AT&T Fights For It’s Right To Throttle

ATT-Logo1In October we reported that the Federal Trade Commission was suing AT&T for deceptively selling "unlimited" data plans that were actually quite limited in practice - with data speeds throttled way back after just a few GB usage each month.

Today - AT&T fired back with a motion to dismiss, claiming that the FTC has no jurisdiction over AT&T because AT&T's voice service classifies the company as a "common carrier" that can only be regulated by the FCC.

This despite the FCC currently only classifying voice service as subject to common carrier rules and regulations. Mobile data service is currently exempt from common carrier classification, and though the FCC is considering changing the rules, AT&T has been lobbying hard to maintain this exempt status.

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In other words - AT&T is trying hard to avoid giving either the FTC or the FCC any say in how it sells and manages data usage on its wireless network.

In the meantime - AT&T continues to throttle "unlimited" smartphone users on its LTE network who use over 5GB a month, slowing their service to a crawl even if the towers they are connected to are completely uncontested. Their unlimited iPad plans (only sold in the first couple months after the iPad was first released in 2010) remain completely unthrottled. Neither plan however officially allows tethering or hotspotting, just on device data usage.

Ars Technica has a great writeup going into more detail on the issues.


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