After eliminating their unlimited data option in 2010
, AT&T grandfathered those users -- though most knew the fun wouldn't last. In 2011 AT&T announced they'd start throttling wireless data customers
who consumed "more than their fair share" of network data. AT&T stated that the throttling would specifically focus on just the top 5 percent of the heaviest data users in a billing period. AT&T also stated targeted users consumed 12 times more data than the average of all other smartphone users.
Early on, AT&T's data line seemed rather high, with some users consuming up to 10 GB before getting warnings. Now that AT&T has been throttling for some time, more users are noting that they're getting warnings from AT&T after around 2GB of usage each month
. As CNET
notes, it's a not-so-subtle nudge to try and get grandfathered unlimited users to switch to AT&T's metered tiers:
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. But clearly AT&T is trying to entice people who use a lot of data to get off the unlimited and onto a tiered plan where the service is never throttled.
In other words, pay $30 for "unlimited" service where you're actually only getting 2 GB of data before your phone becomes useless, or sign up for a 3GB tier for the same price so you're in line to get socked with the usage overages of tomorrow. Having your fancy new smartphone throttled to near dial-up speeds isn't particularly fun, as this video
attests. As we've noted previously
, AT&T has also been automatically eliminating grandfathered unlimited user privileges if they're found to be tethering unofficially.