AfterDawn: Tech news

AT&T revises data throttling policy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Mar 2012 9:22 User comments (10)

AT&T revises data throttling policy AT&T has announced revisions to their data throttling policy today, making the terms less vague.
Until today, AT&T would only say that the "top 5%" of unlimited plan bandwidth hogs were being throttled once they reached a certain point. That number was never stated, either, but most reports had it at around 2GB per month.

Now, the rules are set in stone. If you are using a 4G LTE device, you will be throttled after 5GB and 3G non-LTE users will be throttled after 3GB of usage.

Reads AT&T's statement:

With mobile data usage continuing to skyrocket and the availability of spectrum scarce, AT&T, like other wireless companies, manages its network in the most fair way possible so that we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience for all our customers.

How we're managing the network only affects a small minority of the heaviest smartphone data users still on unlimited plans. Put another way, this does not impact more than 95 percent of our smartphone customers.

Our unlimited plan customers have told us they want more clarity around how the program works and what they can expect. Here's what customers need to know:

Customers with a 3G or 4G smartphone - who also still have our unlimited data plan - will see speeds reduced if they use 3GB (gigabytes) of data or more in a billing cycle. Speeds will return to normal at the start of the next billing cycle. For context, less than 5 percent of smartphone customers use more than 3GB per month.
For customers with a 4G LTE smartphone - who also still have our unlimited data plan - data speeds will be reduced if usage is 5GB (gigabytes) or more in a billing cycle. Speeds will return to normal at the start of the next billing cycle.

Customers will get a text message from us before experiencing a change in speed.

Even with reduced data speeds, these customers will still be able to email and surf the web, and continue to use an unlimited amount of data each month.

Not impacted by this program, launched last year, are customers on our tiered data plans.

The reason reduced speeds only apply to unlimited smartphone customers is because their data usage is significantly higher than those on tiered plans. For example, in January, the top 5 percent of our unlimited data plan customers used an average of over 50 percent more data than the top 5 percent of customers on tiered plans.

Because spectrum is limited and data usage continues to soar, we manage our network this way to be as fair as possible and so we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience to everyone.

We encourage all of our customers to use Wi-Fi whenever possible - especially when watching video, which is the most data-intensive activity.

That's because data activity over Wi-Fi does not count against the threshold for unlimited customers that triggers reduced data speeds or against customers' tiered data plans. Customers can find out more at

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10 user comments

11.3.2012 21:52

All about the money give ATT your money!!

21.3.2012 22:22

something stinks here

31.3.2012 23:08

5GB for LTE isn't too bad for me. I only use about 1.2gb per month but still it shouldn't be throttled in the first place.

"Cable thief is a victimless crime."

41.3.2012 23:46

Why not, You are paying for unlimited. What if you don't want to buy a ruku box instead use your phone to watch some netflix if you have faster speed.

52.3.2012 02:12
Unverified new user

Crazy manipulation in advertising. The way they describe unlimited data in advertisments is like that saying that "50% of the time it works every time" but it's like advertising the last two words of this sentence. "Until we limit you it's unlimited!"

62.3.2012 02:21
Unverified new user

Hey guess what I just started offering an unlimited plan of my own that is cheaper than AT&T! It's completely unlimited too! Want in? Sure you have to pay a premium, but it's unlimited so you must sign up for this new plan!

(Unlimited plan speeds will reach a maximum capacity of 1 byte per year to your phone, if you need more than that you better have read this fine print. Note this fine print is normally only available by request or threat of lawsuit)

72.3.2012 02:33

"this does not impact more than 95 percent of our smartphone customers."

It also doesn't impact those of us who dumped AT&T's crappy service and switched to Verizon. Best move I ever made.

82.3.2012 04:07

I am fluent in 5 languages, sadly I do not know enough profanities to correctly describe my disgust with this bunch of liars and thieves.


92.3.2012 10:32

Again, AT&T (as well as all other cellular services) are getting into the entertainment game! You know your fancy little tablets!?! I don't know if most of you folks have a digital (cellular) service with that thing or not, but that's the same thing & it will get hit with the same throttling soon enough if you don't start paying attention.

Video & music streaming As well as this damned 'cloud' interfacing crap is just another means by which tapping the data stream is going to increase the consumers need for tapping the data stream even more & they all know it. Meaning: Now is the time to maximize every ounce of high dollar fleecing they can get before FCC sanctions "forces" the whole lot of them to upgrade their equipment & data packages to accommodate the public.

It's just like they've done for radio & TV throughout the years. We could have had FM stereo back in the 40s & HD TV back in the 80s, but it was all greed that kept the change from happening.

But you can all choose to ignore my ramblings (again) & chalk it up to the OFB as ranting & off his meds again too.

102.3.2012 11:44

3GB is just fine for me. I always hover around 2gb so I'm happy.

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