AT&T Throttling of Users With Unlimited Plans Raises Concerns

February 14, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

If you are an ardent bandwidth eater and you are on AT&T’s Unlimited Plan, you may already know what this post is about.

AT&T has recently started throttling the data speed of the 5 percent of the top data users subscribed under their unlimited plans in an area. The move has raised a lot of furor among the customers but the company goes on undaunted.

The throttling, is terrible, since it cuts off the download speed almost by 99 percent, which in other words, will make it two minutes for a webpage to load which otherwise will load in a second.

It is not the issue with a single customer. As many as 17 million customers with unlimited data plans are under threat of getting throttled at any time.  The company stopped taking users under unlimited plans in 2010, but still found it difficult to manage the traffic and warned last year about possible throttling.

However, when it started throttling, it was not a pleasant experience for many. Interestingly, people who have used less data than that allowed under some of the limited plans of AT&T were throttled.

For example, users who used just 2.3 GB per month paying $30 for the unlimited peace of mind found their speeds throttled. The same carrier is offering 3 GB for the same price in their tiered plan.

The ploy is undoubtedly to push people to take the new plan or to suffer throttled speeds. Apart from suggesting such a migration, the company also suggests complainants to move to one of AT&T’s 30000 Wi-Fi hotspots, where usage is not metered.

However, rival networks like Verizon throttles speed only if the tower is congested by traffic, and throttles only up to the necessary mark. No blanket throttling of the top 5 percent for the rest of the billing period as is done on AT&T, even in the early morning when there is barely any traffic.

Some of the reports suggest that the carrier sometimes does not throttle those who have used even up to 6 GB. However, legal experts say that there is less chance for suing the carrier since the contract does not guarantee high speeds but just unlimited usage.

Well, other options? T- Mobile starts throttling at 5 GB only. Sprint has no throttling habit so far. But it is up to you.

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