A Look at AT&T's Throttling for High-Use Unlimited iPhone Data Customers

Late last year, AT&T began throttling the data speeds of its highest-use unlimited data customers, knocking down the ability of the top 5% of its users to consume data for the remainder of a billing period once they hit certain thresholds. While AT&T no longer offers unlimited data plans, it did so for several years with the iPhone, and users who had previously signed up for the unlimited have been able to keep their plans even as they have upgraded to new devices.


AppAdvice takes a look at the effect of AT&T's throttling on a user's web experience on the iPhone, showing how the move can make the device nearly unusable with data speeds well below that of even the carrier's fallback EDGE network.


AppAdvice conducted a series of side-by-side tests showing data download speeds on both throttled and non-throttled devices, swapping the SIM cards to demonstrate that throttling rather than any other hardware difference was indeed responsible for the significantly slower speed. The testing also included additional real-world comparisons showing the loading of Google Maps and the website of The New York Times on both devices.



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98 months ago
We are the 5%.

:rolleyes:
Rating: 14 Votes
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98 months ago
complete BS. ive received the text for 2 straight months. they usually send that out once you hit 2gb. its ridiculous because they offer a 2gb plan so how is hitting 2gb a top 5% user????? i was grandfathered into the unlimited like many of you and dont feel like i abuse the network. internet radio at work is really the only thing that causes my data to go up. i know nothing is ever "unlimited" but if i hit 5gb in a month then i wouldnt mind the throttling, but not for 2gb!!!!

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Is there any idea as to what constitutes the "top 5%"?

EDIT: I didn't see the post above before submitting mine. Are you saying that anything over 2GB's is in the top 5%?


yes
Rating: 10 Votes
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98 months ago
There are quite a few threads on this, such as mine below. I documented my recent experiences with AT&T as a grandfathered unlimited data user who has been throttled down to near nothing 3G data speeds (An AT&T store manager and associate could not get Safari to load on my 4S in Chicago at the beginning of the month).

Upon examining my contract, I have not exceeded 3GB/mo., my billing cycle resets on the 11th of every month and AT&T will not allow unlimited data users to purchase more data unless they switch to a tiered plan. Thus AT&T "throttles" the unlimited data user for the remainder of their monthly billing cycle (whereas I learned VZW throttles the user based on tower congestion and will increase 3G speeds when congestion lessens). Speaking with an AT&T rep, I asked why, as an AAPL Corp. employee, am I being "punished" for such small data usage on an unlimited plan. Her response, "This is a reaction to your action." This was stated (unbeknownst to the customer service rep) in front of two AT&T Wireless store employees, one of which was a manager. They were shocked. I have received four "warning" since the Fall. As we are still beta testing "iTunes Match" over 3G data, as well as the need for "Siri" to phone-in 4S verification and functionality and iCloud services, AT&T was ill-prepared. Their solution: push people into tiered plans.

My thread:

https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1305467&page=1

In short, AT&T is strong arming grandfathered unlimited data plans into tiered plans. It would be understandable should one be utilizing as much as 50GB's as one MacRumors member demonstrated, however 2-3 GB/mo's data on an unlimited plan should not equate to data throttling.
Rating: 10 Votes
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98 months ago
When Verizon throttled my phone, the thing wouldnt even load Pandora...really pisses me off that you pay for Unlimited and they throttle the already slow network to where it barely loads the Pandora app, let alone play something.
Rating: 8 Votes
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98 months ago
According to AT&T

Is there any idea as to what constitutes the "top 5%"?

EDIT: I didn't see the post above before submitting mine. Are you saying that anything over 2GB's is in the top 5%?


According to AT&T when they dropped the unlimited plans they said in their press release "98 percent use less than 2 GB" if this were true then the top 5% is less than 2 GB unless they were lying. Furthermore i disagree with them throttling you based on someone else's usage??? does this mean as time goes by and they cut the average data usage of people by throttling them then people will soon find themselves in the top 5% at lower and lower usage rates??????

