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AT&T Still Throttling Unlimited Users, But Plans to Stop Next Year

by Todd Haselton | December 8, 2014December 8, 2014 10:00 pm PDT

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If you’re on an AT&T “unlimited plan,” you’re probably being throttled if you consume too much data each month. According to a new report from Ars Technica, AT&T is still throttling both 3G and 4G LTE users at different points, and it doesn’t always throttle those users based on network congestion. The news outlet said that 3G users are throttled during congested periods after consuming more than 3GB of data, while 4G LTE users are throttled after consuming 5GB of data until the next billing period, no matter the congestion of the network.

This isn’t new, actually, though some reports had previously suggested that AT&T had stopped throttling users, so we think you should know that the practice is still ongoing. The goal seems to be to get users to sign up for buckets of monthly data. While AT&T has done a great job dropping the prices of those buckets, it’s still a better business strategy to sell more expensive data buckets instead of cheaper legacy unlimited plans. AT&T no longer offers those unlimited plans, by the way, so the audience affected by the throttling is probably relatively small, though it also represents AT&T’s longest and therefore likely most dedicated customers.

AT&T said that it plans to stop the throttling sometime next year, which aligns it better with the FCC’s efforts to prevent throttling to unlimited customers unless absolutely necessary. “Once technologically available [is feasible], we expect to adopt the same model for customers with 4G LTE smartphones on unlimited plans sometime in 2015,” AT&T told TechnoBuffalo.

Ars Technica

Todd Haselton

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

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