Friday, March 02, 2012

AT&T revamps unlimited data throttling policies, caps HSPA+ at 3GB and LTE at 5GB

Bad PR can do wonders for the situations of aggrieved customers. AT&T has been under fire for throttling unlimited data users when they sell data tiers above the mark used for throttling: 2GB. Now the company has changed its policies, giving users of grandfathered unlimited data plans exact numbers when throttling will kick in, and raising those values, as well.

Previously, AT&T had said throttling would affect the top 5 percent of its unlimited data plan users, those who were grandfathered in after AT&T switched to tiered data plans in 2010. However, AT&T stated that the top 5 percent of its users were those using more than 2GB of data per billing cycle.

That didn't sit well with users, especially since AT&T was --- and still is --- selling data plans that had tiers above that level. One of those plans, the 3GB plan, was actually priced the same as the grandfathered unlimited plan, making matters worse.

The new policy sets a hard cap of 3GB for customers on HSPA+ plans and 5GB for those on LTE. That is up from the aforementioned 2GB, which was in place no matter what type of network the subscriber was using.

Once the cap is hit, throttling will kick in and stay in place until the end of the billing cycle, which is the same policy as before.

In addition, reports are that the throttled speeds are much better than before. Previously, the throttled speed was nearly unusable. AT&T said that "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."

While the bad PR that AT&T was receiving certainly had something to do with this, we're convinced that a recently won small claims court case against AT&T had something to do with it as well.

iPhone owner Matt Spaccarelli won $85 against AT&T in a data throttling case. While that's a small amount, imagine if all the disgruntled throttled AT&T users pursued the same course of action.

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