AT&T is onboard with data limitation by controlling the quality of a mobile video for its cellular users starting early 2017. AT&T won't be the first to do so as Sprint and T-Mobile are already throttling videos for its users with their new plans.
AT&T announced the new feature "Stream Saver" that will throttle video to 480p resolution by default. While most users might find this feature useful, those with unlimited data plans think of it as a setback. Luckily, the carrier gives its customers the complete control over the new feature, allowing them to disable or enable it anytime they want.
"We know our customers love to be entertained while mobile, and Stream Saver lets them enjoy more of what they love, whether it's video or something else," David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Entertainment Group, said in a statement. "And, they are in control - it's their choice on how to use this innovative feature," he added.
AT&T's unlimited data plan customers have a limit of 22GB per month, post which the carrier reserves the right to throttle their speeds by placing them on a congested network. With the help of Stream Saver, users will be able to get high-speed data throughout their monthly cycle.
AT&T's Stream Saver is a free feature. Once activated by AT&T, it can be turned off anytime by the user. There is no charge to disable or enable Stream Saver. By saving the data on Stream Saver, users can do more surfing, shopping, navigating, music streaming and emailing, AT&T said.
AT&T customers, both on postpaid and prepaid plans, will receive a message once AT&T rolls out Stream Saver along with instructions on how to turn it off and on. The new feature is only applicable on cellular data, which means videos streamed while on Wi-Fi or home internet connections will be in normal quality.
In comparison, Sprint recently started selling an unlimited data plan that reduces the quality of video, games and music. T-Mobile also has a similar feature that reduces the video quality, but only the customers with older plans can turn it off and back on without affecting their monthly bills.
If a new T-Mobile customer with an unlimited plan does that, it will cost extra. Also, T-Mobile customers can switch HD video on for 24 hours at a time, before it is switched back off, ARS Technica reported.
Taking that into consideration, AT&T's Stream Saver is a boon. It can help users save data and use more without affecting their bills along the way.