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AT&T Starts Throttling Heavy Wireless Data Users

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the keeping-a-promise dept.

AT&T 158

tekgoblin writes "AT&T has started tossing out warnings for users that fall into the top 5% of data users on their wireless network. AT&T announced this change back in July and is now starting to actually enforce it."

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Saw This Coming. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37579432)

Free Market! Free Market!

Re:Saw This Coming. (1)

Meshach (578918) | about 3 years ago | (#37579468)

Except that other carriers are doing the same thing [] . This sounds like groups of companies screwing their customers.

Re:Saw This Coming. (1, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | about 3 years ago | (#37579784)

So.... I guess free market doesnt work like some sort of magical fixer.

It must be the Governments fault for all its oversight and "rules"... those bastards! o.O

Re:Saw This Coming. (4, Informative)

friedmud (512466) | about 3 years ago | (#37579852)

No - the wireless industry is not a free market. Spectrum is a very closely held resource carefully distributed to 3 or 4 major players... so free market forces can't fix this. If there was an infinite amount of spectrum and anyone could jump in and make a new wireless company... then there could be proper free market forces.

I'm not saying we should just let people go crazy with spectrum either (spectrum chaos would be bad for everyone). How to handle wireless pricing going forward is definitely going to become a problem.

Re:Saw This Coming. (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 3 years ago | (#37580056)

I don't have any problem with them doing this, unless, they call it unlimited. They should have to clearly state how much you can download before they throttle you. Anything else is false advertising.

Re:Saw This Coming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580210)

Ah, but they won't tell you. If you are in the "top 5%" you get throttled. What amount of usage puts you in the top 5%? Who knows?

Re:Saw This Coming. (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 3 years ago | (#37581092)

Precisely. If unlimited is genuinely unsustainable, it's much better to do what other countries/carriers do and state a figure for the limit. Also: offer multiple plans with different sized limits so those that need a high amount can still pay for it and get it, rather than have no option whatsoever (this also benefits light users, who can be happy saving a bit of money on a lower-limit plan).

Limits suck compared to unlimited, sure, but if they have to exist, it is better to be transparent about them and give the consumer a range of choices. "Top 5%" is a completely stupid method of doing it, since you can't predict what this figure will be and it will fluctuate from month to month anyway!

Re:Saw This Coming. (2)

hlavac (914630) | about 3 years ago | (#37581168)

Top 5% makes sense if you want to punish customers for actually using what they paid for :) However light the usage of the users will be, there will always be 5% of users in that group to punish... So, from this, we can derive the long term business goal of the carriers cartel, which is to get paid and not provide any service in return!

Re:Saw This Coming. (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37580224)

I guess oligopolies are not free markets.

Re:Saw This Coming. (2)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 3 years ago | (#37579792)

Oligopoly! Oligopoly!

Re:Saw This Coming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37579814)

It's called collusion and even up until a decade or so ago it was viewed upon as a 'dirty tactic' for businesses to implement. Unfortunately corporate power has overtaken consumer/civic power and public policy that was at one time up to the White House and Congress is now shaped by the ultra-conservative, Christian-extremist Tea Party. If Big Telecom wants to set pricing across the board, there's nobody really stopping them from doing so. Same thing with capping and content filtering. Elizabeth Warren, now running for governor of Massachusetts, has become a major force in consumer protection rights but since the Tea Party is running things to serve their own interests, and they have more disposable cash than most third world nations combined, her chances are really slim at succeeding at anything. At one time here in the U.S. we used to look at Australia's online access as restrictive but between our poor government leadership and Big Telecom's greed (pocketing massive profits each quarter while neglecting to maintain our stagnating network infrastructure), it won't be too long before we're looking at Australia with envy.

