Feeds

AT&T: 'Eat too much data and we'll strangle you'

Top 5% of heavy downloaders will be throttled

The essential guide to IT transformation

If you're a heavy downloader with an unlimited AT&T wireless data plan, you have two more months of full-speed all-you-can-eat before your service may be throttled.

"Starting October 1," the company explained in a press release on Friday, "smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5 per cent of heaviest data users."

Membership in the top 5 per cent club will vary month-to-month, and before you join that elite Gang of the Throttled, AT&T promises that they "will provide multiple notices, including a grace period."

In any given month, you won't be throttled until you reach that 5 per cent, but although AT&T's regs don't make it clear at what point during a billing period that determination will first be made, once you're deemed to have joined the group, full-speed access "will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle." If you dive back down out of the top 5 per cent, it appears, you'll be throttled for the remainer of that month.

AT&T says that it's making the change in order to "manage exploding demand for mobile data." They also contend that the top 5 per cent of bandwidth users consume 12 times more data than the average of "all other smartphone data customers."

Although the company contends that "the vast majority of customers" will see no change in their service – 95 per cent being a reasonable definition of a vast majority – it notes that customers who use streaming-video and remote-webcam apps, send large files over the wireless web, or enjoy "some" online games are prime candidates for throttling.

"The bottom line," AT&T claims, "is our customers have options," referring to an unlimited plan that may or may not be throttled, or a tiered data plan in which you can pay for an extra data-download limit and not be throttled.

Among the options they don't mention is Sprint – the only major US wireless carrier that still offers a fully unlimited data plan, with Verizon having moved to tiers and T-Mobile now throttling when users exceed their "Unlimited" plan's 200MB or 2, 5, or 10GB limits. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Google's so smart it's discovered SHARKS HAVE TEETH
Congratulations, world media, for rediscovering submarine cable armour
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?