In an almost assuredly begrudging about-face, AT&T has announced in a statement that those customers with unlimited data plans will now be throttled after hitting 3GB during a billing cycle, the same amount as currently offered on their newer tiered data plans, following weeks of complaints from users reporting and alleging that AT&T was throttling usage well below the current thresholds for tiered data plans.
The weeks of complaints came to a head after it was widely reported last Friday that AT&T lost a small claims court case in Los Angeles California whereby a customer had successfully convinced a judge that AT&T was throttling his access well below what is currently advertised by the carrier and subsequently earned the admiration of other customers after the judge found in the customer’s favor.
AT&T has also made changes to its monthly throttling limit for those using 4G LTE service, ironically giving those users the old 5GB monthly data limit before throttling and overages kick in from now on instead of the 3GB limit for HSPA+ access. With these new limits in place as of today, AT&T is hoping to correct its perception in the media regarding its stance on unlimited data users, which was previously seen as outwardly customer hostile, and the carrier did little to disprove that perception thanks to a tacitly inflammatory blog post blaming its customer base for the actions that it took, ostensibly angering many long-time customers that refused to give up unlimited data access for more expensive tiered data plans. AT&T’s complete statement follows below.
Do you have an unlimited data plan? If so, we have information to help you manage your account if you use more than 3GB, which means you are in the top 5% of data users in our network. If you have a 4G LTE Smartphone with monthly data usage over 5GB, you’ll also be interested in this information. You can check your usage for this month by dialing *data# on your mobile phone.
Background: In response to soaring mobile broadband usage and the limited availability of wireless spectrum, we implemented a network management program back in 2011 to help ensure the best possible mobile broadband experience for all of our customers.
If you have a smartphone that works on our 3G or 4G network and still have an unlimited data plan,
- You’ll receive a text message when your usage approaches 3GB in one billing cycle.
- Each time you use 3GB or more in a billing cycle, your data speeds will be reduced for the rest of that billing cycle and then go back to normal.
- The next time you exceed that usage level, your speeds will be reduced without another text message reminder.
If you have a 4G LTE smartphone and still have an unlimited data plan, the same process applies at 5GB of data usage, instead of 3GB.
You’ll still be able to use as much data as you want. That won’t change. Only your data throughput speed will change if you use 3GB or more in one billing cycle on a 3G or 4G smartphone or 5GB or more on a 4G LTE smartphone.
If you’re an unlimited data customer and you don’t get a text message from us, you are among the 95% of smartphone customers whose speeds won’t be affected.
What Can I Do?
1. Use Wi-Fi.
Your speeds are not reduced if you are connected via Wi-Fi, and data activity over Wi-Fi doesn’t count toward the threshold at which your data speeds will be reduced.
2. Do nothing.
You may continue to use an unlimited amount of data; however, your speeds will be reduced if you use 3GB or more (5GB or more for 4G LTE devices) in a billing cycle.
3. Switch to a tiered data plan.
With tiered data plans, your speeds are not reduced. You simply pay for data usage that exceeds a monthly allowance depending on the tiered data plan that you choose. You can switch without having to sign a new two-year term agreement. Recommended plans are just $30 a month for 3GB or $50 a month for 5GB.
Learn more about our tiered data plans
Three Tools to Help Monitor and Reduce Your Network Usage:
Estimate your usage with the data calculator.
Check usage this month by dialing *data# on your mobile phone.
Log in to your account to check historical usage.