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Have You Noticed Slower Speeds on AT&T’s Old Unlimited Data Plan? It Might Not be Your Imagination!

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

I heard something about this the other day. If you are an AT&T Wireless customer with the old unlimited data plan you might be noticing slower download speeds. And some people aren’t happy!

I’ve been with AT&T for a very long time and have never had any problems and still don’t. Looks like this affects the top five percent of data users from a new AT&T policy that actually cuts those people’s data speeds to manage usage on the wireless networks — reducing download speeds by up to 99 percent.

So, a web page that normally takes about a second to load could take up to almost two minutes.

AT&T has roughly 17 million customers on “unlimited data” plans. My husband is one! They stopped offering the plan in 2010, but tons of people are grandfathered into the unlimited data plan. Now, At&T supposedly warned last year that it would start slowing speeds for people deemed the heaviest data users. Although, I don’t remember hearing about it.

Now please remember this does not affect most people! In today’s world of technology it’s important to know plans available and your cell phone habits, no matter what carrier you are with!

Some of these “high data users” are saying when they call to complain, customer service reps suggest to switch to one of those limited plans instead, and to use Wi-Fi when possible. Which by the way I do! I just got an iPhone and signed up for the smallest data plan, I’m nervous about the whole data thing just because I’ve never used this kind of thing before. My husband has the old unlimited plan but still tries to use Wi-Fi whenever possible which would make him not in the top 5%. He hasn’t noticed a difference on downloading speeds when he has been on the network.

To be fair:

Verizon also throttles its top 5 percent of users, but only if the cell tower they’re connected to is congested at the moment. When things clear up, speeds return to normal — but once AT&T throttles someone’s usage, it stays slow for the entire billing cycle.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said the company doesn’t actually throttle everyone in its top 5 percent of “unlimited” data users, only those in areas where the wireless network is congested that month. He said only 0.5 percent of customers, or about 200,000 people, were affected in January.

Technically, AT&T isn’t in breach of contract. They’re still providing unlimited data usage to throttled customers, even if the speeds are so slow that the phone is basically useless for anything but phone calls and texting.

“They just guaranteed the highway,” Tallman conceded. “They didn’t guarantee the speed limit.”

Are you with AT&T? Do you have the old unlimited plan? Have you noticed it slowing down?

[via The Tennessean]

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