AT&T has been unsuccessful in kicking customers off their unlimited plans

July 22, 2014

AT&T Trottles Unlimited Data Plans nbcbayarea

AT&T eliminated their unlimited data plans for new customers in 2010. A year later, AT&T told those customers with an unlimited data plan that they would have their plans throttled if they consumed enough data to put them in the top 5 percent of the heaviest data users in a billing period.

AT&T never bothered trying to show that the top 5 percent were actually slowing down the network. In reality, AT&T was telling those on unlimited data plans to switch to AT&T’s metered tiers where throttling did not occur.

Therefore, AT&T was telling customers that if they pay $30 for “unlimited” service, you were getting just 2 GB’s of data before your phone was heavily throttled to unusable speeds. However, you could pay the exact same price for an AT&T tiered data plan ($30 for 3 GB of data) which allowed a customer to get hit hard with overage fees.

forcedoutofunlimitedplan

It is 2014 and still 44% of AT&T customers are on grandfathered unlimited plans.

As GigaOM notes:

“The report uses data from a survey of 500 people to estimate what proportion of subscribers to the big four carriers are on unlimited data plans. CISP’s survey, however, contradicts AT&T’s own numbers which state that “81% of smartphones are on metered plans.” Aside from AT&T, of course, Sprint and T-Mobile, both of which highlight unlimited data in their marketing, have 78% of their customers on unlimited plans. Verizon has the smallest proportion of unlimited plans at 22% of its customers, partially due to a less forgiving grandfathering policy which requires subscribers to give up their unlimited data when upgrading their device.” - GigaOM

What makes this story even more remarkable is that AT&T has spent the last four years pulling out all tricks of the trade in getting unlimited data users off their plans.

  • Jailbreak your phone? Off unlimited
  • Tether unofficially? Off unlimited
  • Use unsanctioned mobile hotspot apps? Off unlimited
  • Seem to be a heavy user? Off unlimited
  • Want to use data monitoring tools? Off unlimited
  • Used AT&T’s phone insurance/warranty plans? Off unlimited
  • Want to use Facetime? Off unlimited
  • Are you breathing? AT&T will gladly kick you off unlimited without telling you!

Comments

  • rickrom

    corporate f**king america! goddamn crooks!

  • bolski

    So far, still on Big Red and still unlimited. Have purchased two phones since my final upgrade with Verizon (Droid X2) and I’m still unlimited. Not leaving unlimited any time soon and not going to go to AT&T if I switch carriers.

  • Prox

    i love t-mo

    • AndroidBrian

      I’ve had T-Mobile for over a decade. There crooks too.

      • Le Grammar Nazi

        They’re

      • TDN

        They may be crooks, but at least they are more open about it. They don’t try to hide the fact that the subsidization for your $600 phone is hidden in your monthly bill and continue to charge you full price after you have fulfilled your two year contract and thus paid for your phone in full.

        I advise everyone I know on AT&T or Verizon to upgrade as soon as possible, because otherwise they are still paying for their old device.

        • Jesster King

          Before I upgraded from the iPhone 4 to the 5, there was a couple months where I had fulfilled the contract and they sent me a letter saying thanks and encouraging me to upgrade and renew my contract, they also let me know my bill would be less and it was since I wasn’t subsidizing my phone any more. I assume there was a failure of some sort with your account, whether it was a true error or one meant to be made, we’ll probably never know.

    • kgb kgbb

      They’re the cheapest around, but coverage SUCKS, so we dropped them long ago.

  • Corey Watford

    “It is 2014 and still 44% of AT&T customers are on grandfathered unlimited plans.” I very much doubt this, I sell att and only find at most 5% of subscribers still have unlimited plans

    • dsDoan

      AT&T stated 19% of their smartphone users are on unlimited plans.

    • Lith

      I worked for AT&T and found at least 70% of my customers had unlimited data plans.

      It all depends on where you live. ;)

  • dsDoan

    There was a loophole allowing anyone to add unlimited data, long after AT&T stopped offering it, by using iTunes and the original iPhone. I’m not sure this method still works, but I’m sure it accounts for many people currently having unlimited data on AT&T.

    • Nelson Karrick

      haha when I worked for them, and the unlimited plan went away, I used this trick to help a few friends get unlimited.

  • Victoria

    And I thought the Phone companys in my country were bad, this, this is just pure evil.

    • Lith

      Verizon and AT&T both do the same thing. In fact, we should have an article ABOUT BOTH of them (rather than one at a time.)

      • Victoria

        If they are this bad, why don’t people do something? In my country no one would even consider buying something else than an unlimited program.

