AT&T confirmed rumors of their plans to throttle data speeds today in a news release. In yet another effort to improve the network and its reputation, the company announced that heavy data users will soon notice a decrease in speed. This is due to the restrictions that those in the top 5% will have to face. AT&T states that this group uses 12 times more data than the average smart phone customer. Since those data gobblers put so much strain on the carrier’s network, limiting the speed of their connection should hopefully result in improved quality overall.
If you are nervous that you might fall into the top 5%, AT&T provides some peace of mind:
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.
Since these changes do not go into effect until October, there is plenty of time to check your monthly history and assess your usage. If AT&T does place you in the top 5% of smart phone data users, it is not a permanent position. If your demand for internet services weakens by the time of your next billing cycle and you fall out of the top 5%, AT&T will no longer put a throttle on your speeds. Throttling will vary month by month. The other 95% on AT&T’s network will see no change in the speed of their internet connection.
There is no word on the exact limit the company plans to put on its heaviest users, though they do recommend connecting your smart phone to WiFi whenever possible to cut down on data usage. AT&T customers have access to over 26,000 hotspots nationwide, and WiFi is also commonly available at home or at work.