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  • AT&T to Throttle iPhone Users?

    image via Gizmodo

    Speaking at the CTIA conference in San Diego, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega bemowned the disproportionate bandwidth usage of a "few" of its smartphone customers - in a clear allusion to the prodigious data appetites of iPhone owners - and hinted at possibly imposing limits on certain users in the future.

    PC World reports that in a speech to the conference earlier this week, de la Vega noted that 3 percent of AT&T Mobility's smartphone customers suck up 40 percent of the bandwidth going to all smartphones, and that each uses 13 times the data of "the average smartphone customer."

    Stating that these high-bandwidth users make up less than 1 percent of AT&T’s total customer base, de la Vega said AT&T needed to "manage the network to make sure that the few cannot crowd out the many,” without elaborating on what that "management" might mean. PC World's Mark Sullivan counted five separate uses of the phase "crowded out" in the speech, and many observers draw the fairly obvious conclusion that AT&T is preparing some form of data restriction, or "throttling," of its high-demand customers.

    Wireless spectrum is a shared resource defined by its scarcity, so it's obviously necessary - especially given the poor planning showed by AT&T in building out their network for the millions of iPhones they happily sold - that some rationing will need to occur. However, AT&T will have to be careful that in doing so they don't further alienate customers that have made the company a great deal of money in recent years.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T to Throttle iPhone Users? started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 67 Comments
    1. edwilk55's Avatar
      edwilk55 -
      I can't wait to see them do that....one more nail in the monopolistic coffin. The FCC will have a field day!

      You charge certain users a premium and because of piss poor planning on your part, you're going to limit their use. Riiiiight! Good one.

      God Verizon, strike a deal w/Apple so we can do away with this crap!!!
    1. iZoom's Avatar
      iZoom -
      If they do start imposing limits, they better drop the monthly charges for our data plans.
    1. jerrykid323's Avatar
      jerrykid323 -
      no kidding I will switch to another company before they try to pull this crap !!!
    1. Kiserai's Avatar
      Kiserai -
      I'm tired of AT&T as much as anybody else, but to be honest I doubt they'll really go after any of us.

      Broadband companies have been doing this for years. Comcast has a clause in the ToS that basically says that even though you have "unlimited" internet, if you use more than 250 GB of internet in a month you'll get a letter asking you to cut back your usage. If you don't, they can cancel your account for violating their ToS. I'm not a super user or anything, but I have been known to download my fair share of torrents and large files off the web, and I've never gotten a notice from Comcast about using too much bandwidth.

      They'll probably set the bar on this pretty high so most people will never even know about it, and that top 3 percent of smartphone users (the people who are using way more data than any of the rest of us for whatever reason) will probably get warned before any action is taken. In fact, I've actually heard that the imaginary ceiling on 3G plans is 4gb in a month, and AT&T will send you a letter if you go over that.

      Has anybody gotten a letter about their wireless data usage?
    1. eg6motion's Avatar
      eg6motion -
      likely from tethering, since they are still not setup for it yet....
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      Other companies already practice this business model and yet the FCC has left them alone. If anything they should get hit for telling you that you have unlimited data when they really only mean 5GB.
    1. treble26's Avatar
      treble26 -
      WOW! that f***in sucks for you AT&T users. AT&T just likes to steal everyones money in my opinion. a network thats not strong enough and reliable enough to have a phone like that on their network shouldnt have it in the first place. im glad i live in canada and im on rogers. even though they do charge a lot for some things. but i havent had any network problems with my iphone on Rogers and neither have any of my friends and co-workers. hopefully Rogers is a smarter player than AT&T and i hope that they dont decide to do the same crap that AT&T is going to try and pull.
    1. H0rn3t920's Avatar
      H0rn3t920 -
      I have a strong feeling that the small percentage of users that use "too much bandwidth" are jailbroken and use 3g Unrestrictor with apps like sling player.
    1. plcrules's Avatar
      plcrules -
      sorry but if its unlimited it should b unlimited and they cant cancel on u if u have a contract
      they will loose in court
    1. exNavy's Avatar
      exNavy -
      OP bemoaned is the word you are looking for, not "bemowned".
    1. andrunious's Avatar
      andrunious -
      seriously??? is ATT just trying to piss people off AND make apple unhappy? i bet att is so vein, they think if iphone was available regularly on other networks that they'd still sell them. stupid...
      These are all lies. It's all the iPhone's fault anyway, but AT&T will still sell you one.
    1. chrlswltrs's Avatar
      chrlswltrs -
      That woud be the final straw for me. Now some actual competition poping up for the iPhone so I will take a phone that is not quite as good and ditch AT&T in a heartbeat if they try this. There service is bad enough and if they add restrictions to their already overpriced service plan, Sprint here I come!! HTC and android are both making great steps and maybe even Palm.
    1. cmwade77's Avatar
      cmwade77 -
      I pay for unlimited data usage, I am going to use unlimited data, like it or not. If you can't provide a service, don't offer it, it's fairly simple.

      Unlimited means without restrictions or limits (according to the dictionary), which means I should be able to tether if I want to, I should be able to use any amount of data if I want to (without worrying about if it will slow down or not), etc.
    1. spongebobiwan's Avatar
      spongebobiwan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rota View Post
      Oh the FCC is just going to love this.

      LOL. Are you kidding me?!?! The "beloved" FCC (with some cooperation from the FTC, I might add) is anticipating doing just about this same thing (though beit, freedom of speech, instead) with the internet as well as broadcast radio. Don't you know? "Sharing the wealth" is in VOGUE right now. Oh, but wait. It's only wrong when the private sector does this. NOT when government does it. My bad. Kindly disregard. :P
    1. aekhamsouk's Avatar
      aekhamsouk -
      i'm not down with att... yeah you know me!
    1. StevenB's Avatar
      StevenB -
      Sadly they'll offer tier plans. More than likely though we will still be paying $30 per month for unlimited data. They'll probably have $10 option that will only go 50 megs, $20 for 100 megs, and $30 for 200+ megs knowing damn well that the average iPhone user uses at least 250 megs.

      Wonder if I can get out of my contract if I don't agree with the new tier plan (if they institute one) since they are changing our terms.
    1. Shady6's Avatar
      Shady6 -
      If they want to moan and groan how about high bandwidth users then dont sell the plan as unlimited but actually mean 5GB. I'd much rather see the plan say 5GB and know thats my limit than it say unlimited and then they come screaming because I use 10GB.
    1. Yakattak's Avatar
      Yakattak -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmwade77 View Post
      I pay for unlimited data usage, I am going to use unlimited data, like it or not. If you can't provide a service, don't offer it, it's fairly simple.

      Unlimited means without restrictions or limits (according to the dictionary), which means I should be able to tether if I want to, I should be able to use any amount of data if I want to (without worrying about if it will slow down or not), etc.
      You've been paying for 5gb/mo since January. I don't think you guys knew that? Since January, anyone who's gone over 5GB in their billing cycle gets a warning and if they do it again they will shut off your service.

      If you go over 5GB, you need to invest in a computer and an internet connection because that is just unhealthy for yourself and your device.
      The word unlimited just sounds betta. That's why it's unlimited until you hit 5GB which is only mentioned in the contract and not 5GB for $30