Monday, August 1, 2011

AT&T says it will throttle heavy data users | Wireless - CNET News

AT&T says it will throttle heavy data users | Wireless - CNET News

AT&T confirmed today that it will begin throttling the heaviest data users of its wireless network starting October 1.

The new policy will affect only customers who still have an unlimited data plan, and only apply to the top 5 percent of that base. Throttling is when a carrier will slow down the connection of a device to keep it from consuming more data. AT&T hasn't specified what the threshold will be--it says the amount of data that would trigger throttling would vary from month to month.

AT&T is just the latest carrier to take this step as the industry wrestles with how to deal with the explosion of wireless data user. The move is illustrative of the difficulties it faces, and signals that the era of all-you-can-eat data is nearly over.

AT&T follows T-Mobile USA, which was one of the first carriers to employ throttling. Sprint Nextel's prepaid arm Virgin Mobile recently said it planned to move to a throttling model after ditching a truly unlimited plan.

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