AT&T has finally altered the way it handles subscribers with grandfathered unlimited plans on the network. The company is still—technically—throttling them, but now rather than slowing data down at 5GB, AT&T will let unlimited plans’ usage soar to 22GB before applying any brakes.
There are a number of things that could’ve led the company to finally ease up on throttling unlimited plans, like the boat loads of subscribers who’ve been begging for a change for years or the slap on the wrist the company got from the FCC. But it’s also possible T-Mobile had a little something to do with the change.
In June, T-Mobile tweaked its Simple Choice unlimited data plans to only go up to 21GB of data before the company would begin throttling users. T-Mobile is also the No. 3 most popular company nowadays, which means any unhappy AT&T customers could be considering joining the un-carrier at the drop of a hat—or in this case, at the drop of 4G speed.
AT&T’s massive move up from only allowing 5GB at full speed (while in “congested areas”) to 22GB is about four times more data than the carrier used to support before throttling. And it’s just a hair more than T-Mobile OKs. AT&T wrote on its site:
“As always, Unlimited Data Plan smartphone customers will still have the comfort of knowing that, no matter how much data they use in a billing cycle, they will continue to pay a single monthly flat rate. That is the essential promise of the Unlimited Data Plan, and we are pleased to continue honoring that promise.”
It’s still not really unlimited data but the new bar is much higher than it used to be. Unless you’re a superuser, checking Twitter or streaming music on your phone probably won’t rack up even 20GB a month anyway.