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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. smuggler's Avatar
      smuggler -
      I pay $30 a month for unlimited home internet. It is also $30 a month for unlimited data usage for the iPhone with AT&T. I think if you pay that much a month, you can use however much data you want because you're practically paying as much as you would for unlimited internet usage anyway. Throttling their customers is a bad idea, I just might switch carriers if that were to happen. If T-mobile didn't have such terrible coverage, I would consider them as an alternative.
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      Quote Originally Posted by GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL View Post
      Your little article there is full of lies, and misinformation. If the iPhone was at Sprint or Verizon anyone that is unsatisfied would be switching.. but it's NOT so they CAN'T. You fail to realize the device is why people stay, not laziness. Verizon data for any EnV-device (I forgot what they called it before the EnV) is not $40 bucks, if they've got you paying that you're a sucker. I think the data on those now is like $20.
      I misspoke. The phone i was TRYING to refer to is the XV6900. Its an HTC windows mobile device... In the same vein as the 6800, or i760. Full smartphone plans are 40 dollars a month. ZOMG the 5GB cap was also applied to my Tilt, back before I had an iphone, so I wouldnt be surprised if it was in the iphone contract from the beginning. I specifically asked about this when I got the tilt, it was the reason that I switched from T-Mo (That and not having reception in the town I had just moved to.) Also, what was all of your 20+ GB of data used on, I know its possible, but I cant imagine how I could use that much myself. Self admittedly, other than music while driving my net usage it light - cause that what in house wifi and macbooks are for, lol.

      And Youve actaully illustrated my point. Sure you could go to another carrier, but youd lose the device. So if you want to keep the device - stay on the network, EVEN if it means you dont necessarily agree with their policies, and more importantly, abide by them for the greater good of your fellow users.

      As for the rest of my "article", what lies would you be speaking of?
    1. GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL's Avatar
      GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL -
      Then the data should be $30 like it is for all new smartphones/blackberries unless it includes tethering or something.

      Well, that's the main reason to whine about AT&T, people like options and if you don't want to suffer with EDGE @ T-Mobile and unlocking you don't have any. People like options.
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      Quote Originally Posted by GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL View Post
      Then the data should be $30 like it is for all new smartphones/blackberries unless it includes tethering or something.

      Well, that's the main reason to whine about AT&T, people like options and if you don't want to suffer with EDGE @ T-Mobile and unlocking you don't have any. People like options.
      There smartphone charge is why I would never, under any circumstance, use verizon. Anything other than nokia candy bars, you pay through the nose for. The windows mobile devices from Verizon are total ripoffs, They even disabled the GPS thats embedded in the 6900's chipset - to force you to use VZNavigator - which wasnt available for WM6 at the time of purchase. Had to flash a custom rom just to make it work the way it was designed to... Sound familiar, lol?I know I would sure like to have a cheaper option, but at the moment, there aren't any... So until they give us something better (cheaper,faster, whatever) we all are just grinning and taking it.

      Personally though, im actually impressed with performance, consider how many million of us network slaying data whores are using iphones nowadays. Think about it, you dont think T-Mo or sprint would handle this bandwitdh situation any better would you? Verizon is the only us carrier that could properly deal with the type of volume generated... but an iphone plan from them? 50 at the CHEAPEST.
    1. kaaroFC's Avatar
      kaaroFC -
      Man this would be the cherry on the cake...
    1. GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL's Avatar
      GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL -
      I know Sprint would be able to handle it better, their 3G is more expansive. T-Mobile has over a million Android users alone and counting(not close to iPhone users but still, they wouldn't acquire that many iPhone subscribers anyway).. it all depends on the network. T-Mobile uses two higher bands for 3G traffic as well so it can handle a load of data better although penetration is worse, but their 3G towers just need a software update for 21mbps HSPA.

      Regardless, spreading the iPhone out over everyone's network is best for the consumer.
    1. ZOMGVTEK's Avatar
      ZOMGVTEK -
      cpkirk, I have nowhere near enough storage on my phone to store any of my music, so I stream it all off my home network. All of my media is FLAC converted to ALAC, and 44.1 or higher. It takes almost near the full connection speed of the iPhone to stream that content.

