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iPhone Users Under Threat of AT&T's Data Throttling

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Yesterday, more evidence emerged that Apple may be introducing a 4G iPhone next week. While it would be a welcome addition to an already championed device, a recent spate of text messages from AT&T looks to ruin any benefit of quicker speeds.

Over on Reddit, user TheReverendZ is an iPhone owner grandfathered in to AT&T's unlimited data plan. Since he uses his device in lieu of a home internet connection, TheReverendZ tears through 10GB to 12GB per month. Although he claims not to tether his device to a computer and still remains within company guidelines, he received the following message from AT&T.

TheReverendZ writes:

"I've followed all the rules. I haven't jailbroken and I don't think it's a crazy amount. Remember, it's called an unlimited plan. I think you fail to see that the carriers have no problem lining their pockets. Extraordinary pricing schemes for texting and such. But if the company were to genuinely want to improve customer satisfaction and not just improve the bottom line, and the heavy data usage was truly affecting that effort, then yes, it wouldn't be a problem."

He adds that he uses no more data than he did a year ago and rarely uses his voice plan. "Yet I pay, every month for a sub par service that I barely ever use," TheReverendZ writes. "So I basically pay 5 times more for a phone call than somebody who uses all of their voice minutes. I suppose I could blame the folks who have unlimited voice plans though."

But as file sizes grow, streaming becomes standard, and infrastructures remain fragile and ill-equipped, it was inevitable that telecoms would begin introducing data caps and throttling. 9to5Mac noted that AT&T even hinted at plans to throttle heavy users back in July. In an official statement, the company wrote:

"Starting October 1, smartphone customers with unlimited data plans may experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle reaches the level that puts them among the top 5 percent of heaviest data users. These customers can still use unlimited data and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle. Before you are affected, we will provide multiple notices, including a grace period."

So much for the ease and versatility of the web.

And before you begin to gloat, Verizon customers, you're not immune either. Earlier this month, Big Red plans to take aim at iPhone users who download more than 2GB per month. You know, to "ensure reliability."

Thanks a bunch, guys.

(See also: More Evidence of a 4G iPhone! and Android's Holy Grail Allegedly Leaked in eBay Screw-Up)

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