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  • WSJ: AT&T May Bill Devs for Data-Related Usage


    According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T is said to be tinkering with a service that would put a new tab on app developers. That is, the devs would pay the wireless carrier for some of the data used by app consumers for things like streaming movies and smartphone applications.

    John Donovan, the executive responsible for AT&T's network and technology, compares the service to "toll-free calling for the mobile-broadband world."

    "A feature that we're hoping to have out sometime next year is the equivalent of 800 numbers that would say, if you take this app, this app will come without any network usage," Donovan was quoted as saying in the WSJ.

    Carriers have been considering different pricing models for years as they look for ways to make more money from skyrocketing mobile-data use. But AT&T's approach would be novel, an attempt to push some of the cost of data traffic back onto the Internet companies and other service providers that profit from it.
    Donovan sees such as service as a way to create new revenue streams that presently don't exist and then find a way to split them. As the would-be service and its associated benefits were described, "a customer nearing his data limit for the month could be more likely to download a movie if the content provider covered the price of the data transmission."

    If and when such a service would debut still isn't known (beyond the general time-frame of "maybe next year"). But it likely will be talked about within the developer community until then.

    Source: WSJ
    This article was originally published in forum thread: WSJ: AT&T May Bill Devs for Data-Related Usage started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. *T*'s Avatar
      *T* -
      Doesn't make sense. You should low-tax the vast majority, rather than high-tax the few
    1. i113's Avatar
      i113 -
      That's a terrible idea! AT&T knows perfectly well that the app devs would just pass the bill right onto the consumer. So AT&T is trying to go deeper into our pockets without raising their rates.

      Mobile data pricing is all screwed up anyway. I want to pay one price for a chunk of data. When it's used, I want to buy another chunk. They want a separate subscription for my iPad and now my ps vita. And I don't want to pay extra to tether when I don't even nearly use my 2gb that I pay for.
    1. *T*'s Avatar
      *T* -
      Quote Originally Posted by i113 View Post
      That's a terrible idea! AT&T knows perfectly well that the app devs would just pass the bill right onto the consumer. So AT&T is trying to go deeper into our pockets without raising their rates.

      Mobile data pricing is all screwed up anyway. I want to pay one price for a chunk of data. When it's used, I want to buy another chunk. They want a separate subscription for my iPad and now my ps vita. And I don't want to pay extra to tether when I don't even nearly use my 2gb that I pay for.
      The app devs won't pass it on to the consumer because apps aren't physical products, and don't require production costs for each individual app. Apps require one single production cost to produce every app sold. And since Apple only allows prices ending in $.99, the devs aren't able to just add on another $.50 to help pay for it. It would have to go up by $.99, which in proportion to the price, is almost always huge.


      What should be done for the mobile data system is this: prices are set at benchmarks, to give consumers an idea of what they'll have to pay. At the end of the month, all the data you've used is all you'd pay.

      But the companies need to make $ too, so don't count on that ever happening.
    1. 51504rock's Avatar
      51504rock -
      Why does att think they can get away with all this data fraud! Fist they make unlimited data usage and then don't provide it. Now they want to double charge for data. I already pay for the data plane, why are they trying to charge again for it. FCC please put a stop to att insanity.
    1. buttrr76's Avatar
      buttrr76 -
      I just got off the phone with the at&t manger in my area. any unlimited data user who hits 2gb plan will start to be throttled. they just released a 3gb plan and shortly the 2 gb throttle cap will be raised to 3gb at that time. if you would like to to write and complain to att the dept to write to is p.o box 246 artesia, ca 90702-0246... happy writings

      urge everybody to file a complaint with the FCC. They will examine if there is a policy violation on unlimited plans regarding bandwidth throttling. Every complaint has to be answered by AT&T in writing within 45 days. Phone 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).

      *** Example Text ***

      I wish to file an informal complaint with the FCC against AT&T Wireless. I want to examine the possibility of “Policy Violations” and/or “Violations of Policy that are In Development” on the part of AT&T.

