Much has been written about AT&T now warning the “top 5% of iPhone data users” on unlimited plans that they would begin seeing their data speeds slowed because of their adverse affect on the network as a whole. At first pass most would think that meant individuals streaming video constantly and using up tens of gigabytes of data. That isn’t the case. In a month where I have been switching on and off between the iPhone 4S and the Titan (in other words using my iPhone far LESS than normal), I got the above warning.
“Uh Oh!” I thought to myself, I must have used HUGE amounts of data, despite not using the iPhone all that much. Well, as it turns out, that just isn’t the case.
The last bill I went just over 2GB. That’s it. How that puts me in the “top 5% of data users” in the Metro NY area is beyond me, especially when the majority of their data plans offer 3-5GB per month.
Of course that’s not what this is about. This is…
Yes, AT&T wants you to keep paying the same amount, but put as much of your data usage on WiFi (and hence OFF their network) or get off the unlimited plan entirely. THAT is the real goal as they make perfectly clear when they write…
You may also consider switching to a tiered data plan if speed is more important to you than having an unlimited data plan. Customers on tiered plans can pay for more data if they need it, and will not see reduced speeds.
My unlimited plan is $30 a month. New iPhone users can get 3GB of data for the same price. If the company triggered the warning at 3GB I wouldn’t find this as annoying as it is. But they didn’t. No, when my usage crossed the 2GB mark ***BAM*** I got the warning.
Sadly, AT&T has already won. They have already accomplished their goal. After all, when the warning gets triggered a full GB BELOW the 3GB tiered plan’s cap “Unlimited” has already become meaningless. Oh how I wish there were a better option so I could tell them where to stick their data warnings …
UPDATE: A dear friend who is quite knowledgable on this (make of that what you will) emailed me the following.
To be fair, the top 5% is calculated based on usage, and the majority of customers use less than 1gb.
When they calculate the top 5%, its only of people with unlimited, not on tiered plans.
In fact, only a small % of users opt for the 4gb/5gb plans.
They want you to use wifi, and thats why they provide 27,000 wifi hotspots for people to use….