AT&T announced in October of 2011 that they would begin throttling data usage for users still on an Unlimited Data Plan. Original iPhone users are the only one who have kept their unlimited plans, while newer customers on AT&T have been stuck using tiered data plans, which were just restructured last month.

In October’s announcement, AT&T said they will only throttle the top 5% of data users. AT&T warns users that they will be throttled when they fall under that tier, usually passing more than 10GB of data for the month. However, things didn’t seem to go that way for blogger John Cozen who only used 2GB of data before getting the notification. Cozen reached out to AT&T upset, who then responded..

To give you a baseline – the average data use across the country by the top 5% of AT&T smartphone customers was 2GB per month, effective August 2011. The amount of data usage of our top 5% of heaviest users varies from month-to-month and by market, based on the usage of others and the ever-increasing demand for mobile broadband services. To rank among the top 5%, you must use an extraordinary amount of data in a single billing period. It’s not how much time you spend using your device, it’s what you do with it….You’ll see the biggest impact when you try to stream video or upload large files. Speeds will be reduced considerably with those types of data transactions, though you should still be able to check e-mail and browse the Web. 

Cozen was obviously angry paying $30 a month for unlimited data — priced the same as the 3GB plan AT&T currently offers — and being throttled only after 2GB. AT&T confirmed with Cozen that the throttling wasn’t a mistake, and that 2.1GB falls in the top 5%. AT&T tried to convince moving Cozen to one of their new plans.

Currently, AT&T offers customers 300MB for $20, 3GB for $30, and 5GB with tethering for $50.

As MacRumors points out, the throttling seems to be specific to different regions, as some users still on unlimited who use more than 2GB have yet to been throttled.

Are you still using AT&T’s original truly unlimited $30 a month plan that was offered for the first iPhone? Is your data being throttled?

  • I have the unlimited $30/mo plan, and I am not being throttled. I have only used ~1GB since the 27th of January and have not yet reached the 2GB.

  • Yes, i still have the unlimited plan and I’ve been throttled each month so far.

  • That’s some old heading pic. An iPhone 2G?

  • Been throttled three times! Something is fishy though my billing period started on the 24th and two days later I got the top 5% message. I called and spoke with a representative and she basically told me nothing and also that I was already at 1700 mb for the month and I purposely watched no videos, minimal browsing and a few phone calls. Can’t understand how this is possible

    • I had the same issue as you, after 3 days in the cycle I had 1600 mb. I can’t think of anything I did that would have caused that, I average around 2gigs a month. So pretty much I have been making sure I don’t use much this month so I don’t start getting the messages. I thought at first it may have been my new jailbreak but I haven’t seen any issues the last 10 days.

      • Well I ended up gettig throttled about an hour ago and my data seems to have not decreased at all. I think we may have gotten hit with some kind of glitch where our data rolled into the next billing period or something.

  • The contract says they can modify your plan for “Overuse” but how can “Overuse” and “unlimited” exist in the same contract… IT CANT… cancel your contracts now… because guess what?! ITS VOID! Celebrate for contract loop hole!

    BTW I’m not trolling… this is 100% true. Did it myself already – just dont be easy to get off the phone.

    • Wow i think i may try that lol. So are u contract free and still have service or cancelled all of it?

  • I’m being throttled at 1.5 GB im pissed at ATT

  • Anonymous

    I’m on unlimited and they throttle me every month, but each time I get the warning I’m right at 4GB used…so it sucks, but could be worse.

  • I have the original unlimited $30 plan and have yet to be throttled. But then, I don’t watch many videos, stream or download large files either.

  • Are they trying to loose their customers? lol seriously……. Let Verizon even try that shit… Watch me hop over with Tmobile.

  • I got the warning at 5 gigs

  • I was just shy of 2GB when they throttled me back until Feb 12th. The first time I was throttled, in December, it was only after reaching 9GB. I can live with that. 2GB?? That’s damn crazy talk! That’s not much data at all… :/

  • Anyone with unlimited data plan should try waiting till iPhone 5 comes out with LTE data plan which may increase the threshold for 5% data users.

  • Had the same thing happen to me on Monday, I cancelled my plan and switched to Verizon the same day after customer service refused to do anything about it. Good riddance AT&T.

  • Tom Tucker

    Hasnt happened yet. Ever does……this long term AT&T customer, my 3 lines of service and $200+/month are headed elsewhere.

  • Why is it referred to as throttling if they’re slowing you down?

    • KewlDewd

      I thought the same thing when all this throttling talk started up, but throttling can refer to throttling data speed up or down. Down in this case.

  • Anonymous

    Too many people with iphone 4 now on At&t. When i go to school all i see is people having iphones. Thats the problem i guess Bc i had unlimited At&t since a 3gs and never had a problem but now im throttled every 20 days. Its bc all these people have over populated this carrier!

