AT&T Prepares for iPhone 5 Launch by Throttling Heavy Data Users
Published on: 31st Jul 2011
Note -- this news article is more than a year old.
AT&T has announced that it is to start throttling the mobile broadband download speeds of its heaviest data users from the beginning of October. The timing of the move has raised speculation that it is being timed with the anticipated launch of Apple's iPhone 5, which is expected to further strain the already struggling network capacity.
The company said that one new measure it will introduce is a step that may reduce the data throughput speed experienced by a very small minority of smartphone customers who are on unlimited plans - those whose extraordinary level of data usage puts them in the top 5 percent of the heaviest data users in a billing period.
According to AT&, these customers on average use 12 times more data than the average of all other smartphone data customers. This step will not apply to the 15 million smartphone customers on a tiered data plan or the vast majority of smartphone customers who still have unlimited data plans.
Starting October 1, smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5 percent of heaviest data users. These customers can still use unlimited data and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle.
AT&T noted that Wi-Fi usage is not counted in the allocation, and is encouraging its heavy data users to switch to Wi-Fi hotspots where possible.
The significance that the planned changes mirror those recently implemented at AT&T has not gone unnoticed, and AT&T itself added that it needs the planned merger with T-Mobile USA to address its network capacity problems.