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AT&T won't throttle unlimited data plans until 22GB of data has been consumed

AT&T has changed how the company throttles the connections of customers in congested areas, depending on how much data they consume. The US carrier had a limit of 5GB in place for unlimited data plans, and passing this bar would cause connectivity to the internet to be limited altogether. This limit has been increased to 22GB, enabling subscribers to download more data before having their connections throttled.

This limit is configured to run within billing periods, so you'll be able to use 22GB of data in a month before AT&T would take action and limit your connection while in congested areas only, such as densely populated cities. From the AT&T website:

"In line with common industry standards, our network management practices assure that our network resources are used for the benefit of all our mobile broadband customers especially during periods when network demand exceeds available network resources (also known as "congestion").As you would expect, these network management practices have continued to evolve over time to benefit our customers and take advantage of the billions we have spent to expand and augment our networks. As a result of this evolution, we recently revised our practices such that Unlimited Data Plan smartphone customers can now use 22GB of high-speed data during a billing period before becoming subject to network management practices that might result in reduced data speeds and increased latency."

It's worth noting that this change only affects those on the unlimited data plans, which are no longer available for new lines. See the official website for more details.

Source: AT&T (opens in new tab), via: 9to5Google

28 Comments
  • I really am excited about this especially since I always tend to get the "you have used 3.75 gb" on day 3-4 of the new billing cycle...and since the area I live at that the speed isn't all that impressive anyways when it does get limited it stinks. I might just actually start liking AT&T again...though one things not posted in the article is when is this suppose to take effect?
  • This is a shocking & quite dramatic change in policy. Unfortunately, I wonder how many people are still on the unlimited plan.
  • I am and this makes me very happy :) Sent from the iMore App
  • In my country this would be called a 22GB plan, not an unlimited one.
  • Boom! And I just got the "you have used 3.75 GB" text yesterday. Glad to see this change, however, if I had the "Next" plan I could go over 40GB, paying an extra $10 per GB and not get throttled! AT&T really shouldn't be throttling at all and the 22GB move is just another maneuver to silence the unlimited data crowd. I am glad to see the increase but again, we shouldn't be throttled at all.
  • Agree with this too (should not be throttled at all) but the increase is nice as well lol Sent from the iMore App
  • I agree if all of the data was being consumed on your phone. The problem was twofold. AT&T unfairly limited unlimited data plans, which was why I swapped to Verizon originally. The second issue was more rare, but still a concern. A minor few were jail breaking or rooting and setting their device up as a wifi router for their homes. There have been times that I have had to use my phone as a tether and I consumed as much as 50 gigs of data in those months. However, because of the way I was grandfathered in on my current plan, I just paid the required $30 to add unlimited tethering for the month. Some people complain about unlimited data users hogging all of the bandwidth. As long as the unlimited user is using the device within the letter of their contract, they aren't doing anything wrong. Be mad at the carriers for not using their billions to grow their network enough. T-mobile recently started to address this same issue. Use as much data as you want on your phone, but if you want the additional tethering, pay for it. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm gonna see if I can use all 22GB today just to test this out.
  • Your the reason carriers do things like this in the first place.
  • As long as he is consuming all of the data on his phone and not tethering, he isn't doing anything wrong. The real reason carriers do this is because they oversell their bandwidth. If an area can support 100 simultaneous users, they will use traffic patterns and sell 300 people service before building more infrastructure. That was rough examples to illustrate my point btw, and not hard numbers. Sent from the iMore App
  • Dang lol Sent from the iMore App
  • Finally a welcome change. I'm assuming that this is per line not per family? Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm sure it's for anyone on the unlimited plan whether it be individual or family. I'm so happy about this Sent from the iMore App
  • Good for me and the wife, we got throttled on day 3 of 9 in Las Vegas. When we were on vacation
  • This is very disappointing for this of us who have already changed from the unlimited plan because we needed internet that was not throttled...
  • I'm with you. I changed last October as a result of the throttling. Though I suppose they still probably will restrict tethering/hot spot. And the shared plans are a bit cheaper if you bought the phone outright or bought it on the Next plan. Last October they had a double data special, so I got a 30GB shared plan (for the price of 15GB) for less than I was paying for two lines on the old unlimited plan. And I can use the hot spot. With the rollover data I've never come anywhere close to using even half that allotment. So while I probably wouldn't have changed from the unlimited plan had they allowed 22GB before, I don't think it's a loss for what I got.
  • So, if I pay for a 30GB plan, I basically don't get throttled at all then?
  • Correct. Sent from the iMore App
  • Excellent. And now to try to use all 30GB...
  • Until you hit 30GB...
  • Hasn't happened yet...Not even close to hitting. It's just more expensive per month to downgrade.
  • Some increase is better than no increase AND I like knowing I never have to worry about overage because of unlimited's flat rate. 'Cause you never know when those gigabyte orgies may occur! Sent from the iMore App
  • Data hogs.
  • Wait !!!! Good news from AT&T ? I must be dreaming
  • Not so fast folks, I was on the train this morning on the way to work and was only getting 0.89 Mbps with 5 dots of LTE even though I was only at 1.9 GB for the month.
  • Not an AT&T user or even fan but this is a nice change to see out of Big Blue.
  • They are stepping in the right direction. I was pretty angered by the throttle at 5 GB.
  • I realize everyone hates Sprint, but I am a trucker and their UNLIMITED PLAN IS UNLIMITED FOR $50. Dear god, I use about 430 GB a month, I'd go broke with ANY other carrier plan!!! AND I have great coverage all over the country.