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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. metaserph's Avatar
      metaserph -
      Uh... no. Droid is NOT better than the iPhone, for the record. Has a wonderful screen and a few other niceties but on the performance side it lacks a bit, even compared to other "android" phones. Read the reviews by folks actually using them. I've had one for 3 weeks to compare to. It is a nice phone but not quite the "iPhone killer" just yet.

      AND a comparable (apples to Apples) service plan from Verizon is a tad more than ATT. Check your facts.
    1. javiert30's Avatar
      javiert30 -
      I hope somebody from ATT read this thread, so they can figure it out that if they still greedy like they are, instead to earn more money they are going to lose a lot of clients.
    1. Riviera's Avatar
      Riviera -
      *****! in a month my data usage is average from 60 MB to 75 MB. This is only from email, facebook, etc. I don't even use my iphone for tethering. If the cap is only 5 MB/month, then I'm screwed.
    1. metaserph's Avatar
      metaserph -
      I meant 5GB, you're safe. I've been tethering for a while now, visiting media intense sites and I've peaked at around 2 GB of data useage. Haven't been penalized or warned or otherwise. Of course, I also wouldn't think of using my iPhone to d/l torrents or extended online gaming either. Anyways...
    1. Forgoten Dynasty's Avatar
      Forgoten Dynasty -
      If they do this they will be put out of business by all the lawsuits.
    1. javiert30's Avatar
      javiert30 -
      They will be out of business but by their clients. Telling the truth, we all know that some of us just went to a contract with ATT because we want the iPhone and some of us can't pay $400 or $500 for an iphone without contract, we got now the iPhone already, all we got to do now is cancel the contract, unlock our iPhones and welcome T-mobile. T-mobile are going to be the one that's going to be earning that money that ATT want.
    1. metaserph's Avatar
      metaserph -
      ... If it was only that simple...
    1. 1shuttle1's Avatar
      1shuttle1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by metaserph View Post
      ... If it was only that simple...
      The sad thing is that AT&T had no problem signing up all these iphone users knowing full well that they will not be able to handle them in the future. Hell they are still signing them up. If I walk up to a counter tomorrow and ask for another iphone. I doubt very much the salesperson is going to say. Good choice but you should know our president of our company just wants you to know are servers may not be able to handle your internet use. And by the way that unlimited data plan is just a marketing ploy to get your business. We really don't mean unlimited. Were not sure what he means at this point. He will decide in the future and if you don't like it you can just pay a hefty early termination fee(per phone) and go else where. Sure we will still take the 30 a month for now. The details will come in the future. Now how many iphones can I sign you up for. Two, that's great. Oh and by the way we will take another 30 for the unlimited text messaging that really doesn't take up any bandwidth but as long as we have you bent over we thought we would stick it to you some more. Nice doing business with you. Have a nice day.
    1. staterunner180's Avatar
      staterunner180 -
      If AT&T had a better infrastructure, and focused less on being 'fast' and more on being reliable and hardy, then they wouldn't have these problems. It also doesn't help that the iPhone is exclusive to AT&T, therefore all the millions of people have have them are all hogging data. Another plus for Apple to end this ridiculous exclusivity contract and open up to other carriers in the U.S. People would have such a better experience with the iPhone no matter what network if it wasn't so clogged up.
    1. metaserph's Avatar
      metaserph -
      Find ANY other network that offer "unlimited" data they way you "think" unlimited data should be. Start with Verizon, check their rates AND bandwidth useage. Check their texting offering too.
    1. Riviera's Avatar
      Riviera -
      Quote Originally Posted by metaserph View Post
      I meant 5GB, you're safe.
      Now I feel better. Thank you, I was thinking 5 MB cap was ridiculous, but 5 GB sounds good enough for average iPhone users like myself. For anything else I can use my computer at work or at home.
    1. pacmac's Avatar
      pacmac -
      oh my i pump about 6+GB of 3G data mostly every month..yup now you know what i do at work..but if they start to charge im ditching AT&Terrible time for a HTC android i like the 3G here in my area but if they keep getting money hungry its time to stop feeding them my money
    1. KabutoCub's Avatar
      KabutoCub -
      To those of you saying that the people that download BitTorrent and are streaming music and video on the 3G Network are "ruining" it for everyone else I tell you this: Get over it.

      I pay 30 dollars a month, on top of my service plan, on top of the ridiculous 15 extra bucks for unlimited texting, and I pay those 30 bucks to have UNLIMITED DATA. Not "Some Data" or "An Adequate Amount of Data" but UNLIMITED DATA. If AT&T wasn't able to support a data-intensive handset such as the iPhone and wasn't ready to provide that service then they shouldn't have SOLD THE PHONE TO BEGIN WITH! So yeah, I don't give a flying **** about how much data I'm "consuming"... It is my right, and anyone's right to use this data as long as they are paying for it.

