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iPhone User Awarded $850 in Judgment Against AT&T Over Throttling

Associated Press reports that an iPhone user in California has been awarded $850 in a small claims lawsuit filed against AT&T over throttling of data speeds. The user, who was on a grandfathered unlimited data plan, saw his data speeds drastically slashed once he reached 1.5-2 GB in a given month, even as other users on limited 3 GB plans at the same price see no similar restrictions at those levels.
Pro-tem Judge Russell Nadel found in favor of Matt Spaccarelli in Ventura Superior Court in Simi Valley. Spaccarelli filed a small claims case against AT&T last month, arguing the communications giant unfairly slows speeds on his iPhone 4's unlimited data plan.

Nadel's ruling could pave the way for others to follow suit. AT&T has some 17 million customers with "unlimited data" plans that can be subject to throttling, representing just under half of the company's smartphone users.
There is no word yet on whether AT&T will appeal the decision, but the sales manager representing AT&T in the case has argued that the carrier reserved the right to "modify or cancel" or cancel customer contracts if their usage is adversely affecting the company's network capabilities. The article notes that a class action suit might be the normal evolution of such a complaint, but AT&T's subscriber contract prohibits class action or jury trials, leaving arbitration and small claims as the options.


AT&T began throttling unlimited data customers ranking in the top 5% of data users last October. But while early reports of throttling came mostly from high-volume users consuming in excess of 10 GB of data per month, reports of users being throttled at much lower levels in the neighborhood of 2 GB have been increasing. AT&T notes that the throttling is done on a case-by-case basis and only if there are network capacity issues in the customer's area, but for those who are affected, the throttled speeds are slow enough to make their devices nearly unusable.

Update: AT&T issued this statement to MacRumors: "This is a small claims matter. We are evaluating next steps, including appeal. But at the end of the day, our contract governs our relationship with our customers."



Top Rated Comments

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91 months ago
And people wonder why AT&T was rated worst carrier 2 years in a row. Because they are.
Rating: 48 Votes
91 months ago
Good News, a step in the right direction.
Rating: 48 Votes
91 months ago
Good for him. About time and hopefully this will get others to do the same. Enough is enough
Rating: 33 Votes
91 months ago
At $850, he's doing them a favor so they realize they need to stop doing this or lose customers.
Rating: 25 Votes
91 months ago
Next step, class action?!!?
Rating: 24 Votes
91 months ago

Next step, class action?!!?


Class actions are dumb. Only the lawyers win in the end.
Rating: 21 Votes
91 months ago
Score one for customers and proliferation of the Internet.
Rating: 18 Votes
91 months ago

Good News, a step in the right direction.


Yep, first step is always important
Rating: 17 Votes
91 months ago
Nice!
Glad to see a judge recognized the BS in how they choose to throttle.

I understand the need in some cases, but throttling unlimited users who are below 3GB but are paying the same price as someone on a 3GB limited plan was begging for a lawsuit.
Rating: 16 Votes
91 months ago
When users get throttled - they should use the RootMetrics coverage app and start running tests.

When the throttled user's slow as molasses data speeds start bringing down the provider's scores then maybe the provider will care more.

Data speed wars are ramping up and having your scores hammered would hurt...
Rating: 14 Votes

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