How to Overcome AT&T Internet Throttling for Optimal Performance
If you’ve noticed that your Internet connection on your home or mobile network is slower than expected, it might be due to Internet throttling (also known as bandwidth throttling). Many Internet service providers (ISPs), including AT&T, often impose this technique to limit users’ data and connection speed, especially when it comes to traffic-intensive activities like media streaming or online gaming. So, does AT&T really throttle you and is there a way to prevent this? Keep reading to find out the answers.
Does AT&T throttle the Internet?
First, let’s figure out how Internet throttling works. When ISPs apply such restrictions, they intentionally reduce the quality of your connection and limit your network’s bandwidth (the amount of data you can consume). As a result, when watching a new show on Netflix, playing Minecraft with friends, or downloading large files, you may suddenly experience an unexpected slowdown.
Most big Internet service providers, such as Verizon, Xfinity, and Comcast, tend to throttle users’ data. And AT&T is not an exception. In 2019, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) required AT&T to refund $60 million to smartphone users with “unlimited” data plans since data speeds were reduced (in other words – throttled).
But why would AT&T limit your connection? Here are the most common reasons.
Why AT&T is throttling Internet speed
Most likely, AT&T is throttling you for one of the following reasons:
- To overcome network congestion. AT&T may throttle your connection during peak hours when many users consume large amounts of data. Servers and network nodes are usually overloaded during the day, so you may check if that is your case by testing if your connection speed improves later at night.
- To make you upgrade your plan. Your ISP may throttle users to encourage them to upgrade their existing plans. In simple terms, they artificially slow down your connection to make you consider paying for a more expensive plan with better speeds.
- To limit the use of specific online services. Also known as paid prioritization, this technique is imposed by ISPs that have agreements with particular online services and platforms. To help them overcome rivals, an Internet provider may limit your access to the competitors’ resources or make them load much slower. In other cases, ISPs may prioritize certain online activities (such as video streaming) over others (like downloading files or sharing them within peer-to-peer networks).
- To reduce data usage. A data cap in your plan is another common reason for ISP throttling. If your current plan has certain limitations regarding the amount of data you can consume monthly, AT&T will slow down your connection. This lets other users with unlimited plans benefit from faster speeds. Besides, your ISP saves money when restricting your data consumption.
- To monetize your data. Finally, some ISPs tend to strictly manage their customers’ data usage to collect and sell their information to third parties, such as ad agencies. That’s a significant privacy concern – and one of the reasons why net neutrality regulations are constantly brought back to the table.
Now that you know how Internet throttling works and why ISPs impose it, let’s figure out how to tell if AT&T actually throttles your data.
How to find out if AT&T throttles you
Although Internet throttling is a common practice these days, it’s not the only reason for slow Internet speeds. After all, your connection may be poor simply because your browser’s version is outdated, or you have too many tabs open. So it’s better to check whether AT&T really limits your data before taking any measures.
Here are some common signs of Internet throttling:
- Some websites don‘t work just for you (learn more about it here).
- Some web pages load much faster than others.
- Your download speeds are incredibly low (you can check it with the help of a tool like this).
- Your Internet connection regularly drops for no particular reason.
Finally, it’s worth checking if you have data caps in your plan. Here are the available “unlimited” AT&T packages and their actual limitations:
|AT&T plan||Monthly cost||Data limitations|
|AT&T Unlimited Premium Plan||$50||50GB|
|AT&T Unlimited Extra Plan||$40||15GB|
|AT&T Unlimited Starter Plan||$35||3GB|
You can check out your plan details in your AT&T account.
Now, if you checked all of the above and are still sure that AT&T is throttling your Internet speed for no fair reason, here’s how to prevent it.
How to stop AT&T throttling
First, consider one of the following methods to stop AT&T throttling internet speed:
- Reach out to customer support. You may ask your ISP directly if they throttle your data for some specific reason. Also, they may let you know about any potential issues with your Internet connection.
- Upgrade your plan. This might be a solution if your current plan has a data cap that doesn’t let you enjoy your everyday Internet activities without annoying slowdowns.
