AT&T has been pissing a lot of people off with data throttling, and they’ve been getting lots of negative feedback, and even sued, about their vague and unknown policy on data throttling for their customers. Many people were upset knowing that while they were getting throttled with sometimes less than 2GB of usage, their friends were sailing fast on HSPA+ speeds with over 3GB of usage.

It’s understandably frustrating, and luckily, AT&T has amended their policy to reflect the feedback they’ve been receiving, allowing users to get more clarification out of how their data plans affect their data limitations. They’ve stated that 4G users (LTE) will get throttled at 5GB of usage, and 3G users will get throttled down at 3GB of usage.

Those moving to LTE in the future will be able to remain on their existing unlimited data plan, if they’d prefer to do so.


With mobile data usage continuing to skyrocket and the availability of spectrum scarce, AT&T, like other wireless companies, manages its network in the most fair way possible so that we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience for all our customers.

How we’re managing the network only affects a small minority of the heaviest smartphone data users still on unlimited plans. Put another way, this does not impact more than 95 percent of our smartphone customers.

Our unlimited plan customers have told us they want more clarity around how the program works and what they can expect. Here’s what customers need to know:

  • Customers with a 3G or 4G smartphone – who also still have our unlimited data plan – will see speeds reduced if they use 3GB (gigabytes) of data or more in a billing cycle. Speeds will return to normal at the start of the next billing cycle. For context, less than 5 percent of smartphone customers use more than 3GB per month.
  • For customers with a 4G LTE smartphone – who also still have our unlimited data plan – data speeds will be reduced if usage is 5GB (gigabytes) or more in a billing cycle. Speeds will return to normal at the start of the next billing cycle.

Customers will get a text message from us before experiencing a change in speed.

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.

Not impacted by this program, launched last year, are customers on our tiered data plans.

The reason reduced speeds only apply to unlimited smartphone customers is because their data usage is significantly higher than those on tiered plans. For example, in January, the top 5 percent of our unlimited data plan customers used an average of over 50 percent more data than the top 5 percent of customers on tiered plans.

Because spectrum is limited and data usage continues to soar, we manage our network this way to be as fair as possible and so we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience to everyone.

We encourage all of our customers to use Wi-Fi whenever possible – especially when watching video, which is the most data-intensive activity.

That’s because data activity over Wi-Fi does not count against the threshold for unlimited customers that triggers reduced data speeds or against customers’ tiered data plans. Customers can find out more at

Whether this will make users happier or not will remain to be seen, but at least we have a hard number to think about now, and users who have been getting throttled for less than 2GB of usage should see some relief now as well. That is, if they don’t still get throttled too quick. More as time goes on I guess.
(via BGR)

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