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updated 7/29/2011 6:01:21 PM ET 2011-07-29T22:01:21

AT&T said Friday that it's going to start limiting speeds for the 5 percent of its customers with "unlimited" data smartphone plans who clog the airwaves the most.

The measure will take effect Oct. 1, AT&T said, and is intended to alleviate congestion on the network.

T-Mobile USA already throttles users who go over certain limits for data consumption.

AT&T stopped signing up new customers for "unlimited" plans last year. Instead, it now lets heavy users pay extra when they go over a certain data allotment.

Verizon Wireless also recently stopped signing up new customers for unlimited service.

AT&T says it will warn users when they are approaching joining the top 5 percent, and anyone subject to the speed limits will experience them until the next billing cycle starts.

The Dallas-based phone company says that what puts someone in the top 5 percent is usually streaming video or playing some online games.

AT&T won't count data use over Wi-Fi, just usage over the cellular network.

The company's statement about the change can be read here.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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