My question to you is--Does this make the unlimited data plan basically useless as the new 3GB plan will at least give me 1 extra gigabyte of data for the same price? Also, why don't they just cancel the unlimited plan instead of forcing people to switch through throttling?. Thank you for having a great articles. I read them all the time and find them to be very interesting. You do your research and it shows. Keep up the good work. Thanks,Brian. Dear Brian,I think you've nailed this issue right on the head. AT&T's throttling program seems to target customers, who are just over the 2GB threshold. And its new higher priced data plans that offer 3GB of data for $30 looks like an attempt to get customers to switch from their unlimited data plans to the 3GB plan for the same price.
"As we note in the letter (to subscribers in the top 5 percent), the amount of data usage of our top 5 percent of heaviest users varies from month to month, based on the usage of others and the ever increasing demand for mobile broadband services.", But since the policy has been implemented, it seems like most people who complain about getting their service slowed are using more than 2GB of stark white : solid color iphone case data per month, So it looks like 2GB might be the cut-off that puts users in the top 5 percent, As a result, subscribers who regularly use more than 2GB of data per month are more at risk for having their service slowed down..
So what's a 2GB+ data user to do? It seems that AT&T's new pricing plans are designed to encourage these heavier data-consuming subscribers to switch over to the 3GB plan. For users who only exceed the 2GB cut-off by a little bit, the 3GB will be plenty of bandwidth for the month. It's the same price as the unlimited plan, and they don't ever risk having the service slowed. For customers who use more than 3GB of data per month, AT&T can charge them more for their usage. They may also be enticed to switch to the 3GB plan, because they are likely being throttled more often. And for some subscribers, they'd rather pay more for consistent service than not pay more but have their service slowed when they exceed some limit.
As for your second question, I'm not really sure why AT&T is taking this round-about way to get customers to switch to their tiered plans, The company could always end the unlimited data plan for customers when their contracts expire, My guess is that AT&T is trying to avoid bad publicity, If it ends the unlimited plan for customers who have been "grandfathered in" to the plan, then it will be going back on a promise it made when it first introduced the tiered data plan, And in this stark white : solid color iphone case competitive market, I'm sure AT&T doesn't want to risk ticking off a large number of its existing customers..
Still, AT&T has to do something to curb usage on its network. And it is determined to make its heaviest users pay for that usage. So by slowing down their service, AT&T is likely hoping they will give up on the unlimited plan and go to a plan in which AT&T can force them to pay for what they use. I've had a number of readers ask me if subscribers can cancel their service or sue AT&T for changing the terms of their service contract. I reached to Michael Aschenbrener, founder and a principal at Aschenbrener Law, a firm that specializes in consumer rights, to see if customers who are being throttled might be able to get out of their service contracts. And he said it's unlikely.
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