AT&T plans to bring the axe down on data users who use their unlimited connection indiscriminately. Beginning from the 1st of October, the top 5% of AT&T users will have to face the throttle. This rule is being implemented for users who have subscribed for the company’s unlimited plan. By throttling, the company means that the top 5% of data users will have to face lowered speeds on their connection. The company said that the usage limit will vary every month depending on the amount of usage for that particular month. In effect, it means that the top 5% can change every month.
Owing to the massive usage of data all over United States and the world, network providers have been employing such means to curb excessive usage. Reduction in speed automatically implies a reduction in usage. While a number of companies have already implemented this program, AT&T is the newest entrant to the club. This move by companies also implies that “unlimited usage” will be more of a hypothetical term in the very near future.
The first company in the United States to employ throttle was T-Mobile USA. Following this was Virgin Mobile, which is the prepaid service of Sprint Nextel. With AT&T joining the group, other companies are also likely to follow. AT&T insisted that although there will be a throttle, only a very small part of its consumer base will have to face the crunch. Despite the assurance, customers do not seem to be very happy with this new development.
According to the statistics collected by AT&T, the top 5% of users of the unlimited plan register a usage that is 12 times the average usage of various data users. The company also said that customers will be provided sufficient time to control their usage and it was to this effect that October 1 date was fixed. Notifications will be sent before throttling. All those customers who face the throttle can use their connection at full speed from the next billing date.
The impending release of iPhone 5, which has been postponed to last week of September or the first week of October seems to be one of the reasons for this decision by AT&T. since data usage is invariably going to shoot up after the release of the much awaited phone, such measures are deemed essential to avoid congestion of traffic. The news about throttle has, in turn, reinforced expectations that iPhone 5 will finally see light of the day in October. While AT&T has employed throttling, Verizon gave no such indications.