AT&T fires back at data throttling lawsuit

Posted by Mark Raby

AT&T may terminate the contract of the customer who sued over its data throttling policy.

Matthew Spaccarelli has become something of a hero to AT&T users who are furious about the company's decision to start slowing down data speeds after unlimited data customers hit a certain amount of data usage.

He wants to take it to court to get a legal confirmation that what AT&T is doing is wrong. The company wants to switch those unlimited customers over to a tiered data pricing structure, and if they call customer service to complain, what they're told is they should switch their data plan.

Of course, AT&T no longer offers unlimited data but those who signed up for the service when it was available still get to keep it.

Spaccarelli took the case to small claims court in California and won, and is now trying to contact AT&T to collect his judgment, $850.

However, instead of cutting him a check, AT&T apparently wants to cut him as a customer. The carrier says Spaccarelli used his phone as a tether to provide broadband service to other devices, something that is prohibited in the company's terms of service.

"Mr. Spaccarelli reached out to us to initiate a discussion, and naturally, we responded to him to hear what was on his mind and discuss his data usage," said AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel in a Business Week interview.

Siegel noted, "Mr. Spaccarelli has said he tethers a second device to his smartphone, which is something that our unlimited data plans don’t allow. For customers who tether, we have plans that allow them to do just that."

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