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.