        • Gerald Drye

          It’s called corporate lobbying and the mighty American dollar

        • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

          In my case, no matter how crappy the coverage is, they are still the only carrier with signal here. I’ve had friends here with Verizon and Sprint that had to drive a mile to get a signal.

          • Victoria

            Well if that’s the case, it sucks. My luck is that my country is so small that you get signal literally everywhere.

      • http://www.androidauthority.com/author/wneilsonjr/ William Neilson Jr.

        I only have so much time.

  • Xavier_NYC

    I’ll die before they take my Unlimited Data.. I’ve been with AT&T since 2006 and haven’t left yet because I didn’t want to lose it.

    • msk

      You probably are not using more than 5 gigs. Otherwise you’d see the throttling come in to affect.

      • Xavier_NYC

        I used 5 gigs in 2 weeks and they sent me a little letter so now I play nice and try not to go too much over 2GB. Wish we had the Korean networks……..

        • Gerald Drye

          Korea has 40 million customers according to wiki. United States has about 300 minion combines AT&T alone has more than 100 million. Careful what u wish for spectrum isn’t unlimited

          • Xavier_NYC

            Good point.

          • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

            That’s why you lobby the FTP to open up more frequency ranges.
            And, all of the carriers wimped out and screwed us over by complaining that the 4G standards were to high. No carrier today has true 4G by the standards that were originally set of 100Mb to a client in motion and 1GB to a stationary client with full IP6 implementation. If they had, the could have stopped rolling out fiber to homes and put the money into that and been able to sell everyone a decently priced, 100Mb Truly unlimited Wireless data, even for home. They didn’t want to spend the money needed to make it happen.

          • xoj_21

            in here there is only 1 million users, 1gb caps no data after that, then 128kbps
            4g advertised its not even 5mbps

          • $/G/R !

            United states is like 100 times bigger then Korea…so customers are properly distributed..
            Spectrum might not be unlimited…but data on spectru surely is unlimited.. with better infrastructure everything is possible

    • McHale72

      I was with Cellular One which became Cingular which became AT&T since 1993. I haven’t been happy with them since AT&T took them over.

      • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

        Ditto. We were with Bellsouth Mobility before the Cingular merge. Cingular wasn’t that bad. But, once it became AT&T, customer service just went down the crapper. They SAY they care. But, actions speak louder than words.

      • Gerald Drye

        AT&T never took over cellular one. Cellular one bought AT&T wireless and bought the rights to the AT&T name so the company u loved before is the same company as it is now. Just with a different name

    • sluflyer06

      I started with them in 2002 when I moved out of Florida for college but I long ago ditched my unlimited plan because what good is a “unlimited” plan that throttles at 2GB. Got a great deal through them anyway 10GB +2 lines of unlimited talk/text for $115.

      • Xavier_NYC

        Yeah I agree but at the same time with Unlimited they will throttle me if I go over 2GB but on the other hand if I was paying for only 2GB and went over that I’d get charged extra money.. Also I had Tmobile back in 2005 but they were just terrible then.. Not sure how they are now.

  • Eurasianman

    Just do what Verizon did. When customer’s want to use their upgrades, push them on tiered data plans. If Verizon can do it, why can’t AT&T? Not that I would want them too. I was on AT&T, but do to their coverage, I switched to Verizon. Still have unlimited data, but at a cost (I do not use my ‘upgrade’ and just buy my phone outright. Kind of like T-Mobile’s current plans, if you think about it).

    Just my $0.02.

    • Lith

      They can’t because of the contractual agreements that were made when they signed up for service.

      Plus, they’d lose a crap load of customers.

    • TDN

      Unfortunately that means you are still paying for your phone you got on your original plan with Verizon. But, that also means you still have unlimited data, a fairly reasonable trade off.

      • Eurasianman

        Almost like T-Mobile’s plan, although, I just buy my phone outright upfront and I only have unlimited text and data. And thanks to my discount, it would cost me just as much at T-Mobile as it does for me now at Verizon, minus the awesome coverage and LTE network of Verizon (personal opinion).

  • msk

    I have the at&t unlimited plan, as soon as I crossed the 5gig mark the last 2 months, and got throttled to 0.5mbps. You can’t even watch a youtube video with 0.5mbps

    • dsDoan

      .5 meg/sec is plenty for most basic online functions: web browsing, turn-based games, email, chat, downloading small apps, etc. It’s certainly a better alternative to either no longer using online functionality for the remainder of the month, or paying ridiculous overage fees.

    • McHale72

      Ironically, that’s about what my AT&T DSL speed is half of the time. I pay for 6 megs (what other pay for 20 to 50 megs from Comcast).

    • Sinan Cagrı Kurt

      You should be able to watch 144p and 240p videos on YouTube with that speed. I can watch videos even edge(144 and 240) I turned off 3g.

