FTC Sues AT&T Over 'Misleading' Unlimited Data Throttling Practices [Updated]

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States today filed a federal court complaint against AT&T, accusing the carrier of misleading its smartphone customers by charging them for unlimited data while reducing their data speeds by up to 90 percent.

    According to the FTC, AT&T did not adequately explain to customers with unlimited data plans that they would be throttled if they reached a certain amount of data during a billing cycle. AT&T also did not inform customers of the throttling when they renewed their unlimited contracts.

    AT&T ceased offering unlimited data plans to customers several years ago, but has allowed Grandfathered customers to retain those plans. AT&T implemented throttling shortly after eliminating its unlimited data plans, initially restricting throttling to only its highest usage customers but later capping data for everyone on an unlimited plan. Currently, customers on unlimited plans are able to use 5GB of LTE data or 3GB of 3G data, after which AT&T throttles their data speeds.

    The FTC alleges that AT&T throttled customers who had used as little as 2GB of data beginning in 2011, and that the throttling is severe, "resulting in speed reductions of 80 to 90 percent for affected users." AT&T is said to have throttled 3.5 million customers more than 25 million times, violating the FTC Act in the process.

    Update 11:15 AM PT: AT&T has given a statement to MacRumors in response to the FTC's "baffling" complaint, stating that the allegations are "baseless" and that it has been "completely transparent" with customers.
    Article Link: FTC Sues AT&T Over 'Misleading' Unlimited Data Throttling Practices [Updated]
  2. voyagerd macrumors 65816


    Jun 30, 2002
    Rancho Cordova, CA
  3. nepalisherpa, Oct 28, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014

    nepalisherpa macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2011
    Good going! AT&T deserved this! I couldn't be happier today.

    AT&T = Always Tricky & Treacherous
  4. cmChimera macrumors 68040


    Feb 12, 2010
  5. joshuaclinton macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2014
    Yessssssssss. Of course, AT&T will lose, then add miscellaneous fees to Unlimited data customers.
  6. penajmz macrumors 68040


    Sep 11, 2008
    New York City
    Awesome!! Maybe this ends in AT&T giving us grandfathered in the plan real unlimited data without throttling.
  7. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    Be careful what you ask for. They'll just stop offering unlimited to grandfathered customers the next time they upgrade.
  8. macintologist macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2004
    Could someone explain why AT&T grandfathers some plans? Are they legally obligated to do so? What is preventing them from simply forcing anyone who upgrades a phone to use one of the new data plans?
  9. Parasprite macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2013
    Never switch to Sprint then.

  10. burnside macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2010
  11. tigres macrumors 601


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits
    Hell yes. Glad I kept it!

    Finally!! Here we go, and give me teathering too. Kthnx
  12. mac.cali macrumors 65816

    Mar 16, 2012
    Glad to see the FTC step up and make a move. However hopefully ATT doesn't do something stupid and remove unlimited all together. But wouldn't surprise me if they did.
  13. matrix6028 macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2010
    Unlimited Data

    So - I'm sure AT&T will fight this - and we as unlimited users will still have to wait to get our full bandwidth??? Or do we starting getting that right now?
  14. CBJammin103 macrumors regular


    Jun 6, 2007
    Louisiana, United States
    I, for one, would probably switch carriers if they booted me off of the unlimited plan. My guess is that they feel many others would do the same.
  15. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    So the FTC is the stupid one here.
  16. maconservative macrumors regular


    May 1, 2006
    Republic of Texas

    Just got my 5GB threshold throttling text today. :cool:

  17. BeSweeet macrumors 68000


    Apr 2, 2009
    San Antonio, TX
    Now only if the FTC would do something about them charging extra for when you decided to tether your mobile data connection to another device, such as a computer. Data is data. I was forced off of my unlimited data plan in 2011 and onto a more expensive plan with just a little bit of data because of it, without receiving any prior warnings. Cost way more in the long run for much less.

    Happy T-Mobile user here, 16 months and counting.
  18. sziehr macrumors 6502a

    Jun 11, 2009
    I hope they put stronger language on the next mega block bid for 600 re-frame to prevent all this traffic shaping to increase profits and require them to be fully transparent with capacity.

    I see this as a we have low capacity see we had to throttle people give us a better stake of the next auction. Then they moved to tiered family data and showed there hand thanks to t-mobile. There is plenty of capacity they are just being greedy and have been caught telling half truths to the FCC and the FTC.

    I say good riddance to ATT and Verizon a pox on both there houses. Sadly i am a Verizon customer i have no choice.

    When will google or apple buy one of these and destabilize this industry fully.
  19. ad1921a macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2013
    No surprise.

    Another example of why AT&T is such a horrible company.
  20. iamkarlp macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2008
    So, one of two thing happen now.

    1. AT&T's lawyers believe they have a good chance at winning an argument that says "unlimited means we won't turn it off, not that someone will/would/could/should get our best which others pay dearly for" and thus further perpetuates the "unlimited" fallacy.


    2. They don't think they have a good chance of winning. In which case Goodbye unlimited data grandfathering.

    I think 2 is likely.

    I also think that this round of FCC action, while probably necessary, will kill off any remaining vestiges of "unlimited" for Verizon / ATT. You'll need to go to a B tier carrier to get that perk.
  21. Z400Racer37 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2011
    There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else. - Sam Walton

    It ways right in the contract that they can throttle, or get rid of you if they don't like how YOU are using THEIR network. Those were the terms that were agreed upon. You don't like what AT&T is doing to your data? Go somewhere else. They'll pay for it that way. This bureaucracy is totally unnecessary...
  22. penajmz macrumors 68040


    Sep 11, 2008
    New York City
    If they removed the unlimited plan for me I would switch carriers SO quick.
  23. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    Glad to see the wheels in motion against AT&T.
  24. Thewisevaloo macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2009
    Is there a chance, if they AT&T loses, they'll be forced to pay back money who have been throttled over the years?
  25. mytakeontech macrumors 6502a

    Jun 14, 2010
    Hell yeah!!

    While I think this is still not going to yield anything but hey why not

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