Re:Saw This Coming. (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 3 years ago | (#37580090)

How is this the tea party's fault? They didn't even exist until a few years ago and this kind of behavior has existed on and off since the old "Standard Oil" days. It's nothing new except for the type of technology it's being practiced on. You act like greedy robber barons and lying corrupt politicians are something new. Every single time something goes off the rails people start screaming "tea party" over and over when it's nothing to do with them. The tea party really isn't even a party. It's main focus, such as one exists, is taxation as in "taxed enough already." I sympathize with them on this issue. I'm sure that there are some loons in the tea party group who feel that corporations should have more power to fuck us over but I'd bet they're in the minority there. Give it a rest already.

Re:Saw This Coming. (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 years ago | (#37580684)

The whole thing regarding your description seems rather disingenuous. I am sure that you must realize that the primary tenant of the Tea Party is that the Federal Government is too large, and by shrinking it your taxes will be reduced. Well huzzah another large part of that shrinkage will include elimination of much regulation of large corporations.

Re:Saw This Coming. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580888)

The Tea Party is the Left's new Boogie-man.

Re:Saw This Coming. (1)

debiankicksass (2472726) | about 3 years ago | (#37580720)

sounds like a way to lose your most loyal customers. People who pay their bills on time are going to be more likely a heavy user and thus more affected by this rule.

Re:Saw This Coming. (1)

alen (225700) | about 3 years ago | (#37579478)

sprint is still unlimited and T-Mo is technically unlimited. fast data and then throttle after you hit your contract allotment

Re:Saw This Coming. (0)

PNutts (199112) | about 3 years ago | (#37579524)

AT&T is also still unlimited for those grandfathered into those data plans.

Re:Saw This Coming. (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 3 years ago | (#37579830)

WTF are you talking about? This news is about those grandfathered users.

Re:Saw This Coming. (1)

Nos9 (442559) | about 3 years ago | (#37580928)

Should not the grand fathering also apply to data rates then?

Re:Saw This Coming. (1) (981475) | about 3 years ago | (#37580422)

I have a t-mobile unlimited plan and I use a ton of data and they never throttle me so fu at&terrible I hope that your deal with t-mobile falls through because you suck!

Re:Saw This Coming. (2)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 3 years ago | (#37579746)

I wish.

They should just raise their prices. They should really stop offering something if they're not willing to deliver the service.

I say, the FCC should regulate the hell out of wireless data. no throttling, no penalties.

Let the market decide if we really want to pay their exorbitant fees for data.

It makes me wonder why smartphone manufacturers aren't lobbying congress to protect consumers of smartphones.

If the service dries up, the smartphones are useless.

Re:Saw This Coming. (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 3 years ago | (#37580082)

They should just raise their prices.

Or have limited on-peak and unlimited off-peak data transfer, similar to the way they have unlimited nights and weekends on their voice plans.

Re:Saw This Coming. (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 3 years ago | (#37580118)

The problem is that the market does bear it. Plenty of people have no problem paying hundreds of dollars in wireless fees. I'm not doing it. I refuse to pay more for pitiful 3g service that costs more than my home 12MB service that actually IS unlimited. Unfortunately the market is driven by people who apparently have unlimited funds to provide to the greedy wireless carriers. Screw it. I'll keep my money.

Would have been first post... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37579434)

if slashdot hadn't taken such a long time to load.

I hate you AT&T!

It makes some kind of sense (1)

Gimbal (2474818) | about 3 years ago | (#37579438)

By contrast, Sprint doesn't even offer an unlimited mobile data plan - not without a steep surcharge on data over the limit, for which, a reasonable-enough 5 gits monthly is the top - so, I don't suppose there could be much to complain about, for the AT&T customer.

Re:It makes some kind of sense (1)

Gimbal (2474818) | about 3 years ago | (#37579472)

Erm, gigs. 5 gigs, I mean. Pardon the slip, folks...

Re:It makes some kind of sense (1)

soundguy (415780) | about 3 years ago | (#37580830)

If you think about it, "gits" would be a pretty good shorthand for gigabits. I believe what your statement was referring to is gigabytes, which could be "gyts". A new standard is born?

