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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. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      Wow. People really have their feathers ruffled over this. How much data do you really need to have every month? Who really comes close to what AT&T considers questionable?

      I think they should throttle bandwidth hogs until they finish upgrading their towers.

      Drop this many iPhones on any other carrier's network and it will crumble. AT&T is looking out for us and people are b!tch!n.
    1. n00neimp0rtant's Avatar
      n00neimp0rtant -
      Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChaos View Post
      Wow. People really have their feathers ruffled over this. How much data do you really need to have every month? Who really comes close to what AT&T considers questionable?
      This is the kind of apathy AT&T wants ALL of its customers to react to this change with. In my opinion, it's not a matter of how much data I'm using, it's a matter of being accessible to how much data I was PROMISED I was going to get. Here's a rather obscure analogy: if I signed a legal document saying that I could eat 500 hamburgers per day, then one day they told me I could only eat 250 per day, I'd be angry. Now, there's no way I'd ever eat even close to 250 let alone 500 hamburgers in one day (I don't weigh THAT much), but it would still irritate me that they think they have the authority to break a promise just because they don't feel like they have the resources to guarantee me 500 hamburgers everyday.


      In short, if I signed a contract for "Unlimited" data, I would expect nothing less than "unlimited" data.
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      I understand that unlimited means unlimited, but when the iPhone data package rolled out their wasn't squat out there that would let you stream movies, music, etc to your phone. AT&T is adjusting "some" peoples usage...not everyone.

      9 out of 10 people reading this will never have to worry about it because you simply do not use that much data browsing the web, emailing, etc.
    1. n00neimp0rtant's Avatar
      n00neimp0rtant -
      Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChaos View Post
      I understand that unlimited means unlimited, but when the iPhone data package rolled out their wasn't squat out there that would let you stream movies, music, etc to your phone. AT&T is adjusting "some" peoples usage...not everyone.
      Don't forget that AT&T raised data rates 50% ($10/month) when the iPhone 3G came out, and the App Store had already opened up at that point. It's just one more "restriction" now that they want to penalize those getting the most for their money.

      Besides the 3G speed, I'll bet Apple's regretting their decision to go with AT&T a little more than when the papers were signed.
    1. TooSlo's Avatar
      TooSlo -
      Quote Originally Posted by n00neimp0rtant View Post
      In short, if I signed a contract for "Unlimited" data, I would expect nothing less than "unlimited" data.
      This got me thinking. I know that AT&T is smart enough to write caveats into their service agreements, so I decided to do a little research while backing up a SQL DB and doing some testing today. I can't say that I'm not surprised at what I found. I found some humor in what was at the end of a very simple Bing search, and how it directly contradicts what some people on the forums tend to think of as their "rights" with data usage.

      The current AT&T data plan page.

      The part that caught my eye was the note was the caveat placed above "Domestic Included Data Limit." For those who don't want to read, please see the quote below.

      10. See Wireless Data Service Terms and Conditions for further details on prohibited/permissible uses and usage limits.
      Well huh. Knowing that I'm someone who doesn't easily give up, I wanted to find out more about what these prohibited and permissible usages really were.

      Here comes the giant wall of T&C that you all agreed to when signing up for data plans! I've taken the liberty of quoting and bolding the most important parts for people who don't care to click links and read all of the pages of the AT&T Wireless Data Service Terms and Conditions.

      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:

      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;
      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" (DDoS) attacks against another network host or individual user;
      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.
      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.
      I know it was a lot to digest, but I hope a couple of you made it through there. I'm hoping even more, that the high bandwidth users, or the ones who feel they deserve everything on a silver platter also read through those T&C.

      Here was the kicker on the end of the terms. I think that everyone should be reading this and understanding that there is essentially no leg to stand on in some type of class action lawsuit if AT&T began enforcing a policy against prohibited usage.


      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.
      That's right folks. Every one of you on AT&T signed up for this! The T&C aren't some grade-school test that you can claim "I didn't do my homework." You're responsible for fulfilling these terms, and AT&T can cut your service if they see you as being disruptive and negatively impacting other users on the AT&T network.


