AT&T today has revealed a slight change to how it is handling throttling users grandfathered into unlimited data plans. Up until today, AT&T has throttled unlimited data users when they hit 5GB of usage and are in a congested area. As a reader has pointed out to us this evening, however, the carrier has updated its website with a new policy for throttling those on an unlimited data plans…

Starting today, users on an unlimited data plan will only be throttled when they go over 22GB of data usage and are in a congested area. This means that users will get more than 4 times the amount of data than the previously received. Should users surpass the 22GB in a billing period, they’ll only be throttled when in congested areas like heavy populated cities and events. In all other situations, users will receive unthrottled, unlimited data.

To provide the best possible user experience for all of our customers, AT&T has established certain network management practices.

In line with common industry standards, our network management practices assure that our network resources are used for the benefit of all our mobile broadband customers especially during periods when network demand exceeds available network resources (also known as “congestion”).

As you would expect, these network management practices have continued to evolve over time to benefit our customers and take advantage of the billions we have spent to expand and augment our networks. As a result of this evolution, we recently revised our practices such that Unlimited Data Plan smartphone customers can now use 22GB of high-speed data during a billing period before becoming subject to network management practices that might result in reduced data speeds and increased latency.

AT&T has long been criticized for its unlimited data plans not being “truly unlimited,” but with today’s change, customers now receive a significant amount more of data. Of course, the carrier no longer offers unlimited data plans, so today’s change only applies to those who are grandfathered into the plan. Nevertheless, it’s a welcoming, if not overdue, change for those users.

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