iPhone User Wins Throttling Suit Against AT&T

    February 24, 2012

Earlier this month we reported that AT&T was throttling the data connections of customers who still had the old unlimited data plan and used more than 2 gigabytes of data per month. The practice struck many as unfair, since users who were paying for unlimited data were not only getting their connection throttled, but were actually getting less data usage than those who were paying less money per month for AT&T’s 3GB data plan.

Earlier this week, we reported that some users were seeing their throttled data connections return to normal. Discussion forum posts suggested that AT&T might be relaxing its chokehold on the data connections of the top 5% of data users who it apparently saw as a threat to the company’s network. As part of that article I sent an email to AT&T requesting comment. Though AT&T had not replied by the time the story ran, a representative did get back to me later that evening. His response, however, was to decline to comment.

Now it seems that there may have been something behind the relaxation of data throttling. It seems a court in California has just ruled against AT&T. When Matt Spaccarelli found that his unlimited data connection was being throttled after 1.5-2GB of data traffic, he took AT&T to small claims court. The Ventura Superior Court found that AT&T had wronged Spaccarelli by selling him an “unlimited” data plan and then not delivering. The court awarded him $850.

There is no word on what AT&T’s response to this ruling will be. I sent AT&T another request for comment and asked whether AT&T would continue to throttle data connections for users paying for unlimited plans. As of now there has been no response.