  • Gerald Drye

    Whoa whoa!! Wait. Do not believe anything that u read. I know that u can assume that even with my reply here but let me break down how this article is very misleading. First of all. When on an unlimited data plan for a non LTE phone u get throttled at 3gb of data not two. When on LTE then that cap goes up to 5GB.

    second look at the picture on the graph and I’ll point out a few things. So this is an online upgrade that is being preformed which shows correct he needed a different data plan. THE NEW AUTO SELECTED DATA PLAN IS STILL UNLIMITED!!!! When you go from android to iPhone or to blackberry the phone is provisioned differently. Unlimited iPhone data plan is provisioned than android. Same with blackberry, look a lil bit lower in the picture where u see the discount came off of “data plan iPhone” which means that is an unlimited data plan. Not only was he grandfathered into the plan the discount comes off the data plan as well. The new we capped planes does not get discounted which is further proof this article is misleading

    You can jail break your iPhone and be unlimited. You can add insurance and warranty if ur unlimited (what does apple care about your data plan they warranty the phone), you can use data monitoring tools and keep it. (AT&T own official app has several data monitoring features, and the face time feature in unlimited plans has been activated for years.

    All in all again this article is very misleading don’t listen to it at all the main reason why AT&T still had a high customer unlimited plan presence is because they do not have the policies to do so like verizon. Want to upgrade? Must be apart of verizon new plans, AT&T does not have those. Actually the newer plans most likely lower the cellular bill which employees get docked on from commission so why change it? I will gladly let you keep it than to lower your bill and take money out my pocket! (Unlimited data plan users have the highest bills

    • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

      I’ve had Unlimited Data since my BB8700 in 2008. Once 3G rolled out, and I got my BB9000 Bold, Data would be throttled from 3G to 2G speeds at 2GB and I would get a warning text message. I’ve lived it. The article is right on that point.

      • Gerald Drye

        Once we switched from 2GB To 3GB the cap was raised on unlimited plans

        • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

          Uhh… Maybe that’s what they told you in the talking points memo’s they sent around to staff. But, it’s not what happened in reality. I still get a warning text every month when I hit the 2Gb Mark on LTE or HSDPA. Not just me, several people in my office (iPhone, BB, Android, Windows phone…)

          • Gerald Drye
          • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

            Point to all the WORDS you want. It does not change the fact that I still get throttled at 2Gb every month. I still get a warning Txt at 2Gb every month. And, I have several co-workers that get the same.
            I’ve pointed that very article out in my MANY calls to your customer service department and, instead of trying to FIX the problem, they try to sell me on a metered plan.
            Actions speak louder than words. The ACTIONS of AT&T are that they do not care about providing to their customers the level of service their own words say they should.
            Unless you can FIX the problem for many of us that have been in the system dealing with this for years, you are just blowing hot air my friend.

          • TDN

            Can I “upvote” this post more than once? Because seriously.
            +infinity

            At least T-Mo has the balls to tell their customers that pay for the lower tiers that they are going to be throttled to Edge (2G) once they hit their 4G limit.

    • M3D1T8R

      Sorry I couldn’t read your propoganda (I assume) post past the first paragraph due to your 13-year-old-like insistence on using the letter “u” instead of “you”. Makes it hard to read, for slightly literate or better people anyway. Edit your comment and correct this, and I will read it.

      • Gerald Drye

        Did u read the article? Oh sorry “you” because if you read the article then you can read my post, I’d rather in many cases read more literature based on facts than care about alternate spelling

  • Gerald Drye

    Lastly one thing. Like tmobile we are heading toward the no contract way of life meaning that keeping an unlimited data plan will mean buying one phone twice (subsidies plus next payment) so my warning is to keep on the look out for that. I personally want unlimited plans back and there is a way as consumers instead of complaining use your power supply vs demand. We de
    mand unlimited plans if u want us as customers supply it. Yes tmobile has it but they also have a cheap network and AT&T is business heavy so we can’t afford to have a horrible network like tmobile. But I like what they are doing. End of my rant. So to sum it up. AT&T isn’t unsuccessful in losing unlimited data plans they just don’t care about the fact that they have it

    • Pitahson

      All tmobile doesn’t have is much coverage. Everything else works great, even better than att and Verizon in certain areas

      • Gerald Drye

        Less customers = less congestion like I mentioned earlier spectrum isn’t unlimited, let AT&T and tmobile swap customer bases and tmobile network would crumble. While AT&T network would hit insane numbers, and remember AT&T hasn’t opened up a second lane for data yet for lte still in the 700 range. Tmobile and Verizon had to open up lanes to up their speeds. If AT&T were to do that the crown would come back as far as speeds

        • Pitahson

          You’re right

  • Jonathan Kramer

    Since I work from home and am on WiFi most of the time, the Mobile Share plan was actually a GREAT money saver since I wasn’t using anywhere near the amount of data I was paying $30/mo for.. Like all things in Life, it’s best not to generalize or categorize.. And now that my contact is up, I have the freedom to find the BEST carrier, phone and plan :)

  • pops87

    Ha. Halfway thru my billing cycle and approaching 12 gigs. T-Mo rocks.

