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  • AT&T to Throttle iPhone Users?

    image via Gizmodo

    Speaking at the CTIA conference in San Diego, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega bemowned the disproportionate bandwidth usage of a "few" of its smartphone customers - in a clear allusion to the prodigious data appetites of iPhone owners - and hinted at possibly imposing limits on certain users in the future.

    PC World reports that in a speech to the conference earlier this week, de la Vega noted that 3 percent of AT&T Mobility's smartphone customers suck up 40 percent of the bandwidth going to all smartphones, and that each uses 13 times the data of "the average smartphone customer."

    Stating that these high-bandwidth users make up less than 1 percent of AT&T’s total customer base, de la Vega said AT&T needed to "manage the network to make sure that the few cannot crowd out the many,” without elaborating on what that "management" might mean. PC World's Mark Sullivan counted five separate uses of the phase "crowded out" in the speech, and many observers draw the fairly obvious conclusion that AT&T is preparing some form of data restriction, or "throttling," of its high-demand customers.

    Wireless spectrum is a shared resource defined by its scarcity, so it's obviously necessary - especially given the poor planning showed by AT&T in building out their network for the millions of iPhones they happily sold - that some rationing will need to occur. However, AT&T will have to be careful that in doing so they don't further alienate customers that have made the company a great deal of money in recent years.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T to Throttle iPhone Users? started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 67 Comments
    1. lolento's Avatar
      lolento -
      good reason to get out of my contract.
    1. Squeaky369's Avatar
      Squeaky369 -
      It's not just AT&T. Any network that would have taken on the iPhone would have the EXACT same issues that AT&T has been having. The iPhone is a VERY powerful phone that uses a lot of data. Apple wouldn't have chosen AT&T if they didn't think that they would be able to handle the workload. I'm not 100% for sure, but a company like Apple would have checked out all the rest of the carriers BEFORE making the choice.

      So stop ******** about AT&T sucking so much, any other carrier would have has the same issues as they had/have. The rest of the world might have Tethering and MMS before us, but that's because they learned from our usage and issues, and made the upgrades before taking on the iPhone.

      AT&T and Apple aren't splitting anytime soon; if they did that, Apple would have to redesign the phone to take on a different radio, network, and no SIM card.

      If you don't like ATT, get rid of your iPhone and go with Blackberry and get screwed over by their internet data plans.
    1. genuino's Avatar
      genuino -
      Meaning that the contract needs to be re-writen and us sign again, or if they change it they breach the contract, so we are out of it and go to another carrier. One question, is there any indication on the contract that allow AT&T to raise the prices or change the so call "unlimited 5 gigs plan" to a lesser limit without our consent?
      If that's the case, I have a 2 month old iPhone black 16 gig for sale.
      This is getting ridiculous, poor service, lack of features (that's why we jailbreak), drop calls, poor battery life even for a light web browser like myself, no tethering, etc. Time to look into the Pre or HTC, perhaps going back to my Blackberry on Verizon or Sprint.

      Oh Squeaky369, you beat me to it, I agree, if they don't like it, get rid of it and go somewhere else. That's exactly what I'm going to do if this new policy or whatever takes place. So the plans will be "Unlimited until you hit 2.5 gigs?
    1. n00neimp0rtant's Avatar
      n00neimp0rtant -
      Quote Originally Posted by plcrules View Post
      sorry but if its unlimited it should b unlimited and they cant cancel on u if u have a contract
      they will loose in court
      I believe the contract actually states that "unlimited data" refers to a data plan with a "soft limit" of 5 GB. By "soft limit," I guess that means it is a limit impose just to put some control on people who have a thing for torrents and illegally tethering, but will never affect a normal user, even one who uses "a lot" of data.

      I consider myself a heavy user. I'm always going on some site, or IMing, etc. I just looked at my Usage statistics in Settings, and apparently since late June of this year, I have received 1.2 GB of data. I use T-Zones, nonetheless, so they probably wouldn't say anything either way, but still. You pretty much have to either try to go over 5 GB, or use your data plan as a home Internet connection to use up 5 GB a month.
    1. jpeepers's Avatar
      jpeepers -
      Quote Originally Posted by lolento View Post
      good reason to get out of my contract.
      My thoughts exactly. Good excuse to get out of my contract and off the crappy AT&T network. I hope they do it ASAP so I can go back to a reliable carrier.


