AT&T Starts Throttling Unlimited Data Users after 2GB of Monthly Usage

photoIn October, AT&T announced that they would start throttling data usage amongst mobile Unlimited Data Plan users. While AT&T no longer offers an Unlimited Data plan to new customers, many of the original iPhone purchasers are still grandfathered into that plan. Those iPhone users have been able to retain these Unlimited plans, even though AT&T has since moved to a tiered data plan structure.

When AT&T announced their plan to start throttling users, the company said that they would only be throttling the top 5% of users. Early reports of affected users had pointed to 10GB-12GB per month users as the initially affected.

It seems that ceiling has decreased significantly over the past few months, at least for some regions. John Cozen reports that he received his top 5% data usage warning after reaching only 2.1GB of data for January.

I received a message during my last billing cycle, warning I was in the top 5% of my region and would experience reduced data speeds next time I reach that level of data use. I immediately checked my data usage on the AT&T iOS app.

2.1 GB. Less than I expected considering AT&T offers a 3GB plan for $30 a month. The same amount I’ve paid for the unlimited data plan since signing up with them many years ago. AT&T no longer offers an unlimited data plan, anyone still on it has been grandfathered in.

Cozen contacted AT&T to make sure it wasn't a mistake, and after several back and forth exchanges, it seems clear that it wasn't a mistake. The AT&T representatives seemed to confirm that 2.1GB did fall in the 5% range and the only option to avoid throttling was to move to a tiered plan.

Cozen was understandably upset since AT&T even offers an unthrottled 3GB plan for the same price he is paying at $30 month.

AT&T's top 5% measurement seems to be region-specific, as some users are continuing to see higher than 2GB usage without throttling.

Top Rated Comments

pbassham Avatar
115 months ago
I got the same message right at 2gb. Ticks me off, really. 2gb doesn’t sound too unlimited.

[update] Atlanta area
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RedBarron Avatar
115 months ago
This is ********, how is 2gb unlimited.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mizzar Avatar
115 months ago
I also was throttled after 2 GB. It has been VERY frustrating to deal with because the throttling is INCREDIBLY slow. I am on the unlimited data plan. If my data is slow because of natural congestion then no one is limiting it, thus it is unlimited, and slow. However, if AT&T is limiting my data speed, then it is NOT unlimited.

Moreover, their contract (AT&T) says that they have the right to throttle if you are abusing the network by doing things they do not permit (they have a list of things) and/or if you are compromising the integrity of the network.

I know from first hand experience (they throttled me last month) that they are being malicious and attempting to force people out of their unlimited data plans (or they miscalculated and are making reasonable users [like me] very upset):

a) The speed you are throttled to is too slow to load webpages and other simple internet content. Often you have to reload. AT&T's full speed on an iPhone 4S in Sacramento is 3.5 Mbps. They have throttled me down to about 0.10 Mbps, about 2-3% of the normal speed.

b) I do not abuse the network. I watch half an hour of video during my lunch break at work. That adds up to about 4 GB a month.

c) I was throttled after using 2GB of data in 15 days. This is not compromising their network because they offer a 5GB plan.

d) The point in which you are throttled is a floating, regional rule. If few people in your region do more than check their email, or if they are always in Wi-Fi, you are suddenly an "abusive" user. There will always be a top 5%.

e) It does nothing for other users. I have streamed like this during lunch for a long time. It has always been fast. When testing the speed on friends' phones, they reach the speeds I have always gotten, even though a full 5% of AT&T's "data hogs" have been throttled down.

f) Finally, network congestion doesn't happen by the GB. It happens during congested TIMES. A more sensible policy would be to limit users data who access it at highly congested times. The logical error there is: this already happens, that's what network congestion is, many people get on at the same time, and the network slows down. Think of rush-hour traffic. Just because 1 car drove across the country doesn't mean that they are the cause for slow traffic speeds at 6pm.

Enough said. I'm pretty sure there is a class action lawsuit sitting on the table here...

Take care,

Mr. Frustrated
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr Fusion Avatar
115 months ago
**** AT&T.

:apple:
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vertgo Avatar
115 months ago
This is totally out of character for AT&T! normally they don't seem like the type to slowly nickel and dime you until you're broke.

