How Telecom Companies Can “Throttle” Your Business


Recently, AT&T has been under fire for misleading its customers on several of its program’s pricing strategies. Additionally, the FTC just discovered that AT&T is also affecting how a customer’s data functions in order to reduce AT&T’s data costs.

AT&T has developed the promotion of the Unlimited Data plan which is supposed to charge a relatively low flat rate for all the data usage the customer needs in a month without charging them overages. This is a highly competitive tactics since other telecommunications providers say that there are too many costs associated with unlimited data problems.

Seems too good to be true? Well, the Federal Trade Commission says that it is. Based on FTC research, AT&T is being sued for mis-advertising the unlimited data plan. Apparently, once the customer gets to a certain level of data, the service slows up to 90% of the speed, making it impossible for customers to use the data quickly and forcing them to either wait for their connection or give up and stop using it. The barrier ensures that AT&T does not have to pay excess costs for data, essentially setting a technical limit on an unlimited plan. This technique is called throttling and it is not legal. It is illegal because AT&T is telling customers that they will get the same access to unlimited amounts of data, but really they are guilty of false advertising by making it impossible to use the data (even though technically they are providing unlimited data to the user).

Although this is frustrating for an individual AT&T user, it could be detrimental to businesses using AT&T services. Businesses rely on access to large amounts of mobile data to speak, present, and share information with clients. The unlimited data plan is enticing because business owners and corporations generally use a large amount of data. However, AT&T’s tactic ensures that business communication will slow and valuable partnerships could potentially end because of lack of response.

In many articles, I speak of how important it is to monitor costs. However, it is also important to know the company providing a service respects you and your business. Telecom providers often are not seen as partners to a business because they are a necessity. However, you need to remember that you are a client to them and their main focus should be to make their service work best for your business, not to make money. Make sure that those you form business relationships with are serving your best interests, or find another resource that wants to see their client’s succeed.