While AT&T no longer offers an unlimited data plan to its new customers, there are a large number of subscribers who have an unlimited data plan grandfathered into their contracts. However, AT&T has been throttling the data on a number of those customers once they reach a certain data limit since late in 2011.
One man, Matt Spaccarelli, got tired of having his data speed on his iPhone cut down to almost nothing. He said that web surfing on the iPhone took too long and video streaming didn't work at all. So he took AT&T to small claims court.
On Friday, the Associated Press (via Yahoo) reports that a judge in Simi Valley, California agreed with Spaccarelli and awarded him $850. The judge came up with the number by using the last 10 months left on Spaccarelli's AT&T contract and estimated he would have to pay $85 a month for any extra data he would download. AT&T's data plan for current customers charges $10 per gigabyte after a customer goes over three gigabytes a month.
AT&T said it would appeal the ruling. An AT&T sales manager tried to defend the company in court, saying that if a customer's data usage was drastically affecting AT&T's network, the company had the right to modify that customer's contract.
While AT&T customers are barred from launching a class action lawsuit, you can bet that others who have had to deal with the company's data throttling policies will copy Spaccarelli's actions and prepare their own small claims court cases.