AT&T responds to complaints, ups throttling limit to 3GB

AT&T has been under a lot of scrutiny lately due to its new data throttling practices. Last Fall, the carrier started significantly reducing the data speeds of its unlimited customers who were using more than 2GB a month.

The move prompted multiple complaints from subscribers, and even sparked a string of small claims court lawsuits. Well apparently all of the heat was too much for the carrier, as it appears it has just revamped its throttling policy…

According to a new AT&T support page, unlimited 3G customers will now be slowed after 3GB of wireless data usage (in a month). And 4G customers after 5GB. The carrier believes that these users account for the top 5% of its data usage.

MacRumors received a statement from an AT&T spokesperson this morning on the subject:

“The reason reduced speeds only apply to unlimited smartphone customers is because their data usage is significantly higher than those on tiered plans. For example, in January, the top 5 percent of our unlimited data plan customers used an average of over 50 percent more data than the top 5 percent of customers on tiered plans.

Because spectrum is limited and data usage continues to soar, we manage our network this way to be as fair as possible and so we can provide the best possible mobile broadband experience to everyone. We encourage all of our customers to use Wi-Fi whenever possible – especially when watching video, which is the most data-intesive activity.”

The move from a 2GB threshold to 3GB was probably more for AT&T than it was for its customers. The carrier has a new 3GB data plan, and was being accused of slowing customers on unlimited plans to force them to switch. And yeah, you’re not allowed to do that.

Nevertheless, the throttling policy has changed for the better. We wonder if it had anything to do with the “5 steps to suing AT&T” tutorials that started popping up all over the web last week.