  • Faisal Khan
  • Douglas

    I average close to 30-40 gigabytes a month. Thanks unlimited Verizon. Lol

    • Gerald Drye

      ….the reason why unlimited plans went away

      • wezi427

        They offered it. I’m with Verizon I have unlimited as well, but I don’t burn as much as the others have mentioned. I run off of WiFi when I can, but I don’t restrict myself.

      • Neo Morpheus

        If you really believe that, I have a nice bridge to sell you.

        • wezi427

          The mighty dollar is the reason.

          • Gerald Drye

            My point exactly. I responded that in a post just a few ago

        • Gerald Drye

          If there was a neighbor next to Douglas who has AT&T he would not get signal if he uses that much at home look up spectrum and see how it works and u would understand and give me a free bridge

          • M3D1T8R

            Supremely confident – dare I say hubristic, at minimum arrogant – in your ignorance. How sad.
            By the way, please stop writing “u”. Please start using periods.

          • $/G/R !

            HUh…that makes no sense… you are telling me i get slow internet speed cz my neighbor uses internet….
            should i be telling at&t to upgrade their network or should i be telling my neighbor to slow down.

      • besweeet

        Not really… If you happen to live in an area where the cell is hardly loaded, then it’s not like it would affect anyone in a real-world sense.

      • M3D1T8R

        Actually it’s entirely due to carrier greed.

  • James Sarino

    Is it me, or does this site loves to bash AT&T, but hardly a peep to the other three carriers?

    • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

      They do hit AT&T hard, but they also hit Verizon pretty hard to (Call them Big Red). Not as much as they hit on AT&T though. However, as someone stuck using AT&T due to coverage options, I can tell you that AT&T has earned the bashing. I’ve ended too many calls to their customer support with “F__k Off!” and hanging up on them. And, I feel every time I did it, the person on the other end deserved it.

      • Gerald Drye

        Don’t know if anyone deserves language like that but what was the issue that u were having that got u so upset

        • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

          -Constant dropped calls.
          -Constantly not getting text and MMS messages until 2 or 3 hours after they were sent by another AT&T customer.
          -90% of the time when I’m at home, my phone never rings when someone calls. I just get an alert of a new voice mail with NO MISSED call alert.
          -I can sit in my chair at home and watch my phone go from LTE to 4G, to 3G to EDGE, back to LTE, back to EDGE, down to GSM, back to 4G, back to GSM… And, your customer service reps try to tell me I don’t know how to use the phone. I’ve been complaining about this with my BB8700, BB9000, BB9700, Atrix 4g, Samsung s2 Skyrocket, Galaxy S3, and now my S5 Active…
          -Constantly being throttled at 2Gb on an unlimited plan (Despite what you keep trying to say).
          -Being told by customer service reps that I don’t know what I’m talking about when I tell them that my phone has been rebooted and it’s still showing me on EDGE in an area I should be getting LTE. I was even told by one person that I must be reading the display wrong. I told them they had to think really poor of me if I couldn’t tell the 4 lette word EDGE from the LTE symbol.
          -Being billed for MMS/TXT when I’m on an unlimited TXT plan only to have to deal with waiting on them to correct and credit my bill about 3 times a year (They always say “Hmmm, you shouldn’t have gotten billed for that. Let me issue a bill credit.”)
          -CONSTANTLY pestering me to give up the unlimited data knowing I use at least 4GB a month, every month.
          -The tower closest to my home goes down about twice a year and they won’t do anything about it. (I do live in a rural area)
          -Getting calls from sales reps arguing with me that they can’t process my order unless I give up my unlimited data even though I’m on the list that is supposed to prevent your sales department from calling and texting me.
          Now, take all of that into consideration and realize that just about every operator I talk to when I call in is RUDE, CONDESENDING and acts like they could care less about my business. I didn’t say I ended EVERY CALL that way. But, just having to end ONE call with customer service with “F__k Off” is way too many. In my case, it’s about every 3rd or 4th time I call in.

