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  • AT&T Exec Suggests Penalties for High-Bandwidth Users


    The head of AT&T's wireless services division told investors today that smartphone users who consume more bandwidth than the carrier considers reasonable may end up paying more for it. Ralph de la Vega, the CEO of AT&T Mobility, also said in his speech to attendees of a UBS investors conference that his company intends to address the problems users have complained about in New York and San Francisco. "This is going to get fixed," de la Vega said. "In both of those markets, I am very confident that you're going to see significant progress."

    In his speech, de la Vega also promised that any changes in the carrier's pricing structure would respect net neutrality. He said future plans would depend on how well AT&T would be able to track real-time usage, and that pricing will be affected not just by regulation but by pressure from outside competitors and how customers react to changes.

    De la Vega again made the case that some level of control would be necessary because of the higher amounts of bandwidth used by smartphones such as the iPhone. He indicated that despite infrastructure improvements like the 850MHz 3G upgrades in San Francisco, the most demanding AT&T subscribers might have to make changes to their usage patterns or opay a penalty. He discussed incentives for customers to "reduce or modify their usage" like making it easier to determine how much data they use each month. "We've got to get them to understand what represents a megabyte of data," he said. "We're improving all our systems to let consumers get real-time information on their data usage."

    AT&T's has admitted in the past that it blocked specific iPhone apps because it considered them bandwidth hogs. As a result of such a heavy-handed approach, the FCC has been considering regulating cellphone traffic as it begins to set up net neutrality rules to ensure fair treatment for video, VoIP and other high-bandwidth data traffic.

    image via TechShout.com
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T Exec Suggests Penalties for High-Bandwidth Users started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 96 Comments
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by eg6motion View Post
      maybe it's just me, but I linked to the article and don't see any mention of "Penalties" as this title and article suggests. Infact, even CNET posted a correction saying "Correction made December 9 at 7:51 p.m. PDT: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that AT&T had announced a tiered pricing plan. The company is considering incentives to curb heavy wireless data usage."

      So this article is incorrectly stating ATT is making plans to charge people more as well. The REAL article has only stated that they want to offer incentives to reduce bandwidth, no caps, no extra charges...just some tools to monitor your bandwidth. This whole thread is fail.
      The article does not state that it will start doing it or has already done so. It only states the possibility of penalties and then goes on to elaborate more about it.
    1. weazle23's Avatar
      weazle23 -
      i really hope they do this and i can opt out of my contract. i've been wanting to for a while. and as for the no 3g good luck with edge argument. what do you think im on now as i live in the almost 90% of america that doesnt have 3g with at&t anyway so i wont be affected by that.
    1. thevmax's Avatar
      thevmax -
      Quote Originally Posted by bunnywhi7e View Post
      And that's why I'm saying BYE BYE to AT&T this Friday and going with good ol' T-Mo. I'm paying $120 a month for the service but with T-Mo I'll be paying about $55 so AT&T go and F YOURSELF

      Don't worry folks, sooner than later AT&T will find itself in a hole after people start to leave them. And once again, they will find themselves in a hole that they already been in before.
      Bravo! Agreed!
    1. clikzip's Avatar
      clikzip -
      Thing is at&t has made a rediculous amount of money off of us iPhone users. There was a study that like 60% of new iPhone contracts were NEW to at&t. Meaning at&t is getting alot of 2 year service agreements from the iPhone. The fact they want to charge more for data is rediculous, they want a phone that brings in loads of new business then deal with the consequences....The occasional bandwidth hog
    1. jsehlms's Avatar
      jsehlms -
      Quote Originally Posted by weazle23 View Post
      what do you think im on now as i live in the almost 90% of america that doesnt have 3g with at&t anyway so i wont be affected by that.
      You have your facts wrong. 90% of America's population IS covered by 3G.

      You would be in the 10% which lives in the underdeveloped part of America apparently.
    1. TooSlo's Avatar
      TooSlo -
      Quote Originally Posted by jsehlms View Post
      You have your facts wrong. 90% of America's population IS covered by 3G.

      You would be in the 10% which lives in the underdeveloped part of America apparently.
      Care to cite your source for that?

      Considering I don't have 3G coverage at my house, which is about 1 mile away from the main Microsoft Redmond campus, I'm highly suspect that I live in an "underdeveloped" part of the US.
    1. M4tt Dam0n's Avatar
      M4tt Dam0n -
      How much is reasonable? Thats such BS lol. Why even call it unlimited?
    1. wiltok's Avatar
      wiltok -
      So let's review. I want an Iphone - first I have to signup for a 2 year contract (which I suppose is somewhat fair since the phone is being subsidized). Then, pick a plan for phone minutes. Let's see - the smallest plan is 450 mins (I literally only use about 60 mins a month - I have 2800 rollover mins), then I am required to pay $30 for a data plan (even though I live in an area where that is only Edge - it was only $20 on the orig phone), then $20 for unlimited texts (why isn't this covered under the data plan? Cause they can). I don't come anywhere close to 5G a month, but I cannot tether and use the data I am paying for. And if they do allow tethering eventually, then it will prob be another $30. Nights and weekends? They start at 9PM unless I want to pay extra. Who is on the phone past 9?? I am not saying all of these 'features' are unique to ATT, but the system is designed to squeeze every last dollar out of you. Its really ridiculous....
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by wiltok View Post
      So let's review. I want an Iphone - first I have to signup for a 2 year contract (which I suppose is somewhat fair since the phone is being subsidized). Then, pick a plan for phone minutes. Let's see - the smallest plan is 450 mins (I literally only use about 60 mins a month - I have 2800 rollover mins), then I am required to pay $30 for a data plan (even though I live in an area where that is only Edge - it was only $20 on the orig phone), then $20 for unlimited texts (why isn't this covered under the data plan? Cause they can). I don't come anywhere close to 5G a month, but I cannot tether and use the data I am paying for. And if they do allow tethering eventually, then it will prob be another $30. Nights and weekends? They start at 9PM unless I want to pay extra. Who is on the phone past 9?? I am not saying all of these 'features' are unique to ATT, but the system is designed to squeeze every last dollar out of you. Its really ridiculous....
      Welcome to world of cell phone companies. No matter what you want there will always be restriction, penalties, and you bending over for your cellular service.
    1. weazle23's Avatar
      weazle23 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jsehlms View Post
      You have your facts wrong. 90% of America's population IS covered by 3G.