__Someone sue the crap out of them and Sprint please and throw in that lawsuit the misleading advertising if unlimited data they apparently invented their own definition of the term. there is a limit throttling or not if they just calculate you data speed ( the theoretical top speed) over time time in the billing cycle thats what your limit is or is it HMM
Rating: 8 Votes
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98 months ago
I have atnt and yes once I hit 2gb they send me warning that I'm getting close.. Then it happens... My speed get reduced and the phone is worthless... I do nothing different from when I
Had my 3GS.. But my data went up from maybe 500mb a month to over 3000mb.. I would have loved
To know that as the phone got better the data usage was going to be more and now atnt is on my ass slowing down my data... I need a fix to this like now
Rating: 7 Votes
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98 months ago




"I honestly don't know why people fuss about data, most networks sell 1GB for $10 - it's not that bad."



If AT$T offered the $10/1GB data plans, I am sure over 75% of people would jump to that plan.

Of course they won't offer the $10/1GB data plan. Instead have a huge gap between the 200MB data plan for $15 and the 2GB/$25 data plans.

It's like the whole text messenging plans. 200 text/$5. But they never offered a 500-1000 text plan. Instead you would have to jump to the 1500/$15 text plan. When ATT finally offered the $10/1000 text plan, it only lasted for months before they just abandoned that plan.

All about bottom line for corporations.
Rating: 7 Votes
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98 months ago
It seems as though in recent months AT&T has drastically lowered the point at which they begin throttling (perhaps because people using 5 GB+ found a new plan when they began throttling). About a year ago I was hearing 7-8 GB was the threshold for throttling but it seems it's now closer to 2 GB. Definitely pathetic considering they offer a 2 GB/month plan for $5/month less.
Rating: 6 Votes
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98 months ago
Class action time!!!
Rating: 5 Votes
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98 months ago
I've now gotten my 2nd throttle notice in as many months. Last month when it happened, I immediately looked at my "cellular usage" counter in the iPhone. It registered only 1.3 gigs. AT&T was accusing me of 2.4 gigs of use. This sparked a trip to the Apple store, a chat with a Genius, and several other Geniuses. Then it got the Business Manager involved and finally resulted in a call to Applecare while in the store.

The Genius took note of the date my usage counter was reset (I reset it on the first day of billing). I do that to track what data the iPhone sees. With it that far off in usage (AT&T stating nearly double the data), there was cause for concern. The Genius checked the iPhone and everything was determined to be working perfectly. Another Genius took a quick look at the phone and accused me of jailbreaking it - I nearly went ballistic on him for being an ignorant ass. The other Genius who checked the phone told him it wasn't jailbroken.

In talking to Applecare it was an exercise in futility with the first representative who then put a manager on. The manager said there is nothing wrong with the iPhone 4s. Then he got AT&T on the phone. When Jeremy, from Apple, came back on the line he said the AT&T rep claimed there was an issue with their service and it was their fault. When I actually spoke to the AT&T rep, Antone, he said he never said that. Thus Apple's rep lied flat out.

I've spoken to AT&T at length to several managers and "executives", none of whom can answer a simple question - how does the network count it's data. The most common answer - "The network tells us what you use." It's like talking to a brick wall. The specialist - Antone & his manager Peter, never returned my call as promised. In fact no actual executive has ever returned a call from the AT&T side.

Apple decided to replace my iPhone with another. In an effort to see if that changed anything. It hasn't. However, I've now found out 2 things that are disconcerting and worthy of a class action suit. One against Apple. One against AT&T. At this point, I can verify problems on both ends and I've found 4 others in different states doing the same thing.

Apparently if the same issue occurs across state lines it becomes a Federal Court matter. While I'm not litigious, I'm collecting data to spearhead both class action suits.

1. With Apple, they're not clean in that the iPhone actually erases data use on the cellular usage counter. It happens under a repeatable circumstance in that if you sync your iPhone to iTunes and then do a hard reset of the phone... Poof - the Cellular Usage counter will revert to an older smaller amount of data.

2. AT&T actually nearly doubles data usage with phantom data. I tracked streaming a single song that was 3.8 meg in data. I chose a time a night when I knew I wouldn't be using any other data and nothing would need to be tracked otherwise. The iPhone tracked the amount of data at 3.9 megs. So that's close enough to be correct. AT&T tracked that same stream at 7 megs of data. That's nearly double the amount of data than what it really was.

Thus the problem is two fold. Apple's device actually has a bug in the system software. AT&T is verifiably creating phantom data to inflate use to then throttle an unlimited data user.

Chances are you're not using as much data as you think you are if you're going by AT&T's network and it's magical data numbers. If you're willing to track your data to verify it's happening to you as well, let me know because the more we have, the stronger the case.
Rating: 5 Votes
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