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Friday March 2, 2012 9:34 am

AT&T clarifies throttling rules for unlimited data customers


AT&T data throttlingAT&T stopped offering unlimited data plans for its cell phone customers long ago, but allowed those who already subscribed to such a plan to be grandfathered in. However, recently it's become very obvious that, grandfathered in or not, AT&T wants you off of the unlimited plan, and that they'd annoy you with slow data speeds in an effort to nudge you towards a tiered plan. Some users were seeing their speeds throttled down after using just 2 GB of data on their "unlimited" plans. After enough people complained, and enough press covered it, AT&T has finally decided upon what the throttling rules will be for unlimited data 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 3 GB in one billing cycle.
  • Each time you use 3 GB 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 5 GB of data usage, instead of 3 GB.

So, there you have it. If you have an unlimited 3G data plan, then you can use up to 3 GB of data in a given billing cycle before your speeds are throttled down to super-slow for the remainder of the cycle. Once a new cycle begins, the process starts again. As for you unlimited 4G LTE AT&T customers, you get 5 GB instead of 3 GB. Kind of horrible, since 4G LTE is supposed to let you get faster data speeds and all the advertisements around it show customers using it to stream movies and TV shows, and yet AT&T is saying if you do that a couple of times, then for the rest of the month your data speeds will be nowhere near what 4G LTE is advertised as.


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