AT&T unlimited data users, your champion has arrived. Today the United States Federal Trade Commission announced that it has filed a federal court complaint against AT&T Wireless, alleging that the company misled customers by offering "unlimited" cellular data service that was severely reduced in speed at some times and places. The FTC's complaint takes issue with AT&T's failure to inform customers that the unlimited data they were paying for could be "throttled," often cutting data speeds to specific customers by up to 90 percent.
Back in August, Verizon turned heads when it said it would begin to use "Network Optimization" for those few customers still on the old unlimited data plans. In layman's terms, it meant that Verizon intended to throttle the speed of the top 5% of unlimited data users on LTE networks, something that's already in place on the carrier's aging 3G system. But today, the very first day that the policy was set to go into practice, the company seems to have backed down.
T-Mobile likes to call most of its plans "unlimited," but only a few of them actually have unlimited access to LTE speeds. These plans include unlimited bandwidth, but that doesn't mean you can do whatever you want. The terms and conditions prohibit the use of p2p file sharing, and now a leaked internal memo points to a new offensive against such violations. Beginning August 17th, T-Mobile goes to war against torrents.
It's impossible for new customers to buy unlimited mobile data from Verizon. But this wasn't always the case: back in the glory days of, uh, 2010 and earlier, Verizon Wireless was still offering true unlimited data for as little as $30 a month. It's been increasingly hard for users who want to keep their unlimited data to do so: since late 2012, they haven't been able to buy a new subsidized phone without switching over to a plan with a data cap, and the "grandfathered" unlimited data customers who download the most are already subject to "network optimization" when using Verizon's 3G network.
As other carriers have ended unlimited data in recent years, Sprint has held firm. This was perhaps the saving grace of its network as Sprint struggled to catch up to other carriers in the race for LTE coverage. According to a report from Fierce Wireless, Sprint is going to be pulling back a bit on unlimited 3G/4G data for the biggest users on its network. Beginning as soon as next month in some markets, anyone who falls in the top 5% of data consumers could potentially be throttled down to ensure others can get connectivity.
If you're in the market for a no-contract cell phone and you want unlimited data, your options aren't exactly legion. Today US Cellular announced one more, albeit with some big drawbacks in the small print. For a limited time, you can pick up a new no-contract phone and enjoy unlimited talk minutes, texting and data for $50 a month. That's the same price as the carrier's current 1GB plan.
As with US Cellular's previous plans, "unlimited" only means "unlimited" in the very selective way that some carriers use the term.
This contest is now over.
The final results are listed below. If you've won, you will be contacted in the near future. Congratulations!
Jose Luis Ortega
We're into awesome giveaways here at Android Police, and it so happens that one such awesome giveaway opportunity just landed in our lap this week: a whole bunch o' Sprint phones and tablets.
The Uncarrier itself is shaking things up again with phase three of its plan to change the mobile industry. As rumored earlier today, T-Mobile just announced unlimited global data for no extra charge in over 100 countries. That's massive – so massive, in fact, the (un)carrier is now able to say that its data network is larger than Verizon's and AT&T's combined. Massive.
The plan goes into effect on October 31st for "most" Simple Choice customers – no activation needed.
Those of us who've managed to hang on to Verizon unlimited data after the tiered plans started showing up are not going to give it up lightly. We buy unsubsidized phones at ridiculous prices to stay secure in the knowledge that we can gobble as many gigabytes as we want for $30 a month. This does not please Verizon: unlimited data is not conducive to profits, and unsubsidized customers are more likely to bolt.
If you're a last minute Christmas shopper, and on the lookout for some tech deals to give to your loved ones, T-Mobile's 'zero down sale' may be the answer you've been looking for. Starting today, the network is offering a selection of 4G devices for $0 down payment with its Unlimited Value and Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan.
The offer lasts until December 31 and includes a number of Android devices, such as Samsung's Galaxy S III, the HTC One S, and the LG Optimus 9.