AT&T Prepaid has changed the way it manages data on its $ 65 ($ 60 with auto-pay) unlimited data plan. Since it launched a year ago, that plan has included unlimited data throttled to 3 Mbps at all times. However, that’s no longer the case. Sometime in the last few days, footnote 4 on AT&T website’s prepaid plans page, which describes the $ 65 plan’s data, has changed;
From: $ 65 Monthly Plan: After 22GB/line/mo., you may experience slower speeds than other AT&T customers during network congestion. Data speed limited to a max of 3Mbps. For content we can identify as video, speed will be limited to a max of 1.5Mbps at Standard Definition quality(about 480p). See att.com/broadbandinfo for details on AT&T network management policies. Mobile hotspot used is prohibited.
To: $ 65 Monthly Plan: For all data usage, you may temporarily experience reduced speeds during times of network congestion. For content we can identify as video, speed will be limited to a max of 1.5Mbps at Standard Definition quality(about 480p). See att.com/broadbandinfo for details on AT&T network management policies. Mobile hotspot used is prohibited.
What this means to users on the $ 65 plan is that:
- When the network is not congested their data will no longer be throttled to 3 Mbps. Speeds as high as 100 Mbps are possible on AT&T’s network, although 20 Mbps or less is typical.
- When the network is congested, $ 65 plan users will see lower data speeds and increased data latency compared with users on other plans.
In other words, $ 65 plan users connected to an AT&T tower in a rural area with few other customers you will likely see much faster data. On the other hand, data will be slower and more unusable than ever for $ 65 plan customers in places where the network is congested, such as major sports events, music festivals and lunch time in big cities’ business districts.
If you don’t like the $ 65 plan’s full time de-prioritization, ATT has an $ 85/month ($ 75 with autopay) unlimited data plan that’s only subject to de-prioritization after you have used 22 GB of data in the current month. If you don’t need unlimited high speed data, AT&T Prepaid’s $ 35 1 GB and $ 45 6 GB aren’t subject to de-prioritization, although they are throttled to 128 kbps after 1 and 6 GB respectively. See our Prepaid Operator Profile: AT&T Prepaid for details of all AT&T Prepaid plans.
Making cheaper unlimited data plans subject to de-prioritization at all times seems to be AT&T (and Verizon’s) new weapon of choice for netwrk management. Verizon’s $ 75/month prepaid plan is subject to de-prioritization at all times. Verizon and AT&T both offer two different postpaid unlimited data plans, a cheaper one that’s subject to de-prioritization at all times if the network is congested and a more expensive plan that’s de-prioritized only if the network is congested and the customer has used more than 22 GB in the current month.
If you are on one of these new, always subject to de-prioritization plans, how is it working for you? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.
Source AT&T via reader tip.