Truely Unlimited Data?

Truely Unlimited Data?

I have an iPhone 4 and I am still grandfathered in with my old $30 unlimited data plan.  Well I recently discovered the wonderful apps HBO Go and Hulu Plus, and I have used them quite frequently to watch TV shows and movies on my iPhone recently.  I've never used this much data before and I might actually go over 5 GB usage in a month for the first time ever.  So my question is what the limit on data usage before my account gets flagged for excessive use?  Like is there a softcap on my unlimited data plan?  My iPhone is not jailbroken and I'm not tethering.  Am I in the clear since all my data usage is from Hulu.com via the Hulu Plus app, or should I be expecting a notice from AT&T that I'm subject to some overage charges?

Message 1 of 36 (4,660 Views)
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Re: Truely Unlimited Data?


renewedpurpose wrote:

I have an iPhone 4 and I am still grandfathered in with my old $30 unlimited data plan.  Well I recently discovered the wonderful apps HBO Go and Hulu Plus, and I have used them quite frequently to watch TV shows and movies on my iPhone recently.  I've never used this much data before and I might actually go over 5 GB usage in a month for the first time ever.  So my question is what the limit on data usage before my account gets flagged for excessive use?  Like is there a softcap on my unlimited data plan?  My iPhone is not jailbroken and I'm not tethering.  Am I in the clear since all my data usage is from Hulu.com via the Hulu Plus app, or should I be expecting a notice from AT&T that I'm subject to some overage charges?



there is a acceptable use policy in the data plan that spells out what any carrier can do if you repeatably exceed it, this is in every carriers terms -

Message 2 of 36 (4,629 Views)
ACE - Professor
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Accepted by Chris_ForumsMod (Former Moderator)
‎09-30-2015 1:39 AM

Re: Truely Unlimited Data?


renewedpurpose wrote:

 

should I be expecting a notice from AT&T that I'm subject to some overage charges?


No, you will not get an overage charge. If you are flagged for excessive use, you will ge a call to discuss your options which would include reducing your usage, or moving to the tiered plan.

 

If there is any way to use wifi to enjoy streaming video from home, you should by all means take advantage of that to reduce needless cellular data usage.

 

The Wireless Customer Agreement is here http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/articles-resources/wireless-terms.jsp

 

The bit concerning data use is here http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/legal/index.jsp?q_termsKey=wirelessCustomerAgreement&...

 

And the catch phrase that can apply to anyone is "AT&T reserves the right to (i) deny, disconnect, modify and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited or whose usage adversely impacts its wireless network or service levels or hinders access to its wireless network, including without limitation, after a significant period of inactivity or after sessions of excessive usage"

 

There is no definition of excessive usage in the terms you agreed to, so pretty much they can be anything.

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
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Accepted by Chris_ForumsMod (Former Moderator)
‎09-30-2015 1:39 AM

Re: Truely Unlimited Data?


wingrider01 wrote:

renewedpurpose wrote:

I have an iPhone 4 and I am still grandfathered in with my old $30 unlimited data plan.  Well I recently discovered the wonderful apps HBO Go and Hulu Plus, and I have used them quite frequently to watch TV shows and movies on my iPhone recently.  I've never used this much data before and I might actually go over 5 GB usage in a month for the first time ever.  So my question is what the limit on data usage before my account gets flagged for excessive use?  Like is there a softcap on my unlimited data plan?  My iPhone is not jailbroken and I'm not tethering.  Am I in the clear since all my data usage is from Hulu.com via the Hulu Plus app, or should I be expecting a notice from AT&T that I'm subject to some overage charges?



there is a acceptable use policy in the data plan that spells out what any carrier can do if you repeatably exceed it, this is in every carriers terms -


