AT&T starts throttling speeds for heavy iPhone data users to crawling 2G

AT&T starts throttling speeds for heavy iPhone data users to crawling 2G
AT&T has started sending out a warning message saying that the carrier is throttling users because their data usage is among the top 5% of their users. Reportedly, speeds are throttled down to snail-fast 2G

Many users grandfathered from unlimited plans have complained that they have received the message after downloading 2GB of data. Now, that doesn’t exactly sound like heavy data usage, does it? If so, this means that 95% of AT&T users consume less than that. Interestingly, the carrier also claims that these 5% of users consume a dozen times more data than the rest.

“Your data usage is among the top 5 percent of users. Data speeds for the rest of your current bill cycle may be reduced.” That’s the message received and after that the throttle kicks in. 

Have you received AT&T’s throttling warning? How much data did you use, if so? Let us know in the comments below.

source: SlashGear



1. arcq12

Posts: 733; Member since: Oct 13, 2011

Switch to Sprint!

5. solidsnakeduds013

Posts: 219; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

who in their right mind would go to sprint for an IPHONE!

22. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

exactly... the att iphone is far superior.. i got this message and i have the unlimited right when i crossed 2 gb... i think the 5 % includes everyone with a phone on att so even people who dont have a data plan.. i cud hardly see being in the top 5% when i only crossed 2 gb... but i do enjoy the unlimited plan and i dont think this throttling thing is a major issue since it happens on most carriers.. yes i know sprint but sprint is well.. kind sucky

24. Cwebb

Posts: 501; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

I'd rather be throttled than on Sprint. I took my 3D into Sprint because of such slow speeds (.07 dwnld in suburan area with not that much people) and all they could say is you signed contract, suck it

2. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Sprint is effectively throttled -even if you aren't using anywhere near 2Gb/month. Check the articles about Sprint iDevice users complaining about slow data speeds.

4. rcrider4

Posts: 118; Member since: Nov 14, 2011

That's wasn't throttling. That's a glitch in either sprint or the iPhone. Sprint is working on a fix and has solved some of it. They ran an article about it a few weeks ago. It's still not completely fixed, but it's better.

6. gotti88

Posts: 101; Member since: Jul 06, 2011

noooo sir thats not true my buddy works for sprint and there network has been slow forever there is no glitch or bug.. its just effin slow lol!!! he use to take up for the company until he started working there and they told him that the network work is respectfully slow lol!! thats why they can afford to offer unlimited data

25. Cwebb

Posts: 501; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

It just plain blows, the reason they have unlimited is because the cost of the unlimited on the slow network is less than/equal to the 2GB on a fast network

3. Azure01

Posts: 127; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

I swear the greed of these companies is disgusting. Every month you hear at&t throttling speeds. I can't wait till my contract is up, sprint seems better. Grandfathered or not.

9. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Well the grandfathered unlimited plan is now essentially a 2GB data plan because after 2GB you get throttled to 2G. Damn that sucks big-time.

21. kcombs

Posts: 275; Member since: Dec 15, 2010

it's not 2 GB it depends on the area.

26. Cwebb

Posts: 501; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

No you don't. Take my word, if you don't get 4G you'll use less than 2 GB on Sprint because the speeds are HORRID

7. gotti88

Posts: 101; Member since: Jul 06, 2011

the cell phone industry sucks people. we complain but yet and still we give them tons of money every month... dont complain if your not going to do anything about it... unlike you all i get free data usage lol!

8. Android32

Posts: 6; Member since: Dec 06, 2011

Well, I'm a former at&t customer.....The 1st post on here, I'm goin w it! Switch to Sprint! Ppl talk all kinds of crap thats not true about Sprint...I travel and I've had them for 2 yrs now...They are awesome!!! I live in Houston and travel all over the USA...Love my GS2/E4GT!!! Thats my opinion anyway...I had at&t, like I said and I literally had 4-7 dropped calls per week! Sprint for life!!! ;-p

27. Cwebb

Posts: 501; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

If you have 4g, Sprint is amazing. If not, they suck

10. TKFox007

Posts: 303; Member since: Nov 02, 2010

Well if people switched to Wi-Fi when they were at home or where it was available this problem wouldn't of existed in the first place. But since people were too freaking stupid they gobbled up data and clogged the networks. It's not the phone company being greedy, it's them doing what they need to do to make sure that the data hogs are under control and not messing it up for everyone else. The customers abused a gift that the carriers gave them and now it's been taken away.

11. Tux4g63

Posts: 121; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

I don't think abused a gift is exactly the term I would have used here. Besides the company "graciously" allowing some users to be grandfathered with their unlimited data plans, that is about as "gracious" as it gets. I would assert that this is greed on some part by the wireless provider for a few basic reasons: 1. If you are paying the company for their service, their is nothing about it that suggests "gift." You are compensating a entity for the service they provide for you. 2. It is splitting hairs on the part of the company to throttle users based upon what they deem as excessive use, or overuse of their data pipeline, especially if you are an unlimited data customer. 3. Although their isn't a great deal of information available out there about this, the fact of the matter is that all the wireless providers had to continue to provide unlimited 3G data to users who signed up for these plans when they were offered and have continued to retain the same plan actively regardless of equipment upgrades or tweaks to new or existing contracts. Think about it, why did all the carriers have to offer a grandfather clause? It would have become a legal precedent otherwise. The hassle is because carriers get their profits squeezed by a few users aka the "top 5%" while the vast majority of other data customers never come close to their limits. And by those customers not coming close to their limits, that is how the carriers make their profit. I am not a total cynic, but I feel like it is common sense and research on the behalf of the consumer that it is evident how these things work out.

