Data Usage Information & FAQs from AT&T
Info for smartphone customers with legacy unlimited data plans

Do you have an unlimited data plan? If so, we have information to help you manage your account.

In line with common industry standards, we have implemented network management practices to assure that our network resources are used for the benefit of all our mobile broadband customers especially during periods when network demand exceeds available network resources (also known as "congestion").

One such practice applies when a minority of smartphone customers on unlimited data plans using 3G, 4G, or 4G LTE smartphones exceed certain data usage thresholds in a billing period (3GB for 3G/4G smartphones and 5GB for 4G LTE smartphones). When affected by this practice, these customers may experience reduced data speeds and increased latency during periods of congestion as compared to other customers using the same cell site. All affected customers can still use unlimited data without being subject to overage charges, and we will notify customers during each billing cycle when they reach 75% of the applicable usage threshold so they can adjust their usage to avoid network management practices that may result in slower data speeds.

Reduced speeds and increased latency may cause websites to load more slowly or affect the performance of data-heavy activities such as high-definition video streaming or interactive gaming. The degree of reduced speeds and increased latency will vary depending on the amount of congestion. Congestion can start and stop over a very short time period (often measured in fractions of a second), further minimizing customer impact. Because the amount of congestion at a cell site can vary significantly, the performance impact for affected unlimited data plan customers may also vary significantly. Standard speeds and latency will resume once the cell cite is no longer congested, or the customer's data session moves to an uncongested cell site. In addition, speeds and latency will return to normal at the start of the customer's next billing cycle. Customers on tiered data or Mobile Share plans are not subject to these network management practices. Likewise, when customers are using Wi-Fi they are not subject to these network management practices. Wi-Fi usage does not count against the customer's applicable usage threshold.

Learn more about unlimited data plans and reduced speeds

Managing your data usage is easy. Check your data usage anytime by dialing *data# from your smartphone.

If you have one of our Mobile Share® plans or our tiered data plans, this information does not affect you.

Learn more about our Mobile Share Value plans with Unlimited Talk and Text.

What you need to know...

If you have a smartphone that works on our 3G/4G or 4G LTE network and still have an unlimited data plan:

  • You'll receive a text message during each billing cycle when your usage reaches 75% of 3GB (3G/4G) or 5GB (4G LTE) so you have enough time to adjust your usage to avoid network management practices that may result in slower data speeds
  • Each time you exceed 3GB (3G/4G) or 5GB (4G LTE) in a billing cycle, your data speeds may be reduced for the rest of that billing cycle and then go back to normal
  • Speeds will only be reduced when using data services at times and in areas that are experiencing network congestion

You'll still be able to use as much data as you want without incurring overage charges. That won't change. Only your data throughput speed may change if you exceed 3GB in one billing cycle on a 3G or 4G smartphone or 5GB or more on a 4G LTE smartphone.

Learn more about unlimited data plans and reduced speeds

What can you do with a GB?

You can do all of this with your data... 1GB 4GB 10GB
Emails sent / received with attachments 1,000 3,600 10,400
Hours of surfing the web 29 114 286
Hours of streaming video 1 5 11
Hours of streaming music 9 34 86
Social media posts with images 140 540 1,360
Apps / games / songs downloaded 10 40 100

One Hour of Data Consumption

Streaming HD Movies
Streaming Video Clips
Streaming Audio
Social Media

Explore Your Options

Use Wi-Fi

Your speeds are not reduced if you are connected via Wi-Fi. Data activity over Wi-Fi doesn't count toward the threshold at which your data speeds will be reduced.

Switch to a Mobile Share® Value Plan

With Mobile Share Value plans, your speeds are not reduced. You can switch anytime without having to sign a new two-year term agreement.

Do nothing

You may continue to use an unlimited amount of data without incurring overage charges; however, your speeds may be reduced if you exceed 3GB of data on a 3G/4G smartphone or 5GB of data on a 4G LTE smartphone in a billing cycle,at times and in areas that are experiencing network congestion.

You can also:

  • Estimate your usage with the data calculator.
  • Check usage this month by dialing *data# on your mobile phone.
  • Log in to myAT&T to check historical usage.
Our AT and T mobile phone adoption has grown 30000 percent from 7 million in 2006 to 53 million in 2014.

AT&T Smartphone Adoption

Experts agree that our country continues to face a serious wireless spectrum crunch. While access to more spectrum is critical, we are continuing to invest aggressively to meet customer demand:

Over the past six years (2009-2014) we have invested nearly $140 billion in our wireless and wireline networks, including acquisitions of wireless spectrum and operations.

AT&T Smart Wi-Fi App

Locate and connect to Wi-Fi hotspots. Manage connections and data usage.

Get it on Android Market