AT&T’s gotten a lot of flack for its throttling scheme that targets users on old unlimited plans who fall into the the top five percent of bandwidth consumers each month. The situation really came to a head last month, after stories circulated of users being throttled at just over 2GB of data, despite subscribers on tiered plans not facing a similar cut-off. With news of legal rulings against AT&T’s actions, it had started looking like AT&T might be forced to revisit its policy. Today, the carrier announced new throttling rules, including separate cut-offs for LTE phones.
Instead of the old percentage-based system, which didn’t let users know just how much data they could expect to consume without consequence, AT&T’s now going with a much more straightforward policy. Subscribers on unlimited plans, using traditional smartphones, will get 3GB of uncapped data each month, after which point they’ll see their speeds throttled. If you have one of the carrier’s new LTE-capable models, you’ll instead be able to pull 5GB each month before AT&T steps on the brakes. From the sound of things, all you need to qualify for that higher cut-off is an LTE phone, not that you necessarily have to use all that data while connected over LTE.
We’re sure there are plenty of subscribers on unlimited plans who find it unfair they’re being throttled at all, and some will probably still continue legal action against AT&T, but we’ve got to hand it to the carrier that it’s gone a long way today towards implementing a mostly sane, acceptable throttling policy.