      AT&T has determined that I am in the top 5% of monthly data consumption users, but has not clearly defined in specific terms (either in Kilobytes of Megabytes) how much monthly data usage they arbitrarily consider too much. And if this were a genuinely defined “Unlimited Data Plan”, it should not matter.

      I am under a 2-year contract with AT&T’s grandfathered “Unlimited Data Plan”. I pay on time each and every month for this signed, committed, and contracted wireless service. I have also recently paid to upgrade my handset to an iPhone 4S for the express purpose optimizing my data speeds and enhancing my data performance.

      AT&T banners itself as a “Network of Possibilities” offering 2 layers of network technology that deliver 4G or “Fourth-Generation Wireless” speeds that encompass HPSA+ (High Speed Packet Access Plus) and LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless technologies. Yet, AT&T is limiting my data by invoking “Bandwidth Throttling” and/or “Bandwidth Capping” at rates that are considerably less than even accepted 3G speeds.

      “Unlimited” is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

      1. lacking any controls : unrestricted
      2. boundless, infinite

      I believe that AT&T has knowingly misled their customer base by falsely offering an “Unlimited Data Plan” to capture early market-share. To now compensate, AT&T is now imposing intentional and substantial data limits. I believe that AT&T has oversubscribed their network capabilities while failing to upgrade their network capacities to support current market demand. We the customers are left holding-the-bag because AT&T has failed in the proper “Capacity Planning” and “Capacity Execution” of their network.


      *** Additionally ***

      (1) Be Sure To File An "Informal Complaint" vs. a "Formal Complaint". An Informal Complaints Insures That There Is No Cost To You. A Formal Complaint Is Used To Lay The Groundwork For A Law Suit ... Big $$$.


      (2) Be Sure To Use The Term "Violations of Policies That Are In Development". This Covers Grey Areas Which Are Yet To Be Defined Under Current Laws.


      The FCC Is Taking Notice ... We Need To Get The Number Of Complaints To A Level Where It Becomes One Of Their Top Issues.
    1. cmwade77's Avatar
      cmwade77 -
      This will simply kill things like Netflix on the phones. Honestly, data is cheap, I don't understand why the mobile carriers are charging so much for it.
    1. hogcia's Avatar
      hogcia -
      Stupid greedy phone company's make plenty of money on texting plans alone! When will the rape end!? Billionaires making more billions (5%) while the rest of us starve! (95%). Corporate greed at its finest!
    1. BustAGroove's Avatar
      BustAGroove -
      Thanks for this post and SPECIAL THANKS to buttr76 for providing verbiage. I've filed my complaint with FCC.

      FCC Submission Confirmation: [deleted]
      Acknowledgement of Submission from [deleted] on 02/28/2012, reference number [deleted].
      Thank you for your information. The FCC will contact you if additional information is required. Please keep this information for future reference.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      Quote Originally Posted by buttrr76 View Post
      I just got off the phone with the at&t manger in my area. any unlimited data user who hits 2gb plan will start to be throttled. they just released a 3gb plan and shortly the 2 gb throttle cap will be raised to 3gb at that time. if you would like to to write and complain to att the dept to write to is p.o box 246 artesia, ca 90702-0246... happy writings

      urge everybody to file a complaint with the FCC. They will examine if there is a policy violation on unlimited plans regarding bandwidth throttling. Every complaint has to be answered by AT&T in writing within 45 days. Phone 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322).
      This is good, we need more of this! We can sit here and talk about it all we want or we can actually do something about it!
    1. 51504rock's Avatar
      51504rock -
      Filed my complaint with FCC. Thanks for the info buttrr76. Hope this motivates more to stand up and do something.
    1. Comwiz's Avatar
      Comwiz -
      Introducing My Big New Coolest App Ever for the iPhone and Android: A Verizon and Sprint Exclusive.

