Data Prioritization and Deprioritization on the AT&T Network

Last updated: 6/17/2019

Some of AT&T’s services are prioritized ahead of others. When networks are congested, prioritized services will have better data speeds. Prioritization policies shouldn’t affect users’ experiences when networks are not congested.

Below I list my best guesses about which AT&T services are prioritized or deprioritized—I may not always be correct.

Prioritized services

  • AT&T’s Unlimited & More Premium plan before 22GB of use[1]
  • AT&T’s Mobile Share Plus plans[2]
  • AT&T’s currently offered prepaid plans with fixed data allotments[3]
  • AT&T’s prepaid unlimited plan with an $85/month base price before 22GB of use[4]
  • Cricket plans with fixed allotments of high-speed data[5]
  • Cricket’s regular unlimited plan (not Unlimited Extra) before 22GB of use[6]

Deprioritized services

  • AT&T’s Unlimited & More plan[7]
  • AT&T’s Unlimited & More Premium plan after 22GB of use[8]
  • AT&T’s prepaid unlimited plan with an $65/month base price[9]
  • AT&T’s prepaid unlimited plan with an $85/month base price after 22GB of use[10]
  • Cricket’s Unlimited Extra Plan[11]
  • Cricket’s regular unlimited plan after 22GB of use[12]
  • Most MVNOs running on AT&T’s network (probably)[13]

Firstnet

AT&T operates a program called FirstNet that’s available to first responders, some government officials, and others that may be called on in an emergency. FirstNet subscribers may be prioritized ahead of other subscribers on other AT&T services (including services I list as “prioritized”). For more details about the program, see FirstNet’s website.

Footnotes

  1. “After 22GB/line/mo. AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds when the network is busy.”
    From AT&T’s unlimited plans web page on 6/17/2019.
  2. I haven’t seen these plans associated with the type of prioritization disclosures that can be found in relationship with AT&T’s postpaid unlimited plans.
  3. I haven’t seen any disclosures about prioritization on these plans. I have seen disclosures about some of AT&T’s other prepaid plans.
  4. “85: After 22GB of data usage on a line in one monthly term, for the remainder of the term AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds during times of network congestion.”
    From AT&T’s prepaid plans web page on 6/17/2019.
  5. Expected based on the existence of throttling disclosures associated with the unlimted plans. I have not seen similar disclosures about the plans with fixed data allotments.
  6. “If you are on an Unlimited plan and use more than 22GB of data during any monthly plan cycle, we may temporarily slow your data speeds during periods of network congestion for the rest of that monthly plan cycle.”
    From Cricket’s network management page on 6/17/2019 (archived here)
  7. “AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds when the network is busy.”
    From AT&T’s unlimited plans web page on 6/17/2019.
  8. “After 22GB/line/mo. AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds when the network is busy.”
    From AT&T’s unlimited plans web page on 6/17/2019.
  9. “65: For all data usage, AT&T may temporarily data speeds during times of network congestion.”
    From AT&T’s prepaid plans web page on 6/17/2019.
  10. “85: After 22GB of data usage on a line in one monthly term, for the remainder of the term AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds during times of network congestion.”
    From AT&T’s prepaid plans web page on 6/17/2019.
  11. “On the Unlimited Extra Plan, for all data usage, Cricket may slow speeds when network is congested.”
    From Cricket’s network management page on 6/17/2019 (archived here)
  12. “If you are on an Unlimited plan and use more than 22GB of data during any monthly plan cycle, we may temporarily slow your data speeds during periods of network congestion for the rest of that monthly plan cycle.”
    From Cricket’s network management page on 6/17/2019 (archived here)
  13. My speculation, not confirmed.