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AT&T Fears Small Claims Court and Changes Throttling Practices

ATT.Wireless.Logo.03012012

If you were an early adopter of the iPhone on AT&T, you might have decided to go for the Unlimited Plan. Man, unlimited data, I wonder what that means. Well AT&T has its own idea of what unlimited means, and it is less than what you would think. AT&T has been sending out text messages to users who are in the top five percent of data users. If you were in this group of heavy data users, and you passed the 2Gb mark, you would soon see the speed of your AT&T connection slow down. One user did not like this, Matt Spaccarelli. He took AT&T to small claims court in California.

Mr. Spaccarelli argued that AT&T was not following their contract obligations by throttling his ‘Unlimited’ data plan. The judge in the case agreed and awarded Mr. Spaccarelli $850 dollars for his troubles. AT&T did not like where this was going, and has appealed the decision. In the wake of this, today AT&T has announced that they are revising their policy on throttling.

Previously AT&T indicated that it had limits on data usage, but now it has made these more concrete while never really giving exact numbers. Before today AT&T would begin slowing down connection speeds at 2GB while using 3G data. Today AT&T Has changed the limit to 3GB. They do not specify how they will be slowing down customers, just that they will.

AT&T has also added limitations on their customers who use AT&T’s ‘4G’ LTE network. Those users will begin being throttled at 5GB. Again, AT&T is not specifying how they are going to throttle users. Regardless of whether the user is on the 3G or 4G network, the slow downs will remain in effect until the beginning of their next billing cycle. To alert users, AT&T will send users a text message when the user begins experiencing slowdowns.

AT&T has a policy in place that forbids users from filing a class action lawsuit. This was challenged in court and was upheld by the United States Supreme Court. Small claims court may be the only way for users to get AT&T to change their stance regarding limits and throttling. I’m sure the win by Mr. Spaccarelli has scared AT&T a bit. You can read AT&T’s explanation of wireless data at their website.

Story via AllThingsD.

James Hickshttp://about.me/jameshicks
James is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of HicksNewMedia, a Digital Publishing and Technology Consulting team providing effective and relevant solutions to individuals and businesses looking to more effective utilize the social interweb. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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