Top 5% Data Users

MG Siegler:

Worse, it seems the “top 5%” data users aren’t using that much data at all. As Amit Runchal points out in this post, he got that AT&T warning as well despite being right around the 2GB cap that AT&T offers on their current plans. In other words, it’s not like the top 5% are using 5x the data of AT&T’s current caps, they’re using about that much data, and AT&T is still going to throttle them.

This is graded on a curve. Meaning no matter how much or little data you use, if 95% of AT&T users used less than you, you’ll be throttled. That’s why it isn’t surprising folks like Amit Runchal are receiving “High Data Usage Alert” notices from AT&T.

My guess as to why AT&T chose this method is no one can refute he is in the top 5% if AT&T says you are. AT&T holds all the cards and can screw you, at will, at any time. Transparency at its worst. The only solution is a system based on discreet limits. For instance, a reasonable suggestion for folks with grandfathered-in unlimited data plans might be a limit of 10GB per month after which speeds will get throttled down to 2G speeds.

According to AT&T about 30% of its customers use an “integrated device”. I’m guessing that means a smartphone. Assuming roughly 100 million total customers, those with smartphones number 30 million. And that means no matter how much data is used on AT&T’s networks “High Data Usage Alert” notices will be sent out every month to 1.5 million customers. What do I think of this? MG Siegler took the words right out of my mouth: “It’s complete and utter bullshit.”