So earlier this week (Janurary 21, 2012), I was warned about aproaching the top 5% of data users when I was only at the 1.5 GB mark. And today (Janurary 25, 2012), I recieved another text informing me that I am now in the top 5% of users, which means I am throttled to EDGE speeds.
I checked the usage on their myAT&T app and online and confirmed that I have only used 2.26 GB this month.
Remember that I am grandfathered into the Unlimited Data plan for $30/month. I am paying more than the current $25/month which only gives you 2 GB of data. So that extra $5/month only gives me 200 MB extra?
Consider this: AT&T just recently changed their data plans again. This time, it's $30/month for 3 GB of data. So I'm paying the same price but getting screwed out of 800 MB? How does this even make sense?
This "top 5%" is BS, and is a cop out. In practice, it lets AT&T throttle at any point they choose. Even if they go by the book, the chilling effect will cause the throttle point to lower using this method of throttling. Customers will be more afraid to use data, and thus the "top 5% of data users" will lower the throttle point further. It's an evil plan that works in AT&T's favor.
1) People will relent and get rid of their Unlimited Plan for a tiered plan, which fulfill AT&T's wish to get rid of this plan. This is much like Sprint and $30 SERO when they didn't allow newer smartphones into the plan. Most customers dropped SERO for other carriers (I left for AT&T and the iPhone). However, they changed their tune when they realized people weren't dropping SERO for another Sprint plan, they were simply leaving (at the time, Sprint didn't have any compelling phones - Palm Pre was their only baby, and the EVO was barely a blip on the map). Sprint decided to give the option to pay an extra $10 for newer 3G smartphones, or an extra $20 for a WIMAX (4G) smartphone. Even though you had to pay, they made sure it was a comparable deal, which it was - $50/month for 500 minutes, unlimited text and data.
2) People will just leave, but will be dinged for early termination fees. I tried to cite breach of terms and conditions, but they said we had ample warning since it was announced on August 2011. However, they said "top 5%", so who knew it was going to be this low? Even so, they said it wouldn't be considered a breach because the fine print even says that AT&T can change the terms without prior consent (or something like that).
So AT&T wins either way. They get your money if you leave or stay. It's BS all around, but in the end, even if you pay the termination fee to ditch AT&T, they ultimately lose out. They will not get a reoccuring payment. They have no incentive to let you leave without a termination fee if you're still under contract.
To AT&T, I say good-bye. It's been fun (and frustrating at times) while it lasted.
Update: I found a few threads on the internet with people who also have the same experience.