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AT&T’s Old ‘Unlimited’ Plan Has 2GB Throttle Threshold; For the Same $30, Get 3GB ‘Limited’ Plan

Phillip Dampier January 31, 2012 AT&T, Broadband Speed, Consumer News, Data Caps, Wireless Broadband 7 Comments

Lowering the bar on "unlimited use" customers.

Customers grandfathered on AT&T’s “unlimited use” data plan are starting to wonder whether AT&T’s definition of “unlimited” is worth the effort.

Stop the Cap! reader Earl shares news the wireless carrier has lowered the bar (and wireless speeds) on customers who consume just 2GB on an “unlimited” wireless plan the company charges $30 a month to keep.  That’s $15/GB before AT&T considers you a usage abuser.  Now customers are discovering for the same $30, they can buy a usage-limited plan that offers 3GB a month, one gigabyte more than the “unlimited plan” allows before AT&T considers you among the top 5% of its “heavy users” subject to a punishing speed throttle.

[From CNET’s ‘Ask Maggie’ column:]

Dear Maggie,
I am currently using an iPhone 3GS and am grandfathered into the unlimited data plan. I normally use between 3GB and 4GB of data a month without issue. I have now been notified after 2GB of data that my data consumption is in the top 5 percent of customers and my data will be throttled. I have noticed that this seems to be a common cutoff for other customers as well.

My question to you is–Does this make the unlimited data plan basically useless as the new 3GB plan will at least give me 1 extra gigabyte of data for the same price? Also, why don’t they just cancel the unlimited plan instead of forcing people to switch through throttling?

Dear Brian,
I think you’ve nailed this issue right on the head. AT&T’s throttling program seems to target customers, who are just over the 2GB threshold. And its new higher priced data plans that offer 3GB of data for $30 looks like an attempt to get customers to switch from their unlimited data plans to the 3GB plan for the same price.

Whether you can live with the slower data rates is up to you.

It’s increasingly apparent AT&T is engineering data plans to discourage customers from retaining their grandfathered unlimited-use plan.  By luring customers to ‘never-throttled’-tiered data plans, AT&T can expose customers to lucrative overlimit fees charged when plan allowances are exceeded.

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jr
jr
8 years ago

AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson had total compensation of $27,341,628 in 2010

Alex Perrier
Alex Perrier
8 years ago

One can only hope the underdogs Sprint and T-Mobile keep improving their services.

Shawn
Shawn
8 years ago
Reply to  Alex Perrier

T-Mobile has the exact feature. Once you hit a certain amount of data, the ‘unlimited’ plan continues at a Dial-Up Speed of 2G. The best way to fight back? Everyone should schedule a day to call and cancel their service with such providers. That will make some noise. If Any one company were to get hit with a lot of cancellations, they will react and change their ways. Don’t think so? GoDaddy changed their views on SOPA/PIPA when over 37,000 Godaddy Accounts were cancelled in a day. Power in Numbers. People. YOU CAN make change. You just have to be… Read more »

joe
joe
8 years ago
Reply to  Shawn

i wish we could start a petition. like when netflix changed there prices. this is absurd!!!!

Adam
Adam
8 years ago

Hmm im not going to give up my unlimited plan , in the protest
Im using my phone 24/7 for maximum download every month I average
over 5GB just to show them that cap does not work. …
You can do same lets fight AT&T back !!!

Davo
Davo
8 years ago

Adam. Same here

Raymond Hernandez
Raymond Hernandez
8 years ago

Why not a petition or a bombardment of tweets, emails expressing user discontent…. I’d be more than willing to participate.

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