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AT&T Statement on FTC Allegations

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“The FTC’s allegations are baseless and have nothing to do with the substance of our network management program. It’s baffling as to why the FTC would choose to take this action against a company that, like all major wireless providers, manages its network resources to provide the best possible service to all customers, and does it in a way that is fully transparent and consistent with the law and our contracts.

“We have been completely transparent with customers since the very beginning. We informed all unlimited data-plan customers via bill notices and a national press release that resulted in nearly 2,000 news stories, well before the program was implemented.  In addition, this program has affected only about 3% of our customers, and before any customer is affected, they are also notified by text message.”

Wayne Watts, Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel, AT&T

Additional Points:

Examples of Widespread Media Coverage (nearly 2,000 stories):

  • CNET: AT&T says it will throttle heavy data users
    • "Although it’s a pain to those afflicted, AT&T is being transparent about the issue, giving subscribers a chance to minimize their usage before getting their data speeds choked. Verizon began throttling uses who consume a large amount of data, but didn’t originally reveal the policy to the public, describe how it would be implemented, or describe if and how users would be notified.”
  • PC Magazine: AT&T to throttle mobile users with “extraordinary” data use
  • CNN: AT&T begins sending throttling warnings to top data hogs
  • WSJ: AT&T ends all-you-can eat
  • WSJ Digits Techblog Q&A: How to avoid getting throttled

Customer Communications:

  • Bill notification to all unlimited data plan customers prior to the program being implemented.
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  • Consumer-facing website (att.com/datainfo):

  • Text messages to affected customers once they reach the threshold for the first time
    • ATT Free Msg: Your data usage has reached 5GB this month. Using more than 5GB in future billing cycles will result in reduced speeds. You can use Wi-Fi to help avoid reduced speeds. Visit att.com/datainfo or call 866-344-7584 for more info.

Our network management program – which is consistent with FCC rules and is an industry-standard network management tool – affects only a very small percentage (about 3%) of our smartphone unlimited data-plan users, which are the heaviest data users.

  • Even with temporarily reduced speeds, the small percentage of customers affected can continue surfing the web, streaming audio, e-mailing and doing most other smartphone activities.
  • In fact some of our unlimited data plan customers have used up to 300 GB of data per month, even with reduced speeds. Our network management policy is in place so we can provide the best possible experience for all of our customers.