      And recently ive been downloading HD Podcasts that are 700+MB each at night so theyre done in the morning. Phones fully charged, podcasts stored, charger on fire.

      Then theres tethering... I dont do it that often, but when I do... I NEED it, and use it heavily. Plus any ORB Live TV streaming, etc... On a normal month id use over 5GB easily using apps available on the app store, and a stock phone.
    1. cpkirkley's Avatar
      cpkirkley -
      I was looking at it from a one carrier instead of the other POV, totally agreed on the split bandwidth. But that would assume that the powers that be actually cared about stuff like that, and we know how that goes...

      I was actually think about the dualband as a solution for AT&T. If they had something like that, lets say one band for cellular phone data usage, and another for say, tethering and aircard, that couldve relieved alot of the current issues. Not sure how feasible that is given their current setup, but the though was there, at least. Anybody have like, a billion dollars I could borrow to get the ball rolling?

      @ZOMG - I actually have a setup similar to yours, only I went a step further to set stuff up for mobile use. I have one 4 GB Terastation with my BR rips, HDTV Content, and my music albums, for use on the laptops/stereo systems while im in the house. Then I have my old NAS, 2TB linkstation Duo, with all of that stuff compressed to a lower quality for streaming from home when im out. Its the smaller NAS that my Itunes/Orb Server is synced to. I use XBMC and Plex to access the larger drive. Now I can see where the bandwidth is coming into play. Most of the stuff im streaming is at the highest 192kbps for audio, maybe 700 or so for video. When i travel, I bring my netbook with me, and playing HD content on netbooks is hopeless. Now I can watch everything on the go, decreased quality mind you - but NO skipping.
    1. Slimz's Avatar
      Slimz -
      Quote Originally Posted by GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL View Post
      Regardless, spreading the iPhone out over everyone's network is best for the consumer.
      Since when was the consumer in AT&T's, or for that matter, Apples, best interest?

      Millions of dollars weren't spent on the rights to the iPhone because they cared about what benefits us as consumers.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      So AT&T are learning what the rest of the world did a few years ago?
      In the UK we have different price plans depending on what you want and have done.
      That way I don't pay for people that want to download vast amounts of data.
      My plan is limited to 3Gb which is fine for me - but that's why it only costs £12.50/month (I pay a lot less than that, but that's what a new user would pay). They do cheaper plans with a 1Gb limit and more expensive plans with a 5Gb limit.
      No wonder you guys pay so much - but is surprises me that you are using your phones to download so much - I barely get 1-2 Mb speeds on my phone, it must be painfully slow.
      I'm having my home BB upgraded on Monday because I think it's to slow at only 20Mb...
    1. GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL's Avatar
      GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL -
      LOL, the consumer doesn't matter to Apple? I wonder how they get along then with such consumer based sales.. AT&T is like the spinach you don't want to eat but you have to if you want to get the dessert (iPhone).
    1. ZOMGVTEK's Avatar
      ZOMGVTEK -
      All I really ask for is they leave it alone.

      Yes, the top 1% of iPhone users are probably using a stupid percentage of the bandwidth... But a good portion of those people are the hardcore users that make the device work the way it should for everyone else. That, combined with the lower tier of users who are older, dont use the internets to begin with, and just say how 'cool' the iPhone is or something to that effect. I know at least my dad uses a few hundred MB a month.... So im just covering his bandwidth....

      But when you look at it, $30 a month is INSANELY cheap for unlimited 3G. Its double that for a 5GB cap, and they dont even have a unlimited plan.
    1. Kathicats's Avatar
      Kathicats -
      I just KNOW all you smart people are going to find a way to give me back my tethering. Please do it quickly. It is a real help for my husband to be driving while I am working.
    1. Limegrntaln's Avatar
      Limegrntaln -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kathicats View Post
      I just KNOW all you smart people are going to find a way to give me back my tethering. Please do it quickly. It is a real help for my husband to be driving while I am working.
      It may never happen. Apple is getting smart, its actually everyone getting dum and posting the know how all over the internet so Apple can fight against it. Thats like telling a bank how your going to break into it and take all of their monies.
    1. Blue's Avatar
      Blue -
      T-Mobile Germany hat limit his dataplans since 2 Years. It depends on the plan. the cheapest: after 400 MB Fullspeed you must use GPRS-"Speed" LOL.

