AT&T always reserved the right to throttle your 3G data
At MacRumors, Jordan Golson looked through old AT&T terms of service documents, and found clauses like this:
AT&T reserves the right to (i) limit throughput or amount of data transferred, deny Service and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited above or whose usage adversely impacts its wireless network or service levels or hinders access to its wireless network.
A lot of the disagreement with my earlier post centers on exactly what you were promised “unlimited” access to. After skimming some of these contracts, it appears to be “not much”.
Now, legal B.S. loopholes aside, it’d be jerky to argue that people who bought unlimited access plans didn’t expect unlimited access. But AT&T never promised unlimited fast access, it doesn’t seem. At least, not in any contracts I’ve seen. At the time, that didn’t seem important. But it is now, obviously.
I don’t think AT&T handled this particularly well, and as Glenn Fleishman notes on Twitter, that has left it open to lawsuits. The right thing would probably have been to buy the big-time bandwidth users out of their contracts and let them pick their next plan or carrier. But when has a big phone company actually done the right thing?