AT&T Verifies Data Throttling in Future, October 1st it Begins

July 29, 2011
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It has begun! AT&T has officially reported that starting on October 1st, 2011, the top 5% of AT&T will start to see reduced speeds. Top users, in this case, meaning those who use inordinate amounts of data on a daily basis, downloading Star Wars all day long and listening to the Imperial March on Spotify. What AT&T plans to do about you wild and crazy data machines is to force choke you - and by force choke I of course mean throttle your data speeds, making you have slower uploads and slower downloads once you get to a certain point during the month when AT&T thinks you've simply had enough. AT&T made it clear today that it's not you average Americans that they're slipping their fingers around, it's the evil rebels using "12 times more data than the average of all other smartphone data customers."

First of all, who in the heck are you people? Are you running a download farm from your basement in order to take out Anonymous with your massive amounts of House episode copies? Then I'd like to note that AT&T says that starting on October 1st, smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience "reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5 percent of heaviest data users." That's GOT to be a lot, right? AT&T goes on to note that you power users will continue to be able to USE your data for the rest of the month, but it'll be going slower than you're used to. AT&T will also "provide multiple notices, including a grade period."

Get ready for some pop up notes saying that they're closing in!

One of the options AT&T offers to power users of such a nature is one of their many tiered usage plans, "where customers can pay for more data if they need it and will not see reduced speeds."

Now I may be a Negative Nilly when it comes to this sort of Darth Vader sort of stuff, Adbusters crushing your soul where you'd been free to use all the data in the world whenever you wanted, but here I'm going to have to side with AT&T. The only thing that I think anyone should have a right to protest is the fact that there's really only a few cellular companies in the United States worth considering working with. With this lack of great choices in the field, every one of the bigger groups can choose to use this stream of reasoning where you can have as much data as you want, but if you're going to get all crazy about it, we've got the right to put the leash on you.

What do you think? Is throttling a right the mobile device companies have?


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  • Lleinado

    I’m sorry. Did they change the definition of unlimited in the dictionary?

  • Anant Bhushan

    Its bad because they are putting the restriction on the top 5 PERCENTAGE of users. If they keep applying reduced speeds to top 5% eventually the top value will come down. Some mathematician here should do the calculations here to see when such a scheme will make the average user today into the top 5% users sometime into the future.

  • Ducatista2000-100

    Do they have a right? Yes, but selling something as “unlimited” then saying, “but there is a limit” is hypocritical. If it’s unlimited, it’s unlimited. If you want a capped plan, sell it as a capped plan. Stop selling it as unlimited if it’s not.

    BTW, Anant’s comment is dead on correct. What if the top 5% of users is dropped due to attrition to mean that simply having your phone on and using maps will put you in the top 5%? At leat T-mo has a quantifiable GB value limit before they choke speeds down, not some ethereal percentage limit.That may be the entire point. How exactly do you prove your NOT in the upper 5% without having access to all the billing information of all the subscribers? You don’t, so they can throttle your speeds at will and you have no choice but to take it. And some wonder why I left AT&T and never looked back.