Is AT&T deliberately throttling me? I feel thoroughly ripped off.
I've been an AT&T customer since 2003 and have had an unlimited data plan since 2008 or so. I started off with BlackBerrys and for the last 3 years have had an iPhone. Back in 2008 AT&T's 3G coverage in Manhattan was pretty abysmal to say the least. Then at some point they announced with great fanfare that they had upgraded the network. Not that I noticed - it was still a pretty abysmal service as far as I was concerned.
I've stuck with AT&T both out of habit and with the hope that things would improve. At this point, I just feel like I'm being completely and utterly ripped off with my data plan. I really don't know what's going on but it stinks.
I rely on my phone to run my business. I need data access all over the city at all hours. I never stream videos or music - it's all pretty light data access. Calendars, basic sites, email. I run a Facebook page so need to update and check that quite often. I also take part in a couple of forums which I check a few times a day. All in all, given that I'm not streaming anything, this should amount to a pretty modest use of data. But every month I find myself dangerously close to the 3GB limit, and have gone over a couple of times (and have received a warning). Checking my usage details, I see things like 20MB of data downloaded at 2am when I'm in bed. I have no idea what that is. My phone is not downloading anything like that amount of data when it's switched off - I don't have any Cloud features turned on or anything like that.
Anyway, apart from the fact that I feel like my usage data is way more than I actually use (I have friends who regularly stream movies and music but whose data usage is less than mine), it's just gotten to the point where my data access is so slow and spotty that it's made my iPhone 4S virtually useless for major periods of the day. Half the time I'm using my phone, I can't download anything at all. Pages just refuse to load. Sites refuse to update. Sometimes the progress bar gets a quarter of the way and just stops. There are large areas of Manhattan in which I cannot access any data whatsoever, especially in Midtown West and large areas of the Financial District. If this is really a case of AT&T's data coverage being poor, then they should be ashamed of themselves - they're a disgrace to New York. This is 2014!
But I suspect it's a combination of that and the fact that AT&T is throttling my data access, even when I'm not over the 3GB limit. I believe I'm being penalized for having a grandfathered unlimtied data plan. What makes me think this? Well, I meet my employees every week in a cafe at Union Square. And at this location, I have a terrible time downloading anything. Oftentimes pages just refuse to load altogether, and when they do it's painfully slow. Last week I asked an employee of mine, who is with AT&T and has the same iPhone but not an unlimited plan, to download the same page I was trying to access. Her phone downloaded it in seconds while mine refused to load it. We tried a few different pages - same thing. We tried disconnecting our radios and connecting again, to "reset" the connections so to speak, and the same thing occured. Bottom line - an AT&T customer on their "preferred" limited plan is able to download data at top speed, while I - a hated unlimited customer - have my connection throttled to the point where my phone is virtually unsuable at frequent times of the day.
The reason why I'm compelled to post this tonight is that earlier I spoke to a client of mine who is on unlimited data with AT&T and he reported the exact same thing. His data access is throttled to the point where his phone is virtually unusable, while his wife, who is also on AT&T but with a limited plan, has absolutely no trouble downloading anything. He is also of the opinion that his data usage as reported on the AT&T site is way more than he is actually using.
At this point, what can I do? I feel that I'm entitled to keep the plan I'm grandfathered into, and as long as my data doesn't go above 3G, I should not have any disruption to the data I'm paying for. It should be available to me at full speed without any throttling. I pay $135 per month for this garbage and I quite honestly feel like I'm being ripped off in the worst way possible. $135 per month for an internet experience which feels slower than my BlackBerry back in 2008.
I'd really like to know if anyone else is experiencing the same thing.