Re:It makes some kind of sense (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#37579512)

Really? Because Sprint's latest advertisements [] seem to indicate that they won't throttle you, limit you, or charge you extra no matter how much you use.

Re:It makes some kind of sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37579636)

I'm pretty sure Gimbal was being sarcastic, although it's possible he's just really dumb or trolling. Sprint does offer unlimited data, which I have witnessed 1st hand from a douchebag friend that uses his Evo 4g tethering to run Utorrent all day long and uses up enough bandwidth for hundreds if not thousands of regular users.

Re:It makes some kind of sense (1)

tycoex (1832784) | about 3 years ago | (#37579642)

There's a limit if you use the wireless hotspot tethering thing.

As far as using data on the actual phone there is no limit.

Re:It makes some kind of sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580128)

That is correct and some phones do Netflix and have HDMI-out, so you can see where it's heading ;)

Oh. That's a "duh. my bad" - meant Verizon (1)

Gimbal (2474818) | about 3 years ago | (#37579700)

Well just hand me the dunce cap now, I had thought I was referring to Verizon though, for some reason, I wanted to say "Sprint" there. (Long night)

It was not a consciously intentional matter of inaccuracy - as I feel I should note - though, I must admit, I didn't really enjoy some of the customer service I got from Sprint, before switching to Verizon. Well, then. Maybe it was a freudian slip of some bad press.

I hadn't heard of the Sprint Unlimited plan, before - might consider switching back to Sprint, or over to AT&T. Still kind of like Verizon though, somehow - abject customer bias, probably nothing more than.

Re:Oh. That's a "duh. my bad" - meant Verizon (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#37579754)

The one good thing about Sprint is that they attempt to make the best network. They don't always succeed, and their customer service is questionable (whatever you do, don't give them your bank account number. Give them a credit card number), but they do make that attempt.

Re:It makes some kind of sense (1)

GregC63 (1564363) | about 3 years ago | (#37580674)

Yes, for $80 a month, kind of pricey if you ask me...

Re:It makes some kind of sense (0)

trum4n (982031) | about 3 years ago | (#37579668)

They have never limited me. I pulled nearly 40gb last month torrenting on the phone and tethering. no issues. I do not use their software, i use free software. I have true unlimited.

Re:It makes some kind of sense (5, Insightful)

Xtravar (725372) | about 3 years ago | (#37579854)

This. This is why we can't have nice things.

Re:It makes some kind of sense (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 3 years ago | (#37580808)

We can't have nice things because a person buying a plan advertised as unlimited, and with no special clauses about caps etc, is actually using it as advertised?

Re:It makes some kind of sense (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 3 years ago | (#37579744)

Last I checked, Sprint took out the 5 Gigs monthly limit from their terms and services, or are you speaking of their data-only plans (without voice)?

Re:It makes some kind of sense (1)

Gimbal (2474818) | about 3 years ago | (#37580078)

Strangely enough, I had meant to speak of Verizon, though I'd said Sprint instead. I'm still scratching my head about that, but I suppose it's a kind of "Freudian Slip." So, to correct my statement: Verizon, as far as I know, would still be applying the 5 gig cap they had, a few months ago. I've been out of the loop for a minute, as it were.

Re:It makes some kind of sense (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 3 years ago | (#37579838)

Sprint's data plans are unlimited.

Re:It makes some kind of sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580498)

sprints data plans are unlimited until they start charging you per byte and you get $4000/month bills. which is exactly what took place on my plan. and then after numerous calls to customer "service" they cut off my account and charged me $75 after months of $4000 bills.
you only know they dont want you when you start getting those bills. avoid them like the plague.

Does not make sense for a * limited* plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580826)

This might make sense for an unlimited plan. But if I am paying for 2GB, why should I be throttled for using close to 2GB?

And since AT&T only sells limited plans, it seems to me that AT&T is just outright cheating their customers.

