Today I was notified by AT&T that I was officially part of the 5%. Those customers that use 12 times more data than the average Joe. It's like belonging to a special club. Do I get a jacket? Nope! If I don't made my ways I will keep my unlimited data, but my bitrate will be so dramatically reduced that I won't want to use the AT&T network.
Is it fair? I don't know. Is it right? I don't know. Will I change my usage habits? Some to be sure, but not completely. I won't stream as much, I will download in advance. That's a fair compromise. Beyond that, no change at this time.
Will I drop my unlimited plan in the near future? Probably not, just to spite AT&T in part; but I may cut off my nose to spite my face. I mean it sucks. It feels like they are pushing me to a tiered plan; and they are trying, NO DOUBT! Before I decide I will see what's next from Apple and AT&T. I need to know what LTE will bring in features, speeds and plans.
Below is the form email I received after getting the infamous text message:
Like other wireless companies, AT&T is taking steps to manage exploding demand for mobile data. We're responding on many levels, including investing billions in our wireless network this year and working to acquire more network capacity.
As mentioned on a previous bill, we're also taking additional, more immediate steps to help address network congestion and improve reliability. One of these steps involves a change for some customers who use extraordinarily large amounts of data in a single billing period - about 12 times more data than the average smartphone user.
For the current billing cycle, your data usage indicates you could be affected by this change. Here's how it works:
Smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5 percent of heaviest data users. These customers can still use unlimited data and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle.
We're writing because you are in the top 5 percent of heaviest data users for this billing cycle. Because we recognize that data usage can change from month to month, you will not see reduced speeds this billing cycle.
Beginning with your next billing cycle, we'll send you a text message if you are approaching the top 5 percent of heaviest data users. We'll also send you a second text message if you cross into the top 5 percent of heaviest users, at which point you may see reduced speeds for the rest of the month.
Customers have several ways to manage extremely high data usage.
Wi-Fi offers great speeds and doesn't add to your wireless data usage. Consider using Wi-Fi when possible for applications that use the highest amounts of data, such as streaming video apps, remote web camera apps, large data-file transfers (like video) and some online gaming.
You may also consider switching to a tiered data plan if speed is more important to you than having an unlimited data plan. Customers on tiered plans can pay for more data if they need it, and will not see reduced speeds.