AT&T To Begin Throttling Data Usage On Smartphones

AT&T announced it will begin to throttle data of some Smartphone users. The move is a continued limitation the carrier puts on its data service which includes data caps.

Data Throttling Issues

Continuing the trend of data throttling is AT&T. The carrier announced today it would begin throttling data starting October 1st. However, most customers don’t need to worry – only the top 5% of data consumers will be affected by this move. AT&T didn’t make it clear whether subscribers with a tiered data plan would be throttled or users on a grandfathered data plan. It’s likely both groups will be hit with the same limitations this fall.

AT&T stresses users can still consume data and their original data speeds will be restored at the start of their next billing cycle:

“Starting October 1, smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5 percent of heaviest data users. These customers can still use unlimited data and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle. Before you are affected, we will provide multiple notices, including a grace period.”

AT&T has yet to mention how much data a user will need to download before they are hit with the cap or what speeds they will be downgraded to.

Not The First Carrier To Throttle Data

AT&T isn’ the first carrier to throttle cellular data. Virgin and Verizon both throttle cellular data while the later has begun to implement a tiered data approach for new customers.

Virgin’s limit kicks in when users download over 2.5 GB of data using their cellular device and their cap becomes 256 kbps instead of the natural speed of their device. We don’t have specifics on Verizon’s data throttling practices but it likely occurs during peak data consumption times to free up bandwidth for users.