the phones so they can power a whole house full of electronics for free instead of paying for the services.... it is misuse and abuse which is leading to capped rates and throttled speeds

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 13:28

25. Moo (unregistered)


They can not deliver

Maybe they should go under because of bad planning

Unlimited was there idea

They failed themselves and paying customers

If you use 1 mb or 1 tb up to you

They offered phones with the capabilities and unlimited data

Phone is not free usually and the data is not free

People pay thousands on a contract usually

Defending them?

Defend your hard work

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 18:55

27. gaby1451 (Posts: 113; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


I joined the top 5% club without realizing last month. I was out of town staying with some friends who didn't have Wifi in their apartment and had my iPhone with me tethered to my MacBook Pro. I used it to Skype with my boyfriend, watch YouTube videos, and browse the web.

Over the course of 4 days my data usage skyrocketed to 3.2GB on a capped 4GB "data pro" plan with AT&T. I got an email from the company saying I was nearing my limit on my monthly data usage and if I went over I would be charged an extra $10 for 1GB or some like that.

Wah wah wah...

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 21:19

29. Moo (unregistered)


You renegade

Using your iphone like you wished

That you pay for

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 10:23

35. Nerdsftw (unregistered)


The "top 5%" they're talking about is people like one of the posters roomates who use 100gb in a month or people who use around that. I had someone call in last week who had 90gb in data usage in THREE DAYS because he decided to torrent the heck out of his usage. 4-5gb movies were never intended to be downloaded OTA.

The unlimited was intended for normal usage. Checking email, facebook, games, etc. NOT for downloading massive programs via tethering or whatever. I don't see why people who wouldn't fit into the category of "top 5%" without abusing the privledge would even really care. I netflixed the heck out of my account one month along with a lot of pandora usage and barely cleared 3GB of data which is barely anything compared to some of the users...I don't mind if my speed is cut since even with the cut, you're *still* running faster than most low-end DSL connections...

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 13:12

39. dandirk (unregistered)


Will post this again...

Unlimited \Un*lim"it*ed\, adjective

1. Not limited; having no bounds; boundless; as, an unlimited expanse of ocean.

2. Undefined; indefinite; not bounded by proper exceptions; as, unlimited terms. ''Nothing doth more prevail than unlimited generalities.'' --Hooker.

3. Unconfined; not restrained; unrestricted.

By definition "unlimited" cannot be abused, at least not by your comments because those comments are specifically addressed by the definition of "unlimited" above...

They should then say... unlimited webpage traffic and e-mail. Downloaded files 3GB limit (or whatever amount).

I find it odd that people defend companies that try clearly are abusing the meaning of words in their favor. Wireless providers are not the only ones abusing "unlimited" advertising. Web-hosts, wired ISPs etc all do it.

They got themselves in this trouble way back in the modem days, when service was tiered. Competition drove tiered plans to amounts that average users would never use (at the time).

Then some smuck said hey... they don't use the 1GB we offer now (this was way back in 56k days) why not just say "unlimited"! They will never use that much and we will look 100x better against our competitors which also offer 1GB and thing its a better deal...

Would you be a bit irked if I advertised a fresh new 100 bill for 1cent... Then when you came with your one cent I said... "well I didn't think people would actually take me up on the offer, its too stupid to actually think I would sell a 100 dollar bill for 1 cent... Most people pay 10000 cents for a 100 dollar bill"

So the companies are abusing the word "unlimited"... The customer isn't...

posted on 01 Aug 2011, 19:29

43. Moo (unregistered)


They defend these companies I think because they are used the idea of there money being taken away from them. So they see no nothing wrong. They become free salesman for them while paying them a lot of money for bad service and being ok with it.

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