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After Complaints, AT&T Solidifies, Increases Data Limit 211

Posted by Soulskill
from the nice-try-with-the-math-trick dept.
New submitter rullywowr writes "After many users expressed anger, AT&T has moved the slowdown throttling bottleneck from 3GB of data to 5GB of data for users of 4G LTE smart phones. 'Previously, AT&T slowed speeds for subscribers who reached the top 5% of data users for that billing cycle and geographic location. Customers were outraged, arguing that the percentage method meant they had no way to know what the limit was — until AT&T informed them via text message that they were in danger of exceeding it.' AT&T still maintains the position that less than 5% of its users exceed the 3GB threshold each month."
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After Complaints, AT&T Solidifies, Increases Data Limit

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  • by AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) on Friday March 02, 2012 @11:18AM (#39220299)
    Anyone in the industry or in the know want to take a stab at where the numbers come from? It seems that 5GB is a common enough number for phone carriers. Is that just a metric that was settled upon, is it arbitrarily set, or are they crunching numbers and coming out with 3GB/5GB as a theoretical "optimal" limit for a network? Feedback welcome from people who know how/why such decisions are made!
  • by s122604 (1018036) on Friday March 02, 2012 @11:41AM (#39220503)
    Not an idiot, just a little idealistic
    These companies aren't providing you this service out of the kindness of their hearts

    What I wish

    a fairly priced ala carte service
    you use more, you pay more, use less, pay less
    but they'll never do it, they like overcharging bandwidth misers more than they hate undercharging bandwidth hogs, see kindness of their hearts comment above.
  • Re:"Unlimited data" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Friday March 02, 2012 @11:43AM (#39220523)

    It's still unlimited. They should have to advertise this truthfully, though.

    "Unlimited data, with 3G speed for the first 3GB."

    "Our unlimited data plans feature 4G speed for the first 5GB you use each month!"

  • by CMYKjunkie (1594319) on Friday March 02, 2012 @11:50AM (#39220595)
    AT&T user here. I was more pissed off about these limits until I started using an app that shows me my data usage during the month and I had a surprising result: I only use 200 MB a month!! I thought I was someone who would be near the 2GB cap I have, but I am quite wrong. During my afternoon commute (~2 hours) on Amrtrak I use my phone to Facebook (including a lot of picture uploading), Twitter, web browsing, e-mail, light gaming and app downloads & usage. All of this is on 3G (or "4G" if I am to believe AT&T's marketing speak that HSPA+ is 4G). Weekends out around town is the same profile, though evenings and such at home I am on Wi-Fi. So to be using only 200MB was a shock to me. All I am saying is that we should all look at our usage before we are outraged. Yes: it is RIDICULOUS that they market "unlimited" data when throttling is, by any reasonable definition, limiting. But how many of you are really at or near the caps? I would really like to know!! I wonder how many of you are like me, thinking you use more data than you do.
  • Re:"Unlimited data" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by msauve (701917) on Friday March 02, 2012 @11:56AM (#39220651)

    So "unlimited data" means 3GB/5GB now?

    No. It means your bandwidth is reduced when you hit those thresholds, you continue to be able to exchange data beyond the 3GB/5GB, just more slowly. They're not cutting anyone off, they're throttling to prevent average users from being negatively impacted by the highest percentile users. Wireless bandwidth is limited and shared, and this is just a way of ensuring the heaviest users don't hog it all.

    Think of it as the successful result of an "Occupy AT&T," where the little people won out over the "5%ers."

    I've never heard anyone imply that advertising "unlimited data" on, say, a 1 Mbps line was fraud because there was actually a limit of 1 Mbps x 2629743 seconds per month / 8 bits per byte ~= 329 GB/month.

  • by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Friday March 02, 2012 @12:09PM (#39220831)

    Their goal is much more devious.

    They are going to keep the data caps as low as they possibly can. I'm convinced that throttling the heaviest users is just a way to reinforce this idea that using the network costs money. The truth is, the only problem on the network is peak time congestion and throttling the heaviest users has the same effect as throttling any user during peak time.

    So, AT&T gets people used to the idea that data caps are normal and necessary. Step two is about approaching companies like Pandora, Netflix, and Google and make them this offer: if you pay us a lot of money, data transferred from your service won't count in the data cap calculation. They want to be paid two times for a single user's network usage. It's so obvious to me that this is what they are working on and it's disgusting.

  • Re:3G users? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday March 02, 2012 @01:06PM (#39221537)

    Screw 3G. What about upping that 250 GB limit for their UVerse to something serious - like 1TB?

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