So, um, why exactly do carriers throttle the top 5% of data users again?
posted by Scott H. / Feb 23, 2012, 12:59 PM
Cell phone bill “optimization” specialist Validas examined a sample of over 55,000 cell phone bills from the U.S., and what they discovered is that the top 5% of unlimited data plans (the people who get throttled) use almost exactly the same amount of data as the top 5% of tiered data plan users. Put another way, the only difference between the people being throttled and those who aren’t is that the throttled users are still on grandfathered unlimited plans.
don't throttle data use, except in cases of network abuse.
Verizon says they only throttle the top 5% of unlimited data users based on local network need, and they stop throttling when network congestion relaxes (e.g. at night). Of course we have only their word to go on, but this would seem like a more measured response. On the other hand, a blanket throttle (even a temporary one) of 5% of all unlimited users still is little more than a temporary punishment for having maintained an unlimited data plan.
AT&T has even less of a defense; their policy not only allows them to throttle the top 5% of data unlimited data users (despite not using significantly more data than tiered customers) but they implement this throttling after just 2GB of use - while tiered data plan users can use 3 GB of data without seeing a slowdown. Worse, once throttled a customer will continue to get throttled data for the remainder of the billing cycle. So unlimited data plan owners may find themselves at greatly reduced network speeds for an extended period, despite committing no crime greater than not having a tiered data plan.
We think that stinks. To be sure, every network has instances of users that gobble truly disproportionate amounts of data (10-20 GB or more) and we can understand if those users must be throttled during times of heavy load to ensure network access to everyone. But the method employed by AT&T – to throttle unlimited users for “being in the top 5%” for the remainder of the month, even if their data usage doesn’t exceed the usage of the top 5% of tiered customers – that amounts to little more than a punishment of some of their most loyal users.
AT&T and Verizon claim they are providing a choice - to reduce their data usage or else suffer a slowdown in data for the "good of the whole." What they really mean is you have a choice between possibly seeing a slowdown in your unlimited data usage, or using the same amount of data without throttling by switching to one of our more profitable tiered data plans. So far this practice only applies to 3G data plans - Verizon has explicitly exempted 4G LTE users (except in extreme cases). But as 4G phones become ubiquitous, how long before we start to see similar practices placed on the owners of unlimited 4G LTE plans?
Regardless, the practice should stop – and that goes for any other carrier that may engage in the practice but not publicize it. We understand that all companies want to increase their profit margins, but punishing customers who have grandfathered data plans is not an acceptable way to go about this.
Let us know what you think in the comments section.
source: Validas, BGR
Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 2011
I have ATT Unlimited Plan. To date(Knock on Wood) have not been throttled when eclipsing 2GB. My opinion is why they don't touch tiered is if they go over they pay for it. People like me on Unlimited go get to 50GB while still paying $30.
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 1:03 PM 3
Posts: 307; Member since: Jan 14, 2012
f**king agreed! I have one friend who has ATT Unlimited Data and is throttled after 1.5GB religiously. And I have a friend on Verizon Unlimited Data who has used 25GB every month he has had it, even spiking up to 109GB LAST MONTH to test out the throttling theory. Not only was he not throttled, he was never warned about a throttling issue either.
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 1:05 PM 9
Posts: 56; Member since: Jan 27, 2012
we all know between verizon and att who the clear winner is...been a big red fan since before late 90's and still remain loyal to the big red army!! too soon?
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 1:30 PM 7
Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009
That's not entirely true. It was three companies unified into one, then they bought out a bunch of different regionals. He could've been on Airtouch or GTE before they merged and became Verizon. Just sayin'...
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 4:36 PM 1
Posts: 114; Member since: Feb 26, 2011
I would add to the article, that verizon throttles the unlimited with only 3G network, that excludes unlimited 4G data plans :D!
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 1:05 PM 2
Posts: 1835; Member since: Nov 22, 2011
I have to stand by VZW on this issue, and this issue alone. I use somewhere between 4-10 gb's a month. Typically around 5-6, but I have had more and less, and I have never been throttled. I consider myself a heavy user, but if you are using >15gb a month, then you need to learn to not be so selfish. I tether when not in range of wifi, but usually < an hour or so a month. I can honestly say, that if I was on ATT, I would leave. I have a friend on ATT and he was throttled at 2 gb last month on his iphone. And he isn't jailbroken and never uses it in a way that wouldn't be deemed "normal" usage.
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 1:54 PM 4
Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 2011
We specifically agreed that it's a legitimate practice to throttle speeds on network abusers - the point is that most people who fall into that "top 5% of data users" aren't actually using any more data than tiered customers, so they are being punished for nothing more than not upgrading to a plan the carrier prefers (be it 4G or tiered...but tiered is what they really want).
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 2:57 PM 3
Posts: 6; Member since: May 05, 2011
The companies won't stop it until We the Consumers use our mighty dollar and take our buisness elsewhere. Sadly, most of us are such sheep we won't. How long before the Big guys decide unlimited texting isn't profitable enough and shy away from 'unlimited' plans for that as well? Don't be so silly to think they WON'T do it if they think they'll get away with it. All it takes REALLY is one of the Big Two.
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 1:58 PM 0
Posts: 501; Member since: Oct 05, 2011
Because texting is so cheap as it is their already making a killing off that. I remember an older article saying that.
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 10:13 PM 0
Posts: 3; Member since: Feb 07, 2012
If it weren't for people hacking their phones to tether for free the carriers wouldn't bother throttling.
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 3:39 PM 2
Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 2011
The data in the article shows this is not true. While there clearly are individuals who do this and end up abusing their data plan, on average the top 5% of unlimited data users are indistinguishable from the top 5% of tiered data users - so it's unrelated to tethering abuse.
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 3:58 PM 1
Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008
as a person working for teh carriers, i dissagree. what happened was one carrier had the balls to charge for it... aka a major one.. and the rest followed suite after they realized that people didnt gather their pitch forks. the only reason there is tiered data plans is so they can reduce the cost for those that dont want the plan but want the phone (in which the carrier still nets more than the people that never make the switch to smartphones), and raise the cost on those that need the plan and intend on using it.
posted on Feb 24, 2012, 12:13 AM 2
Posts: 377; Member since: Dec 18, 2011
limewire was a pretty big contributor (at least in West Michigan) as to the push toward tiered plans as I mentioned before, it's usually one person to ruin it for the rest of us...i miss my unl data
posted on Feb 25, 2012, 8:11 AM 0
Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011
This is what happens when big bussiness is deregulated. It should be illegal for carriers to throttle customers unless they go over 5 gigs. @ Magog that makes no sense. Its not about tethering. its about how much data people use. Tmo doesn't charge extra for tethering. & users don't have to tether to use more than 2 gigs.
posted on Feb 23, 2012, 4:09 PM 0
Send a warning to post author
Send a warning to Selected user.
The user has 0 warnings currently.
Next warning will result in ban!
Ban user and delete all posts
Message to PhoneArena moderator (optional):