AT&T Pulls Data Monitoring Tools For Some Unlimited Users
Update: AT&T Says They'll Fix Issue Shortly
by Karl Bode 12:22PM Tuesday Dec 04 2012 Tipped by ptrowski
See update at bottom of post. AT&T has removed tools and functionality for some grandfathered unlimited data wireless users that allowed them to track and monitor their data consumption. Several grandfathered unlimited AT&T users have written in to note that they no longer have an easy way to track usage. Both the AT&T usage app and dialing *data# now only provides them with SMS usage (not bandwidth consumed), and the previous simple data monitoring tool on AT&T's website has been eliminated completely.
It remains unclear if the removal of these tools for some users is intentional or an error.
While unlimited, these grandfathered users are of course throttled should they consume between 2 and 5GB of data, making simple measuring of consumption important to them. If impacted grandfathered unlimited users now want to monitor usage, they need to go through their bill, add up data from each individual day, and convert the totals from KB to MB to GB.
Broadband Reports reader ptrowski tells us he had a chat with AT&T support, where he was informed that AT&T's systems were "updated" to remove this useful functionality, but that the changes only impact grandfathered unlimited users.
"The explanation was since we are unlimited, there is no need to check how much data was used -- which is odd as they told me to check my usage to avoid throttling," says Ptrowski. "They tried to blame it on the site but the changes affect the app and the *code as well. I've talked to a few friends with unlimited, they see the same thing," says the user.
AT&T has of course been waging a quiet war on grandfathered unlimited users in the hopes of getting them to migrated to metered data plans, though it still seems odd and/or unlikely they'd intentionally pull useful tools that educate customers on data consumption. We've fired off an inquiry to AT&T as to whether this is a glitch or intentional, and I'll post any additional information I receive.
Update: AT&T says the change is temporary and full usage-tracking functionality will return to users shortly. There was no explanation given for what caused the tools to be pulled.
As many know, my sentiments support a company being allowed to bill as they please, but I still don't like the tactics being used by AT&T to stick it to their unlimited customers. They are rather low and petty. AT&T could just eliminate the unlimited plans. But do it in a straight forward way and not play these pathetic games. -- A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.
Their are people on both sides, their are people I know who are still grandfathered on unlimited data on AT&T and despite the games they play they are glad they can still get upgraded phones subsidized and don't have to worry about overages.
For many the important part of unlimited data is simply not having to worry about paying for overages.
When telecom companies blatantly kick users off unlimited data, and customers push for transparency, telecom's tend to be punitive, it's usually not an improvement.
Verizon's playing dirty games with unlimited users, they can't get subsidized devices anymore, the throttle 3G users (though more fairly than AT&T does) Their games and high prices were enough to get me to leave.
Unfortunate, but it's not as bad as you make it sound.
AT&T will continue to wag war against unlimited users and the removal of this tool can only be explained as that.
But this article ignores the fact that smartphones include usage monitors, will they match what the carrier thinks is your usage perfectly no, but it's more than sufficient to monitor usage in order to avoid throttling. Avoiding throttling doesn't require knowing exactly down the the byte how much AT&T says you've used just a good idea of your usage.
There's no reason to observe when you're throttled if you're on an unlimited plan. There's no reason to examine bandwidth usage statistics and report information to the press, which may expose an active agenda to throttle unlimited users to a fixed usage and push grandfathered unlimited users toward metered plans.
VZW did this a while back on their "my usage" app thing. It no longer allows you to check what you use. It updated by a force update from them and now nothing.
They also released another update to fix it a few weeks later. According to the app on my phone I have used 1.605GB of unlimited. Additionally the app now updates live (so long as it runs in the background) instead of being hours to days behind like the old version.