      .
    1. enjoylife's Avatar
      enjoylife -
      At least in Canada we know, we are getting the bone...
      $30 for 6GB of Data.. so it is what it is..

      the restriction comes before you even turn on your iPhone.
    1. mawells787's Avatar
      mawells787 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yakattak View Post
      You've been paying for 5gb/mo since January. I don't think you guys knew that? Since January, anyone who's gone over 5GB in their billing cycle gets a warning and if they do it again they will shut off your service.

      If you go over 5GB, you need to invest in a computer and an internet connection because that is just unhealthy for yourself and your device.
      i used 5.4GB of data last month and my bill didn't have any extra chargers or warnings. Its really hard to use 5GB though, the only reason i did is because im jailbroken with 3G unrestricter and youtube, and free tethering. but my monthly average is about 3GB but its because i don't have wifi at home and im always on 3G
    1. GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL's Avatar
      GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL -
      I think they just throttle after a certain point
    1. fventura03's Avatar
      fventura03 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Yakattak View Post
      You've been paying for 5gb/mo since January. I don't think you guys knew that? Since January, anyone who's gone over 5GB in their billing cycle gets a warning and if they do it again they will shut off your service.

      If you go over 5GB, you need to invest in a computer and an internet connection because that is just unhealthy for yourself and your device.
      i'm close to using the 5gb this month, i stream shoutcast @ 192kbps for hours on end, while driving, biking, walking, even at work...

      does this mean they'll cancel me, and let me go without the ETF?
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      The FCC isn't going to do a damn thing if AT&T put bandwidth caps into place. They could care less. I don't care if they put a cap on it, but they better lower the price at the same time. I'll have a huge problem if they charge me for the max but I can't get it like I'm doing with 3G service after having to move to another state for work. And having Verizon as an iPhone carrier wouldn't change anything either. It makes me laugh that people actually think that the two would even come close to competing. They would simply say go to AT&T for cheaper plan but less coverage, or better coverage and higher price with Verizon.
    1. GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL's Avatar
      GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL -
      Quote Originally Posted by fventura03 View Post
      i'm close to using the 5gb this month, i stream shoutcast @ 192kbps for hours on end, while driving, biking, walking, even at work...

      does this mean they'll cancel me, and let me go without the ETF?

      Nope not that soon.. you'd have to use an inordinate amount of data for that to happen.
    1. ZOMGVTEK's Avatar
      ZOMGVTEK -
      ...Ugh.

      Theyre probably talking about me. :X

      Is 10-20GB a month a lot of data use for a mobile device? A single HD Podcast is 700-800MB... Its easy to rack up data use when you remove the silly 3G restrictions!
    1. KartRacer's Avatar
      KartRacer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Squeaky369 View Post
      So stop ******** about AT&T sucking so much, any other carrier would have has the same issues as they had/have. The rest of the world might have Tethering and MMS before us, but that's because they learned from our usage and issues, and made the upgrades before taking on the iPhone.
      So I shouldn't complain about entering into a contract for service with someone and then shut my mouth when they don't deliver on their end, while I honor the contract by paying in full and on time every month? You're an idiot. If you like getting screwed over then that's your problem, but you can go ahead and shut up about people complaining for not receiving what they pay for.


      I drop every call I make going TOWARDS the only cell tower within 15 miles of me. Every. Single. One. I don't find that acceptable, maybe you do though. I have my picture messages fail at least 75% of the time for no explainable reason. When paying 90 bucks a month my damn phone better work every single time I try to make a call. Anything less is unacceptable. AT&T would have a huge problem if I only paid 60% of my bill, so why should I be any different with how often my phone does what it should?
    1. cue180's Avatar
      cue180 -
      I understand the frustrations with AT&T, but who is to say that Verizon or T-Mobile could have handled all of the bandwidth demands if they were the loan carrier. I think if there were multiple carriers, many of these issues would be remedied automatically.
    1. Limegrntaln's Avatar
      Limegrntaln -
      AT&T and I quote "There is no 5GB cap on iPhone data, unlimited is unlimited" AT&T Facebook
    1. mgebara's Avatar
      mgebara -
      You guys could have it worse on AT&T. Down here in Australia one of the carriers that offers the iPhone has been nothing but a pain in he butt. They sell you on this "Timeless" plan which costs ~$115 a month and is advertised to include unlimited national calling, SMS and MMS with 1.5 gig data which sounds like a good plan right? It's true until you realize they charge for calling 1800 numbers at $1 a minute! In other words they woo you with no national long distance charges...but then charge for calling Toll-Free numbers! The worst part is you can't even complain to customer service without breaking the bank because they only way you can call them is over a 1800 number!

