iPhone User Awarded $850 in Throttling Case Against AT&T

Few weeks back we had reported that AT&T was throttling down top 5% of the unlimited data plan subscribers to 2G speeds.  If that was not bad enough, users have reported that they have been downgraded to those pathetic 2G speeds after using less than 2GB of monthly usage.

AT&T has said that the average usage by the top 5 percent unlimited data users, indeed comes to around 2GB per month, but that isn’t the only criteria to throttling:

Mr. Siegel [AT&T rep] said that even if you do exceed 2 gigabytes of data usage and qualify as one of the top 5 percent, that doesn’t absolutely mean you’re going to be throttled. AT&T will only reduce speeds for the top 5 percent of users in areas where network capacity or spectrum is insufficient, he said. In other words, throttling is done on a case-by-case basis, not based on a hard number, according to AT&T’s claims.

“There’s a very good chance you wouldn’t be slowed,” Mr. Siegel said. He added that in the last month, less than 1 percent of AT&T smartphone customers were affected by the policy.

AT&T however, hasn’t explained, why does it offer a 3GB usage plan for the same price as the unlimited plan at standard, non-throttled speeds, even in congested areas. This hasn’t gone down too well with users, and understandably so. Not surprisingly, some have even taken AT&T to court over this issue.

Throttling message

There might finally be some good news for these users who are being unfairly treated by AT&T. Associated Press has just reported that a judge in Californian court has awarded an iPhone user $850 because AT&T reduced his download speeds.

Pro-tem Judge Russell Nadel found in favor of Matt Spaccarelli on Friday in Ventura Superior Court. Spaccarelli filed a small claims case against AT&T last month, arguing the communications giant unfairly slows speeds on his iPhone 4’s unlimited data plan.

AT&T’s area sales manager declined to comment on the ruling, but argued in the court that AT&T had the rights to modify or cancel customers contracts.

The court ruling could have serious consequences for AT&T as it could pave the way for more lawsuits against AT&T or at least force AT&T to stop throttling these unlimited data plan subscribers.

[via Associated Press]