AT&T: Unbelievably awful treatment of "unlimited" bandwidth customers

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Joined: 2009-03-12
AT&T: Unbelievably awful treatment of "unlimited" bandwidth customers

There are plenty of reasons to dislike almost any cellular carrier. They aren't typically warm and friendly types to begin with.

But AT&T's latest move to screw their unlimited bandwidth customers sets a new bar. They have decided to throttle up to the top 5% (yes, that is 1 in 20 - presumably the exact people who paid extra to get the service because they needed the bandwidth) of users down to dial-up speeds when they hit some secret, hidden, variable cap.

In today's Mercury-News they report on one user who was crushed at 2.3GB -- less than the 3GB limited plan he could have gotten for less in his Dallas area. And unlike Verizon, the throttling isn't subtle. It is dial-up speed for the rest of the monthly billing period, apparently with no recourse and no workaround.

This is nothing but a crude way to try to force everyone onto a limited plan, after claiming, and no doubt telling the various regulatory bodies, that they wouldn't force people off the plan.

Verizon also only throttles heavy users when their specific tower is congested.

I know most of the other carriers throttle on some basis, and would love to hear about your experiences here. In my case I've had an AT&T phone nearly forever (used to also have a Verizon one, but now we're all AT&T, mostly to get the international coverage with GSM) and haven't ever gone over 2GB on my unlimited plan, so I figure I should have plenty of "credits" in the bank with AT&T if I do need a lot of bandwidth for a month for some reason. But of course they don't actually work that way.

Shame on them!--David

 

--David Cardinal Cardinal Photo

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Joined: 2009-03-12

Well, bending slightly after a severe firestorm of user pushback, AT&T has apparently at least clarified and codified its policy. After 3GB in a month (5GB for LTE customers), they will be throttled back to EDGE speeds -- at least not the "modem-like" speeds some were reporting before.

This seems like a kind of plausible compromise (in my case especially since I have LTE:-)), and at a minimum takes away the fear factor of not knowing when and where they might throttle your data (since it was based on % of total users, so an individual users had no way of knowing what the tipping point was).

--David Cardinal Cardinal Photo

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