Validas AT&T studyA new study from wireless data analysis company Validas claims that AT&T is deviously throttling customers in order to migrate unlimited users to tiered plans. AT&T has been on the receiving end of a lot of public criticism lately for throttling data hungry customers, sometimes for seemingly no reason whatsoever. The wireless carrier has said that only the top 5 percent of bandwidth users are targeted for throttling, but Validas says AT&T’s customers aren’t the hogs they’re made out to be.

Apparently, tiered plans are much easier for AT&T to digest over grandfathered unlimited plans. By examining data from over 55,000 cell phone bills from 2011, Validas’ numbers show that on average unlimited users hit the 3.97GB per month mark – a number that would hardly affect AT&T’s network, PCWorld said.

“When we look at the Top 5% of data users, there is virtually no difference in data consumption between those on unlimited and those on tiered plans—and yet the unlimited consumers are the ones at risk of getting their service turned off,” Validas wrote in a blog post. “So it’s curious that anyone would think the throttling here represents a serious effort at alleviating network bandwidth issues.”

AT&T made an announcement earlier this month saying its wireless data traffic has grown a tremendous 20,000% in the past five years, making it difficult for the company to expand traffic through new subscribers. While AT&T isn’t the only carrier to throttle unlimited users, Validas’ data claims that Ma Bell has an ulterior motive when it does so.

[via PC World]