In that case, OP should be in the clear (assuming he's not also consuming lots and lots of data via unauthorized/unapproved means) since he's using apps officially offered in the iTunes App Store.  I mean, theoretically speaking if someone decides to use the Netflix app to watch movies on his iPhone 24x7...should that be considered "unacceptable" use of the data plan...or is it "unacceptable" only if you do so on an unlimited data plan?  After all, if you were to do so on one of the tiered plans, I'm willing to bet AT&T won't even bat an eye, as long as you pay for the overage...so why would/should it be any different if you were on the unlimited plan?  Data is data, regardless of whether it's being consumed on an unlimited plan or a tiered plan--i.e., should using up say, 10 GB in a month be considered unacceptable use regardless of whether I do so on an unlimited plan or a 2 GB plan?  Then again, maybe someone can point out where in the ToS it says that even on a tiered plan there is a limit of how much data you can use in any given month, regardless of whether you're more than willing to pay for it (overage).

Message 4 of 36 (4,607 Views)
ACE - Professor

Re: Truely Unlimited Data?


tonester wrote:

I mean, theoretically speaking if someone decides to use the Netflix app to watch movies on his iPhone 24x7...should that be considered "unacceptable" use of the data plan...or is it "unacceptable" only if you do so on an unlimited data plan? 

Yep. You're probably correct. It's unacceptable to use excessive data on an unlimited plan. This seems to be the direction AT&T is taking based on self-reporting from folks in other forums using a lot of data on unlimited plans for streaming media. Where "a lot" is well above 5GB/mo.

 

If you're paying $55 for your 5GB, or $105 for your 10GB, AT&T will be happy to have you continue to stream video over 3G.

 

$30 for 5-10-20GB? - I would think you're pushing your luck at some point in there. Given 3GB is roughly where you start costing AT&T lost revenue from the average cost of a metered plan, you have to assume 2-3x that (6GB? 9GB?) is really going to show up somewhere on a report... but who knows. There's nothing offical (other than the offical statement that any tethering is going to land you in a tethering plan) about where or how excessive use will be flagged.

 

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 5 of 36 (4,581 Views)

Re: Truely Unlimited Data?


johninsj wrote:

...Given 3GB is roughly where you start costing AT&T lost revenue from the average cost of a metered plan... 


I take issue with that statement.

 

It doesn't "cost" AT&T anything more to provide data over 3gb, especially on an unlimmited plan.

 

Does AT&T not EARN as much money as they could have if the user was on a tiered plan?  Yes. 

 

But "LOST" money?  No, to "LOSE" something AT&T would have to have had it in the first place.  If AT&T never had it in the first place, like the money that's NOT paid by those of us on the unlimmited plan, it's just unearned.

 

Would AT&T like to get rid of all the active unlimmited plans so they can charge for any 'extra' data usage?  I'm sure they would, but that would be more expensive for them in the 'short term' than they currently feel it is worth.

 

So again, is AT&T "losing" money?  No.  You can't lose something you never had in the first place.

Message 6 of 36 (4,571 Views)
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Re: Truely Unlimited Data?


tonester wrote:

wingrider01 wrote:

renewedpurpose wrote:

I have an iPhone 4 and I am still grandfathered in with my old $30 unlimited data plan.  Well I recently discovered the wonderful apps HBO Go and Hulu Plus, and I have used them quite frequently to watch TV shows and movies on my iPhone recently.  I've never used this much data before and I might actually go over 5 GB usage in a month for the first time ever.  So my question is what the limit on data usage before my account gets flagged for excessive use?  Like is there a softcap on my unlimited data plan?  My iPhone is not jailbroken and I'm not tethering.  Am I in the clear since all my data usage is from Hulu.com via the Hulu Plus app, or should I be expecting a notice from AT&T that I'm subject to some overage charges?



there is a acceptable use policy in the data plan that spells out what any carrier can do if you repeatably exceed it, this is in every carriers terms -


