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AT&T begins using scary tactics for its top 5% of data users

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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AT&T begins using scary tactics for its top 5% of data users
AT&T begins using scary tactics for its top 5  of data users
Subscribers are already beginning to receive AT&T's promised warning messages for throttling download speeds on the top 5% of its data users. One Reddit member nicknamed skelatwork has posted a screenshot of its own warning message, which was received when he went a little over 11GB of usage for the month.

It's interesting that a week ago skelatwork writes how he got a text too, and switched to PDAnet, which allows you to hide usage from the carrier's counters. Since the date on the message he posted is from yesterday, we assume that's another warning now.

In June, AT&T announced that it will be throttling speeds for the heaviest 5% of its data users, since they are skewing the network usage for the rest quite a bit:

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 percent 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.

October 1 is tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see reports from people who got this AT&T message whether their download speeds have been throttled, or the promised grace period enacted.

source: Reddit via 9to5Mac

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posted on 30 Sep 2011, 06:49

1. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

now the question is... did they put the "we reserve the right to throttle.. bla bla" in the contract the customers signed? if not they could be in line for a lawsuit.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 08:02

5. bauer lives (unregistered)

Even if they did, pretty much every contract includes an arbitration clause, so it would be you vs. their very skilled and expensive lawyers with a 3rd party as judge (said 3rd party is hired by them, and wants future business, so you can tell where it would probably go). And as per a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, you can no longer file a class-action suit against them if you had an arbitration clause, so it will be an uphill battle if ever there were one.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 08:12 1

8. Laron (unregistered)

It would be funny if a big time lawyer or law firm took a carrier like AT&T to court, because they noticed a flaw in the terms and conditions and then exploited it. That wouldn't happen though, just a thought.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 06:50 2

2. sun0066 (Posts: 176; Member since: 12 Feb 2011)

how come somebody can reach 5gb in ATT network , since it is so slow that it becomes really tiring to keep connected to the internet at least in Miami area. Most of the time I go to wifi , no because the data cap but for the unreliability and slowness of the net.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 07:12

3. IndyPro64 (unregistered)

I'm here in Indianapolis and AT&T has a very fast and reliable network, however I must say that I've got unlimited data never hook into WiFi and I stream audio and video about 2 hours everyday and I usually get to about 5-7 GB of usage a month, so if someone is using 10 plus GB's a month of data I would be willing to assume that they're most likely teathering their data connection.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 07:57 1

4. gotti88 (Posts: 101; Member since: 06 Jul 2011)

it souldnt matter what there doing.... its there data. and at&t isnt taking a loss on the ish... alway complaining and changing things man.... there trying to become a monooply again!!!

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 08:05 1

6. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

there is only so much bandwith per tower. if you have one guy sucking down 10gb of data, thats about as much as 10-20 other smartphone customers. OTA data isnt in infinite supply. I get why they do it but they shouldnt be allowed unless its in the signed contract.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 08:05 1

7. myclevername (Posts: 94; Member since: 07 Jun 2010)

"Hey kids! You HAVE to have an LTE phone that is really FAST to surf the web and watch videos and play games and make video calls! Sure they're expensive and sure you have to pay extra each month but all the cool people are getting them so don't be a loser. Get a fast LTE phone from AT&T now now NOW!"
And then they punish you for using too much data.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 10:33 2

13. box (unregistered)

AT&T doesn't have any LTE phones.... VERIZON on the other hand.....

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 11:54 1

16. corporateJP (Posts: 2458; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


posted on 30 Sep 2011, 09:49

9. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

If they would of let some of us kept our unlimited data then they will see how much data we use. I mostly use mine for streaming but since they took it away and im stuck with cap data

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 09:57 2

10. Dr. Boogeyman (unregistered)

Wtf do people do with 10gb+ in a month? Does this moron know what Wifi is? I'm glad that they're gonna throttle his speed or anybody else who takes advantage if this crap. These are the people who ruin it for everybody. Seriously... 11Gb in a month? Get off your phone and get to work!!!! If not, go with a internet provider.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 12:03 1

17. corporateJP (Posts: 2458; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)

Not everyone has WiFi, smartguy.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 19:55

26. youratinymind (unregistered)

