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AT&T won’t throttle unlimited data in congestion until users hit 22GB, an over 4x increase


AT&T today has revealed a slight change to how it is handling throttling users grandfathered into unlimited data plans. Up until today, AT&T has throttled unlimited data users when they hit 5GB of usage and are in a congested area. As a reader has pointed out to us this evening, however, the carrier has updated its website with a new policy for throttling those on an unlimited data plans…

Starting today, users on an unlimited data plan will only be throttled when they go over 22GB of data usage and are in a congested area. This means that users will get more than 4 times the amount of data than the previously received. Should users surpass the 22GB in a billing period, they’ll only be throttled when in congested areas like heavy populated cities and events. In all other situations, users will receive unthrottled, unlimited data.

To provide the best possible user experience for all of our customers, AT&T has established certain network management practices.

In line with common industry standards, our network management practices assure that our network resources are used for the benefit of all our mobile broadband customers especially during periods when network demand exceeds available network resources (also known as “congestion”).

As you would expect, these network management practices have continued to evolve over time to benefit our customers and take advantage of the billions we have spent to expand and augment our networks. As a result of this evolution, we recently revised our practices such that Unlimited Data Plan smartphone customers can now use 22GB of high-speed data during a billing period before becoming subject to network management practices that might result in reduced data speeds and increased latency.

AT&T has long been criticized for its unlimited data plans not being “truly unlimited,” but with today’s change, customers now receive a significant amount more of data. Of course, the carrier no longer offers unlimited data plans, so today’s change only applies to those who are grandfathered into the plan. Nevertheless, it’s a welcoming, if not overdue, change for those users.


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  1. Jason Mulvaney - 8 years ago

    Speechless. It’s about time!

  2. nwmike - 8 years ago

    Too late AT&T. You already have lost many customers,including myself. I guess it was convenient now after the other smaller carriers were taking some of your business. Goodbye and good riddance.

    • jojhutton - 8 years ago

      You should have kept the faith. Now you lost out. The rest of us will now benefit from your lack of faith.

      • nwmike - 8 years ago

        Faith in what? That they saw this coming? Lost out on what? My old AT&T plan was $120 for 600 minutes, “unlimited data”, 200 texts and no tethering.. I got the cut your bill in half plan from Sprint. So now I’m paying $60 for two phones, unlimited everything…and Tethering! I see the only thing you got right in your comments was that you benefit from my lack of faith.

    • Fee (@FiveOhFour) - 8 years ago

      haha surely you get that that was by design, right? they wanted you off the plan, Ideally onto another ATT plan, but they’d take it however they could get it,

  3. bobyey - 8 years ago

    Omg! This is amazing!!!!!! 5 billion likes. My wife and I use 28gigs together each month from att. And trust me. That sucks when you get throttled after 5 gigs lol. I’m so excited!!!!

    • myke2241 - 8 years ago

      28gigs of surfing on your phone! dang dude! you guys need some kind of award!

      • Rick Tschernjawski - 8 years ago

        28 gigs of surfing on your phone do you and your wife talk to each other or is everything including sex done on your data plan . You need to look into a life if your using that much data i have5gb for myself and wife and we never go over that Holy crap 28 gbs im laughing my ass off

    • Jason Mulvaney - 8 years ago

      Seriously, how do you hit 28 gigs. The most I’ve hit is 5.75.

      • bobyey - 8 years ago

        I play Clash of Kings everyday, and probably stream 3-4 movies a month while at the office (we don’t have wifi) and surf the web all the time. I have work email on my phone with all sorts of PPT attachments and what not. And steam music everytime I’m in the car. This is all over LTE.

    • how are you even able to get 28gigs after being throttled after 5? Im lucky to even get 2gigs after being throttles. I feel like its 1999 and im on 128k.

  4. Okay so the part “when they hit 5GB of usage and are in a congested area” was only true for about the last couple of months! Att had been slow down my connection to .5 up and down after 5 gb for years, but I’m glad i stuck it out.

  5. That’s funny, today I received this message: ATT Free Msg: Your data usage this month has reached 3.75GB. If you exceed 5GB before your next cycle on 9/15/15, you can still use unlimited data but your speeds may be reduced at times and in areas with network congestion. Wi-Fi helps avoid reduced speeds. Visit or call 866.344.7584 for more info. What is even funnier is that 9/15/15 is the first day of the month for my service plan. I have been an AT&T iPhone user with the Unlimited Data plan since 2009 and not received this warning before as I rarely get to use my data. I guess this is what I get for using Pandora in the new Honda vehicle I just got. I am thinking of jumping ship to a provider that doesn’t charge data for Pandora or music streaming, I’m tired of the fringe signal strength level service provided here in El Paso, Texas.

  6. moofer1972 - 8 years ago

    So then, it’s still not unlimited then. You want tethering? Screw you. Whatever.

    • bobyey - 8 years ago

      It is man. 22gigs would cost over $400 per month for one line on Verizon or att. I would switch to TMobile or Sprint if they had ANY coverage where I live. I mean any. The one area they do, ITS 2G!!!!!

      • jojhutton - 8 years ago

        I agree. 22 GB is a lot of data. It may take me over 3 weeks or more to go through all of that as opposed to about a week with 5 GB. It just means that I’ll get throttled for a shorter amount of time. I’m satisfied with this, for now.

