AT&T explains 2GB throttling of unlimited data plans

AT&T had to explain its data throttling practices after news broke that some of its unlimited data customers were being slapped with slow data speeds after using only 2GB of data. The unlimited data plans were discontinued back in 2010, replaced by tiered plans, but some customers have been grandfathered in. AT&T then announced a new throttling policy that began last October, but said the change would only affect the top five percent of its heaviest data users.

The NY Times says that John Cozen is among the first of AT&T's unlimited data customers to have reported receiving notice of throttled data speeds, despite having used only 2.1 GB of data. He received an email from AT&T that claimed he was in the top five percent of heavy data users and hence would be throttled until his next billing period.

Cozen argued that it was unfair since his unlimited data plan cost the same as a tiered data plan that offered 3GB of data usage per month. However, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel explained that since last summer, the top five percent of heaviest data users averaged about 2GB or more per month. He also adds that the throttling was decided on a case-by-case basis and that it depends on spectrum availability and the data usage of other customers.

"There's a very good chance you wouldn't be slowed," said Mr. Siegel, adding that in the last month, less than 1 percent of AT&T smartphone customers were affected.