Data Throttling Unlimited Users Makes No Difference

Back in September of last year AT&T started throttling the top 5% of users, and it since then the threshold of that mark seems to be eternally dropping, you have to ask how successful the whole concept is. The claimed purpose of this data throttling policy is to reduce the pressure on the network from heavy users, and “create a better service experience for all.” But does it? The company Validas recently looked at the phone bills of 55,000 users, and showed that there’s almost no usage difference between the top 5% of unlimited plans, and the top 5% of tiered plans.

As the company put it, “when we look at the Top 5% of data users, there is virtually no difference in data consumption between those on unlimited and those on tiered plans—and yet the unlimited consumers are the ones at risk of getting their service turned off. So it’s curious that anyone would think the throttling here represents a serious effort at alleviating network bandwidth issues.”

If nothing else, this shows that the throttling is a pretty obvious ploy to push people out of their unlimited plans, and into tiered ones. After all, it does nothing to lighten network load.

[via BGR]


  1. smf98aggie says

    Thank God, someone has finally decided to check into this! Now, if more companies will do similar research, it will give AT&T Unlimited Plan users proof of the company’s deceptive practices, so a nice lawsuit can be filed against them.

  2. E_Dub says

    I recently got the email from AT&T stating I was in the top 5% and that my Data would be throttled back. I find that very strange because I’m either at work (8-10 hours per day) or home both of which have WiFi. My commute is only 10 miles. There are 3 lines on my family plan 2 of which are unlimited. I have yet to receive a email concerning the line which isn’t unlimited.

  3. Santa says

    I’m sorry. Did you say something?

    I totally agree. With the thresholds as low as they are, the only justification for their behavior (AT&T AND Verizon), is that they want us off unlimited.

    This of course totally contradicts the tile of the article. Data throttling does make a difference. It pushes us off unlimited.

  4. lukasp13 says

    They didn’t do it with the upgrade to the 4s because it is still the same data type. The switch to 4g data will be just like going from the original iPhone to the 3G. The data plan for the iPhone was $20 for unlimited when upgrading to 3G the price was increased to $30. The difference is that this time is they won’t offer an unlimited option…

  5. lukasp13 says

    My point is that the remaining people with unlimited plans will once and for all be forced off of it with the switch to 4g.

    I still have unlimited data, I use between 6 and 7gbs every month and have never been throttled, I will miss it dearly…

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