AT&T unlimited: Unlimited patience required?

Wikimedia (CC)
Wikimedia (CC)

AT&T it seems, is caught between a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a hard place. Taken to task by the FTC for redefining the word 'unlimited', AT&T's definition allegedly changes depending on the amount of data a customer consumes per month. More than 2 gigabytes, it appears that unlimited means throttled data speeds with a side of buffered YouTube.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wonder why it took so long.

Filling in for our humble blogwatcher Richi Jennings, is a humbler Stephen Glasskeys.

Grant Gross is sick of hearing promises:

AT&T has misled millions of its mobile customers by promising unlimited data plans, then charging them and reducing their data speeds after they reach a monthly cap, the [FTC] said in a complaint announced Tuesday.  MORE

There are no limits to Brian Fung's and Craig Timberg's outrage:

"It's absolutely outrageous," said John Bergmayer, [an attorney] at Public Knowledge, an advocacy group based in Washington. "[AT&T isn't] allowed to promise one thing and deliver another ... Unlimited is not unlimited when you put limits on it."  MORE

Straight from the race horse's mouth:

The FTC alleges that AT&T, despite...promises of unlimited data, began throttling data speeds in 2011 for its unlimited data plan customers after they used as little as 2 gigabytes of data in a billing period.  MORE

And Iain Thomson tries to get out of a lopsided contract:

Evan Rose, [FTC attorney], said that 3.5 million customers had their data deliberately slowed. When customers tried to get out of the not-so-unlimited contracts...they were hit with cancelation fees.  MORE

But Alison Griswold finds it increasingly harder to stick with a plan:

In a statement on its website, AT&T dismissed the FTC's allegations as "baseless" and "baffling."

AT&T stopped offering unlimited data plans...in 2010; its allowed existing customers with unlimited data to stay on...those plans but has made it increasingly difficult for them to maintain the arrangement.  MORE

Just because everyone else is doing something, doesn't mean Adriana Lee will:

AT&T's claim that it reaches out to the users it throttles seems legit. But that doesn't mean the FTC will back down.

Then again, it may have to if it's using "everyone else is doing it too" as one of its main arguments. That never seems to work [with] federal regulators.

Just ask Verizon.  MORE

Meanwhile, Jon Fingas comforts us -- he understands:

If you felt that AT&T pulled a fast one by promising you unlimited mobile data only to throttle your service later on, you're not alone.  MORE


You have been reading IT Blogwatch by and Stephen Glasskeys, who curate the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk. Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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