Throttling an unlimited data plan is common practice in the wireless industry. That isn’t to say consumers like the idea. AT&T has been the target of the FTC regarding their policy in the past, but mainly that the company wasn’t communicating the throttling policy to consumers well enough. Going forward AT&T has laid out the unlimited legacy plan policies in plain text. Well, as plain of text they can muster up. They offer up a dedicated page loaded full of information that targets the legacy unlimited users and outlines how it all plays out.
Until recently, users could potentially be throttled at 5GB of data. That change, to the best of my knowledge, went into effect in 2012Â and was for the top 5% of users. Talk about coming along way in a few short years. Now that potential cap has been nearly quadrupledÂ to 22GB’s of usage before you could possibly be throttled.
As you would expect, these network management practices have continued to evolve over time to benefit our customers and take advantage of the billions we have spent to expand and augment our networks. As a result of this evolution, we recently revised our practices such that Unlimited Data Plan smartphone customers can now use 22GB of high-speed data during a billing period before becoming subject to network management practices that might result in reduced data speeds and increased latency.
I know the subject is rather touchy and can cause quite a stir for consumers. It is very important to know that the throttling won’t ALWAYS happen at 22GB’s though. That numerical value is the threshold before you could potentially be throttled. Throttling should only occur if you are over that amount of data and you are using your device at times and in areas where there is network congestion and is only throttled for the remainder of the billing cycle. I am certain many of you will report well over 22GB of AT&T high-speed data being consumed in a billing period and never experienced any throttling. All that means is that the network in the area you are using your device isn’t overly congested.
AT&T will be kind enough to shoot you a text message letting you know when you are at 16.5GB so that you can alter your habits for the rest of the billing cycle to avoid any throttling all together.