If none of that works for you or you believe that the ISP throttles your connection unreasonably, consider installing a virtual private network (VPN) on your device. It’s the most effective way to stop unfair throttling. Besides, good VPNs are compatible with most types of devices and provide some extra benefits, enhancing your digital privacy and online security.
How to avoid Internet throttling with a VPN
A VPN stops Internet throttling by changing your IP address and moving your data through an encrypted tunnel. Traffic encryption turns your private details into gibberish text nobody can read – and your ISP is no exception. Here’s what a VPN hides from AT&T and other third parties:
- Websites you visit.
- Files you download.
- Your Internet search history.
- Messages you send and receive.
Your ISP will still see some of your connection details, such as online session duration, the amount of data you consume, and the fact that you’re using a VPN (which is perfectly legal in most parts of the world). But this information is not enough to throttle you. In other words, the less AT&T knows about your browsing activities, the less likely they will limit your connection capacity and speeds.
But note that not all VPNs will get the job done. It’s important to choose a service that will be powerful enough to protect your connection from unwanted monitoring and encrypt your data effectively. Here are the most critical factors to consider when choosing a VPN:
- Reliability. Pick a reputable VPN service with a proven track record and good reviews. Avoid free VPNs – such services may sell your sensitive information to third parties to make a profit.
- Server network. Choose a VPN service that has an extensive network of remote servers in different locations. A larger number of available servers significantly boosts your online freedom and impacts the tool’s performance.
- Connection speed. Although a VPN may slightly slow down your connection due to data encryption, you won’t notice the difference with a trustworthy service like VeePN. Moreover, it may even improve your connection by overcoming ISP throttling.
- No Logs policy. Select a VPN that follows a transparent No Logs policy. It means that the VPN provider doesn’t collect and store your sensitive data.
- Privacy and security features. A good VPN should offer a good number of decent features to cover your online privacy and security. Look for a service with Kill Switch, an ad-blocking function (like VeePN’s NetGuard), DNS leak protection, and more.
That said, consider VeePN – a reputable VPN service provider that meets all the requirements listed above. Here’s how to get started with our privacy-focused solution to get rid of AT&T throttling and protect your Internet activities.
How to set up VeePN
- Choose your pricing plan and sign up for VeePN.
- Download and install VeePN on your device. Choose VPN for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, or even your Wi-Fi router.
- Log into your account and open the app.
- Connect to the preferred server location. With VeePN, you can choose between 89 virtual locations in 60 countries. And if high Internet speed is your main priority, consider using the Optimal Location feature. It will automatically connect you to the best VPN server for your current location.
- Turn your VPN on.
- You’re all set! Browse the web without limitations and privacy concerns.
VeePN is a trustworthy VPN that will take your digital privacy to the next level, allowing you to avoid unfair ISP throttling. Our VPN service supports AES-256 – the most powerful encryption standard to date. Besides, it offers a wide range of decent security features, including Kill Switch and DNS leak protection to protect your personal information even if your VPN connection drops.
Try VeePN now risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee!
FAQ: How to Overcome AT&T Internet Throttling
Does AT&T throttle your Internet speed?
Yes, AT&T is one of the biggest ISPs that tend to apply Internet throttling. In fact, in 2019, FTC accused the company of limiting the data of smartphone users with “unlimited” plans. If you suspect that your Internet provider throttles your connection, read this article to learn how to prevent this.
How do I bypass AT&T data throttling?
If you think that AT&T throttles you, turn to their customer service. If your Internet speed is reduced due to a data cap, you may need to upgrade your plan. But if AT&T throttles your connection unfairly, we recommend using a reliable virtual private network (VPN) service like VeePN. It will hide your private data from your Internet provider, preventing unreasonable data limitations. Check out this article to learn more.
How do I know if my AT&T is throttling?
Some common signs of Internet throttling are unexpectedly slow connection and download speeds, sudden drops, and significant differences in speeds on different websites. You can check if AT&T throttles you by comparing your connection quality with and without a VPN. Read this article for more details.
Why am I being throttled by AT&T?
The most common reasons for ISP throttling are the following:
- Data caps
- Network congestion
- Paid prioritization
- Encouraged plan upgrade
- Data collection
Read this article to learn more.