Bad news, AT&T Wireless customers: if you’re one of the remaining unlimited data plan users, your data bandwidth may be crippled starting October 1.
In a press release sent out by AT&T, the telecommunications giant states that the remaining customers still on an unlimited data plan for their wireless services will have their bandwidth throttled due to what they call “exploding demand for mobile data”. According to the press release, smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience “reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level the puts them among the top 5 percent of heaviest data users.” There is no explicit detail as to what qualifies being in the “top 5 percent” other than “streaming very large amounts of video and music daily over the wireless network”, “streaming video apps, remote web camera apps, sending large data files (like video) and some online gaming”.
Further down the press release, AT&T states:
“The bottom line is our customers have options. They can choose to stay on their unlimited plans…but may experience reduced speeds. If the speed is more important, they may wish to switch to a tiered usage plan, where customers can pay for more data if they need it”.
Here’s a brilliant little bit at the end of the press release:
“Nothing short of completing the T-Mobile merger will provide additional spectrum capacity to address these near term challenges.”
Now, AT&T has been eyeing for that merger for a while now and with that last bit of text at the bottom of the press release, this is all starting to come together. In essence, AT&T is going to use “heavy users” and the “exploding demand for mobile data” as an excuse to both throttle unlimited data users as well as provide arbitrary evidence to push their merger agenda. Hopefully AT&T won’t be allowed to buy T-Mobile and the wireless market won’t be split into a duopoly where AT&T and Verizon control 80% of the market.
Remember when AT&T had a monopoly on the telecommunications business? I wonder how that ended up.
Image by Shoebox Blog