In that case, OP should be in the clear (assuming he's not also consuming lots and lots of data via unauthorized/unapproved means) since he's using apps officially offered in the iTunes App Store.  I mean, theoretically speaking if someone decides to use the Netflix app to watch movies on his iPhone 24x7...should that be considered "unacceptable" use of the data plan...or is it "unacceptable" only if you do so on an unlimited data plan?  After all, if you were to do so on one of the tiered plans, I'm willing to bet AT&T won't even bat an eye, as long as you pay for the overage...so why would/should it be any different if you were on the unlimited plan?  Data is data, regardless of whether it's being consumed on an unlimited plan or a tiered plan--i.e., should using up say, 10 GB in a month be considered unacceptable use regardless of whether I do so on an unlimited plan or a 2 GB plan?  Then again, maybe someone can point out where in the ToS it says that even on a tiered plan there is a limit of how much data you can use in any given month, regardless of whether you're more than willing to pay for it (overage).



It is up to the end user to police their own usage - take t-mobile for example - after 5gb of usage on their "unlimited plan" they throttle the usage to primarily email until the end of the billing cycle, if you equate it to a home based interent provider like charter - they limit you to 250GB a month on their plans, they will send you two warnings, the third they will suspend service for 6 months. Again it is up to the end user to police their own usage.

 

If you are on a tiered plan, they yes ATT will happily charge you for overages - the question was on a grandfathered unlimited plan so your statement about chargin for overages is null and void..

 

Have not seen any carrier put a upper limit on a tiered data plan, the upper limit is how much you as a end user is willing to pay - 50, 100, 300 in overages - what will your check book handle?

 

ATT has taken the stance on tethering with the unlimited plan - it is not allowed, if a end user is tethering without the correct plan in place ATT will send a warning - if it continues then the unlimited plan is removed and a tiered tethering plan is put in place, the grandfathered plan is gone for good.

 

The difference on "unlimited plans" for all carriers is there is a acceptable use policy put forth, the company has the right to terminate, throttle or restrict a unlimited plan if they determine it is causing a detrimental affect on their network, T-mobile, verizon, US Cellular even Cricket has this in place. It is stated in other carriers acceptable use policy what they consider unacceptable use, I am sure that ATT has the point set also

 

Unapproved or unauthorized data usage ATT will take the steps, as far as the app goes - Apple approved the app for use on the iphone, ATT and now verizon will determine if the end users data usage with the app is execessive and take appropriate enforcement steps - it does not matter if the app is approved or not, the carrier does not care.

Message 7 of 36 (4,555 Views)
ACE - Professor

Re: Truly Unlimited Data?


DimentoGraven wrote:

johninsj wrote:

...Given 3GB is roughly where you start costing AT&T lost revenue from the average cost of a metered plan... 


I take issue with that statement.

 

It doesn't "cost" AT&T anything more to provide data over 3gb, especially on an unlimited plan.

 

Does AT&T not EARN as much money as they could have if the user was on a tiered plan?  Yes. 

 

But "LOST" money?  No, to "LOSE" something AT&T would have to have had it in the first place.  If AT&T never had it in the first place, like the money that's NOT paid by those of us on the unlimited plan, it's just unearned.

 

Would AT&T like to get rid of all the active unlimited plans so they can charge for any 'extra' data usage?  I'm sure they would, but that would be more expensive for them in the 'short term' than they currently feel it is worth.

 

So again, is AT&T "losing" money?  No.  You can't lose something you never had in the first place.


I don't need to rehash this argument again.

 

However you wish to spin this, do it in your head to get to the point where you view each subscriber as a revenue source. Now, consider each GB of data a unit of $10 of revenue. Now do simple math.

 

If the unlimited user were on a metered plan, their $30 represents $25 for 2GB and then $5 for .5GB. So after 2.5GB, that user isn't generating revenue for consuming a resource that costs money to create, as represented in backhaul, tower capacity, reps manning phones, stores, insurance cost, electricity, whatever.

 

The AUP everyone agrees to includes the text I quoted. That's what every one of us agrees to, unlimited or not.

