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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: 313; Member since: 18 Jul 2011)

America, where the unlimited is limited..

posted on 31 Jul 2011, 12:45

21. ZayZay (Posts: 571; 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: 462; 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: 292; 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: 14605; 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: 419; 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: 532; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)


posted on 31 Jul 2011, 08:48 7

11. snowgator (Posts: 3604; 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: 3117; 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: 3117; 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: 200; 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: 571; 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: 114; 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)


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?

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