          • Gerald Drye

            I can assure u that there are no policies that make customers give up unlimited data plans, but then again I’m in a store not a call center, but that is something I never heard of before. I’m not saying ur lying about it. But never heard about those calls personally

          • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

            Well, they happen EVERYTIME I upgrade, even if I go to store, I get a “Courtesy Call” about it the next day. You say you don’t know about the calls? Well, there is an old saying when it comes to talking about something you don’t know about… “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” — And, for the record, the people in the retention department know about those calls. The woman I talked to said that they are doing all they can to “Encourage people to get off the unlimited data plans.” Her Words.

          • M3D1T8R

            I feel ya. Not as many issues as you seem to have, and I’m on Verizon. I also live in a rural area, can barely get a signal, and only then through an elaborate, expensive signal amplifier and external antennas system I built. One honest suggestion: A lot of your devices are from Samsung. They are one of if not the worst at signal/antenna strength. Consider Motorola, and second, HTC. Both a heckuva lot better. Good luck.

          • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

            Actually, I’ve had 3 Samsungs and ALL 3 have done better then the Motorola I had. Heck, the old BlackBerry devices I had did better than the Motorola.
            I have a friend with the HTC One M7. He likes the look of it and that’s it. (FYI – it doesn’t pick up any better than the Samsung S5 Active when we go fishing together.)

          • M3D1T8R

            Yeah it probably varies somewhat by specific device. My current HTC DNA is a lot better than my old Galaxy S3, which was a lot better than the G.Nexus (worst all time, that) But in general this is why I won’t consider a Samsung device any more (well, that and their buttons). It’s true though my mom’s Motorola Barrage (old rugged flip phone) still gets better signal than anything.
            One more suggestion, look for an app called “Phone Info”, which allows you to manually change which radio band(s) you want to connect to. Experiment with it and it might be of use. You may be able to force your phone to stay on a certain band (like LTE) when you’re at home for example.
            Like you, I’ve been through so many miserable phone conversations with CSR over the years, finally have things set up and working decent, so I just try to avoid them as much as possible and figure out my own solutions.

          • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

            Thanks, I’ll look up that app. I used to LOVE Motorola phones back in the 90’s when I worked at Radio Shack… I had a bag phone, then a StarTac, Then some Blue one from T-Moble that I don’t remember the model, then a Razr… LOVED THEM. Until they started making Android devices.
            Interestingly enough, the buttons on the Samsungs are a feature I love. One of the reasons I went with the S5 Active over the regular S5 was for the physical buttons.
            FYI- On the Samsung, it’s Samsung’s radio drivers, not the hardware that’s crappy. On my S2 Skyrocket and S3, I rooted both and moved them to Cyanogen Mod, played with a few radio drivers and found ones that really improved the signal. But, I’m still dealing with AT&T and poor coverage. You know what they say about polishing a turd.

    • wezi427

      They slam Verizon any chance they get, most of it is justified.

    • http://www.androidauthority.com/author/wneilsonjr/ William Neilson Jr.

      When I wrote about T-Mobile last week, I hated T-Mobile and only T-Mobile.

      When I wrote against Verizon this week, I hate Verizon and only Verizon.

      Now I write about AT&T and I hate AT&T and only AT&T

      I am not sure I can win

      • James Sarino

        It could be the perception I’m seeing when I visit the site. You did write two other articles putting down both Verizon and T-Mobile a week ago…but then two AT&T articles within days of each other (http://www.androidauthority.com/att-wants-level-playing-field-rules-benefit-407034/) and no disparaging articles on anyone else. It could just be timing when I see the articles every time I browse through. I realize you and the other writers are doing your job to report such things about carriers, and I can hate on carriers just as much as the next guy. It just looks lopsided to me.

        • http://www.androidauthority.com/author/wneilsonjr/ William Neilson Jr.

          I understand. I can tell you though that I really have nothing against any of the companies.

          • Gerald Drye

            You should write more factual articles I have challenged this article and u haven’t not once responded to me with points to validate your argument. I get it. Everyone wants unlimited data. I want it as well. But don’t make up a story that isn’t true to prove that point.

          • http://www.androidauthority.com/author/wneilsonjr/ William Neilson Jr.

            What points exactly should I respond to?

          • Aaron Cross

            How hard Gerald is sucking on AT&T ‘ S “data throttle”.

          • Gerald Drye

            I’m not sucking hard on it. Just saying that the company has nothing out there that forces us to get people off unlimited data. And I mentioned earlier how I would love myself to have unlimited data, but that’s not my call to make

          • Jimmy1259

            I upgraded from my Note 1 to the Note 3 a few months ago. I didn’t have any problem keeping my unlimited plan. Also I have never noticed being throttled. My only problem is the terrible coverage where i’m at now. Working construction I stay away from home around 11 months a year. That’s the reason I carry a Verizon phone also. The way I look at it is if there is a signal available, I can make a call.

          • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

            He works for AT&T (Store rep as he has mentioned) and you’ve hurt his feeling by making a trench run at the death star’s exhaust port. He believes he can just keep saying “There is no port! It’s a Lie” and the rebels will all go home.

          • Gerald Drye

            I left a comment like two days ago that basically cleared up some things that you wrote incorrectly. You should take a look at it

          • http://www.androidauthority.com/author/wneilsonjr/ William Neilson Jr.

            Summarize them for me. I have no issue correcting anything that I wrote which is not correct.

      • TDN

        No, you can’t win, unfortunately. When you point out the flaws of anything that someone else likes, they claim favoritism or blind hatred. This is the nature of the beast.

        Just keep doing what you are doing and giving us the information and we will make our own biased/unbiased decisions and complain that you don’t like the [enter carrier/device/whatever] that we do.

  • McHale72

    I lost my Unlimited with Unlimited Text for $20 a LONG time ago. But then they put me on an unlimited data with 200 text/mms for $20 which is a non-smartphone plan. When I got it, it wasn’t called a “non-Smartphone” plan. They day they kick me off of it is the day I go to T-Mobile and tell AT&T to shove it up their AT&T.

    • Gerald Drye

      The best unlimited data plan was the blackberry one. It was unlimited data and text for $45 a month. I still get jealous when I see that plan

  • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

    When I tried to upgrade to the S5 Active last month online, I ordered on a Friday night. I called in to make sure that the order would be processed to carry over my Grandfathered Unlimited data. (And, Gerald, I’ve had Unlimited Data since my BB8700 in 2008 – It’s always been throttled at 2GB). I was assured when the girl looked at the order and I went to bed. Saturday afternoon, I was called by a “Sales Rep” that said they couldn’t process my order unless I gave up the unlimited data. We argued for 10 minutes as I went through this with my last 2 upgrades… I threatened to cancel the order, he passed me to another rep that argued… 45 minutes of arguing with 3 different people, I called 611, got a rep, had her cancel the order and put me through to the “Retention Department” because I wanted to cancel my service. Last time I went this route, they saw I’ve been a customer for 12 years and gave me a discount to keep the service and honored the unlimited data (This department usually has more “Umph” to save accounts). They apologized and told me my number was released to go to another carrier…. They didn’t even care to keep my business.
    I spent the next week shopping carriers and NO ONE else has reliable service in my area (Where I live) other than AT&T.
    So, the following Friday, I went to a store and dealt with them. They gave me a free bumper case for my S5 Active and let me keep the unlimited data without any further fuss.

    • Mista_Mr

      Congratulations! You are now on their target list!! LOL!!

      • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

        I’ve been on their list. They SOLD me a “Micro Cell” in 2011 to try to make connectivity at home better. But, the dang thing made it worse. The only Broadband I can get out there is AT&T DSL running at under 1Mb… The Micro Cell couldn’t say synch’d. They didn’t want to refund it either. Oh, we had some FUN times on the phone with that one!

    • adamhs

      That’s a little odd. I’m on the unlimited data plan with AT&T as well and I’ve never had an issue with upgrading (after my contract had expired), the previous 2 times I walked into a store and told them which phone I wanted. No issues.

      This most recent time – I bought a T-Mobile branded Motorola Moto X, many people said that there should be no issues using it on AT&T network, when you activate it just make sure they don’t change the device IMEI. Which I told the employee at the store not to change it, she did anyway and couldn’t get data to work on my phone. In an effort to get my phone to work she tried several times including removing my data plan and adding it back. Finally she went back and did what I suggested in the first place, changed the device IMEI in my account back to ld my OLD phone. Except I didn’t notice until days later that she removed my unlimited plan and added one of the tiered plans. I called customer service and they put me back on the unlimited data plan without any issues whatsoever, not even any push back. This happened a few months ago.

      • Lith

        You CAN go into a store and keep unlimited.

        You CANNOT go online and keep unlimited without it being a pain in the ass.

        Source: I used to work for them.

        • adamhs

          Ah…thanks for the clarification. Any ideas as to why that policy is in place? Nobody at the store tried to “sell” me anything nor get me to change my plan.

      • Gerald Drye

        Key point. “I just walked into a store”

    • Gerald Drye

      Honestly I was going to reply something but u took the words out of my mouth like I said i work the retail store and I NEVER took a customer off the unlimited data plan now some request it just because mobile share value is a lot cheaper so they take it, just go to the stores and take care of business. We may be limited sometimes but we are compassionate with issues which makes us #1 in Jd power

      • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

        In 14 years, with numerous issues, I’ve never had anyone, not even in a store, be “Compassionate.” The sales rep that did my upgrade made me feel like they were giving me the case to shut me up. They were very condescending, just like every AT&T rep I’ve dealt with. And, honestly, go back and look at your posts here… Much like you’ve been. Defending the company “Policy” without offering up solutions or apologizing for your fellow AT&T staffers that have caused me so much grief. To me, you are just another person in a shirt with a Death Star logo on the breast.

