AT&T recently started taking heat as subscribers with grandfathered unlimited data plans saw their downstream throughput throttled after consuming just over 2GB on AT&T's 3G HSPA+ network. The primary complaint at that time was that it was illogical for AT&T to set the glass cap at 2GB (as derived by the 'top 5% of data users per market' metric) when the same $30/month buys you at least 3GB on another DataPro  plan. It seems as though AT&T has taken that criticism to heart and today announced that it is setting the throttling cap uniformly at 3GB for 3G HSPA+ subscribers, and 5GB for 4G LTE subscribers. 

After you hit this cap, data rates on the downstream slow to around 256 kbps on 3G, and hopefully substantially more for 4G LTE throttled subs. AT&T has already sent out some notification SMSes to customers who went over 3GB of use on the previous billing cycle, as shown above.

Source: AT&T

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  • solipsism - Thursday, March 1, 2012 - link

    They are not breaching their contract. Unlimited has many qualifiers. In this case the contract clearly states they will not cut off your data after you've reached a set quantity. They are instead limiting the speed. They are also limiting the timeframe to a monthly basis that is dependent on you paying your bill. Three types of limits: 2 are limited and one is unlimited.

    If you want you can try to sue but the most you're likely going to get in small claims is the difference of your contract which won't include any legal fees.

  • rs2 - Thursday, March 1, 2012 - link

    What are you defending the big telecom company for?

    Unlimited does not have qualifiers. It means, quite literally, "without limits". Not "with some limits as stipulated by the fine print in a contract". If a company wants to advertise something as being "unlimited" then they should be required to deliver upon that claim, in its strictest definition. It is not okay to advertise something one way, and then put fine print into a contract that makes it work in a completely different way.

    Unlimited is UN-limited. End of story.
  • solipsism - Thursday, March 1, 2012 - link

    And it is without limits in the way that all telecoms clearly state in their contracts. Do you return to an all you can eat restaurant the next day with your old receipt? Of course not because you damn well they mean in one sitting just as you known damn well they men the data usage, not the data bandwidth or the data timeframe.
  • rs2 - Thursday, March 1, 2012 - link

    No, I know damn well that they mean unlimited data usage <b>at the full physical bandwidth capacity provided by the network</b>.

    You don't go back to the all-you-can-eat restaurant the next day with your old receipt, but you also expect that while you are eating the owner of the all-you-can-eat restaurant will not come up to you and say "sir, you are eating too fast, please only take one tiny bite every minute from now on". Paying for an all-you-can-eat meal means that you get all-you-can-eat in one sitting, at whatever rate you are physically capable of consuming food.

    Similarly, paying for an unlimited monthly data plan means you should get unlimited data usage over the span of a month, at the full physical capacity of the network. If the provider artificially degrades the capacity of the network based upon a certain amount of data usage being hit, then <b>it is not unlimited</b>.
  • solipsism - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    Read your fucking contract it's all in there. They specifically state they don't guarantee your bandwidth. Also, you don't sign a contract for AYCE yet you somehow realize that has implied limitations yet don't understand stated and signed limitation in your contract? Really?
  • prophet001 - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    Not unlimited bud. Basically false advertising.
  • Klinky1984 - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    How about you read a dictionary... AT&T does not get to redefine the meaning of unlimited. Their advertising needs to be more forthright in what your are getting. It is so sad that we have to say things like "AT&Ts unlimited plan allows you to have 3GB of downloads per month", that is an oxymoron.
  • FaaR - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    Why would "unlimited" data only apply to the total amount of data downloaded? If the rate data is delivered at is artificially limited then by function it follows that the amount is also limited, hence no longer unlimited.

    These sort of linguistic acrobatics you (and the ISPs) are engaging at reminds me of someone giving away a free Ferrari for only $450,000.

    It's either free, or costs $450,000. It can't be both at once, just as you can't be both unlimited and limited at the same time. To persist otherwise amounts to customer deception, and fraud.
  • Arnulf - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    There is no such thing as "ulimited" plan then, as even if you were allowed to download 24/7 at the maximum uncapped rate the network suppiorts you'd still be only be able to download a finite (= limited) amount of data.

    Your nitpicking is therefore pointless.
  • rs2 - Friday, March 2, 2012 - link

    Not quite. "Finite" and "limited" are not the same thing. To go back to the all-you-can-eat example, a person can only eat a finite amount of food, but there are no limits placed by the restaurant on the amount of food consumed. So the consumption of the food is unlimited, even though no person is physically capable of eating an infinite amount of food.

    A limit is an artificial construct, put in place by the provider of a service. Unlimited means that no such artificial limits are present. It does not mean that it is possible to consume an infinite amount of something, just that it is possible to consume as much as physically possible, without anything being put in place as a barrier to consumption above and beyond the inherent physical limits of the system. A bandwidth cap/throttle is not an inherent physical limit.

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