An iPhone user in California has been granted an $850 judgement in a small claims lawsuit filed against mobile carrier AT&T. The iPhone user claimed that AT&T throttled the data speeds of his unlimited data plan between just 1.5GB and 2GB of data over several billing cycles.
The Associated Press reports:
Pro-tem Judge Russell Nadel found in favor of Matt Spaccarelli in Ventura Superior Court in Simi Valley. Spaccarelli filed a small claims case against AT&T last month, arguing the communications giant unfairly slows speeds on his iPhone 4′s unlimited data plan…Nadel’s ruling could pave the way for others to follow suit. AT&T has some 17 million customers with “unlimited data” plans that can be subject to throttling, representing just under half of the company’s smartphone users.
AT&T will still be able to appeal the decision, but now that one user has been able to sue AT&T over their rather ridiculous throttling practices for unlimited users, it’s likely that others will follow. – especially ff AT&T accepts the judgement, or if they appeal and are unsuccessful. The report notes that this case could easily evolve into a class action settlement.
The report also notes that AT&T area sales manager Peter Hartlove argued that his employer (AT&T) “has the right to modify or cancel customers’ contracts if their data usage adversely affects the network.” Of course, that completely ignores that fact that others are paying $30 (the same cost as an ‘unlimited’ data plan) for up to 3GB of monthly data. Yet those users aren’t being throttled. Which makes Mr. Hartlove’s argument sound like a heap of nonsense.
AT&T officially began throttling data speeds in October, claiming that only the top 5 percent of data users would be throttled, and that throttling only applies to those with grandfathered unlimited data plans. Since then, numerous reports have shown that data is actually being capped at much lower rates of 2GB or less. It has been noted that AT&T’s throttling doesn’t merely reduce mobile data speeds – it cripples them to a nearly unusable level.
I, for one, hope that this does evolve into a class action lawsuit, and that AT&T loses a hideous fortune over the ordeal. AT&T has been bullying their unlimited plan holders for some time, and in some cases even scamming them into giving up their unlimited plans. It’s about time AT&T customers started dishing it right back. It goes both ways, AT&T. Remember that.