Net Neutrality alert: AT&T throttling rules target "legacy unlimited data plans"

Net Neutrality alert: AT&T throttling rules target
We're always looking for good examples to describe why Net Neutrality is an important topic. We've done our best, but it turns out that all we had to do was wait a bit and let a wireless carrier provide a perfect example for us. Unsurprisingly, the newest example has come from AT&T, where it has been found that AT&T's throttling rules target "legacy unlimited data plans".

Yesterday, AT&T started its new "double the data" promotion, which gives new customers twice as much data for the same price. This alone is suspicious given that AT&T has routinely argued that it needs to be able to throttle and regulate data speeds because of network congestion. But, that argument gets even more shaky because those throttling rules only exist for "legacy unlimited data plans", not new accounts or existing limited data plan customers. 

This means that users on a legacy unlimited data plan could find themselves throttled if they are in an area with high "network congestion" once they surpass 5GB of data use in one month. However, if you are on a limited data plan for 10GB per month, you will not be subject to those same rules. Even if you have signed up for a new 100GB plan (for $375 per month), you won't be throttled, even if you are standing next to someone on an old unlimited plan who is seeing their data throttled. 

Obviously, AT&T has changed the definition of the word "congestion" to now mean "being on a grandfathered plan that doesn't generate as much money as new offerings." At the very least, this uncovers the blatant hypocrisy in these network management rules, and proves why we need Net Neutrality protection. 

source: Ars Technica

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52 Comments

1. Deaconclgi

Posts: 405; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

A FEE & FEE is at it again!!! *from a happy 10GB Mobile Share, Next plan using, AT&T customer.

11. torr310

Posts: 1702; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

T-Mobile! T-Mobile! T-Mobile! T-Mobile! T-Mobile!

17. inteli7

Posts: 6; Member since: Sep 29, 2014

not if you want coverage outside metropolitian areas, switching to t-mobile was a huge mistake for me ....misleading coverage maps

30. Omarc07

Posts: 574; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

agree had tmobile i live in los angeles tmobile works great in the city outside go in a buding "no service"is what you get ..u go out the city 2G isw what you get.. Now on att it works great outside only difference is i go in a building i now have signal and even lte deep in buildings so i can call and text. Now when i go out the city i have lte and 3G which works awesome.. I couldnt be happier att coverage wise has been same as verizon. My work phone is verizon everywhere verizon has had signal att has signal.

39. joe1blue

Posts: 169; Member since: Jul 25, 2013

agreed T Mobile all day

2. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Jumping ship to AT&T tomorrow and already ordered my iPhone 6 Plus. Double the data and employee discount is totally worth the switch.

4. KingDingaLing

Posts: 324; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

Wow. Surprised you're making the switch as much as you praise T-mo. And I thought you had unlimited?

6. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Don't get me wrong I love T-Mobile, but for the same exact price, I'm paying now, 700MHz LTE, ~30GB of data for my line and better coverage. Just a no brainer for me.

10. KingDingaLing

Posts: 324; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

I hear ya. I usually had trouble when traveling with TMO, but that was back in 2003-2007. AT&T has been good for me.

16. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Went to Cedar Point for Labor Day weekend and T-Mobile had LTE most the way there. On the way back, I hit total dead zones, Edge for three hours (unusable) and text messages wouldn't even send. My family who had AT&T had LTE up and running. T-Mobile has been good to me, but AT&T already deployed Career Aggregation in Chicago. 60mbps+ constantly.

38. Mxyzptlk unregistered

If it works for you then go for it.

46. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1461; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Hypocrites never tell the complete truth.....It's always a spin on the truth. IF Tmobile were that great no one would leave. Wait until AT&T start shutting down 2g!

50. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Hypocrite? I'm not going to wait for T-Mo to roll out 700MHz when I can have it right now. Just stop right there.

13. michaelny2001

Posts: 346; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

I've had AT&T for about 6 years now and still have the unlimited data plan for 30 bucks. I am thinking however that i don't need it as much as i thought i do. What do you guys think of Cricket Wireless? They do use all the AT&T towers so reception is the same, u get 1GB of 4G data and then back to 3G. Plus if u have 4 lines that is 100 bucks flat, no tax and no fees. Should i jump it?

14. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Jump to Cricket since entry have double the data deal as well. $60 gets you 10GB of data I believe.

15. KingDingaLing

Posts: 324; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

Let me edit this. I've never used Cricket. I wouldn't take the risk, personally.

20. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

New Cricket works flawlessly. If you don't use over 5GB/10GB of data, it's a no trainer.

22. michaelny2001

Posts: 346; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

thanks guys. My last line should expire in a couple of months and from what i've seen, reviews online about Cricket, all seems well. And i found this website where you can buy really nice phones for very cheap. Also, not sure how good they are though. i bought 1 to test for 45 bucks. everbuying.com Some phone for 150 are quite hot and u can use paypal, but not sure about them. Did any of you used them before?

40. joe1blue

Posts: 169; Member since: Jul 25, 2013

you know you can sell your unlimited grandfather plan on eBay for about five to six hundred just so you know.

45. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I didn't know. Thanks for the tip!

48. joe1blue

Posts: 169; Member since: Jul 25, 2013

No problem I love to see people make easy money.

21. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I am in a similar situation with ATT. My data usage has fallen off a lot over time and is less than 1GB most months. I currently pay $66/month for unlimited data and a subsidy on a good network. I'm afraid going to Cricket for $40/month only saves me $6/month after factoring in the subsidy. If I do auto-pay, then it saves me $11/month. Money is money, but this isn't a huge savings.

24. michaelny2001

Posts: 346; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

actually it saves u a lot more becasue all u pay for 1 GB is just 35 bucks. It includes taxes and fees. I read it on their website. Worse comes to worse, u come back to ATT,

25. michaelny2001

Posts: 346; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

actually it saves u a lot more becasue all u pay for 1 GB is just 35 bucks. It includes taxes and fees. I read it on their website. Worse comes to worse, u come back to ATT,

29. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I pay $66 (and change) with all taxes and fees on ATT. Factor in $20/month for a subsidy on a new phone, and that's equivalent to $46/month. It works out to $11/month savings for me. And I don't have to give Cricket access to my checking account.

3. KingDingaLing

Posts: 324; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

That blows. I'm gradfathered in from 2007 and definitely notice some occasional throttling.

5. datsyuk

Posts: 180; Member since: Jan 11, 2012

Considering switching from Verizon if they'll pay ETF fees (do they?). Maybe if I switch I'll have a shot at finally get a Nexus rofl.

7. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

No. Just Sprint and T-Mobile.

8. Gawain

Posts: 448; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

That is not what the net neutrality arguments are about. The data throttling policy was in effect before tiered data plans were ever introduced. Net neutrality is about which data gets priority over another, if/when applicable. The way internet providers were throttling Netflix feeds is an example of the net not being handled with neutrality. This is a matter of who is paying for what. T-Mobile throttles data for people that don't pay for "unlimited"...it's an idential, and inverse argument, yet true.

42. tedkord

Posts: 17464; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

But technically, they are choosing which data gets preference, yours or mine. I'm paying for unlimited, you're paying for 10gb. We could be sitting right next to each other downloading the exact same content. I've used 5gb this month, you've used 8gb, but I'll be throttled. It can't be about what we're paying, because I'm paying for unlimited. The very same unlimited I was required to get years ago. The same unlimited they lied to me about back then, claiming that my device couldn't function without it. The same unlimited they would not allow me on their network without. It's long past time that mobile broadband was regulated as a public utility.

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