      You would be in the 10% which lives in the underdeveloped part of America apparently.
      maybe with verizon 90% of america is covered by 3g but not with at&t. there 3g coverage is exactly what it shows on the verizon ads. few and extremely far between.
    1. weazle23's Avatar
      weazle23 -
      straight from the at&t websight. the blue is there 3g coverage. so if all the rest is underdeveloped then i guess i do live there lol.
    1. z28kid's Avatar
      z28kid -
      Great just great.. I know its been said before. We pay for an "unlimited data plan" If they want to honor that why not make the service better. Dont punish us for using a phone that's on your (AT&T) network. If I wasnt contracted to AT&T I would take my jb iPhone and jump ship with the rest of the people.
    1. A Retired Mod's Avatar
      A Retired Mod -
      In some areas where I live we are still on edge?! If they plan on jacking up the price, they need to up grade there services first!!
    1. thevmax's Avatar
      thevmax -
      Quote Originally Posted by bunnywhi7e View Post
      And that's why I'm saying BYE BYE to AT&T this Friday and going with good ol' T-Mo. I'm paying $120 a month for the service but with T-Mo I'll be paying about $55 so AT&T go and F YOURSELF

      Don't worry folks, sooner than later AT&T will find itself in a hole after people start to leave them. And once again, they will find themselves in a hole that they already been in before.
      My sentiments exactly! I guess "unlimited data" must mean something else to the rapists at AT&T!
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      Its all a bluff
    1. psychodave's Avatar
      psychodave -
      This should be interesting to see how this in enforced. Legally they can't force a user under contract to a new plan with out giving them an option to leave the contract. If they do force contract subscribers to this plan since we are all on a "unlimited" plan they would have massive class action suits against them. This should be fun to watch how it all plays out. Get your popcorn and Junior mints and let the show begin!
    1. andygev35's Avatar
      andygev35 -
      ^^ I prefer Raisinettes, but I'm with ya!!
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by hollow0 View Post
      Yes lets all move to T-Mobile to enjoy less signal strength and no 3G. Have fun on EDGE!



      There is no real cap on our 3G data. They say 4 or 5GB which is plenty but i've never gotten that high to even be worried. As far as T-Mobile you can keep that 4th rate network lol. You can say all you want about your $6 EDGE speed but i've been there and done that. It's too slow and the buzzing noise coming from my radio in the car and in the house or any speakers around me becomes annoying. Sending an email almost takes 1 or 2 mins depending the size of the attachment...pfft get real. It may be good for you but a lot of us have a need for real speed.

      Oh and lets not forget tethering which i enjoy soooo much! ^^ Comes in so handy while i'm at school.
      You don't have to be a douche about it, I wasn't putting AT&T down, I was saying that I enjoy my EDGE for $5.99 a month because I wouldn't ever use or need 3G...but I guess you wanted to get across...what? That I should enjoy my EDGE speed? Lol well thanks, you certainly made a big deal out of a simple comment...
    1. n00neimp0rtant's Avatar
      n00neimp0rtant -
      Quote Originally Posted by hollow0 View Post
      Yes lets all move to T-Mobile to enjoy less signal strength and no 3G. Have fun on EDGE!
    1. quidam_brujah's Avatar
      quidam_brujah -
      AT&T & T-Mobile were about the same for me. I'm in the Chicago area and I don't really have any problems -- your mileage may vary.

      But from a sales and marketing standpoint, it was the same cr@p that pissed me off about Comcast: don't market and sell an 'unlimited' service if it aint gonna be UNLIMITED. If they want to put caps, or cell it at different rates -- cool. All they need to do is change the plan to something that they figure the 'good' or 'reasonable' customers will never hit. And then if you go over that, you pay $0.0xx/KB -- basically offer people access to the same data rate plans they offer for international roaming, but maybe higher caps and slightly lower rates.

      It would be honest and up front and you would know what you are getting into, and it would give them a tool to discourage high bandwidth usage.

      Quote Originally Posted by psychodave View Post
      This should be interesting to see how this in enforced. Legally they can't force a user under contract to a new plan with out giving them an option to leave the contract. If they do force contract subscribers to this plan since we are all on a "unlimited" plan they would have massive class action suits against them. This should be fun to watch how it all plays out. Get your popcorn and Junior mints and let the show begin!
      why? I have an 'agreement' (a 'contract' by any other name) with several credit card companies, software and online service providers, et al, and they can change their terms of service any time. When they do, I have the option of stop using their service if I disagree. AT&T can do the same thing: they give you 30-days notice and then your continued use means you agree to the new terms.

      I'm not saying I like it, I'm just saying I don't see why they couldn't do it that way. They may have to grandfather certain people based on the language of the contract, but eventually all contracts would contain the language so they can make changes every 30 days, two weeks, or whatever they think they can get away with.