Boogeyman, your have a TINY MIND!! 11GB is not that much, I take my broadband mobile to work and use it about 4 to 5 hours a day- 5days a week,, and average about 300mb per day (thats 6GB alone/month), just using the internet, short youtube videos, ebay, etc, etc,, some of us cannot access wifi or in my case also cannot access landline internet, so I have to have broadband mobile internet, I can easily burn threw 10GB, keep in mind i am using 4G speeds, if you think 11GB is alot, you better think again, especially when broad band internet reaches speeds of 100Mbps, that silly 5GB better dissappear!!, ill be happy with 20 or 25GB then... the more speed people can get, the more they will tend to do and use! HOWEVER I DO agree that you should be cut off completely if your using 50GB or more on broadband mobile...Looks like YOUR the IDIOT & MORON who cannot think past the BOOGEY's in your NOSE!!

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 09:57 1

11. NoMerger (unregistered)

I very much agree with what myclevername wrote. Its like they are setting you up to fail.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 10:22 1

12. lollercaust (unregistered)

I routinely download 500gb a month on my cable connection. It isn't unreasonable to crack 10gb in a month streaming video. And the "use wifi" argument doesn't fly, I am not putting that kind of extra load on an already stressed work network.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 12:04

18. corporateJP (Posts: 2458; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)

More realtalk.

Thank you.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 10:45 2

14. SF Steven (unregistered)

I think the point here is NOT whether anyone thinks using lots of data is appropriate; the point is that AT&T sold you UNLIMITED data and shouldn't be punishing people that use it. I also think it's interesting that AT&T hasn't specified how much data usage triggers the slowdown, only saying "the top 5%" of customers are impacted...to me, that means that the threshold could vary from month to month.

In fact, if they're doing what I think they're doing, it means that the threshold will decrease over time: if the top 5% use less data each month, it effectively lowers the average data usage for the entire customer base, or as the top 5% use less and less data, it compresses the range.

Over the long-term, they'll be able to add more and more overage fees that will hit a larger percentage of their customers because the acceptable range of data usage has gotten so much smaller.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 12:06

19. corporateJP (Posts: 2458; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)

Oh oh...another customer has figured it out.

Carriers hate people like you.


The best point is "they sold you unlimited."

Throttling is one thing. I'm waiting for them to start charging overages, then the real fight will begin.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 11:42 1

15. Geeksarebest (Posts: 34; Member since: 28 Jun 2011)

You're all whining because they're capping your *still* unlimited plan down to something that most DSL providers offer. As for the 11 gig guy, he's an unfortunate member of a plan that's in place to stop people from using around 50 to 100gigs of data a month. (Yes, people do this. I had a guy escalate to me due to having used 92 gigs on a 2gig plan and was upset about the overages.)

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 12:08

20. corporateJP (Posts: 2458; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)

Sounds like you're a company hotch.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 15:00

24. Geeksarebest (Posts: 34; Member since: 28 Jun 2011)

Sounds like you have no concept of reality. I work for the company, I don't use the company. I see things from an inside-side without actually being effected by it, though I bet half the b*tchers that are commenting aren't even on AT&T and have no stake in the decisions that are made, just decide to throw their two cents in just to have a chance to let hot air billow out of their mouthes (figurativly speaking).

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 12:19 1

21. Atrix 4g (unregistered)

Ugh AT&T just joined verizon and tmobile. Its nothing new so stop whinning. Ok the guy might pay for unlimited data blah blah blah, but you cant expect AT&T to give one guy all the good stuff, for all the other people using that cell site.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 12:27 1

22. bboeckman (unregistered)

True story, with netflix, i use on average about 17-20Gb a month with Verizon. Not once have i been throttled. We really do have a stronger faster and more advanced network :P

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 15:03 1

25. Geeksarebest (Posts: 34; Member since: 28 Jun 2011)

You probably *have* been throttled, you just don't know it because it really isn't much of an impact. Verizon has a throttle on the data past 5gb but it has to be something where (like AT&T) you're a recurring capper.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 14:44

23. Lwazi_N (Posts: 205; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)

Well, in South Africa, VodaCom has decided to throttle us from 3G to EDGE when we reach 100Mb. Yes, that's a 100Mb, not 100Gb. Which is total rubbish. I think PA should also cover that.

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