data throttling Stories July 29, 2015

AT&T doesn’t want to be throttled for throttling customers

It seems AT&T thinks throttling the data speeds of customers without telling them about it isn’t such a big deal. The Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T back in 2014 for “deceptive and unfair data throttling” after the company imposed caps on unlimited data contracts, beyond which it reduced their data speeds by almost 90%. The Federal Communications Commission joined the party last month, fining AT&T $100 million – and The Hill reports that the carrier now wants that fine reduced to just $16,000.

The Commission’s findings that consumers and competition were harmed are devoid of factual support and wholly implausible,” the company wrote in its filing. “Its ‘moderate’ forfeiture penalty of $100 million is plucked out of thin air, and the injunctive sanctions it proposes are beyond the Commission’s authority.”

The FTC had stated that it could legally have imposed fines of $16,000 per affected consumer, but that would have resulted in an “astronomic” fine, so chose to limit the total penalty to one large enough to deter future violations. AT&T had originally claimed that it was doing nothing wrong, but Ars Technica notes that the company amended its policy in May so that throttling was applied only when the network was congested.

AT&T has not offered unlimited data plans to new customers for some years, but has a small-ish group of customers who remain on grandfathered plans which remain valid for as long as the customer retains the plan.

Apple last month removed subsidies from both AT&T and Verizon iPhones, moving to plans where customers pay the full cost of the phone on an installment plan.

Photo: Re/code

data throttling Stories October 28, 2014

[tweet https://twitter.com/ftc/status/527143324269170688]

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced that it is suing AT&T for “deceptive and unfair data throttling”. The FTC’s announcement seems to target AT&T’s practice of lowering data transfer speeds for customers with unlimited data plans versus customers with tiered data plans now offered. From the FTC’s press release:

“AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited.”

AT&T has called the FTC’s allegations baseless adding that the carrier has been “completely transparent” with its subscribers.

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data throttling Stories August 13, 2014

In the world of wireless, words like “unlimited data” have their restrictions if you take the time to read the fine print of a carrier’s service agreement and it appears that T-Mobile is not exempt from such practices. An alleged internal memo obtained by TmoNews details how the company will address customers suspected of using its network to access peer-to-peer file sharing services.

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data throttling Stories January 17, 2012

UPDATE [Tuesday, January 17. 2012 at 2:29pm ET]: An AT&T spokesperson chimed in with a comment noting that “throttling only applies to top users with grandfathered unlimited plans”. The full quote is included at the article bottom.

AT&T and other major carriers in the United States recently instituted data throttling and began limiting network speeds for the top 5 percent of data-hungry users. Carriers around the world tend to hide data throttling in fine print, so users are in for a surprise when they find out that their unlimited plan entails data throttling once a carrier-imposed ceiling is reached (usually 1GB per month). Throttling is not something worth losing sleep over until it hits you. For starters, throttling reduces your downlink speed by a factor of 10 or more. Depending on your carrier’s network, this means your throttled downlink will drop all the way down to a paltry 0.1MBps. What you might not have known is how badly throttling affects the user experience on your device… expand full story

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