Perfect Plan (5, Insightful)

kuhnto (1904624) | about 3 years ago | (#37579448)

There will always be a "top 5 percent", sot they will eventually throttle everyone to 0.

Re:Perfect Plan (1)

pro151 (2021702) | about 3 years ago | (#37579458)

I am sure your post was "Tongue in Cheek" but it actually makes sense. Especially the way most companies apply logic now-days.

Re:Perfect Plan (2)

MrDoh! (71235) | about 3 years ago | (#37579540)

Aye, never really got this. There'll always be a top 5%, and thus always a way to dump people until you get down to people who never use your service, but you can charge mad money. At what point do they stop getting rid of people who are paying to use their service and only keep customers who pay for, but don't use anything?

Re:Perfect Plan (1)

xo0m (570041) | about 3 years ago | (#37579692)

To answer your question - If I were in ATT's shoes, initially I'd declare the 'top 5%' rule and throttle those users until enough of them defect off my network. Once satisfied with how my customer base is behaving, I will continue to declare the 'top 5%' rule to deter my little darlings from acting naughty.

Re:Perfect Plan (1)

xo0m (570041) | about 3 years ago | (#37579764)

Forgot to add to the last sentence:

' deter my little darlings from acting naughty while not really throttling anyone.

Re:Perfect Plan (1)

a whoabot (706122) | about 3 years ago | (#37579730)

Sense versus reference, and synchronic versus diachronic.

So right now there is a group that is the top 5% of data users. They are the ones whose usage will be scaled back. Nothing about doing this implies that some other group who will later be the referent of "the top 5%" will also be affected. To illustrate, If I say that I am going to meet the judges of the Supreme Court, that can easily just mean I'm going to meet the 9 current judges; if there are successors, I don't also have to meet them in order to make good on my claim.

Re:Perfect Plan (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 3 years ago | (#37580242)

You could also meet people who are judging the Supreme Court, discussing the building's architecture, etc. and not meet any judges at all. This is why we need lawyers. On the other hand, this is why we should shoot lawyers.

Re:Perfect Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580434)

Or perhaps if you said. "I have a monthly meeting with the Supreme Court" it could mean you're having a monthly meeting of the July 5th, 1967 Supreme Court, but I don't think so. You know, sometimes when someone says their grandma runs 5 miles a day, it really does mean that she's 1825 miles away after a year.

Re:Perfect Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37579734)

Came to say the same thing, companies seem to be getting increasingly keen on this top / bottom x% metric as a management strategy. Id like to think it's just innumeracy rather than a sinister desire to implement a "reasonable" sounding policy while knowing it's going to let them continuously move the goalpost in their favor.

Re:Perfect Plan (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 3 years ago | (#37579768)

Maybe they all come from Lake Wobegon, where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average".

why when they bill you $10 per GB (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 years ago | (#37579452)

if they do this it should be only when you hit your cap and then no fee for going over and if you want full speed then bill the $10 per GB.

Because... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37579554)

By multiplexing download bandwidth through their cellular antennae, AT&T can support more customers unlimited service fee schedules, even though it means they are cutting your service quality in order to maximize their profits. Remember the old days when AOL was oversubscribing their modem banks in order to maximize its profit? Same thing...

You have a smartphone that supports varible bitrate video, and the quality of the broadcast you paid to access will decrease when it makes sense for AT&T. It'll be an acceptable illusion for most people. Only they people who actually expected to use unlimited bandwidth and know the difference are hurt...

What's a little white lie anyway; After all, you are just a customer.

Re:Because... (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 3 years ago | (#37580138)

No. At AT&T you're not a customer. That implies that they value and respect you. You are actually a consumer. That implies you are there to be exploited and controlled.

Re:why when they bill you $10 per GB (1)

gabebear (251933) | about 3 years ago | (#37579896)

They still have tons of unlimited data plans on their books. I'd bet money that 99% of the top 5% are people watching Netflix on an unlimited data plan.

