Although AT&T’s policy of throttling the top 5 percent of its unlimited data plan subscribers has drawn a lot of flak from customers, wireless experts always defended these practices citing the wireless spectrum crunch.
But it seems, that over a period of half a year since throttling started, the lower limit for falling into the top five percent has drastically reduced from double digits to a mere 2GB.
John Cozen, an AT&T unlimited data plan subscriber, got a text message from AT&T warning that he might be throttled:
“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.”
His communication with AT&T customer care confirmed that the warning message was no error, and that the lower limit to fall in the top 5 percent has indeed reduced to 2GB.
Another such case was seen on Reddit, where a user posted an image which showed his monthly data usage being a mere 1.6GB, and yet he fell into the top 5 percent.
The whole point of throttling was to discourage users from consuming an excessive amount of data, and now that the lower limit has fallen to less than 2GB, AT&T should do the right thing and not throttle these users.
A better solution could be setting a fixed, minimum limit and checking each subscriber falling into the top five percent against this limit. If any of them fall below, their data speeds should be the same, and not throttled. This solution also has its flaws, the most obvious one being that the “unlimited” plan loses whatever unlimited status it had, with the rigid limit, but it is definitely better than the current system in place.
As Cozen noted above, usage of 2.1GB falling into the excessive users group is upsetting, since AT&T offers a 3GB data plan for the same price as the unlimited plan, $30.
And in case you are not aware, the throttled data speeds are pathetic.