      Gotta love a free market.
    1. ttoolman's Avatar
      ttoolman -
      It's funny how much they increase the charges for data which in turn has no physical properties (i.e. mass, force, form etc)... so basically they increase the cost for nothing
    1. Ngmead's Avatar
      Ngmead -
      I honestly don't even see how that is possible apps aren't carrier specific. How are they going to bill the developers especially since the developers have no contract with AT&T.
    1. cjoshdoll's Avatar
      cjoshdoll -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ngmead View Post
      I honestly don't even see how that is possible apps aren't carrier specific. How are they going to bill the developers especially since the developers have no contract with AT&T.
      Oh yes they can be. Download NFL Mobile on AT&T and try and use it. It's a carrier restricted (or more appropriately carrier specific app). I'm not sure how it's accomplished, but it CAN and IS being done.
    1. Ngmead's Avatar
      Ngmead -
      Quote Originally Posted by cjoshdoll View Post
      Oh yes they can be. Download NFL Mobile on AT&T and try and use it. It's a carrier restricted (or more appropriately carrier specific app). I'm not sure how it's accomplished, but it CAN and IS being done.
      Yeah but that app is made by Verizon most apps like Netflix and such are not made by a company such as Verizon for example there for do not have a contract with a specific carrier. That app is carrier specific because it's made by a carrier.
    1. Orby's Avatar
      Orby -
      Quote Originally Posted by *T* View Post
      Doesn't make sense. You should low-tax the vast majority, rather than high-tax the few
      That path of action has already been taken and makes boat loads of cash. It's called "monthly service fees." This is an entirely new revenue stream--for even more boat loads of cash.

      Quote Originally Posted by Ngmead View Post
      I honestly don't even see how that is possible apps aren't carrier specific. How are they going to bill the developers especially since the developers have no contract with AT&T.
      It's called "pull a Comcast." Developer doesn't pay, developer doesn't get their data served over AT&T's wireless network, filtered by IP addresses, connection protocol, etc.

      Quote Originally Posted by Ngmead View Post
      Yeah but that app is made by Verizon most apps like Netflix and such are not made by a company such as Verizon for example there for do not have a contract with a specific carrier. That app is carrier specific because it's made by a carrier.
      Which brings up AT&T's other ultimatum/ace in the hole: pay us a "wholesale" rate of $2.50 a GB for every GB your app uses. We will, in turn, allow all traffic to your IP address(es) to pass through the network unfettered. Patch your app with this code and you'll get your data. Possibly prioritized over the network as well...
    1. Ngmead's Avatar
      Ngmead -
      Quote Originally Posted by Orby View Post
      It's called "pull a Comcast." Developer doesn't pay, developer doesn't get their data served over AT&T's wireless network, filtered by IP addresses, connection protocol, etc.


      Which brings up AT&T's other ultimatum/ace in the hole: pay us a "wholesale" rate of $2.50 a GB for every GB your app uses. We will, in turn, allow all traffic to your IP address(es) to pass through the network unfettered. Patch your app with this code and you'll get your data. Possibly prioritized over the network as well...
      Ok I can understand that thanks
    1. quidam_brujah's Avatar
      quidam_brujah -
      Actually, this works out great!
      AT&T needs to send Apple (the dev) the bill for the 'extravagant' data usage of the customers of their 'app' (iPhone/iPad). No more worries for us users, right?

      And for my next trick, I will prove that white is black..
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      The developers will find a way to stick it back to AT&T, like have separate pricing for AT&T download.
      AT&T customers gets to pay more to download same apps as Verizon and Sprint users.
      Would love to have that happen, I wanna see all the people start to jump ship.
    1. BustAGroove's Avatar
      BustAGroove -
      From iClarified post: AT&T Says It Won't Throttle Unlimited Customers Until 3GB of Data Usage.

      One of my family members has an AT&T HTC Inspire 4G phone and was getting the "you're in top top 5%" messages monthly before I started getting them and being throttled at 1.5-2GB.

      Based on AT&T's post, family member's unlimited data (non-throttled) threshhold is now 5GB, not 1.5 to 2GB.