Re:why when they bill you $10 per GB (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 3 years ago | (#37580144)

They aren't really unlimited though. If there are data limits then it's limited. I'm tired of the lying bastards calling it unlimited.

Re:why when they bill you $10 per GB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580876)

Exactly! If you pay for 2GB, then why should you be punished for using close to 2GB? Seems to me that AT&T is cheating their customers.

Seems to me that you should get what you pay for.

ALWAYS will be a top 5% (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 years ago | (#37579454)

This means that even if everyone uses less than their plan, someone is going to be in the top 5% and they'll get hosed. It would be better to throttle ANYONE who used more than their plan.

Where are the libertarians? (1)

Xeranar (2029624) | about 3 years ago | (#37579462)

To tell me how awful and pathetic I am for wanting to get unlimited data on phone plans when the cost of the running the network is miniscule and the path to upgrade is littered with egotistical claims. Seriously, this isn't surprising simply because the telecommunications industry has had such a long-held monopoly they know of no other way to operate. Even now Verizon is attempting to sue the FCC over net neutrality while getting the very thing it requested (freedom to discriminate on the wireless side as ATT is doing now). As it stands the Republicans are trying to pass a bill that would strip the FCC of their regulatory powers which is even worse. I can only hope and pray that 2012 sweeps the republicans out and limits their austerity measures to the already crippled economy and that the FCC re-evaluates their rules and puts wireless internet access in the same boat as wired.

Re:Where are the libertarians? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#37579522)

when the cost of the running the network is miniscule

What makes you think the cost of running the network is miniscule? From what I've seen the equipment is expensive, the spectrum costs huge, and maintaining the network is not easy.

Re:Where are the libertarians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37579662)

I think I read that AT&T has spent about $75 billion on network infrastructure over the past five years--hardly miniscule.

Re:Where are the libertarians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37579634)

Or you could just get rid of your cell phone.

Re:Where are the libertarians? (1)

aix tom (902140) | about 3 years ago | (#37579686)

FCC re-evaluates their rules and puts wireless internet access in the same boat as wired.

Well, the FCC can regulate all it wants, but it can't change the laws of physics. You *can* easily double the bandwidth of a WIRED connection by adding a second pair of wires or a new line of fibre. Speeding up WIRELESS up is much more tricky and costly.

Re:Where are the libertarians? (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 3 years ago | (#37579832)

Well, the FCC can regulate all it wants, but it can't change the laws of physics.

I know that, you know that, all of /. knows that. But does the FCC know that?

Re:Where are the libertarians? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 years ago | (#37580398)

You *can* easily double the bandwidth of a WIRED connection by adding a second pair of wires or a new line of fibre. Speeding up WIRELESS up is much more tricky and costly.

Why can't you just put up more towers and dial down the transmit power of each tower?

Re:Where are the libertarians? (1)

Vecanti (2384840) | about 3 years ago | (#37580550)

You *can* easily double the bandwidth of a WIRED connection by adding a second pair of wires or a new line of fibre. Speeding up WIRELESS up is much more tricky and costly.

Why can't you just put up more towers and dial down the transmit power of each tower?

or!! []

Re:Where are the libertarians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580704)

Do you want to live near one of those towers? AT&T needs to convince the city, land owner, neighbors, animal rights groups, and etc just to put up a single tower.

Re:Where are the libertarians? (1)

nzac (1822298) | about 3 years ago | (#37580892)

It probably is that simple in an open field where there are no bandwidth problems.

In an urban environment due complicated paths to the phone (non line of sight) its a whole lot more complicated they are working on it in theory all the time.

Also its say double the infrastructure cost (to double the bandwidth) which unless you want to double your monthly payments gets hard to justify to investors and CEOs.