  • frankrequiem

    I remember mentioning something about this to this blog three months ago. In any case, I can’t wait to switch over to Verizon or Sprint.

  • Kok Hean

    They throttled the data that you paid for.

  • I have the unlimited plan Sence the first generation iPhone came out and I have not been bothered by this throttle thing. I have 2 iPhones and they are both unlimited and I use it for work and play constantly.

  • They shouldn’t be throttling anyone no matter how much is used since it is an UNLIMITED plan. Throttling in any way at any point is placing LIMITATIONS on what we’re signed up for… It’s false advertisement!

  • 3 days after i got my LTE Skyrocket i got throttled after reaching 2GB…..especially with the new LTE 2GB is definitely not enough………2GB is definitely NOT top 5%, att is perfectly fine charging people overage and does not throttle if they pay extra…..att just want people to pay more and thus forcing people to get of of their unlimited plan to their tiered plan…

  • Anonymous

    They started throttling me around 6GB, for the last week and a half. I have used about 9GB this month.

  • Anonymous

    My friend hit 12gb on his iphone 4 before he got the top 5% message from att. I have used about 6gb on my galaxy s2 and i have not seen that message. Im not sure, but i think that android phones and iphones connect to the internet in different ways.

  • They’ve also throttled me consistently for the last 2 to 3 months. Once was bizarre, after just a few days into the billing period and less than 2 gigs used. The other times were all around 2 gigs. Super-shady bs to move people into the tiered billing plans. This must be illegal somehow. But really false advertising at the very least. I’d rather they just tell us they’re discontinuing the unlimited plan than give us this bizarre, arbitrary punishment.

  • i was throttled right around 2.2gigs. SoCal area.

  • I do have been threatened with an email that my data will be throttled. There has to be something illegal happening that AT&T is doing. It seems like they are discriminating on the “unlimited” users and using policy changes to change our plans but submitting. If there is a lawyer that WE ALL can speak to and voice our opinions….contact me ASAP. Bad enough we can’t do class actions against AT&T. Something shady is happening

  • thekilroy

    Clog there switchboard with calls to there Excutive offices and complain. Headquarters number is 210 821 4105 option 6. CEO of AT&T is Randall L. Stephenson. President & CEO of AT&T Mobility is Ralph de la Vega…..

  • J Nam

    I have unlimited data plan.
    But When I was using over 2G, I got a message from AT&T.
    Top 5% %$%$@#~~~~.
    Now, I cannot use Youtube even google map. So~~~~~~~~~ slow.
    AT&T sucks~~~~!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kevin Stanciel

    I had 5GB last month an all time high (streaming Christmas music). That was kinda high and I got my first notice with 3 days left in my billing cycle. I started using Wi-Fi more (my horrible AT&T DSL service at home!) but a week into my this month’s cycle I got a notice saying I was approaching the top 5%. I check with a friend who I know uses more and she got no notice eventhough comparing usage on their website I had 500MB usage LESS! Yesterday they started throttling me at 2 GB. This is BS. How do they determine the top 5%. Once you’re on the list do you come off when you drop out of the top 5% (I doubt it!)? This way they really are throttling the top 10%. Oh, I’m in Chicago, where service goes from pretty good to pretty bad according to the cell

  • KewlDewd

    Original iPhone users aren’t the only ones that still have unlimited plans. The 3G was my first iPhone and I’m grandfathered in to my unlimited plan. I usually use 4-8gb/month, and I’ve never been throttled.

  • I have an unlimited plan and got warned after 1.1 GB last month. Time to start shopping for a new carrier…

  • Anonymous

    Nope. 10GB last month. South Carolina.

  • sherwin_j

    WE NEED TO SUE ATT FOR FALSE ADVERTICEMENT!!!! We all need to sign a petition. I too have “Unlimited” data since it came out and i too have gotten an email from Att about me using it too much after 2gig of data. That Unlimited is limited now. TIME TO MOVE to a diffrent carrier!!!!!!

  • Yes right!!! “WE NEED TO SUE ATT”
    Last Month they throttled me at 2.08 GB.
    and This month they just send me on 02/07/2012 throttled me right now I only use 1.59 GB.
    I’m like WTF it happen.


  • I live the the SF bay area and I’ve been throttled three time already after reaching approximately 2 gigs.I’m really angry about this but non of the other services give me the same coverage as att.

  • Third month in a row I get throttled. I get a message at around 1.5 GB then a second message at 2 GB then the throttling begins. These throttled speeds are unbearable, 0.12 Mbps download.
    So I just switched over to there 3GB plan for $30 a month. I really never go over 3GB so I guess this works out…..I think?
    Dam you AT&T, you really know how to ruin a good thing.