AT&T Confirms Plan To Throttle Top 5% Of Smartphone Data Hogs

Earlier today, rumors were circulating that AT&T would begin throttling the data speeds of users who went over a certain usage threshold. Now, the company has confirmed these reports, though it does not give specifics on what line a user has to cross before their data starts going at a snail’s pace.

In an effort to “help address network congestion,” the Death Star has confirmed that it will begin throttling data speeds for the top 5% — in terms of data usage — of its smartphone customers with so-called unlimited data plans.

From the AT&T press release:

Starting October 1, smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5 percent of heaviest data users. These customers can still use unlimited data and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle. Before you are affected, we will provide multiple notices, including a grace period.

AT&T does not give an approximation of where that line between being throttled and being non-throttled might be drawn. But a recent Consumer Reports survey found that only a small percentage of smartphone customers used more than 1GB of data in a month. The company says this top 5% group on average use 12 times more data than the average of all other smartphone data customers.

This announcement only impacts those customers who still have grandfathered unlimited data plans from when AT&T still offered such things. Customers with newer, tiered data plans will not be affected.

An Update for Our Smartphone Customers With Unlimited Data Plans [ATT.com]