      Oh, and at least your calls go through on AT&T to who they're meant to. If you check out the whirlpool forums you'll see that people on the Optus network aren't just having their calls dropped, but they are being crossed with other conversations! It isn't that I can just hear other conversations, I'll be on a call and end up with someone else on the other end in the middle of the call.

      The iPhone is a great phone...the service providers just suck!
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      I'm having a little trouble trying to figure out how the hell people have the time to use 5gb of data a month on a cell phone. Do none of you work? If i was a boss and found you shoutcasting at the job...

      I can fathom it if you're tethering your laptop, but those of you who are using the 3g unrestrictor for youtube and then complaining about the laggy network performance don't have a leg to stand on for your arguments. Whether you agree with the rules or not, they were there for a reason, to not tie up the crappy network's bandwith. Maybe one day the network will be updated to actually handle the traffic we put on it, maybe it won't. If you like the device, shut up and pay like the rest of us. Nothing stops you for paying the exorbitant cancellation fee and switching to sprint, with its lack of phone flexibility, or T-Mo with its craptastic 2.5G Data Speeds. Verizon's data plan for the vx9800 (wife's phone) is 40 beans a month. Last time I checked, that didnt include tethering either. Stop dicking the rest of us over and use your device like the CASUAL web medium that it is supposed to be. Get a laptop and an aircard or STFU. No matter how you slice it, anything over 5 GB is absolutely excessive usage of bandwidth for a cellular device.

      To put this in perspective, I use pandora/orb for 80 minutes on the way to/from work (52.3 miles - plainsboro to parsippany) and have never come CLOSE to 5gb. I even installed 3g unrestrictor to install my app store updates OTA. Orb has a slider that I've kept at 3g because the streaming is more consistent at that setting. The extra fidelity you get is not worth the lagging songs you'd experience.

      This is me ranting, but basically you are complaining about usage that, by the contract you signed, the phone you bought is TECHNICALLY not supposed to be doing. The 5GB cap is not going to change, but the jerks who are abusing AT&T's oversight to basically use their phone as a goddamned cable modem for their apartment are probably going to have to find another option. If you can't deal - have fun with your HTC, which has no store you can replace your phone at with literally no questions asked... And from someone who had the original MDA w/T-Mo, followed by a TYTN and then a Tilt - that's a big deal.
    1. thetoothfairy's Avatar
      thetoothfairy -
      Well for me AT&T is making money on me. I hardly ever never use my data on my iphone. Why? Because I HATE edge! Most of the time I am at home and use wifi and still don't use wifi much either. The only time I do use the data is when I am on my way to Florida which is a 24 hour drive for us.

      In Florida I have 3G and don't use it much down there either.
    1. GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL's Avatar
      GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL -
      Your little article there is full of lies, and misinformation. If the iPhone was at Sprint or Verizon anyone that is unsatisfied would be switching.. but it's NOT so they CAN'T. You fail to realize the device is why people stay, not laziness. Verizon data for any EnV-device (I forgot what they called it before the EnV) is not $40 bucks, if they've got you paying that you're a sucker. I think the data on those now is like $20.
    1. ZOMGVTEK's Avatar
      ZOMGVTEK -
      Quote Originally Posted by Limegrntaln View Post
      AT&T and I quote "There is no 5GB cap on iPhone data, unlimited is unlimited" AT&T Facebook
      I dont know where the guy a few posts up got the idea of the 5GB limit from... Ive been using over 5GB since ive had my iPhone, 3G since its launch, and even more on my 3GS.

      Every phone bill I have shows 10-20GB of use, with my highest being last month at 26GB... But that was somewhat explained as I was using it as my sole mobile internet connection for 6 days. Its still burning hot from that trip, lol.

      I understand this is not normal use. But I dont see how I could not use over 5GB, even if the device was not jail broken.

      Never had ATT say a word to me, but im on a bill with 5 other iPhones that use next to NO data, so maybe they let it slide? I dont care regardless. I use the device as I see fit. The fact that no wireless providers have a true 'UNLIMITED' plan is insane. Most Unlimited plans are silently limited to 5GB, so im glad ATT isnt doing this currently... But Ive always felt they would implement a similar policy. Im just waiting for a multi thousand dollar bill to show up...

      I find it easy to use massive data. I live in a very good 3G zone, I can normally download at 200KB/s, which is extremely good for a mobile device. You dont want to see what i use a month on my standard ISP.