AT&T Puts 'Deer Crossing' Sign on Heavy Data Users

By Miguel Leiva-Gomez December 08, 2011

AT&T decided to keep its promise and put a stop to the speed demons that hog up the wireless network and use the data stream heavily. When you consume a certain amount of bandwidth, you will receive a text message saying, “Your data usage is among the top five percent of users. Data speeds for the rest of your current bill cycle may be reduced.”

AT&T already announced this in July and promised to do it by October 1, 2011. They certainly waited a long time, but the throttling measures are now in place and people can’t hog the bandwidth from a cellular antenna as easily anymore. Note that this only applies to people with unlimited plans. Those with limited plans will only be charged for the data they download past the cap but won’t experience any throttling of their speeds.

The new policy coincides with the increase in sales that AT&T is experiencing on the iPhone 4S. This new smartphone boasts incredibly high downstream speeds which might negatively affect the entire network unless measures are in place to regulate how much they can eat up. The company started its service in more than one million phones within the first five days of the release. AT&T is expecting to sell more than 6.1 million units by 2012.

The iPhone 4S release led to new statistics pointing out the fact that the average user of this phone chomps up about 800 MB per month. Note the word “average.” Heavy users will use up to 12 times that much bandwidth, bogging down the network consistently as they merrily look around the web through their phones like they do with a PC on Ethernet. You can see why AT&T decided to run a tighter ship.


Miguel Leiva-Gomez is a professional writer with experience in computer sciences, technology, and gadgets. He has written for multiple technology and travel outlets and owns his own tech blog called The Tech Guy, where he writes educational, informative, and sometimes comedic articles for an audience that is less versed in technology.

Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

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