AT&T Pays Up in iPhone Data Throttling Case

Earlier this week, we reported on an AT&T data throttling case where a disgruntled iPhone owner successfully sued AT&T in California small claims court when they began to throttle his data plan. At the time of the February judgment, AT&T was ordered by a judge to pay $935 to the customer, but AT&T ┬áreportedly planned on appealing the decision. Now it appears that AT&T has had a change of heart in the matter–or maybe just realized that appealing would be too expensive.

As you might recall, Matt Spaccarelli sued AT&T when they began to throttle his unlimited data plan on his iPhone. For those who don’t know, data throttling refers to slowing down a data connection when the data that is used in a certain month goes over a specific number (in this case, 3 GB). The judge ruled that the slowdown of the iPhone data plan violated the terms of the AT&T unlimited plan.


There’s one major detail to mention here: Spaccarelli wasn’t just using his iPhone on AT&T for normal data use–he was actually using it to tether other devices. As most probably know, tethering is illegal on an unlimited data plan and in fact violates the service agreement. So in this case, AT&T was right to consider appealing as Spaccarelli was also at fault in the matter. And AT&T would have been justified in terminating Spaccarelli’s iPhone account.

Surprisingly, AT&T decided to pay up on Friday by writing Spaccarelli a cool check for $935. However, they haven’t stopped throttling Spaccarelli’s iPhone, as he still has a very slow download speed. Spaccarelli reportedly plans on using the awarded money to cancel his AT&T contract.

Although AT&T did pay up in this case, it’s not likely that AT&T will in future data throttling cases, especially when it comes to data throttling that is caused by illegal tethering.

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