      In closing, the people who believe that unlimited is truly unlimited are sorely mistaken. You need to (wo)man up and live up to this holy document that you believe is going to lead to a million end user class-action lawsuit. Each and every one of the people complaining about the possibility of being reigned in now know what rules you agreed to when purchasing your phone.

      Ignorance is not an excuse, nor is it bliss.
    1. metaserph's Avatar
      metaserph -
      Awesome post. Of course, it will not deter morons from making uninformed comments.
    1. TooSlo's Avatar
      TooSlo -
      Quote Originally Posted by metaserph View Post
      Awesome post. Of course, it will not deter morons from making uninformed comments.
      I think I need to make a bookmark to that post for when this comes up again.
    1. n00neimp0rtant's Avatar
      n00neimp0rtant -
      Should be copypasta'd and stickied in the AT&T Subforum.
    1. javiert30's Avatar
      javiert30 -
      Quote Originally Posted by CaptainChaos View Post
      I understand that unlimited means unlimited, but when the iPhone data package rolled out their wasn't squat out there that would let you stream movies, music, etc to your phone. AT&T is adjusting "some" peoples usage...not everyone.

      9 out of 10 people reading this will never have to worry about it because you simply do not use that much data browsing the web, emailing, etc.
      One iphone without a data plan is not an iphone, we want to have unlimited data acces so we can use UNLIMITED data access, all those things that you mention here are the difference between an iphone and another freeky phone, we all use our iphones to play media, emails, and lots of other apps that need data transfer, we are paying for that, then we want that. Otherwise if they wanted to limit you from the begining, they can offer limited data plan from the begining. But they are offering UNLIMITED, that means no restrictions.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Unlimited internet browsing on your phone is not the same as tethering sand data streaming which are prohibited by the T&C (see above). That's like saying you should be able to use your phone under water - otherwise AT&T are 'limiting' your usage to above water only...

      Did you rad the T&C you signed up for?
    1. Riviera's Avatar
      Riviera -
      Quote Originally Posted by javiert30 View Post
      But they are offering UNLIMITED, that means no restrictions.
      Let me ask you this: The US is a free country. So do you think you can do whatever you want - UNLIMITED - even if you will make other people suffer?

      NO you can not. It is a free country to some extents, but it has Constitution (restriction).

      ----

      Btw Great post, TooSlo. Thanks.
    1. jdonn2009's Avatar
      jdonn2009 -
      Whatever happened to "unlimited"?! Whatever it takes to make a quick buck... these people are pathetic...
    1. jsehlms's Avatar
      jsehlms -
      Quote Originally Posted by weazle23 View Post
      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.
      Again, the keyword is POPULATION. More people crammed into the bigger cities make up for your smaller cities with less people. They are concerned (or should be) about the majority of the population in the US, which is where they claim they cover 90% of america. Verizon says, ATT covers 10% of land with 3G, ATT says they cover 90% of POPULATION.
    1. confucious's Avatar
      confucious -
      Quote Originally Posted by jdonn2009 View Post
      Whatever happened to "unlimited"?! Whatever it takes to make a quick buck... these people are pathetic...
      You have unlimited browsing - you will not get near the 'limit' if you stick to what is allowed under your T&C
    1. virtualcappy's Avatar
      virtualcappy -
      I say bring it on AT&T. If they change my TOS I've got myself an unlocked 3GS with no contract... that would be sweet. For this reason there's no way AT&T will change their TOS. This would only be for new contracts.
    1. weazle23's Avatar
      weazle23 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jsehlms View Post
      Again, the keyword is POPULATION. More people crammed into the bigger cities make up for your smaller cities with less people. They are concerned (or should be) about the majority of the population in the US, which is where they claim they cover 90% of america. Verizon says, ATT covers 10% of land with 3G, ATT says they cover 90% of POPULATION.
      i dont believe that with there sparse 3g coverage its really 90% of the population. but even if it was why should the other 90% of americas land have to pay for 3g on the iphone when its not available there.