Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones AT&T The Internet United States News Your Rights Online

AT&T Threatens To Shut Off Service of Customer Who Won Throttling Case 327

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the unlimited-within-limits dept.
suraj.sun writes in about the recent small claims case against AT&T's throttling of 'unlimited' plans. From the article: "AT&T has about 17 million smartphone customers on 'unlimited' plans, and has started slowing down service for users who hit certain traffic thresholds. Spaccarelli maintained at his February 24 small-claims hearing that AT&T broke its promise to provide 'unlimited' service, and the judge agreed. In a letter dated Friday, a law firm retained by AT&T Inc. is threatening to shut off Matthew Spaccarelli's phone service if he doesn't sit down to talk. Spaccarelli has posted online the documents he used to argue his case and encourages other AT&T customers copy his suit."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

AT&T Threatens To Shut Off Service of Customer Who Won Throttling Case

Comments Filter:
  • Omitted in Summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by JeanCroix (99825) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:38PM (#39354047) Journal
    In TFA, it is stated that AT&T's threat to discontinue his service is based on his admission of tethering, which is against the TOS he agreed to. Not that their tactics here aren't shady, but they do have a contractual basis (excuse) for the threat.
  • Re:Duh? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:46PM (#39354161)

    Well, apparently, the guy admitted to tethering, which the contract also forbids. You can argue whether it should be verbotten, or even allowed in the contract, but it is in the contract.

  • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:54PM (#39354277)

    Your landline company couldn't drop you for no reason, and they couldn't drop you solely because you had sued them, but that doesn't mean they can't drop you for any reason. The guy who sued has admitted he's used his iPhone for tethering, in direct violation of his ToS, which gives AT&T every right to drop his account. The only reason they haven't already is they were clearly hoping to avoid this publicity. It's hard to come up with a direct analogy to a landline since there aren't many limitations on landlines, but if you were using something like a blue box on your landline to get free long distance, then your phone company would disconnect you in a heartbeat, public service or not.

  • Corporate Bullies (Score:5, Informative)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @12:56PM (#39354301)

    This is a cut-and-dry case of corporations pushing around the consumers. Given it is over internet service, this would make a great case of 'cyber-bullying' (as much as I hate that whole concept).

    If American customers have any sense, they will file these suits in droves and this guy will never talk to AT&T again.

  • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @01:21PM (#39354663)

    The data isn't unlimited, either.

  • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @01:56PM (#39355215)
    Actually his logic suggests that ATT is legally obligated to not put artificial barriers like throttling to the data access.
  • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @02:01PM (#39355293)

    If they actively advertise that such service is available there (infamous coverage map scandal material here), then yes.

    Otherwise, it is false advertising.

    They like to advertise spotty coverage areas with a black/white brush of "covered!" In the hopes that people in those areas will switch to them and become saddled with a contract. As a consumer who would be so saddled, I feel they are obligated to satisfy their promises of service to the people they dupe this way.

    So, either:

    1) they stop lying about effective coverage, and give a 60% theshold before declaring an area "covered" (meaning you get between 3 and 4 bars on a 5 bar indicator), or shade their coverage map with a gradient to show realworld effective coverage.

    2) put up, or shut up-- and actually deliver on what their advertising drones spew.

    Just because that is inconvenient or expensive for them, does not justify false advertising.

  • Re:Disclosure. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Svartalf (2997) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @02:15PM (#39355491) Homepage

    "Unlimited Data"... I honestly and dearly wish people would QUIT running that tired old argument up the flagpole- it's flatly false. Let's run some numbers...

    Presume, if you will the theoretical max AT&T is providing in their non-HSPA+/LTE areas. This is 1.7Mbit up/ 0.7Mbit down. You get billed for any data transferred. If you're mostly streaming, the upstream will be negligible. So...

    In 1 second, you will pull down roughly 217 kibytes of data.
    In 1 minute, you will pull down roughly 12 Mibytes of data.
    In 1 hour, you will pull down roughly 783 Mibytes of data.
    In 1 day, you will pull down roughly 18 Gibytes of data.
    In 1 week, you will pull down roughly 126 Gibytes of data.

    This presumes no throttling whatsoever. Now, presume they throttle to EDGE speeds at 5Gibytes transferred.

    In 1 second, you will pull down roughly 217 kibytes of data.
    In 1 minute, you will pull down roughly 12 Mibytes of data.
    In 1 hour, you will pull down roughly 783 Mibytes of data.

    In less than 1 day, you will hit your cap- in fact, it'll be somewhere around 6 and a half hours in.

    With this, you'll pull down the following:

    In 1 day, you will pull down roughly 6.82 Gibytes of data.
    In 1 week, you will pull down roughly 21.9 Gibytes of data.

    126 != 21.9 Quite simply it's not "unlimited data" in the slightest as they're limiting just how much data you CAN get through the link by limiting your speed. It's why AT&T LOST the case in the first place.

  • Re:Duh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by forkfail (228161) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @02:42PM (#39355905)

    So by that bizarre logic, you're suggesting that ATT is legally obligated to ensure they can sustain 100% of theoretically possible 3G bandwidth at every possible location in their network where there is any viable signal at all?

    Beautiful example of a strawman.

    The argument is that ATT (and t-mobile, for that matter) should provide what they advertise, and it is their due diligence to make sure that those things that they control work as advertised.

    So - no - they can't help you if you're in your basement.

    But when they intentionally damage the service they've sold you as "unlimited" - yeah, that is flat out unethical and pretty much fraud.

It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. -- Jerome Klapka Jerome

Working...