</sarcasm>
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
OneOkami Avatar
115 months ago
I do have to call BS on the 2GB throttle point when the 3GB plan costs the same amount of money as what he paid for his "Unlimited".
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple top apps games 2020

Apple Shares Top 20 Most Downloaded Games and Apps of 2020

Tuesday December 1, 2020 9:38 pm PST by
Alongside picks for the top iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps and games of the year, Apple today shared charts featuring the Top Games of 2020 and the Top Apps of 2020, revealing the most popular free and paid apps and games during the year. Among Us! was the top free game of 2020, followed by Call of Duty: Mobile, Roblox, and Subway Surfers. Ink Inc. Tattoo Drawing was the number four free app,...
m1 chip macbook air pro

Developer Delves Into Reasons Why Apple's M1 Chip is So Fast

Monday November 30, 2020 1:57 pm PST by
Apple's M1 chip is the fastest chip that Apple has ever released in a Mac based on single-core CPU benchmark scores, and it beats out many high-end Intel Macs when it comes to multi-core performance. Developer Erik Engheim recently shared a deep dive into the M1 chip, exploring the reasons why Apple's new processor is so much faster than the Intel chips that it replaces. First and foremost,...
maxresdefault

Italy Fines Apple $12 Million for Misleading iPhone Water Resistance Claims

Monday November 30, 2020 3:10 am PST by
Apple has been slapped with a 10 million euro ($12 million) fine by Italy's antitrust watchdog for unfair commercial practices related to its iPhone marketing in the country. One of the Apple ads cited in the Italian watchdog's proceedings (credit: setteBIT) Specifically, Apple is being charged for misleading claims in promotional messages about how deep and how long iPhones can be submerged...
General cyber monday 20 sale feature

Apple Cyber Monday 2020: Discounts on iPads, Macs, AirPods, and More [Updated]

Monday November 30, 2020 6:25 am PST by
Today is Cyber Monday, a shopping event that sees many of the same deals from Black Friday bleed over into a new week, along with a few brand new offers on everything from Apple products to related accessories. In this post we'll highlight the best online discounts that you can find on Apple devices today. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
16 inch MBP Mini Led

Mini-LED M1 MacBook Pro and Mini-LED iPad Pro Models Coming First Half of 2021

Monday November 30, 2020 2:24 am PST by
Apple is widely reported to be embracing mini-LED display backlighting technology for some products next year, and a new report today by DigiTimes has named several of Apple's partners in the supply chain that are expected to benefit from the switch. According to the report, Apple is set to launch its first mini-LED iPad Pro in the first quarter of 2021 and mass produce mini-LED MacBook Pro...
iphone8guide b

iOS 14.2 Quietly Added FaceTime 1080p Support to iPhone 8 and Later Models

Wednesday December 2, 2020 3:21 am PST by
Back in early November, Apple released iOS 14.2 and announced with it a slew of new features for iPhones, but one thing it didn't mention was the apparent addition of support for 1080p FaceTime calls on iPhone 8 and later devices. The little-known fact was discovered by MacMagazine, which found that Apple quietly updated the specs pages for devices like iPhone XR shortly after the release of ...
Mac Mini 2018

Apple Developers Now Able to Natively Run macOS Within AWS With Amazon EC2 Mac Instances

Monday November 30, 2020 9:01 pm PST by
As AWS re:Invent kicks off, Amazon Web Services today announced new Mac instances for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, allowing AWS customers to run on-demand macOS workloads in the AWS cloud for the first time. Amazon says that the new feature extends the flexibility, scalability, and cost benefits of AWS to all Apple developers as those creating apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple...
best apps of 2020

Wakeout! Named Apple's Best App of 2020, While Zoom Earns the Title for Best iPad App

Tuesday December 1, 2020 9:26 pm PST by
Apple today shared its App Store Best of 2020 winners, highlighting its picks for the top iOS, iPadOS, and macOS apps and games released over the course of the year. Apple's iPhone App of the Year award went to Wakeout!, which is a family friendly exercise and movement app that encourages people to complete easy exercises while at home. Apple's iPad App of the Year was Zoom, which soared in...
magsafe duo charger

MagSafe Duo Charger for iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Now Available for Purchase

Tuesday December 1, 2020 4:15 pm PST by
Apple today began selling the MagSafe Duo Charger that was announced alongside the new iPhone 12 models back in October. Priced at $129, the MagSafe Duo offers a MagSafe charging puck for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini, along with an Apple Watch charger. Though the accessory was announced in October and was listed as coming soon, it was not clear when it would launch. Orders...
imac 5k 2014 video

Apple Adds First iMac Models With Retina 5K Display to Vintage Products List

Tuesday December 1, 2020 8:09 am PST by
The first iMac with a Retina 5K display is one of several iMac models that have been added to Apple's vintage products list this week. In the past, vintage Apple products were no longer eligible for repairs at the Genius Bar or at Apple Authorized Service Providers, but Apple began offering extended repairs of select vintage products in 2018. Many of the iMac models listed below will likely...