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AT&T Officially Explains Unlimited Plans, Speed Throttling

by Todd Haselton | March 1, 2012March 1, 2012 9:02 am PST

AT&T data

AT&T just sent out an official explanation discussing its unlimited data plans as well as how and why it’s throttling those who are not on the carrier’s tiered data plans. “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,” an AT&T spokesperson explained. The company said that it continues to only throttle data on its heaviest smartphone users, which means more than 95% of its customers are not impacted by data throttling.

Customers with unlimited data plans on AT&T’s 3G and 4G HSPA+ networks will only see speeds reduced if they exceed more than 3GB during a regular monthly billing cycle, and the speeds will return back to normal throughput immediately after that cycle ends. AT&T also explained that less than 5% of its customers ever actually consumed more than 3GB in that time period, too. Those on AT&T’s LTE networks have a little more wiggle room; they can consume up to 5GB of data per month before their throughput is throttled. AT&T said all customers who are approaching reduced data speeds will get a text message before any changes go into effect. Even though the data will be slower, AT&T guarantees that access to email and web browsing will be possible and unlimited customers can still continue to consume data past the 3GB or 5GB mark without being charged any additional fees.

“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,” AT&T said, noting that customers who do consume a lot of data should try to connect to Wi-Fi networks as often as possible.

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...