AT&T has had a tumultuous relationship with its own customers over the last few years, with issues stemming from its lack of network capacity being exacerbated by the hugely popular iPhone being an exclusive handset to the carrier.

Data has tended to be one of the biggest sticking points for many, the lack of ability to make a phone call not withstanding. The recent change of AT&T’s data plans has only managed to muddy the waters somewhat, and now things are getting even more confusing with the news that the carrier is throttling users who are on the old unlimited data plan and use 2GB of data per month.

The obvious question now is simple: why is AT&T throttling users who use 2GB of data but continues to accept new users on the updated 3GB limit plan? No, we don’t know either…

The whole talking point stems from a blog post by John Cozen who found himself having his data connection throttled by AT&T for using 2.1GB of data on his grandfathered unlimited plan. With AT&T claiming he sat in the top 5% of data hogs, he published an email conversation he had with the carrier which many will find interesting.

“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.”

The question now has to be all about that new 3GB data plan that AT&T is touting. If 2GB of usage gets you throttled, what’s going on with the new plan that supposedly offers another 50% of data to play with?

[GigaOm]

  • by “average” do they mean (pun intended) people that only use 100mb of data on their smartphone that just check their email because that doesn’t seem really fair.

    • Anonymous

      I only use a few hundred mb of data a month but it is because I am always on wifi. 3G speeds are way to slow. I live in NJ where this is solid 3G coverage but it’s such an old and slow technology. Home, work, school, and friends I’m all over the wifi. I even auto connect to all the AT&T and Optimum WiFi hotspots.
      If you’re using that much data you should use wifi. It is way faster.

      • Same here

      • Anonymous

        not in Philly – we get HSPA+ here, which is “4G”. I have crazy fast downloads, about 60-70% of the time (the rest is “normal” or slow 3G speeds you mention).

  • i have the same problem whats a good way to cancel my contract without been charged cancelation fee , i tried 2 times but they keep giving me run arounds .

  • I got capped after two gigs on my 4s they said they couldn’t help me and to use wifi more. I’ve been with AT&T for 10 years.

    • It’s all about money

  • Anonymous

    As a long-time AT&T customer (8 years), I will be dropping them this summer on principle. That, and they would rather buy up the competition (T-Mobile) than upgrade their own network.

  • This is totally unfair! They’ve been throttling me at 2GB every month now, just to force me out of my old unlimited data plan. Liars and crooks.

  • same here anything we can do?

  • Everyone should file a complaint with the FCC. It can be done online and it only takes a few mins…

  • Anonymous

    In Sweden there in no throttling whatsoever, I pay about $30 for “true” unlimited data. We also don’t have the two way charging when a call is made on a cell phone. Here the caller is only charged, same as a land line call. The way things are ran over there concerning the carriers, is highway robbery imo

    • The two way charging is a US exclusive thing which is ridiculous … not to stray away from topic but we pay here for minutes received and sent messages received and sent …. being throttled on our data plans … by all means US cell phone carriers suck!!!

  • So if I have the unlimited data plan with my 4S, it’s really not unlimited?!

    • Anonymous

      That depends on the terms of the agreement you have with the carrier. It best to ask them what their definition of unlimited is, really. This way, you know what you’re dealing with in terms of service(s) provided.

  • I just got this text today, its ironic because i just read this last night. There has got to be something we can do, i argued with the lady about it. I said i pay 30$ a month for “unlimited” that is throttled at 2GB, but i can buy the 3GB plan for 30$ a month and not be throttled….that doesn’t make any sense and i hung up. A complete joke if you ask me…..time to flash that Verizon/sprint iPhone over to cricket.

    • I also noticed that you get unlimited minutes, text and data on the pay as you go plan from ATT for $50 a month and i pay $80 for phone, $20 for text and $30 for data and do not even get unlimited “except for the calls” I think that i am misunderstanding something but WTF comes to mind

  • J Nam

    I changed carrier. AT&T SXXX.