AT&T to throttle data speeds for 'unlimited' hogs

(AP) -- AT&T Inc. said Friday that it's going to start limiting speeds for the 5 percent of its customers with "unlimited" data smartphone plans who clog the airwaves the most.

The measure will take effect Oct. 1, AT&T said, and is intended to alleviate congestion on the network.

T-Mobile USA already throttles users who go over certain limits for data consumption.

AT&T stopped signing up new customers for "unlimited" plans last year. Instead, it now lets heavy users pay extra when they go over a certain data allotment.

Verizon Wireless also recently stopped signing up new customers for unlimited service.

AT&T says it will warn users when they are approaching joining the top 5 percent, and anyone subject to the speed limits will experience them until the next billing cycle starts.

The Dallas-based phone company says that what puts someone in the top 5 percent is usually streaming video or playing some online games.

AT&T won't count data use over Wi-Fi, just usage over the cellular network.


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Jul 31, 2011
If you benefit financially from using the word "unlimited' in your advertising, then you must accept the costs associated with those few users that do use large amounts. It would be criminal to allow such blatant false advertising.

If this is prevented, if some legal action were to require them to truly allow the service they advertise, then perhaps they would begin to advertise rates which compete with the other providers.

As soon as the number of GB you can download makes its way into advertisements, it becomes a huge differentiator between ISPs. Companies would then compete with each other to provide the most usage. That competition would only serve to reduce the incredible price gouging done by ISPs on data traffic.

Perhaps some companies would truly offer unlimited, but at the rate that the user downloaded content is growing (movies, TV, music, apps, all growing in size), that may not be feasible.

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