Re:Where are the libertarians? (2)

Xeranar (2029624) | about 3 years ago | (#37581106)

Funny how it all devolves down to investors and capital and then this assumption that the vast profits they collect aren't subject to R&D or infrastructure improvements. Also for the record, the vast majority of our cellular traffic gets filtered back into the wired system for cost and efficiency reasons. Expansion of the network to support the traffic isn't as great an issue as the telecoms want everybody to think simply because there is no money in increasing internet data speeds or uncapping the lines. Fundamentally they're trying to figure out how to profit beyond their flat profit intake for being the support network but since there is no value-added profit to be had without tiers and thus creating a have and have not situation that is artificial they are relying on flim-flam to make the cellular tower network seem stressed.

Also, cell towers aren't high-powered compared to electrical substations. The kind of power they draw is no greater than a large box store or a small office building and that is probably a generous estimate. Radio frequencies have no ill effect on life as we know it, microwave frequencies do. Since the towers put out in the regular radio range their actual danger is limited to the occasional bird running into it. In fact if the telecoms shared their towers they would be able to multiply their coverage without expanding their footprint. But that would require recognizing that they're just utilities and thus the tiered plans of service would be called into question.

Trickle down (4, Insightful)

rwa2 (4391) | about 3 years ago | (#37579470)

But the top 5% hoarding all of the resources is the most effective way to run a limited economy! They know the best use of those packets and can distribute them better than all those poor saps that use lower QoS queues. This unnatural regulation is going to strangle the health of the overall network and everyone is going to suffer SEVERELY! And it's all the current administration's fault!

Re:Trickle down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580978)

Lol, what? Are you comparing bandwidth to income? And throttling to taxes? And Wireless companies to the federal government?

The post almost scared me to death! (2)

cyberzephyr (705742) | about 3 years ago | (#37579526)

Until i read it and know i use landline :-)

I think the top 5 percent are selfish (0)

nzac (1822298) | about 3 years ago | (#37579560)

To expect nothing to happened (yes their should be high cost plans). These users negatively effecting other users performance and expecting the other uses to subsidise them. There are other fixed cost associated with a monthly mobile account and taking on large amounts of data at the end for fixed cost while other small users pay a lesser but similar amount and don't overload the service. I am assuming that in some areas the system is being overloaded/oversold and I do think $10 per GB is excessive.

I just don't get the exception of unlimited on a wireless service there is certainly not unlimited available. Whenever they offer it its because its a new service and they are encouraging rapid adoption so they can start to recouping the costs for the infrastructure quicker. There will always be ways to use the available bandwidth so in a your free market when you have limited supply in demand you keep charging more.

Re:I think the top 5 percent are selfish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37579684)

Selfish? We all took AT&T at their word when they said "Unlimited Data" and (stupidly) assumed they had the capacity to back up the (contractual) offer they made and we signed in blood. The only "selfish" party is AT&T for not expanding their fucking network with all those billions in profit they've made year after year.

Re:I think the top 5 percent are selfish (5, Insightful)

Pi1grim (1956208) | about 3 years ago | (#37579956)

Hey. Those 5% of the users are trying to use what they bought. They paid fair and square for what was advertised as "unlimited plan". If provider is unable to hold his end of the bargain then there should be consequences for false advertising. The only one you are subsidizing is your wireless provider, not those 5% of the users that actually tried to use the service.
Imagine someone rented you a room and said that you can use it anytime you want. And then you suddenly find out that it is rented to several other people are renting that same room and the witty landlord just decided to use the fact that all of you are at home at different times to sell rent it to all of you simultaneously. Who should you sue/roughen up, the other clients, that are "spending too much time in the room" or the landlord?

Re:I think the top 5 percent are selfish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580256)

It's more like you rented out a room only to find it's being used as a Star Trek memorabilia warehouse by one person, where you don't even get one inch of room to use as your own (ergo, one person using up all the bandwidth so no one else can).

I can't think of a legitimate (as in not illegal) use for having to download THAT much stuff. Only stuff I can think of that comes close is streaming a bunch of stuff off Netflix or downloading entire games through Steam (or Mac OS X Lion for that matter). Even then, I think you'd have to really work at it to reach whatever the top 5% is.

