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AT&T throttling upsetting iPhone users

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Nick Thulin is a what you could call an iPhone super user. His iPhone has his work e-mail and tons of personal information. He says he uses it more than his computer.

He uses it so much that AT&T is cracking down.

“Bam there it was - a notice saying you've reached 3gb for the month, if you keep using data in the same capacity you will be limited or throttled,” he says.

Being throttled means the nation's second largest wireless provider actually slows down your phone by about 75 percent.

But Nick hasn't gone over his limit. he has an unlimited data plan that AT&T is essentially attempting to limit.

While nearly 62,000 people have signed an online petition urging AT&T to change its ways, the carrier's service contracts give it the right to limit the unlimited plans and says fewer than 5 percent of iPhone users could be throttled.

AT&T said in a statement: Because spectrum is limited and data usage continues to soar, we manage our network this way to be as fair as possible and so we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience to everyone. (The full statement is included below.)

At least one customer has fought back in court, winning nearly $900 after his unlimited plan was throttled. A&T is vowing to appeal that decision.

Here is AT&T’s full statement:

With mobile data usage continuing to skyrocket and the availability of spectrum scarce, AT&T, like other wireless companies, manages its network in the most fair way possible so that we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience for all our customers.

How we’re managing the network only affects a small minority of the heaviest smartphone data users still on unlimited plans. Put another way, this does not impact more than 95 percent of our smartphone customers.

Our unlimited plan customers have told us they want more clarity around how the program works and what they can expect. Here’s what customers need to know:

• Customers with a 3G or 4G smartphone – who also still have our unlimited data plan – will see speeds reduced if they use 3GB (gigabytes) of data or more in a billing cycle. Speeds will return to normal at the start of the next billing cycle. For context, less than 5 percent of smartphone customers use more than 3GB per month.
• For customers with a 4G LTE smartphone – who also still have our unlimited data plan – data speeds will be reduced if usage is 5GB (gigabytes) or more in a billing cycle. Speeds will return to normal at the start of the next billing cycle.

Customers will get a text message from us before experiencing a change in speed.

Even with reduced data speeds, these customers will still be able to email and surf the web, and continue to use an unlimited amount of data each month.

Not impacted by this program, launched last year, are customers on our tiered data plans.

The reason reduced speeds only apply to unlimited smartphone customers is because their data usage is significantly higher than those on tiered plans. For example, in January, the top 5 percent of our unlimited data plan customers used an average of over 50 percent more data than the top 5 percent of customers on tiered plans.

Because spectrum is limited and data usage continues to soar, we manage our network this way to be as fair as possible and so we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience to everyone.

We encourage all of our customers to use Wi-Fi whenever possible – especially when watching video, which is the most data-intensive activity.

That’s because data activity over Wi-Fi does not count against the threshold for unlimited customers that triggers reduced data speeds or against customers’ tiered data plans. Customers can find out more at www.att.com/datainfo

In case you are wondering how much data 3G equals … 3GB is a significant amount of data – and, again, less than five percent of our smartphone customers today use more than 3GB in one billing cycle. As an example, 3GB includes all of the following:

* 6,600 emails (including 800 with photos and 800 with other attachments)
* 4,000 Web pages
* 50 apps (games or songs) downloaded
* 700 social media posts (with photos)
* 35 hours of streaming music
* 140 minutes of streaming video.

 

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