AT&T Ending Unlimited Data Plans

By: Richard Stalker - March 1, 2012

A report from the Wall Street Journal says that AT&T had decided to eliminate unlimited data plans, saying that it will no longer let customers use more than a set amount of data per month without penalty.

Under a new policy, AT&T will slow download speeds for unlimited 3G and 4G smartphone customers who exceed 3 gigs and 4G LTE users who exceed 5 gigs of data in a month. AT&T had previously been slowing speeds, or throttling, customers who were in the top 5% of data users in their respective market, sometimes without even notifying them.

We had hoped that the throttling conversation had ended once AT&T unveiled their tier pricing structure. But here we are again.

AT&T is having a very hard time managing the capacity on its network in the face of heavy data consumption by iPhone users and a limited supply of wireless spectrum. The carrier is spending billions to build out a new 4G network that can handle more data traffic. AT&T, and other carriers, has been pushing Congress and the FCC to release more licenses for spectrum. Spectrum from old analog television broadcasting signals is the main need that a lot of the main carriers are looking to when talking about expanding.

In 2008 during a wireless spectrum auction, AT&T bought 227 licenses totaling $6.6 billion in the 12 MHz bandwidth rang. In February, congress approved a bill to auction off more spectrum.

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Richard StalkerRichard Stalker is a staff writer for WebProNews. Google: +Richard Stalker StumbleUpon: Pintrest:

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  • Steve G

    So basically AT&T is saying as far as iphones go, if you want one, you should switch to Sprint.

    • Miloyambag

      Go ahead and switch to Sprint so you can see how slow the download and upload speeds are. Unless you are looking to stream movies onto your iPhone, no one needs more than 5GBs of data.

    • Ann Elliott


  • Donna N

    @ Steve- I was thinking the same.

  • Andy

    You are out of your mind if if think Sprint is a good alternative for 3G service. My wife’s 4S is obscenely slow. Much MUCH slower than my 4S in Chicago.