If you were one of the “lucky” ones who were grandfathered into AT&T’s unlimited data plan before they stopped offering it back in 2010, then you are probably familiar with AT&T’s deceitful data throttling tactic back them. The carrier used to arbitrarily throttle their unlimited data customers without specifying the amount of data needed to be used in order to get throttled. After several lawsuits, the company revealed how they decide who gets throttled or not. Their formula for throttling people was simple: those who used 3GB/month on 3G or 5GB worth of data in a month period over 4G LTE.
So the question is: Does AT&T still throttles unlimited data users? Or have they continued with this practice?
The answer is Yes to both questions. Although cell phones and cellular data technologies have improved a ton since the early 2010s, the practice of slowing down unlimited data is still in use with the latest 5G network.
When does AT&T slow down data?
Thankfully, since the newest 5G network has vastly improved over the 4G and 3G networks when it comes to network congestion, carriers are more flexible when it comes to slowing down their customers’ data. But by how much will AT&T throttle your unlimited data plan?
Unlike back then, AT&T now throttles your data based on your plan. The carrier currently offers four unlimited data plans which are AT&T Value Plus, AT&T Unlimited Extra Plan, AT&T Unlimited Starter Plan, and AT&T Unlimited Premium Plan.
AT&T true unlimited data: Unlimited Premium Plan
Of all the four unlimited data plans offered by AT&T, the AT&T Unlimited Premium Plan is the only plan that will not slow down your data speed under any circumstances. Additionally, this plan offers 50GB of high-speed personal hotspot data. Unlike the other offered plans, the Unlimited Premium Plan will let you watch video content in 4K with no issues.
Slow down data after 50GB: Unlimited Extra Plan
After you use 50GB worth of data your internet speed will be slowed down on the Unlimited Extra Plan. Don’t worry! This will not be permanent until the end of the billing cycle. Your data will only be slowed down if you are connected to a congested cell tower.
Throttle at any time:
- AT&T Value Plus
- AT&T Unlimited Starter Plan
If you have any of the following two plans, your data may be slowed down at any given time, your data will be deprioritized. Luckily, the slowdown will be put in place only if the tower you are connected to is congested.
AT&T data throttling workaround
Since AT&T deprioritizes you at the tower level, there’s no way to bypass their throttling. However, you can use a VPN to bypass their standard-definition streaming limit if you are not in the Unlimited Premium Plan, which is the only plan that offers 4k video streaming.