In an ongoing attempt to bully holders of their “unlimited” data plans, it appears that AT&T has now begun severely throttling users’ data speeds after just 2GB of monthly use.
AT&T announced back in October that they would begin throttling data usage for the top 5% of unlimited data plan users (although they actually started doing so as early as September). It initially seemed that this was only affecting those who use extraordinarily large amounts of data – around 10GB per month.
I received a message during my last billing cycle, warning I was in the top 5% of my region and would experience reduced data speeds next time I reach that level of data use. I immediately checked my data usage on the AT&T iOS app.
2.1 GB. Less than I expected considering AT&T offers a 3GB plan for $30 a month. The same amount I’ve paid for the unlimited data plan since signing up with them many years ago. AT&T no longer offers an unlimited data plan, anyone still on it has been grandfathered in.
Cozen even contacted AT&T, who confirmed that using just 2.1GB of data places him in the top 5% of data users, and that the only solution to avoid AT&T’s data crippling was to switch to a tiered data plan.
Limiting data speeds for those who use very large amounts of data is one thing – but capping users after just 2GB of usage? That’s just plain obscene. This is especially heinous considering that current unlimited plan holders are individuals who owned the original iPhone – long-standing established customers of AT&T. Not to mention that AT&T’s data throttling isn’t just throttling – it cripples your data speeds to a nearly unusable level.
Sadly, John Cozen is not the only victim. MG Seigler points out a similar limit affecting another AT&T customer, and iMore‘s Jeremy Sikora reports that the same thing has happened to him, and he was unable to get a useful response from AT&T on the matter.
Attacking long-term customers in an attempt to force them out of their unlimited data plans is nothing short of evil. It is malicious. It represents a dangerously anti-consumer attitude on AT&T’s part, and is only the latest in a long string of shameful anti-consumer tactics used by the wireless carrier.
It’s sad that AT&T doesn’t recognize that this is a horrible way to treat their loyal customers. As iMore states, and I agree, there are better ways to get people to switch to tiered data plans. Making those plans more appealing would be an excellent start. But bullying customers who are using a service that you eagerly sold them is simple unacceptable.
Unfortunately, once a company becomes as toxic as AT&T, there’s usually no turning back. I have no doubt that things will continue to get worse. Prices will continue to increase. Customer service will continue to plummet. And in the end, the customers who choose to remain with AT&T in spite of it all will be worse off for the journey.