Amid growing controversy over data "throttling"—in which smartphone users on so-called unlimited data plans risked seeing their speeds slowed dramatically—AT&T is taking a simple step: It's effectively ending unlimited data. The company is setting a cap of three gigabytes' usage, beyond which "unlimited" users will face throttling. The move narrows the difference between AT&T's unlimited plan and its tiered plan, which requires payment for use beyond three gigs, the Wall Street Journal notes.
AT&T stopped offering new unlimited plans in 2010, but users already on such plans had been allowed to keep them. But consumers were frustrated by inconsistent rules as to when their data might be throttled; the new caps make the limit clear. If you're affected by the switch, you'll get a text notifying you when you're approaching the throttle zone; if you pass the limit, you'll see throttling for the rest of the billing cycle. Desperate for unencumbered unlimited coverage? Sprint still offers the plans, the Journal notes in a list of tips. The New York Times has more on the AT&T move from a user's perspective. (Read more AT&T stories.)