Confirmed: AT&T preparing to throttle heavy users on 'unlimited' plan

What's the big deal about rolling this out for October? iPhone 5 perhaps...
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributing Writer

UPDATE: AT&T has confirmed that it is making changes to its 'unlimited' plan. The company claims that the change will only affect the top 5% of data users.

un·lim·it·ed adjective?/??n?limitid/

1: Not limited or restricted in terms of number, quantity, or extent - the range of possible adaptations was unlimited 2: (of a company) Not limited 3: (of a problem) Having an infinite number of solutions

Remember the day when 'unlimited' meant 'unlimited'? Increasingly the word is little more than marketing fluff designed to hide limits.

Last year AT&T stopped offering unlimited to new customers but continued to offer the unlimited plan to existing customers as long as they stayed with AT&T. Well, it looks like that unlimited plan is set to have conditions imposed on it. According to 9to5Mac the company is getting ready to set to throttle heavy users much in the same way that companies such as Verizon [PDF] and Virgin Mobile do:

The throttling plan will work like the others'. The heaviest users will see significant speed decreases for one billing cycle once they go over a threshold of data (we're guessing 2-4GB?). These heavy users will still be able to access the network, but at a much slower speed. At the start of the next billing cycle, their speeds will return to normal. We don't have numbers for AT&T's throttle speeds but Virgin takes you down to 256Kb/s once you've reached their 2.5GB limit (not too bad actually - sometimes we're happy to get 256kbs). Interestingly, Virgin's throttle also will also be implemented in the first week of October which may indicate that they'll be carrying a certain high profile mobile device as well.

So, the unlimited plan becomes an unlimited plan ... to a point.

So, what's the big deal about rolling this in for October? iPhone 5 perhaps ...

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