 

I don't know at what point AT&T classifies usage, on the unlimited plan, as excessive, but I am quite sure that heavy users even without tethering are getting calls, because I've read the posts from non-jailbroken users, doing no tethering, but streaming 10s of GB a month.

 

I'm not arguing about the relative value of data, or if data is free, or who costs what. I really don't care. It is what it is, and "unlimited" data CLEARLY doesn't mean infinite use. At some point, you'll simply get cut off or pushed onto a metered plan, for any number of reasons as outlined in the acceptable use wording I quoted.

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 8 of 36 (4,527 Views)

Re: Truly Unlimited Data?

[ Edited ]

johninsj wrote:

I don't need to rehash this argument again.

 

However you wish to spin this, do it in your head to get to the point where you view each subscriber as a revenue source. Now, consider each GB of data a unit of $10 of revenue. Now do simple math.

 

If the unlimited user were on a metered plan, their $30 represents $25 for 2GB and then $5 for .5GB. So after 2.5GB, that user isn't generating revenue for consuming a resource that costs money to create, as represented in backhaul, tower capacity, reps manning phones, stores, insurance cost, electricity, whatever.

 

The AUP everyone agrees to includes the text I quoted. That's what every one of us agrees to, unlimited or not.

 

I don't know at what point AT&T classifies usage, on the unlimited plan, as excessive, but I am quite sure that heavy users even without tethering are getting calls, because I've read the posts from non-jailbroken users, doing no tethering, but streaming 10s of GB a month.

 

I'm not arguing about the relative value of data, or if data is free, or who costs what. I really don't care. It is what it is, and "unlimited" data CLEARLY doesn't mean infinite use. At some point, you'll simply get cut off or pushed onto a metered plan, for any number of reasons as outlined in the acceptable use wording I quoted.


Sorry you didn't want to "rehash" this, I'm suprised you responded, if you don't want to discuss this, don't read my post and don't respond.

 

AT&T doesn't 'create' anything to support data customers.  They've built up a network that will support a specific number of simultaneous sessions and support a specific total number of packets per second.

 

With the total capacity of the available net defined, verses a theoretical "optimum" customer base, verses expenses, verses desired net profit, they have defined a pricing model.

 

Originally that pricing model was a single tier, 20/30 bucks per month for unlimmited data.  Unfortunately their customer base grew, and the average usage of a large percentage of their customer base grew and in many of their supported areas, it grew beyond capacity.

 

The only 'costs' involved were when AT&T decided they needed to increase network capacity and invested a portion of their net profits towards that end.

 

Later it was realized they could increase gross profits by moving from a single, unlimmited tier, pricing model to a multi-tier, 'usage' based model.  As each individual customer's usage passed certain thresholds the price point goes up and AT&T charges more money.  Originally AT&T touted this as a 'fix' to their lack of available bandwidth, however, that was a lie.

 

The need to increase the available bandwidth and the costs associated with that investment ate into the original pricing model's net profit potential and AT&T adjusted.

 

Now, on my unlimmited plan, in my area whether I pull 2.5gb or 25gb on my phone, it doesn't "cost" AT&T anything.  Do they not earn as much as they potentially could were I on a tiered plan? Absolutely!  But they're not going to the "packet factory" and 'creating' more packets to "pour" into the network so they can support my usage.

 

If my usage over taxes the network, and causes connectivity issues, lag, or general network unresponsiveness, AT&T STILL gets to charge everyone their base charge.  There is no "cost"...

 

Does my over exuberant cause the existing network to use more electricity?  Actually no, it doesn't, not in any quantifiable way.  A router under load pretty much utilizes the same amount of electricity as a router without load.

 

A tower doesn't cost more because more packets for flowing through it

 

AT&T doesn't spend more man hours because I'm online more, and certainly the AT&T store will never even know whether or not I'm online, and insurance costs?!?!  No.

