When AT&T introduced its new tiered data plans in 2010, it only kept the unlimited plan for original iPhone owners who didn’t choose to join a new plan. As time passed, AT&T announced in July of 2011 that they would begin throttling unlimited users who fell under the top 5% of heaviest data users. On average, it takes around 10GB to reach the top 5%.

However, over the last few months, many users have reported AT&T is throttling their unlimited data plan when they’re only at 2GB of data used. A southern Californian man took action and sued AT&T in small claims court. A judge ruled in the customer’s favor, who was awarded $850…

Spaccarelli said his phone is being throttled after he’s used 1.5 gigabytes to 2 gigabytes of data within a new billing cycle. Meanwhile, AT&T provides 3 gigabytes of data to subscribers on a tiered plan that costs the same ā€” $30 per month.

The unlimited data plan costs $30 per month and AT&T’s new 3GB data plan is priced the same. Many users feel that it’s unfair to be throttled at 2GB, when users under the 3GB plan aren’t throttled.

Currently, aĀ surprisingĀ 17 million users are still on AT&T’s unlimited data plan — which represents about half of their network. That means a large amount of customers could also challenge AT&T in small claims court.

There’s no word if AT&T will appeal the California court’s decision to award theĀ upset customer $850.

The court chose to award the manĀ $85 for each of the 10 months left on his AT&T contract. He earned almost a year of free phone service. Not bad.

Verizon and T-Mobile also throttle users, but are much gentler with their policies.

Are you among the customers being throttled?

[AP]