      • scottwilkins - 8 years ago

        Um, you need to check AT&T pricing before you try to become an expert. $400 would get you 50 Gig per month.

  7. Anek (@anekin007) - 8 years ago

    Never giving up on my unlimited plan and 2 year subsidized upgrade. These new payment plans are a joke.

    • nwmike - 8 years ago

      I was on that unlimited plan since 2008 when the iPhone came out. Now I got the cut your bill in half from sprint. with AT&T I had 700 minutes,”unlimited data” and 200 text. For 2lines I was paying $120.00+ tax. Sprint slashed it down to $60 and I have unlimited everything! That $60 saving adds up to $720 a year.

  8. glasskeys - 8 years ago

    It’s still crap, and a contract violation. Americans are so used to getting screwed by carriers and corporations they consider this great news and appear more than willing to accept it. Unbelievable.

  9. BuffyzDead (@BuffyzDead) - 8 years ago

    Great News !!!
    I still have my AT&T unlimited data for a total bill of ~$83.00/month …Inclusive of every charge. I’ll never give it up.

    Just ordered my 128GB / 6s for $400.00 on 2-yaer plan.

    …so even that works better than ANY iPhone purchase option out there, since part of that $83.00 above, is subsidizing the remaining ~$450.00 price of the iPhone.

  10. James Buck - 8 years ago

    AMAZING!!! While yes, its still not truly unlimited data, it helps me out! As someone who hits the 5gb limit about 12 days into the billing cycle, this is great news. We should still get some kind of settlement for all the times I have been throttled though!

  11. Mike Beutler - 8 years ago

    I am so glad I still have my unlimited data plan. Now what will it take to get AT&T to give me personal hotspot with my unlimited data plan?!?!?

    • Mike Beutler - 8 years ago

      My favorite part is that for two iPhones with unlimited data, unlimited text and 500 minutes with rollover I pay only $112.58 a month total!!!

    • Rolf Haug (@rolfhaug) - 8 years ago

      An act of God. If they had it their way they would force everyone off of unlimited data, so they’re not about to give you anything extra with it. I jumped ship to T-Mobile and couldn’t be happier

  12. peteostro - 8 years ago

    Wonder if my net neutrality complaint to the FCC had any effect on this. I had been a texted every month saying I was using 3.5gb of data and if I went over 5 they would throttle me in congestioned areas, which is a net neutrality no, no. All data no matter who it comes from needs to be treated equal

    • bobyey - 8 years ago

      No it’s not a no no. It’s legal. Att just did a bad job communicating to its customers what and when it would happen. Read up on facts before saying crap like that. The fine was because they didn’t communicate the throttling well to the customers. They are allowed to throttle the just didn’t explain it well in the begining. That’s what the fine was for.

  13. Dan Clark (@dansclark) - 8 years ago

    Yet still no personal hotspot for the grandfathered unlimited data customers

    • Marcus Watstein - 8 years ago

      Agreed they need to do what Tmobile does. You can have hotspot with your unlimited data but upto 5gb

      • Fee (@FiveOhFour) - 8 years ago

        this would be ideal, but they have no reason to unlike ATT…this incentivizes people to drop the unlimited plan, as does the inability to get decently priced unlimited voice, if its not important enough to you to leave the plan behind, you can’t have it at all, if it is important enough, or even close, their hope is you’ll make the sacrifice. Right when the iPhone 6 came out i actually changed over to a MobileShare plan in the Apple store because my unlimited data, ~450 minutes & unlimited text is $110 a month and the MobileShare plan they showed me saved me considerably, but as it turned out the prices shown were only for when you’re off contract, if you buy a phone at subsidized price those monthly costs go up by i think it was 25$ or so, whatever the cost was it eliminated my savings and so i shockingly was able to get put BACK on my unlimited plan…so don’t let anyone ever tell you its impossible for the employees to even put you back on if something like that happens

  14. Eddie Adams - 8 years ago

    This still isn’t “unlimited”…

  15. jojhutton - 8 years ago

    Well it’s about time that they realized that this policy was basically hurting its most loyal customers. We have been with AT&T for years. It never made sense to treat us like that.

  16. They like to limit. Just ditch At&t and everybody gets better service.

  17. David Gilmore (@z34L0T) - 8 years ago

    I got warning message about approaching 5GB just this last Friday. Does this mean I can disregard that message? Or do I have to wait for the next billing cycle for it to take effect?

  18. jmholmes83 - 8 years ago

    Once again too little too late! They already shook me down to a capped plan with their heavy-handed throttling! :@

  19. John Gannon - 8 years ago

    It’s too bad I switched away from AT&T a while ago because of this.

    Unlimited my ass.

  20. Neil (@NeilParkerTX) - 8 years ago

    I just got a text that I was nearing my 5GB data cap before being throttled. The increase in data and speed has be in response to the FCC fine.

    • bobyey - 8 years ago

      No it’s not. The fine was because they didn’t communicate the throttling well to the customers. They are allowed to throttle the just didn’t explain it well in the begining. That’s what the fine was for.

    • Mike Beutler - 8 years ago

      Most likely has to do with the fact up having data plans available greater than 5gb. Originally you got throttle at 2 or 2.5 gbs, that moved to 5 gb after the 5gb plans came out and now this is another move upward allowing throttling to match the higher gb data plans now available.

  21. masamune6 - 8 years ago

    finally jesus


Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

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