 

None of that increases until AT&T decides to invest in adding capacity and the base charge of pricing model covers that, and it only cuts into the net profits.

 

AT&T should make up the difference in acquring new customers, not finding devious ways of increasing the charges to its current customers.

 

As mentioned before if you don't want to 'rehash this argument again', don't respond, you're not obligated to and I won't think any less of you, or that "I won" just because you chose not to reply.

Message 9 of 36 (4,521 Views)
ACE - Professor

Re: Truly Unlimited Data?


DimentoGraven wrote:

johninsj wrote:

I don't need to rehash this argument again.

 

However you wish to spin this, do it in your head to get to the point where you view each subscriber as a revenue source. Now, consider each GB of data a unit of $10 of revenue. Now do simple math.

 

If the unlimited user were on a metered plan, their $30 represents $25 for 2GB and then $5 for .5GB. So after 2.5GB, that user isn't generating revenue for consuming a resource that costs money to create, as represented in backhaul, tower capacity, reps manning phones, stores, insurance cost, electricity, whatever.

 

The AUP everyone agrees to includes the text I quoted. That's what every one of us agrees to, unlimited or not.

 

I don't know at what point AT&T classifies usage, on the unlimited plan, as excessive, but I am quite sure that heavy users even without tethering are getting calls, because I've read the posts from non-jailbroken users, doing no tethering, but streaming 10s of GB a month.

 

I'm not arguing about the relative value of data, or if data is free, or who costs what. I really don't care. It is what it is, and "unlimited" data CLEARLY doesn't mean infinite use. At some point, you'll simply get cut off or pushed onto a metered plan, for any number of reasons as outlined in the acceptable use wording I quoted.


Sorry you didn't want to "rehash" this, I'm surprised you responded, if you don't want to discuss this, don't read my post and don't respond.

 

As mentioned before if you don't want to 'rehash this argument again', don't respond, you're not obligated to and I won't think any less of you, or that "I won" just because you chose not to reply.


You're not helping the OP, who simply asked at what point of using their unlimited plan would they possibly run into a hidden cap. The AUP is worded such that there is no such thing as truly unlimited usage, and AT&T has demonstrated that the thresholds for excessive use are relatively low.

 

If we can stay on that topic in this thread, it would be totally awesome.

 

The answer is, quite possibly, upwards of 5GB. Most definitely 10GB. For sure 20GB.

 

Translated into netflix viewing, that means roughly 15 hours of SD video, or 5 hours of HD video on the low end in a month is going to be fine. Somewhere north of double that is probably iffy. Four times that, couple months running, I would expect to get contacted for sure.

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 10 of 36 (4,495 Views)

Re: Truly Unlimited Data?

[ Edited ]

johninsj wrote:

You're not helping the OP, who simply asked at what point of using their unlimited plan would they possibly run into a hidden cap. The AUP is worded such that there is no such thing as truly unlimited usage, and AT&T has demonstrated that the thresholds for excessive use are relatively low.

 

If we can stay on that topic in this thread, it would be totally awesome.

 

The answer is, quite possibly, upwards of 5GB. Most definitely 10GB. For sure 20GB.

 

Translated into netflix viewing, that means roughly 15 hours of SD video, or 5 hours of HD video on the low end in a month is going to be fine. Somewhere north of double that is probably iffy. Four times that, couple months running, I would expect to get contacted for sure.


Like I stated in my post, twice, you didn't have to respond...

 

Anyway, the fact that this is so ildefined so "nebulous" is a problem...

 

Having to use words like "roughly", "somewhere north", "iffy", etc., makes it seem that AT&T can decided, arbitrarily, that just about any usage we unlimmited plan holders may produce during a period violates the AUP.

 

Surely it's more specifically defined than what you're posting here...

Message 11 of 36 (3,458 Views)
ACE - Professor

Re: Truly Unlimited Data?


