AT&T has now modified their throttling policy to allow unlimited users 3 GB of data before they begin slowing the speed of a user’s mobile network. It now seems that 3G/HSPA+ users who have grandfathered unlimited data plans will be communicating with AT&T’s network at a significantly slower rate if they surpass the 3 GB ceiling that AT&T has recently put into effect. 4G LTE users, on the other hand, will be throttled after using 5 GB of data — AT&T will probably use this as a selling point for their next-generation LTE devices, one of which may just be the iPad 3…
You may remember that back in early February, AT&T had begun throttling users who had just barely exceeded the previous 2 GB allowance that the network had been enforcing. One user in particular reached out to the media to share his terrible experience with the carrier, saying that he had only went over the limit by a mere 137.59 MB in January, yet had been subject to AT&T’s full throttling. The user’s smartphone was rendered completely useless due to the very drastic speed reduction that the carrier’s throttling causes.
Additionally, one customer went so far as to file a lawsuit against the carrier for the throttling. The court awarded said customer with $850 as compensation for the loss in speeds, though AT&T had the option to appeal, so it’s not certain that the customer actually won the money in the end.
For an example of how bad AT&T’s throttling really is, watch the video below.
Earlier today, AT&T gave MacRumors the following 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.
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.
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.
AT&T now has a very detailed webpage that gives a good amount of insight on these recent changes. If you’re a grandfathered unlimited data user, then it is recommended that you look into this page for further information on the matter.