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Thread: Does AT&T throttle prepaid data in congested areas?

  1. #1
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    Does AT&T throttle prepaid data in congested areas?

    Not sure if throttle is the correct word - maybe deprioritize? I’m currently on Verizon prepaid. It seems to work well for the most part. The only annoying thing is that when I’m somewhere where there’s a LOT of other people (like a hockey game or concert), the data is so slow it’s almost unusable because Verizon gives priority to postpaid. Does AT&T do the same thing with their prepaid? Their new deal of 8GB plus 8GB free is slightly better than what I have with Verizon, but if they do the same thing with data in congested areas I don’t know if a “slightly” better deal is enough to get me to switch?


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    It might not be deprioritization. If there are too many people accessing a limited resource on the same tower/network, everyone's speed will be equally diminished to equalize the load. This is nothing new.
    Don't make me turn this car around.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by veriztd View Post
    It might not be deprioritization. If there are too many people accessing a limited resource on the same tower/network, everyone's speed will be equally diminished to equalize the load. This is nothing new.
    This is correct. I hd both a postpaid and a prepaid AT&T account at the same time for comparison. Both had times when the speeds were slow in slightly congested areas but the prepaid never really experienced speeds that were slower that made me question my decision to cancel the postpaid and keep the prepaid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scots View Post
    Not sure if throttle is the correct word - maybe deprioritize? I’m currently on Verizon prepaid. It seems to work well for the most part. The only annoying thing is that when I’m somewhere where there’s a LOT of other people (like a hockey game or concert), the data is so slow it’s almost unusable because Verizon gives priority to postpaid. Does AT&T do the same thing with their prepaid? Their new deal of 8GB plus 8GB free is slightly better than what I have with Verizon, but if they do the same thing with data in congested areas I don’t know if a “slightly” better deal is enough to get me to switch?


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    I haven't noticed any slowdowns with AT&T Prepaid (or Cricket when i had that), like I did with Verizon Prepaid. I was on AT&T Postpaid. When I my contract ended, I switched to Cricket, which was fine except we had issues with their WiFi calling. We decided to try Verizon Prepaid, and it was just terrible a lot of the time. We'd have full signal driving down I-40, and data speeds would be sub-1Mbps. We decided to switch to AT&T Prepaid, and have been very happy with the result. I cannot find any confirmation of this, but I believe Verizon has oversold its network in the Carolinas, and it is heavily deprioritizing prepaid users in favor of postpaid and business accounts. I think it is worth it to try AT&T. It might improve your situation.
    Durham, NC


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    They pretty much all de-prioritize. It just depends on the area and congestion on how much it affects prepaid.
    iPhone X is my current primary phone. I have older model iPhones and Moto phones available on other lines. Currently prepaid, though would consider postpaid on right plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hexonxonx View Post
    This is correct. I hd both a postpaid and a prepaid AT&T account at the same time for comparison. Both had times when the speeds were slow in slightly congested areas but the prepaid never really experienced speeds that were slower that made me question my decision to cancel the postpaid and keep the prepaid.
    We had AT&T postpaid at one time, and data would sometimes slow down slightly in these situations - but it wouldn’t be unusable like Verizon prepaid is. When I say Verizon prepaid is unusable, I don’t mean it slows down a little...or even a lot. I mean it truly is completely unusable in these situations. Nothing that uses data will load. At all. Totally dead in the water where data is concerned.


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    Quote Originally Posted by scots View Post
    We had AT&T postpaid at one time, and data would sometimes slow down slightly in these situations - but it wouldn’t be unusable like Verizon prepaid is. When I say Verizon prepaid is unusable, I don’t mean it slows down a little...or even a lot. I mean it truly is completely unusable in these situations. Nothing that uses data will load. At all. Totally dead in the water where data is concerned.



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    Yeah, that was my experience with Verizon Prepaid in the Durham/Chapel Hill area. I actually found it was better if I switched off LTE when things were so slow. Not a lot better, but better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NCTed View Post
    Yeah, that was my experience with Verizon Prepaid in the Durham/Chapel Hill area. I actually found it was better if I switched off LTE when things were so slow. Not a lot better, but better.
    Raleigh here. My phone was useless during the first two Stanley Cup home games last week. And so was PNC Arena's WiFi. I couldn't do anything until after the games and got out to my car, and connected my phone to the hotspot in my car. It's AT&T, but I have no idea if it's classified as prepaid or postpaid or something else. It was working great!

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    Quote Originally Posted by scots View Post
    Raleigh here. My phone was useless during the first two Stanley Cup home games last week. And so was PNC Arena's WiFi. I couldn't do anything until after the games and got out to my car, and connected my phone to the hotspot in my car. It's AT&T, but I have no idea if it's classified as prepaid or postpaid or something else. It was working great!
    Well, AT&T wasn't all that great inside PNC the last time I went to a State Basketball game either, but it was much better outside. That place is a deadzone if it is half-full, no matter whose network you're on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scots View Post
    We had AT&T postpaid at one time, and data would sometimes slow down slightly in these situations - but it wouldn’t be unusable like Verizon prepaid is. When I say Verizon prepaid is unusable, I don’t mean it slows down a little...or even a lot. I mean it truly is completely unusable in these situations. Nothing that uses data will load. At all. Totally dead in the water where data is concerned.


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    Oof. And I was thinking of trying Verizon prepaid lol.

    Was in Baltimore the other day, and got pretty good speeds. Baltimore was (don’t know if it still is) Att’s #1 for speed. Name:  E02E9EFF-9FCB-450C-9822-CD884D3F8357.jpg
Views: 311
Size:  33.4 KB
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maryland View Post
    Oof. And I was thinking of trying Verizon prepaid lol.

    Was in Baltimore the other day, and got pretty good speeds. Baltimore was (don’t know if it still is) Att’s #1 for speed. Name:  E02E9EFF-9FCB-450C-9822-CD884D3F8357.jpg
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    Were those speeds on prepaid?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NCTed View Post
    Well, AT&T wasn't all that great inside PNC the last time I went to a State Basketball game either, but it was much better outside. That place is a deadzone if it is half-full, no matter whose network you're on.
    Yeah...I've noticed that when we were on AT&T postpaid, but Verizon prepaid has been WAAAAAAAYYYYY worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scots View Post
    Yeah...I've noticed that when we were on AT&T postpaid, but Verizon prepaid has been WAAAAAAAYYYYY worse.
    Yep. Glad to have some confirmation of my own experience.

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    AT&T’s deprioritzation, as I’ve said before, is night and day compared to Verizon’s.

    On VZ, the data just STOPS. AT&T is always still usable, just with more latency and less download speed like you’d expect.


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    Quote Originally Posted by scots View Post
    Were those speeds on prepaid?
    Yup. Don’t know if it’s Firstnet upgrades but, in my area I hardly see below 25-30 Mbps.

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