DimentoGraven wrote:

johninsj wrote:

You're not helping the OP, who simply asked at what point of using their unlimited plan would they possibly run into a hidden cap. The AUP is worded such that there is no such thing as truly unlimited usage, and AT&T has demonstrated that the thresholds for excessive use are relatively low.

 

If we can stay on that topic in this thread, it would be totally awesome.

 

The answer is, quite possibly, upwards of 5GB. Most definitely 10GB. For sure 20GB.

 

Translated into netflix viewing, that means roughly 15 hours of SD video, or 5 hours of HD video on the low end in a month is going to be fine. Somewhere north of double that is probably iffy. Four times that, couple months running, I would expect to get contacted for sure.


Like I stated in my post, twice, you didn't have to respond...

 

Anyway, the fact that this is so ildefined so "nebulous" is a problem...

 

Having to use words like "roughly", "somewhere north", "iffy", etc., makes it seem that AT&T can decided, arbitrarily, that just about any usage we unlimmited plan holders may produce during a period violates the AUP.

 

Surely it's more specifically defined than what you're posting here...


It may be, but I don't work for AT&T. As worded, it is completely up to  AT&T to decide what is abusive use.

 

The part I have bolded is exactly correct - as worded, any use could be deemed abuse. Have your lawyer review the agreement you signed, and they'll verify that contractually you agreed to those terms, just like everyone else does.

 

If you can stay on topic, the OP asked "Truly Unlimited Data" and the answer is "No". There is no way you can use an unlimited amount of data over 3G. If you're on a metered plan, you could pay for a lot of data, but the costs would keep you from spending an infinite amount of money, obviously. On an unlimited plan you'll run into the AUP/Terms of Service limits, whatever they are, at some point.

 

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 12 of 36 (3,440 Views)

Re: Truly Unlimited Data?

[ Edited ]

johninsj wrote:

It may be, but I don't work for AT&T. As worded, it is completely up to  AT&T to decide what is abusive use.

 

The part I have bolded is exactly correct - as worded, any use could be deemed abuse. Have your lawyer review the agreement you signed, and they'll verify that contractually you agreed to those terms, just like everyone else does.

 

If you can stay on topic, the OP asked "Truly Unlimited Data" and the answer is "No". There is no way you can use an unlimited amount of data over 3G. If you're on a metered plan, you could pay for a lot of data, but the costs would keep you from spending an infinite amount of money, obviously. On an unlimited plan you'll run into the AUP/Terms of Service limits, whatever they are, at some point.

 


Technically, you're not really helping the OP a whole heck of a lot either.  A response of, "No" with "it's not truly unlimmited, at some nebulous undefined point in your usage, AT&T will decide you have voilated their AUP, and there's no garuntee that what's being determined as acceptable use today will still be acceptable use tomorrow"...

 

Without a defined "tipping point" how do we truly know we've crossed over into that "unacceptable use" category?

 

If I watch streamed video on my smart phone 8 hours a day every day while on an 'unlimmited' plan, how in the current definition is that not acceptable?  From what I recall of the AUP, that's acceptable use.

 


 

Message 13 of 36 (3,435 Views)
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ACE - Professor

Re: Truly Unlimited Data?


DimentoGraven wrote:

 

If I watch streamed video on my smart phone 8 hours a day every day while on an 'unlimmited' plan, how in the current definition is that not acceptable?  From what I recall of the AUP, that's acceptable use.
 


If you're tying up a tower for hours on end streaming video, that impacts other users on that tower. Negatively impacting other users is a violation of the AUP.

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 14 of 36 (3,431 Views)

Re: Truly Unlimited Data?


johninsj wrote:

 

If you're tying up a tower for hours on end streaming video, that impacts other users on that tower. Negatively impacting other users is a violation of the AUP.



So, what you're saying is that when my tower gets to capacity with everyone else using tiered plans, and I can't do simple things like retrieve email, because the tower is saturated, then all those other users are also violating AUP too?

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