Date: Wednesday, September 16th, 2015, 08:26
Category: News, wireless
It looks like AT&T will allow unlimited data plan customers more leeway before beginning to throttle their data.
Users with legacy unlimited data plans can use up to 22GB of data per month without getting throttled. After that, users will see slower speeds in congested areas, with the degree of throttling depending on the amount of congestion. Users will also get a warning when they’ve exceeded 16.5GB, which is 75 percent of 22GB.
This represents a significant chance in AT&T’s policies, which began throttling unlimited data users at 5GB in a congested area. In an even older policy, AT&T throttled users at just 3GB for 3G/4G HSPA+ networks and 5GB for 4G LTE networks, whether they were in a congested site or not. In addition, some users complained that throttling began at just 2GB.
While AT&T stopped offering unlimited data plans to new customers in 2012, the company has severely curtailed the benefits of those plans through strict throttling policies and the inability to tether a tablet or computer without additional fees. Subscribers who’ve stuck with their unlimited plans through it all are now being handsomely rewarded, especially as streaming video, photo sharing, and streaming music cause data use to climb.
This follows in the wake of AT&T having been smacked around by lawsuits from both the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission over its lack of disclosure about throttling. AT&T is now facing a US$100 million fine from the FCC, while the FTC’s lawsuit is still ongoing.
AT&T, like its competitors, is also now now subject to the FCC’s net neutrality rules, which allows for reasonable network management, but only for “primarily technical” needs. Potentially, an unlimited plan with an artificially low data cap could run afoul of those rules.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.