AT&T lifts unlimited data throttling to 22GB

In an unexpected change of course, AT&T has announced a revision to its policy on throttling data speeds of customers with grandfathered unlimited data plans. Starting today, the carrier will not start throttling unlimited data users until go over 22GB within a single billing period. Previously the limit was 5GB on LTE or 3GB on 3G, and customers were said to only be throttled during times of network congestion.

This new data threshold is over four times larger than the previous limit, making this change on AT&T's part a significantly positive one for customers. The mention about congested network periods still applies, so once unlimited data users go over 22GB during a 30-day period, they should only experience throttling during busy times of the day or in heavily populated areas.

In line with common industry standards, our network management practices assure that our network resources are used for the benefit of all our mobile broadband customers especially during periods when network demand exceeds available network resources (also known as "congestion").

As you would expect, these network management practices have continued to evolve over time to benefit our customers and take advantage of the billions we have spent to expand and augment our networks. As a result of this evolution, we recently revised our practices such that Unlimited Data Plan smartphone customers can now use 22GB of high-speed data during a billing period before becoming subject to network management practices that might result in reduced data speeds and increased latency.

AT&T also says that it will notify customers if they go over 16.5GB of data, or 75% of the cap, within a billing cycle, so they'll know to adjust their data usage if they want to avoid throttling.

While the carrier no longer offers unlimited data plans, AT&T's policies of throttling grandfathered users has long been under criticism. The FTC even opened a lawsuit against the company, accusing it of misleading tactics and reducing customer data speeds by as much as 90%.