AT&T loses unlimited data throttling case, forced to pay iPhone owner $935

att-corporate

As previous reported by CBS News, cellular service and data provider AT&T was attempting to silence 39-year-old, California resident Matt Spaccarelli with a non-disclosure agreement after the man won a court case against AT&T regarding data throttling. While announcing intentions to throttle customers during late 2011, AT&T didn’t being throttling high-data users down to 2G download speeds until mid-December 2011. During February 2012, Spaccarelli noticed that AT&T started decreasing the data speed on his iPhone after consuming 1.5 to 2.0 gigabytes of data during a billing cycle. Spaccarelli’s iPhone is currently on the grandfathered unlimited data plan that AT&T discontinued during June 2010.

at&t iphone 4SAccording to an interview with Mashable, Spaccarelli’s download speed on his iPhone over AT&T’s network is approximately 0.31 Mbps in the Simi Valley area outside Los Angeles, a far cry from the nationwide average of 1.7 Mbps. While text messaging and voice calls were unaffected by the change, Spaccarelli was unable to stream video and browsing the Web become incredibly slow. Spaccarelli also purchased a second iPhone with a sim card from Straight Talk and was able to get a 3.83 Mbps download speed in the same location on AT&T’s 3G network.

Spaccarelli brought the case against AT&T in a small-claims court and Judge Russell Nadel ruled that AT&T violated the terms of the unlimited data plan. The judge ordered that AT&T issue Spaccarelli a payment of $850, an estimation of the data usage over the remainder of Spaccarelli’s contract, plus $85 for court costs. Spaccerelli tweeted a picture of the cashier’s check yesterday on his Twitter account with the phrase “It’s official! I win! Thanks for all the support,” in addition to tagging AT&T’s official Twitter account in the message.

att-verdict-throttle-payment

While Spaccarelli’s win in the case may inspire other AT&T customers to pursue legal action against the service provider, a letter from the law firm representing AT&T indicates that Spaccarelli violated the AT&T agreement by tethering the iPhone 4 to a computer. As detailed on a blog post at PublikDemand, the letter mentioned that AT&T could cut off Spaccarelli’s service for the tethering violation before attempting to encourage him to sign a non-disclosure agreement in regards to the court case.  

Spaccarelli refused to sign the agreement and has continued to remain vocal about the case on his own site in addition to interviews in various national publications. AT&T doesn’t plan on appealing the verdict and previously announced plans to halt throttling on the top five percent of high data users. Instead, the company will throttle all users that consume more than 3GB of data in a billing cycle. Incidentally, 3GB is the current cap on data for users that sign up for a new service plan with the company.  

According to Spaccarelli, he plans to use the money to obtain a new smartphone using a different service provider in addition to traveling to the AT&T stockholders meeting held during April 2012 within Salt Lake City, Utah. Since a clause in the AT&T contract prevents consumers from getting together to form a class-action lawsuit regarding data-throttling, unlimited data users have to use binding arbitration or small-claims court to go after AT&T. While binding arbitration typically requires silence from both parties after resolution, small-claims court doesn’t have this restriction. 

Mobile

Photograph your meal with the Foodvisor app for caloric, nutritional estimates

Many of us understand the importance of a healthy diet, but counting calories and diving into nutritional data is a lot of work. The Foodvisor app for Android or iOS gives you a calorific and nutritional breakdown of your food from a photo.
Emerging Tech

Saturn didn’t always have rings, according to new analysis of Cassini data

Saturn's rings are younger than previously believed, according to new data gathered from the Cassini mission. The rings are certainly less than 100 million years old and perhaps as young as 10 million years old.
Computing

Faster new PCIe 5.0 standard leapfrogs the best feature of AMD’s Ryzen 3

PCIe 5.0 will bring even faster data transfers, but it may only be found on HPCs and servers initially. The standard is four times faster than your current PC at transferring data, and new devices could appear later this year.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Mobile

Apple resurrects the iPhone SE with brand-new units starting at $249

Apple quietly started selling the iPhone SE again, at even lower prices than when it was discontinued four months ago. Brand new units of the 32GB version are on sale for $249, while the 128GB version is going for $299.
Mobile

Text up a storm with the best messaging apps for iOS and Android

These days, most people tend to favor digital messages over phone calls. We have the best messaging apps that allow you to share photos and documents, send text messages, and more with end-to-end encryption.
Product Review

Controversy has dogged the MacBook Pro lately. Is it still a good purchase?

The MacBook Pro is a controversial laptop these days -- and that's unfortunate. Due to some divisive changes Apple made to the functionality of the MacBook Pro, fans are more split. Does the 8th-gen refresh change that?
Apple

Want a MacBook that will last all day on a single charge? Check these models out

Battery life is one of the most important factors in buying any laptop, especially MacBooks. Their battery life is typically average, but there are some standouts. Knowing which MacBook has the best battery life can be rather useful.
Mobile

The best iPhone 6 cases for style and protection

No one likes a bruised Apple. Scratches, scuffs, and cracks on a new iPhone 6 are enough to ruin anyone’s day. Check out the best iPhone 6 cases and get some protection on that shiny new smartphone.
Mobile

Is 5G as fast as they’re saying? We break down the speeds

We take a look at the kinds of speeds you can expect from 5G when the networks roll out. Find out 5G compares to the last generation of network technology, what the minimum and maximum speeds will be, and what it means for us.
Mobile

Tizen 4 arriving on Samsung’s Gear S3 and Gear Sport smartwatches

Samsung is updating the Gear S3 Classic, Gear S3 Frontier, and the Gear Sport to the newest version of Tizen 4. Along with of some little tweaks to usability and quality-of-life, Samsung has added some new features.
Mobile

Mobvoi’s TicWatch E2 and S2 are the most affordable Wear OS smartwatches yet

Quality smartwatches don't have to be expensive, and Mobvoi's TicWatch is the proud paladin of that philosophy. Mobvoi's new TicWatch S2 and are both available for low prices from Amazon and Mobvoi's website.
Deals

Save up to $950 with the best smartphone deals for January 2019

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $950.
Mobile

Apple Pay coming to more top U.S. stores, including Target and Taco Bell

Apple Pay is the best way to pay on your iPhone and Apple Watch. Apple Pay support is being rolled out across the U.S. for a variety of top retailers, including Taco Bell, Target, Hy-Vee, and more.