        • Gerald Drye

          Then you should come to my store. I wish I could show you the scores I get from customers “the text messages you get after service” last year I lead my district. I get cakes made, Starbucks all because I always go an extra mile in my service, I’ll continue to do so because it’s the type of person I am. I’m not defending policies just stating facts that the article seems to ignore. It’s very easy to write something and start a mob, it’s blind leading and the writer should have more integrity than to state false claims.

          • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

            You’ve yet to post any facts disputing the article. You “Claim” we don’t get throttled at 2GB, but it happens to many of us. Maybe it’s a fluke in the system because our accounts are grandfathered back to the 2G/3G days? But, you would think after many many phone calls and complaints, someone would take the time to figure it out.
            You keep saying most of what he wrote is false. Yet, spend some time in the real world and talk to more AT&T users than just those that wonder through the doors of your store. You will find that what he wrote is true.

            Back when I was on the CrackBerry forums, I knew several people that got their Unlimited data canceled for jail breaking iPhones, or teathering their BB’s without a tethering plan. Heck, you say that doesn’t happen, but read your own companies fine print on the contracts you make people sign. IT’S RIGHT IN THERE THAT THEY CAN! I got a nasty letter from them in 2009 because they accused me of “Jail Breaking” and I wasn’t even using an iPhone. I was on a BB9000 Bold, but had flashed a newer ROM from a compatible UK carrier since AT&T was 6+ months behind rolling out their branded official update.

            My fiancé had unlimited on all 3 phones. Her son broke his Android in 2012 and she got it warranty replaced. Guess what? They canceled his unlimited data just like the article says. She went to a store and pitched a big enough fit about it they put it back. But, it happened. And, even you would agree than it shouldn’t have happened.

            PLEASE… Don’t sit here and put the writer down just SAYING he wrote false things… PROVE him wrong. Because, everything on that list, you can find many people complaining about it actually happening to them. Including being kicked off unlimited for no reason with no warning (As he put it to interject humor, just for breathing!).

          • Gerald Drye

            I never said he was wrong with teathering a phone will cause u to lose unlimited data, he’s correct on that it is officially written. As far as warrenty, they don’t even change the plan to put in the process, so how can you lose it? The only thing I can think of in your situation is the fact that your imei isn’t provisioned for your new phone, that’s why they throttle you earlier than they are supposed to. That’s just a shot in the dark tho, if your phone says LTE then that throws that theory out of the window. I’m not doubting you have that problem, or problems, even if I could there is no way anyone I know of can make a call and give a number and say this phone gets throttled too early. That’s why I told you earlier I would be stuck in your situation, I can’t contact the CEO. And the picture the author used to validate his claim even points to the fact that he kept his unlimited data plan. So he gave proof on his own with that.

          • http://wolfpaddling.wordpress.com Robby Roberts

            He never said you couldn’t keep it, he’s just like me, you have to put up a big fight. That’s just wrong. They take any excuse to take it away, and, if you raise enough of a stink, they cave in and give it back. IT SHOULDN’T BE THAT WAY!

            Here’s an article from 2012 backing up what he says, and also proving that they terminate unlimited data for warranty claims: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/ATT-Pays-Price-for-War-on-Grandfathered-Unlimited-Data-Users-121942

            Read that… it doesn’t say they throttle you at 3Gb, it says they will throttle the “Highest 5% of users”… That means they can throttle us at 1Gb, if we are in the top 5%.
            The FCC got involved, so I don’t know if they are STILL killing unlimited data for warranty/insurance claims. But, they have done it. Their statement was the issue was fixed in 2010, but my fiancé had it happen in 2012.

            FACTS.

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  • Dimitrios Kirkos

    Which clearly demonstrates why providing unlimited data in a wireless
    (aka shared medium) network is a bad idea, unless you have a massive
    network with an insane number of micro-cells to support all the traffic.

    And of course customers won’t get off their unlimited plans. They get a better price-per-GB the
    more traffic they generate, compared to other mobile contracts.

    • M3D1T8R

      The carriers could easily upgrade their equipment to handle greater usage with some of the billions in profits they are raking in each quarter.

      • Dimitrios Kirkos

        …if the US didn’t have a broken spectrum policy. You can’t just put a new antenna. You have to own unused spectrum in that region. In other countries, carriers can buy spectrum on a nationwide basis. You can’t just put a new microcell. There are all kinds of laws regarding were microcells can be placed.

