AT&T Ends All-You-Can-Eat Data Plans

by Greg Pollowitz

For now, the limits are only on AT&T’s heaviest wireless-data users, but I would think this is the face of wireless pricing to come:

AT&T said that beginning in October it will throttle wireless service for the heaviest data users on unlimited plans, saying its networks have become too congested from video and music streaming via smartphones and tablets.

The move is the latest blow for wireless consumers, who are increasingly being charged by how much data they consume over their wireless devices as providers grow more mindful of apps that can clog networks and run up their monthly bills.

Beginning Oct. 1, AT&T said the top five percent of data consumers on its unlimited data plan will see traffic slow to a crawl. These are long-time subscribers who were able to keep unlimited plans even after June, 2010, when AT&T stopped offering them.

The company announced the changes on its Web site last Friday and described the affected users as “a very small minority of smartphone customers” who use 12 times more data than the average smartphone customers by streaming large amounts of video and music, playing online games, and using remote web camera apps over the wireless network.

The rest here.