      So this is normal guys.
    1. cranie's Avatar
      cranie -
      "de la Vega said AT&T needed to "manage the network to make sure that the few cannot crowd out the many"

      If there are few people using "unlimited" data and on the other side enough that ARE for them to notice ...if you throttle aren't you then crowding out the many for the sake of the few?
    1. Happy Noodle Boy's Avatar
      Happy Noodle Boy -
      I would be surpsied if more than 2 of all the people complaining about AT&T in this thread fall in this "really high usage damn son" category.

      This will not affect anyone and in the big picture it is pretty fair. Why should I have data issues because someone in the same
      area love downloading Linux iso's 24/7?
    1. Snagga's Avatar
      Snagga -
      Here are the terms
      Prohibited and Permissible Uses: Except as may otherwise be specifically permitted or prohibited for select data plans, data sessions may be conducted only for the following purposes: (i) Internet browsing; (ii) email; and (iii) intranet access (including access to corporate intranets, email, and individual productivity applications like customer relationship management, sales force, and field service automation). While most common uses for Intranet browsing, email and intranet access are permitted by your data plan, there are certain uses that cause extreme network capacity issues and interference with the network and are therefore prohibited. Examples of prohibited uses include, without limitation, the following: (i) server devices or host computer applications, including, but not limited to, Web camera posts or broadcasts, automatic data feeds, automated machine-to-machine connections or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing; (ii) as a substitute or backup for private lines, landlines or full-time or dedicated data connections; (iii) "auto-responders," "cancel-bots," or similar automated or manual routines which generate excessive amounts of net traffic, or which disrupt net user groups or email use by others; (iv) "spam" or unsolicited commercial or bulk email (or activities that have the effect of facilitating unsolicited commercial email or unsolicited bulk email); (v) any activity that adversely affects the ability of other people or systems to use either AT&T's wireless services or other parties' Internet-based resources, including "denial of service" (DoS) attacks against another network host or individual user; (vi) accessing, or attempting to access without authority, the accounts of others, or to penetrate, or attempt to penetrate, security measures of AT&T's wireless network or another entity's network or systems; (vii) software or other devices that maintain continuous active Internet connections when a computer's connection would otherwise be idle or any "keep alive" functions, unless they adhere to AT&T's data retry requirements, which may be changed from time to time. This means, by way of example only, that checking email, surfing the Internet, downloading legally acquired songs, and/or visiting corporate intranets is permitted, but downloading movies using P2P file sharing services, redirecting television signals for viewing on Personal Computers, web broadcasting, and/or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition devices is prohibited. Furthermore, plans (unless specifically designated for tethering usage) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation, connection kits, other phone/PDA-to computer accessories, BLUETOOTH® or any other wireless technology) to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for any purpose. Accordingly, AT&T reserves the right to (i) deny, disconnect, modify and/or terminate Service, without notice, to anyone it believes is using the Service in any manner prohibited or whose usage adversely impacts its wireless network or service levels or hinders access to its wireless network, including without limitation, after a significant period of inactivity or after sessions of excessive usage and (ii) otherwise protect its wireless network from harm, compromised capacity or degradation in performance, which may impact legitimate data flows. You may not send solicitations to AT&T's wireless subscribers without their consent. You may not use the Services other than as intended by AT&T and applicable law. Plans are for individual, non-commercial use only and are not for resale. AT&T may, but is not required to, monitor your compliance, or the compliance of other subscribers, with AT&T's terms, conditions, or policies.
    1. rwin84's Avatar
      rwin84 -
      F^
    1. tknapp2's Avatar
      tknapp2 -
      nothing new. All carriers are doing this. Sprint and tmobile have caps too, but just because its Att everyone should be let out of their contracts? If you are seriously using 5gb a month consistantly you should invest in a computer!