  • adamhs

    AT&T should also note that I, as well as 99% of their other customers grandfathered into their unlimited data plan, are only “loyal” to AT&T so long as we have our unlimited data plans. The moment I no longer have it, is the moment I start shopping around with their competitors.

    • Unicorn Drank

      That is exactly the only reason I am still with AT&T.

  • Wolf0491

    I get throttled at 5gb and I can always tell when it happens although it’s usually just for a day or so when I do it. I haven’t had a problem tethering either. My phone doesn’t have LTE but I had a phone that did so I guess that’s why they let me go to 5.
    I also don’t ever use phones att sells.

  • haafunimienaikedo .

    Thank you for this article, so I know to avoid AT&T if I go back to the states. In Japan, I pay $70.00 a month for thirty minutes of talk time plus unlimited LTE including wifi tether. After 7 GB we are throttled to 128kbs, but you can buy additional data in 2GB increments for $20.00.

    • Aaron Cross

      And you think AT&T is bad? Lololol Unlimited talk and text, free tethering and hotspot, 10 gb data on 2 phones, 160$. It is hard but still, never been throttled or anything and I can add a couple lines free and it stays the same.

      • M3D1T8R

        Good lord what a ripoff.

  • xoj_21

    same thing here, claro panamá doing the same bullshit.

  • FCEEVIPER

    The only reason I stay with Sprint. F#$k ATT and Verizon.

  • Wudien

    still have unlimited with ATT. thankfully. but i do get throttled. i did tether, and they caught me, and TRIED to throw me off of unlimited, but were unsuccessful.

  • mgfjd12

    I switched my unlimited to the cheaper plans and I’m paying half of the price with three phones. Wifi being everywhere we don’t even get close to 7 gb. Thanks att for the great new next plans.

  • Brandon Franklin

    Yep been on att unlimited since 09 they have treated iPhone owners like criminals no tethering data capping expensive plans no face time u name it they tried it (I have never complained so much to one company those first two years with them) two things made me stay…at first it was talk/surf simultaneously then the grandfather program. I’m just waiting for them to tell its over so I can have t-mo send them a break up letter. To be honest they are pretty OK at this pionte service has improved 100x and they caved on face time and still (mostly) honor the grandfather program (for fear of mass exodus) I personally have never noticed being throttled I generally use 3-5gb a month and even went as high as 8 one month so it could be worse…I could be stuck on Verizon.

    • M3D1T8R

      Yeah you could be stuck on Verizon, where I use 40 to 100GB per month on unlimited 4G ($30/mo) and don’t get throttled. Yeah, sure does suck..
      Now if you’re talking about the ripoff limited shared data plans, then yeah, I agree, they’re terrible. But ATT is the worst.

      • Brandon Franklin

        Correct if I’m wrong but won’t you have to now pay for the phone up front if you want to keep that unlimited plan? no more subsidies on contract for you unless you go to a tiered plan. Yeah that does suck! Unless you have the $400-$700 to shell out every few years then your golden or u could always get a flip or feature phone for a couple hundred!

        • ATLien0114

          This is false, you can get the upgrade after 18 months and pay the price of a 2 year plan (i.e. Galaxy S 5 cost me 199).

          • Brandon Franklin

            Oh ok ! I’ve read comments from people complaining otherwise but I’m not surprised people exaggerate when they feel victim. Likewise AT&T isn’t so bad NOW save for the annoying tethering issue (or lack of for grandfathers) but back in 2009-2010 AT&T was hands down the worst. But lately Verizon seems to get a lot of bad press starting with the NSA leak then some sort of service outage and people being kicked off their unlimited plans for little or no reason. So all I’m saying is for someone who had to suffer terrible treatment from their phone carrier I’m glad I don’t have to suffer twice

  • RH

    Another reason I got off the at&t contract BS, LOL, I’m on straight talk for almost 2 years, still using at&t’s towers, 130/month with all their taxes on at&t, now less than 50 bucks a month with ST.

  • Bryce

    Fine. Kick me off and I’ll just send my business elsewhere.

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  • Corey

    Seriously I lose unlimited bye bye Att they can go fuck themselves. I’ve noticed recently (last 3 mo) that my LTE is useless towards the end of the month. I have to use wifi to do anything when I’m at home. So fucking annoying. Atleast if I was coming up to 5-6 gb a year ago I’d get a random text (which only happened twice). I used 6-8 all the time streaming pandora 24-7 at work. Getting pissed that’s how I found this site. To figure out why my LTE is worthless. 2007 iPhone customer and this bs.