I got this letter from AT&T this morning. Apparently I use too much data. I am a historic unlimited data usage person. I got into the plan early and stuck to it through bad coverage and dropped calls, AT&T’s coverage was poised to improve.
Like other wireless companies, AT&T is taking steps to manage exploding demand for mobile data. We’re responding on many levels, including investing billions in our wireless network this year and working to acquire more network capacity.
As mentioned on a previous bill, we’re also taking additional, more immediate steps to help address network congestion and improve reliability. One of these steps involves a change for some customers who use extraordinarily large amounts of data in a single billing period – about 12 times more data than the average smartphone user.
For the current billing cycle, your data usage indicates you could be affected by this change. Here’s how it works:
Smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5 percent of heaviest data users. These customers can still use unlimited data and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle.
We’re writing because you are in the top 5 percent of heaviest data users for this billing cycle. Because we recognize that data usage can change from month to month, you will not see reduced speeds this billing cycle.
Beginning with your next billing cycle, we’ll send you a text message if you are approaching the top 5 percent of heaviest data users. We’ll also send you a second text message if you cross into the top 5 percent of heaviest users, at which point you may see reduced speeds for the rest of the month.
Customers have several ways to manage extremely high data usage.
Wi-Fi offers great speeds and doesn’t add to your wireless data usage. Consider using Wi-Fi when possible for applications that use the highest amounts of data, such as streaming video apps, remote web camera apps, large data-file transfers (like video) and some online gaming.
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.
To estimate how much data different activities use, and find out more about Wi-Fi or tiered data plans, visit https://www.att.com/dataplans or call Customer Care at 800-331-0500.
I have unlimited data. Let me use it. Learn from me how to improve bandwidth usage, the way Amazon does.
Did you see that the email doesn’t state the upper limit of the data usage? It is just 5% of heavier users. As users dial down their data usage, they bring that maximum back to the median. And this means that the 2GB Plan for corporate users now looks promising, because they are capped at a fixed value, not a month to month threshold. Have I reached the 2GB mark by February 14th? Is this a pre-emptive strike?
This means moving forward on plan B: an openWRT router that directs all the wireless traffic through a SSH tunnel, through the corporate firewall. Most of the knowledge is in place, but the pieces don’t fit together yet.