With A Data-Slorping AT&T iPhone And a Data-Sipping Sprint iPhone, I Can’t Win

Aaron has a terrifying story of two mobile cell phone companies, 4G LTE networks, and a data-slorping renegade iPhone. He had an unlimited AT&T plan, but got throttled when he ran through five gigabytes in just three days. They couldn’t find the data leak. He switched to Sprint for true “unlimited” access. He didn’t run up any overages, largely because Sprint’s connections are too slow for him to do so.

I wanted the iPhone 5 for a birthday present in August. Asked my wife
and family to pitch in to buy me gift cards. I’ve had a grandfathered
data plan with AT&T since 2003, so I felt confident that it would be
the way to go.

I got hit with throttling 7 days after I bought the phone. I had used
my allotted 5GB in 4 of those seven days (I was at a convention where
my usage was normal), but back home I had blown through 2.7GB in 3
separate sessions during the course of a day. 980MB while driving 20
minutes to work!

AT&T had no solutions for me that were satisfactory. Their resolve was
to have me wait out my billing cycle, into ETF territory, and try
resetting the phone from scratch to find the troublesome app causing
the data leak. I’m not some average iPhone owner playing Angry Birds
and tweeting all day long. This is my work, my lifeline and a lot more
in one device.

So I returned it and did something even more stupid. I switched to
Sprint and got another iPhone 5. No one, and I mean, no one told me
how bad Sprint’s LTE coverage was, worse, no one told me how poor the
3G speeds were. The live able 3G on AT&T is a dream. 2-3 Mbp/s
average.

The 3G Sprint service is on average for my first week 10-times slower
than this. Yes. Averaging 100-200Kbps. WHEN LTE is working, it may go
up over 2-3 Mb, but nowhere near the starry eyed levels of AT&T’s
12-20Mbps speeds. It’s slower on average than what I was experiencing
when throttled on AT&T.

So, I’m at a loss on what to do. I can’t go back to AT&T. I lost my
unlimited data, and there’s no getting it back. Sprint’s lousy speed
and very over stated LTE coverage makes me wonder how they got to be
#3 in the market.

I haven’t lost any money on all of this yet, but I’ve lost a lot of
time, patience, and the belief ill ever have unlimited Internet again.

I need help from someone on what to do next. This is just ridiculous.

Well, it’s unlikely that you’ll have unlimited Internet access again, though have you really had it at all since AT&T started throttling at 5 GB? Switching to Verizon is an obvious solution – we know many happy Verizon customers. Paying for gigabytes of data access and then turning off mobile data when the phone is at home or you’re in the car seems cruel, but is a stopgap solution until these leaks are located and plugged.