      AT&T needs to start using some of the CRAZY MONEY THEY'VE MADE selling the world's most popular phone, invest it on their INFRASTRUCTURE and leave us paying customers ALONE.
    1. tknapp2's Avatar
      tknapp2 -
      All carrier's have a cap on their "unlimited" data. Yet when at&t does it they are the bad guys.
      And I'm sure that those of you pulling 5GB + and complaining about that not being enough, are also complaining on other threads about the horrible battery life. Its a iPHONE not iCOMPUTER. Its not intended to be downloading torrents, but casually surfing the web. I welcome it. And as for the complaints of the $30 dollar price tag.. name a SMARTPHONE that has "unlimited" data for a lot less. It may be out there but I have never had it. Blackberry = $30 iPhone = $30 Android = $25
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Quote Originally Posted by sziklassy View Post
      I agree to this statement. The problem is that we signed contracts that stated otherwise. In my opinion we should be given the chance to resign the "new" contract stating changed or be given the right to terminate the contract without a penalty fee. That said, I am sure the data usage numbers will be very reasonable, something in the 3-5GB per month range. If people are using more than that, they are probably doing things they technically shouldn't be (like tethering) on their phones.
      I agree - I always thought AT&T were making a rod for their own back by saying 'unlimited' data. Here in the UK they can get away with saying 'unlimited' when it clearly is not.
      If they change your T&C you should have the right to cancel. Has anyone checked the fine print to make sure there is no ' Fair usage' or 'not to the detriment of other users' clause?
      UK data plans usually specifically exclude things like VOIP, tethering and streaming data and typically have a cap of 1Gb or less.
      My plan costs me about $33/month - but that does include tethering/streaming/3Gb Data and more minutes/texts/MMS than I can use in a month.
      Using over a couple of Gb without tethering - which I believe is specifically prohibited by AT&T is quite difficult.
      I wonder how many of the people complaining actually get anywhere near the rumoured 5Gb cap? And of those that do, how many don't tether?
    1. andygev35's Avatar
      andygev35 -
      While I do tether, I do so almost exclusively for school work (university). I'm a truck driver and manage roughly 4-5GB usage per month, but mostly due to iHeartRadio which I listen to 4-5 hrs per day. So it is feasible to use more than 5GB of data with legitimate iPhone apps.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      So glad I pay only $5.99 a month for my data service I could care less if I don't get to use 3G, the Edge with T-Mobile works really good. Navigon keeps up to speed as I drive around, so that's helpful. Too bad AT&T has to put a cap on their "unlimited" data plan which costs an arm and a leg. Come hop on the T-Mobile bus, there's plenty of room!!
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by marko911 View Post
      WTF ........... Seriously this ******** ........ i miss T-Mobile i really do . T-mobile i'am comign back to you and i'am bringing my iPhone.
      Yes lets all move to T-Mobile to enjoy less signal strength and no 3G. Have fun on EDGE!

      Quote Originally Posted by steve-z17 View Post
      So glad I pay only $5.99 a month for my data service I could care less if I don't get to use 3G, the Edge with T-Mobile works really good. Navigon keeps up to speed as I drive around, so that's helpful. Too bad AT&T has to put a cap on their "unlimited" data plan which costs an arm and a leg. Come hop on the T-Mobile bus, there's plenty of room!!
      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.

      Quote Originally Posted by tknapp2 View Post
      All carrier's have a cap on their "unlimited" data. Yet when at&t does it they are the bad guys.
      And I'm sure that those of you pulling 5GB + and complaining about that not being enough, are also complaining on other threads about the horrible battery life. Its a iPHONE not iCOMPUTER. Its not intended to be downloading torrents, but casually surfing the web. I welcome it. And as for the complaints of the $30 dollar price tag.. name a SMARTPHONE that has "unlimited" data for a lot less. It may be out there but I have never had it. Blackberry = $30 iPhone = $30 Android = $25
      Very very true! all service providers do have a cap. And yes a lot of ppl complain but yet they're using their iPhone to it's fullest extent! They use that phone more than prob any other phone and complain battery life is bad. Which IMO it's not....although i cheat because i keep my phone charged to my laptop at work
    1. metaserph's Avatar
      metaserph -
      Blah blah. For the record, Blackberry plans for T-Mo are $40 per month. Internet Connect ONLY with 200MB of cap are $30 per month AND their "unlimited" data plans with 5GB cap are $50 per month. You'd figure Tmo users know their rates. Look it up!

      Unsupported Browser

      Anyways...
    1. eg6motion's Avatar
      eg6motion -
      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.