AT&T still slows unlimited plans, even when they don't need to

Data throttling is not a new concept, nor is it really an industry secret. Just about all carriers do it on unlimited plans, with the aim of keeping data hogs from choking the life out of bandwidth the proposed reason. AT&T claims to throttle when networks are congested, but a new report suggests that's not always the case. As carriers try to move you away from unlimited data, these new findings show they might stop at nothing, but slow you down considerably.

This seems to affect unlimited plans, and those who don't have an LTE-equipped handset. So, if you're using a 3G smartphone or 4G device that doesn't have LTE, you're falling prey to this. If you reach between 3GB and 5GB data use monthly, AT&T throttles you until the next billing cycle begins.

AT&T doesn't come right out and say it, but the goal is likely to get legacy handset owners away from their devices and onto an LTE handset. That would give AT&T breathing room to start switching their towers to 3G, as Verizon has begun testing.

It also moves customers onto data capped plans, should they not be savvy enough to buy a newer device outright and keep their unlimited plan. If it really only affects older handsets, a newer LTE device wouldn't have the same issues.

Perhaps the worst part of all this is that Ars Technica found AT&T's reasons for throttling ring hollow. Their purported reasoning is to limit data when the network sees a lot of use. Via Ars' testing, they found the data being throttled even when the network was wide open.

Source: Ars Technica