Rumors had been circulating since yesterday that AT&T was looking at throttling the data speeds of its heaviest users that were grandfathered into the unlimited plan.  You’ll still be allowed to use as much data as you want, it just won’t be at the speeds you’re used to.

While the information yesterday was just rumors, AT&T did confirm the information this afternoon via a press release.

Starting October 1, smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5 percent of heaviest data users.  These customers can still use unlimited data and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle.  Before you are affected, we will provide multiple notices, including a grace period.

The company goes to great lengths to stress several points through out the release such as this only impacting the top five percent of users, that you will only be slowed down as opposed to being cut off and that the count resets at the beginning of your billing cycle each month.

They do add in towards the end of the release that there are still options if speed is the most important thing to you.

The bottom line is our customers have options. They can choose to stay on their unlimited plans and use unlimited amounts of data, but may experience reduced speeds at some point if they are an extraordinarily heavy data user. If speed is more important, they may wish to switch to a tiered usage plan, where customers can pay for more data if they need it and will not see reduced speeds.

This is certainly not the ideal option as once you leave the unlimited plan you can never go back to it, but if speed is your larger concern, you just may no longer have an option come the first of Oct.  Tiered users will not be impacted by this policy change no matter how much data they use.

What do you think about AT&T throttling its top data users?