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

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • solipsism - Thursday, March 1, 2012 - link

    Knew it wouldn't be long before they changed the way they alter their throttling to match capped plans. They did something similar after they allowed tethering on the iPhone.

    I wouldn't be surprised if they require those getting new devices to sign a new contract that removes their unlimited plans. Of course this move would have to be weighted against the potential loss to other carriers but it seems that isn't an issue with these speed reductions and 80% iPhone activations last quarter.
  • smartthanyou - Thursday, March 1, 2012 - link

    I may be wrong but I don't believe AT&T has offered unlimited data plans for some time now. At least they haven't on the iPhone. Maybe it is different for LTE.
  • solipsism - Thursday, March 1, 2012 - link

    They haven't. I'm saying I won't be surprised if they don't let you carry your unlimited plan over to a new contract. People use the term "grandfathered" and think that once you're off contract or switch contracts that the carrier has to honor that old plan because you're "grandfathered" but they don't.
  • BSMonitor - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    They weigh the cost of a lawsuit and its likely-hood against the money they are "saving" but hurting the customer.
  • minijedimaster - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    They don't let you carry it over. I upgraded the wife from an iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4S when it came out. She had the unlimited plan, as soon as I went to upgrade the device she now has one of the current limited plans. It did it automagically, never gave a choice.
  • okstate - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    They do let you carry it over. I've done it several times. The sales rep just didn't offer it to you or let you believe you couldn't continue it. I have grandfathered the unlimited plan on two separate phones.
  • espressojim - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    I've grandfathered my 4s as well on AT&T.
  • lungjian - Sunday, March 4, 2012 - link

    Same here. AT&T store rep screwed up one of our lines "unlimited" plans during an iPhone upgrade. Quick call to AT&T customer service had the line back on the faux unlimited plan within a few minutes.
  • PatrickFromSC - Monday, March 5, 2012 - link

    An in-store sales person can upgrade the equipment and keep you on the same grandfathered plan, but not if you upgrade online. At least with the iPhone 4S, there was no way to upgrade online and keep the grandfathered unlimited plan. Very underhanded AT&T.
  • av911 - Thursday, March 1, 2012 - link

    Both parties (AT&T and consumer) agreed to an UNLIMITED service, but AT&T changed their terms of service, thus voiding the contract.

    I remember when they implemented data cap on their DSL service, I left immediately and they charged me $90 for the ETF. Luckily, filed complaints to the FCC and BBB did the trick.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now