12. Dujai R.

Posts: 17; Member since: Oct 12, 2009

This is absurdity. I have AT&T grandfathered plan and I've used about 2.3 GB this month and being throttled down to about 400 Kbps ... Like wtf? And I received the you are approaching the top 5 % of data users message when I used like 1.4 GB.. Now I takes about 5 minutes to load up websites like this.. And email and other data connectivity related things are intolerablely slow. Personally I've acknowledged the fact that we do exploit the unlimited data sometimes .. And I don't have wifi at all.. Or a pc so my iPhone is pretty much my everything .. And I have significantly improved over the months, coming down from 25GB in one month to 15GB, to 10GB, to 1.1GB and now 2.3 and to be subjected to this.. Is unacceptable. My phone is basically unusable .. Worst than sprint now surprisingly .. Damn AT&T

29. vmaster

Posts: 31; Member since: Dec 11, 2011

Throttled to 400're lucky! I love t-mobile, but when they throttle, it's max 50 kbps. Every time I run a speed test after I get throttled and it never goes over 50 kbps. But when on normal speeds, it's ridiculously fast!!! The highest results I had was 19mb down, 1.7 up. On average it's around 15-17mb down.

13. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

Lol, talk about crazy! Some people confuse unlimited data with being able to consume large quantities of data in short periods of time...these two things while close are representative of two different types. There are the people who don't care and just use and abuse unlimited because they think it means all I can use without a ceiling, then there are those who use data and don't go overboard with it and stretch it out over a longer period of time. Now if everyone was like the first individual, there would be no unlimited data plans to speak of as with LTE, no one has unlimited, well unless you were grandfathered in on VZW. You know who you are and for land sakes why would you think that you are so damn special that you can gobble up 20GB and beyond worth of data per month as if spectrum was unlimited? Just because it says all you can eat, doesn't mean that you can eat it all, as with everything there is a certain level of common sense and the unlimited data hogs seem to have little of it. Not to lump those who only have a cell phone as their only connection to the data world, but you might want to invest in a PC or laptop or something, be warned if that phone crashes or is lost/stolen and your data isn't backed up well that might hurt to have to get certain things back. But never put all your eggs in one basket, pays to have at least a smartphone and at least one other PC.

14. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

Im sure this is a breach of contract. I doubt the unlimited users have anything in the contract about throttling. Might be time for a class action.

15. kcombs

Posts: 275; Member since: Dec 15, 2010

it does.

16. kcombs

Posts: 275; Member since: Dec 15, 2010

The reason they are doing this, is to limit the amount of people streaming music, and watching Netflix all day causing network congestion. The more customers a cell phone carrier has the more spectrum needed to handle all the calls, sms, and data transactions. If someone is using all the data in the area watching Netflix all day, guess what no one else can use what they need. As you can see from Sprint users having slow data usage, they may be next to jump on the bandwagon.

17. antifanboy

Posts: 67; Member since: Dec 06, 2011

Damn this sucks. I agree that people abusing it could be throttled but 2gb? That's crazy. If your phone is your main Internet it's pretty easy to go over that. I think AT&T loses a lot of customers over this.

18. kcombs

Posts: 275; Member since: Dec 15, 2010

I just found an error in this post. I work for at&t, and it’s not a 2GB cap it's the top 5% in the area you use. So it could be 2.5 GB, or 6 GB it depends on the area. The lowest I’ve seen is 3 GB.

19. SweetLou

Posts: 17; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

this is ridiculous. Att is punishing many unlimited users for the actions of very few. One of the main factors in renewing my contract was keeping unlimited data. Basically you are paying 5 dollars more a month to have the same 2 gb service. Att could easily single out people using over 4 or 5 gb but no, they conveniently choose those using the same amount of data as their phone tiered plan. This is not only thievery but it is a surefire way to piss a lot of loyal customers off (the only ones who would have a grandfathered plan). To those defending att here, how could you justify effectively taking away what so many people pay extra for for the actions of a few.

20. kcombs

Posts: 275; Member since: Dec 15, 2010

read the post above.

23. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

This is absolutely ridiculous. Unlimited means unlimited. T-Mobile got sued for throttling people after 5 gigs, and here AT&T thinks they can do this to people at whatever usage they deem excessive? At least T-Mobile has been up front about how their plans work. So now on AT&T you have a choice between being throttled or hitting overage charges. What a d**k move.

28. nickjjay

Posts: 79; Member since: Oct 10, 2011

Wow. AT&T really know how to anger people

30. choupino

Posts: 69; Member since: May 28, 2011

I've gotten the warning 3 months in a row... I usually get that message when I reach 9 to 10 Gigs of usage... It's never been at 2 GB... To be honest, I use a ton of data and I'm on the road frequently. I am an exception and can understand the throttling. My only issue is the fact that it's not just throttled to 2G but it actually prevents me from streaming from sites like Youtube and gives me an issue with timely page rendering.

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