Re:I think the top 5 percent are selfish (1)

cyp43r (945301) | about 3 years ago | (#37580618)

The top five percent is just how one in twenty people use that bandwidth. It's not exactly a high goalpost - there's no set limits, its just the top 5% at a point in time. It's more like renting a house with advertised 'unlimited water' but if you use more than 95% of people, then you don't get any water.

Re:I think the top 5 percent are selfish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580994)

Do you realize how much bullshit that is?

A typical room is at least 10 feet across, so "not even one inch" implies that the 5% are consuming > 99% of the available bandwidth. Since (from the linked article) one user received a warning text at ~11GB, it's reasonable to assume an average of 10GB for the top 5% -- the remaining 95% of poor put-upon users are 19x as numerous, so they get 1/19th of the remaining 1% of 10GB a piece. You really get less than 5 MB/month, and can't get anymore because a handful of 11GB/month (= 35 kb/s average) users are using all the data? If not, your assertions are just ridiculous.

You even seem to admit you don't have a clue ("to reach whatever the top 5% is"), so why are you so swift to heap incredible accusations? I'll tell you why: when people are unhappy with the status quo, they become angry. Then the creators and maintainers of the status quo, not eager to bask in the fire of this anger themselves, turn the people on each other, picking a minority and pointing them out to the majority as acceptable targets. You see governments doing it time and again (whether it's the Jews, the Communists, or the Mexicans); now your corporate masters have spoken, and like a good little subject, you merrily go along with their narrative and blame the "top 5%" instead of the company you're paying good money for crap service.

Re:I think the top 5 percent are selfish (1)

nzac (1822298) | about 3 years ago | (#37580804)

I assume you signed up to a contract that has fine print that allows them to change the terms at will. At least that’s what it appears to be.
You got your months notice and here are you new terms, not saying I agree with it but it appears it's legal enough. Until someone finds find a way to change it you should expect that mobile companies in US can change your plan at will and especially wireless.

Hey. Those 5% of the users are trying to use what they bought.

Supposedly you were informed last month you were no longer buying full speed, if you just use the 2 gigs that you signed up for nothing bad happens. Yes I guess you can still expect to buy as much as you like non throttled until the end of your contract but that contract is an agreement to pay a fixed amount a month to pay off your cheeper phone.

I am saying unreasonable to expect any wireless provider to be able to maintain unlimited (at consumer rates) without greatly overselling (killing it for everyone). The top 5 percent should know by now that any unlimited promises are unlikely to last, it gets killed regularly. The reason they promise it is the suckers continuously fall for it, its pretty standard practice for unlimited in the US it appears. They would not offer unlimited at all if they could not take it back.

Re:I think the top 5 percent are selfish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580438)

Is this post available in English?

Verizon is worse, much worse... (-1, Troll)

dev635 (2474860) | about 3 years ago | (#37579704)

They won't even warn you, but will just charge 125$ per every excess GB.
This poor blogger [] was asked to pay 1200$ by this devil company.

Re:Verizon is worse, much worse... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37579858)

Someone please mod down this goatse troll.

As a BOFH (2, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 3 years ago | (#37579722)

There are plenty of times when I'd like to throttle my lusers. Usually, though, I just solve the problem by changing the DNS resolution for their bank to a Russian phishing site, and following it up with planting some nice illegal content in their network share and calling the authorities when I "discover" it.

"Cellular" not "wireless" (1)

brec (472981) | about 3 years ago | (#37579732)

"Cellular" would be clearer than "wireless" in the /. headline; there's no ambiguity in the linked source. Yes, cellular is wireless but usually "wireless" connotes WiFi.

Re:"Cellular" not "wireless" (1)

broggyr (924379) | about 3 years ago | (#37580020)

It would also be 'cordless' too, yes? ^^

Re:"Cellular" not "wireless" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580910)

Well, the reference to "heavy users" made me think of cellulite...

