AT&T Data Throttling Is Real

by Chris on February 11, 2012 · 2 comments

by Chris on February 11, 2012 · 2 comments

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A few months ago reports started to surface about AT&T tweaking their data plans and throttling the data speeds of their top 5% of users and here is proof that this policy is real. A SimpleMobileReview reader received this message from AT&T in both an email and a text stating that he has been identified as a top 5% user and his data will be throttled. The reader uses an iPhone and knows where his heavy data usage comes from and knows how to adjust his habit, however the email was still a shock.

If you use a lot of data, you should start adjusting your habits. Being connected to WiFi when possible is one way to keep data usage in check.  Avoid streaming videos over the mobile data network is another way to reduce data usage or use standard definition verses high. The real challenge is how much data usage puts you in the top 5% of users?


AT&T never states in their letter what is considered the top 5 percent which makes it difficult to understand where the cutoff is. They are clear on one thing “smartphone users with unlimited data plans my experience reduced speeds”. The letter also states that this is an attempt to keep the network free from congestion, however we cannot help but feel that having unlimited data has something to do with it. Moreover, since a specific data plan can be charged overage. The reader sent us their data usage for the month and with 2.4 GB putting him in the top 5 percent, this would mean the average data customer consumes around 200 MB of data monthly.


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  • Michael B

    My child has gone over his 2GB data cap forcing me to increase to 4GB. I don’t recall getting any notice of throttling. He frequently uses 3 – 4 GB monthly and has never been throttled. 

    I guess this only applies to unlimited data plan users.

    WiFi is not an option for my child as he lives without a traditional phone and only has access to broadband when at work. It is amazing what a child will give up when they live on their own. No TV, No Phone, No broadband, and no mobile phone bill thanks to mom and dad.

    • Steve

      I am always around 2-3GB but I have not received this letter. I have the 5GB iPhone 4S data plan.

      I think it is sad they are slowing down users that are using the network.  All carriers are dropping these plans however no on forced them to offer them.

      How can you kid live without broadband at home?

      Youtube, Streaming Pandora, Streaming Audible Books, and Streaming from TWIT Live spikes my usage but at work I cannot get on the wireless network so I understand.

      I wish I could ditch my minutes and only have a device with data. I never talk on the phone