AT&T recently started taking heat as subscribers with grandfathered unlimited data plans saw their downstream throughput throttled after consuming just over 2GB on AT&T's 3G HSPA+ network. The primary complaint at that time was that it was illogical for AT&T to set the glass cap at 2GB (as derived by the 'top 5% of data users per market' metric) when the same $30/month buys you at least 3GB on another DataPro  plan. It seems as though AT&T has taken that criticism to heart and today announced that it is setting the throttling cap uniformly at 3GB for 3G HSPA+ subscribers, and 5GB for 4G LTE subscribers. 

After you hit this cap, data rates on the downstream slow to around 256 kbps on 3G, and hopefully substantially more for 4G LTE throttled subs. AT&T has already sent out some notification SMSes to customers who went over 3GB of use on the previous billing cycle, as shown above.

Source: AT&T

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  • solipsism - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    They started doing this last year.

    It seems to be a result of the iPhone adoption and usage on their networks. In October when the iPhone 4S came out they also gave fee double-data usage for LTE for those that would buy an LTE phone. The word is was an attempt to alleviate usage on their '3G' network to make room for iPhone 4S users.
  • Ronakbhai - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    I guess that's how it works out. You get 3GB @ speed, then the rest of the time @ 256 kbps. That equates to ~79GB for a full 30 days of constant streaming. So that's a theoretical maximum of 82GB per month that you get. Realistically of course, it'll be significantly less.
  • solipsism - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    For several years I was tethering outside my contractual obligations on AT&T. I was around 20GB most months but peaked at 100GB several times. That's hard to do. There was torrenting involved.

    They waned me, I choose try to find another way around it, they warned me again, I didn't listen and they dropped to 4GB w/tethering plan. I didn't care for it but I was going against my contract so they had every right since I was in violation. I took a chance and was finally caught. I certainly don't think AT&T had no right to when the contract I freely signed explained everything.
  • Ahnilated - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    Someone needs to tell them the definition of the word unlimited.

    un·lim·it·ed (n-lm-td)
    1. Having no restrictions or controls: an unlimited travel ticket.
    2. Having or seeming to have no boundaries; infinite: an unlimited horizon.
    3. Without qualification or exception; absolute: unlimited self-confidence.

    Read them carefully.
  • ShieTar - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    Have you ever pulled out your calculator in a Phone-Shop, after the sales person explained to you why you NEED 40 MBit/s, and that a 2GB Data Cap is much more than you are likely to ever use up?

    Just to come to the realization that this flatrate/unlimited plan allows you to max out your connection for a staggering 7 minutes every month?
  • prophet001 - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link


  • flyguy29 - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    The half ass reglated wireless induatry allows carriers like ATT to negotiate exclusive phone contracts with Apple, then monopolize, raise prices, then eliminate services. America is the shining example of anti capitalism when it comes to the wireless industry. Growing markets usually means lower prices and competition. Not so here. ATT, under more "normal" market conditions, would have been faced with customers fleeing to carriers with better service the minute they started throttling. Instead, other carriers also followed suit.
    It isn't even ATT's fault. They cam do it bkame limited spectrum while continuing to advertise itself as the "FASTEST NETWORK (like everyone else), and as the network of "possibilities".
    I have never heard of an all you can eat buffet where the third trip to the line was restricted to what you can sip through a straw. The reason? "Not our fault because there isn't enough food"

    In a world where a business cannot service its customers because the product is difficient, they simply turn away customers and quickly increase capacity. The system here in the USA is so broken that this is not possible. The FCC either fully regulates with just 2 carriers and mandate to build a unified network to handle long term growth, or just get out of the regulatory game because it isn't working.
  • minijedimaster - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    I know its the in thing to crucify AT&T these days. But fact of the matter is, Verizon and T-Mobile do the same thing. Sprint I don't think does, yet.. but their coverage sucks only slight less than T-Mobile's so who cares. I'm not defending AT&T on these practices, but they're hardly alone in this.
  • Jedi2155 - Saturday, March 3, 2012 - link

    Sprint throttles 3G after 5GB. 4G is unlimited until they deem you to be an excessive user. Then they will consider canceling your account.
  • Toughbook - Monday, March 5, 2012 - link

    I have the unlimited plan with Verizon on my iphone, never have they touched my speeds. My highest monthly usage was 18 Gbs when out of town for an extended amount of time. My son has a LTE phone and god knows teenagers download and stream alot of stuff and he has never had a problem either. Verizon may be more expensive but at least they dont try to find ways to fuck you raw each month with no vaseline!

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