Unlimited.  Most people would interpret that as no limits.  Hell, Dictionary.com defines unlimited as “not limited; unrestricted; unconfined; boundless; infinite; vast; without any qualification or exception; unconditional”.

Guess the big shots at wireless carriers don’t have a dictionary sitting on the bookshelf in their corner offices …

I have been a loyal AT&T customer since 2008 when I bought my first real smartphone, the iPhone 3G (unless you count my awful Blackberry Curve a real smartphone).  At the time I, like everyone else, was on an unlimited data plan for $30 a month.  In 2008, unlimited was unlimited, boundless, unconfined, and unrestricted.  Since then I have gone through three more iPhones, and all that time laughed at all the suckers who got their iPhones late with their capped data plans.

Looks like I’m the sucker now …

Last month I got the infamous text and email from AT&T, warning me my data usage was “in the top 5% of users in my market”.  That’s if you count 2.2 whopping gigabytes of data a lot.  I was, and still am, appalled.  How in the hell am I in the top 5% with 2.2 GB of data?  Where’s the proof?  What was the cutoff for the “top 5%”? Define my “market”.  None of this nobody at AT&T can answer, let alone would if they could.

My unlimited plan is just now as welcome as the Millenium Falcon on the AT&T Death Star.  They’ll suck me in on their tractor beam of early termination fees only to disable my hyperdrive in my unlimited data plan.

I called AT&T customer service and spoke to a rep who even stated he didn’t understand why I got that text, but in usual fashion only offered me a tiered data plan.  After speaking with my local AT&T store rep, I realized that my unlimited plan was dead in the water.  It was now my limited unlimited data plan, plain and simple.  We and our unlimited data plans will continue to be scrutinized for our usage, and have our data speeds throttled until they break us down, and we give into the dark side of the Force.  The wireless carriers say we can keep our unlimited data plans for as long as we want, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make it the biggest pain in the ass for us.

Perhaps it’s time to we give up our dream of a truly unlimited data plan, and realize that we now have two choices in the wireless data world, live in a limited unlimited world of data throttling and stripped out features, or go with the limited unlimited world of a data cap but with all the speed and fixings we all crave.