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Tech Tuesday – AT&T’s Unlimted Data Plans Are Not so Unlimited

AT&T was the first to drop unlimited data plans from their cell phone offerings, then Verizon followed suit. The next shoe has now dropped with AT&T now saying that they will throttle data speed on the top 5% of cell phone data users. So if you listen to Pandora at work or watch Law and Order on Netflix at the State Offices, you won’t be for long.

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This new policy of throttling data speed comes after Verizon and Virgin Mobile have done the same with their customers. More and more data hungry apps are being published for smart phones everyday. AT&T didn’t say what the threshold would be for those top users, but it did say it was a vast majority of subscribers.

AT&T has suggested using WiFi to alleviate the drain on your data plan if you are a heavy user, and you have access to all of their WiFi hotspots when you have their plans. Plus WiFi is much faster then a 3G data connection by far. And most users never go over 200 mega bytes on their smart phone in a month or even come close to the 2 Gigabyte limit.

But data usage, along with smart phone sales have been going up. Will those sales and the data cap that AT&T is imposing, but not releasing the number of, affect those new users a year or so down the road? And what about the new 4G network that everyone will be rolling out at some point and the faster speeds that will give users? Will the data cap go up? Will it remain the same? A lot of questions from AT&T have yet to be answered.

In the mean time, count your bits and bytes because Unlimited now means ‘Unlimited use of the data you are allowed to use’, which is 200MB or 2GB.

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