At least AT&T informs you. (1)

edibobb (113989) | about 3 years ago | (#37579770)

Comcast and a few other ISPs will throttle your account without disclosing that they're throttling you, let alone why.

Re:At least AT&T informs you. (1)

mat catastrophe (105256) | about 3 years ago | (#37580000)

But you know why should they tell you? :P

Telstra tried this in Australia (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 years ago | (#37579960)

They called it an "Acceptable Use Policy", except they never quite defined "Acceptable Use". In the end our consumer watchdog the ACCC come in and said either you define what "Acceptable Use" is and put it in the advertising or you open yourself up to lawsuits.

I wonder what will happen here given the USA is in general a far more litigious society. How do AT&T's customers feel about using an unlimited service with a potentially completely unknown and moving upper limit that wasn't what they signed up for?

Re:Telstra tried this in Australia (1)

preaction (1526109) | about 3 years ago | (#37580420)

We're litigious but it takes gross incompetence for a corporation to get anything more than a token fine and a "Now try not to do that in the future, please." When that corporation is big enough, it's more "I'm sorry I took time out from fondling your fun zone to give you a fine, now where was I?"

Not exactly news (1)

babboo65 (1437157) | about 3 years ago | (#37580126)

They've been throttling data usage for several months already - this is not a new thing from them. They've been testing this for a while now. They offered an "unlimited" usage plan and then began throttling almost immediately after. I don't download movies or stream music - often it's messaging and looking up information. IOW data usage. The assumption it is "selfish" is ridiculous, and knowing there are ops who redirect people to phishing sites is inexcusable and predictably immature.

At the end of the day it's a service offering AT&T and many other cell providers made available - then when they saw how big the demand was backed out of their promotions and advertising. It's exactly like them offering text for free since it is a side-band by-product of cell signals and costs them nothing until the demand was increased and they realised there would be another revenue stream.

it's called business.

Heavy User (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580154)

Great Scot!
How do they know how much I weigh, and why are they suddenly picking on me?

Why choke overweight users of mobile data plans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580226)

Seems criminal to me...

The beauty of this is - there is always a top 5%! (1)

destruk (1136357) | about 3 years ago | (#37580250)

When they get rid of them, there is a new top 5% to send warnings to....

They're doing this NOW because of the FCC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580290)

The FCC released its net neutrality guidelines recently. One of the items in there is that providers are allowed to throttle high-bandwidth users, but must make their policies public. This move is probably in reaction to that.

Not news (2)

Baloo Uriza (1582831) | about 3 years ago | (#37580680)

This is old news to rural households in the midwest, whose only unlimited bandwidth option was AT&T before they slammed everyone onto metered plans. Never mind they're getting federal rural broadband dollars to supply flat-rate unlimited broadband to rural America. They should have to either hold up their end of the bargain or pay the government back the money they received, plus interest.

Throttling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37580878)

I thought they started that ears ago by simply making their 3G service utterly crappy.

Chicago - 3G is crap.
Detroit - 3G and coverage is crap.
NYC - 3G is crap.

hell most places their "3G" on AT&T is slightly better than ISDN speeds. They are throttling everyone by simply delivering bandwidth that is a joke to begin with.

Problem is, NO OTHER provider is delivering anything but a joke for bandwidth in major cities.

Simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37581022)

... switch carriers. Once AT&T starts losing millions in revenue, they will change their policy or go out of business... Whoops, I forgot - that is predicated on Obama not being in office, since he'll declare they are "too big to fail" and bail them out...

Pay as you go fixes it all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37581086)

Just pay for blocks of data. If you are heavy user then you use more blocks and pay more. Simple, effective and useful for rich people who have time to watch movies all day on wireless devices. I'm wondering when the bean counters at AT&T will figure this out and start putting up more towers so we all use our blocks up faster.

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