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  • AT&T CEO: We Never Should Have Offered Unlimited Data; and iMessage...?


    As it appears, AT&T C.E.O. Randall Stephenson had a lot to say this week about the company, and the iPhone. It appears that his choice to offer unlimited data in the first place, as well as the fact that Appleís new iMessage feature is biting into AT&Tís text-messaging earnings, is causing him lack of sleep at night. That, or maybe all the greed has gone to his head. The comments by Stephenson, recorded by the New York Times, are as follows:

    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Stephenson
    "My only regret was how we introduced pricing in the beginning, because how did we introduce pricing? Thirty dollars and you get all you can eat," he said in the on-stage interview at the Milken Instituteís Global Conference on Wednesday. "And itís a variable cost model. Every additional megabyte you use in this network, I have to invest capital."

    "You lie awake at night worrying about what is that which will disrupt your business model. Apple iMessage is a classic example. If youíre using iMessage, youíre not using one of our messaging services, right? Thatís disruptive to our messaging revenue stream."

    ďI remember asking the question: Are we investing in a business model, are we investing in a product or are we investing in Steve Jobs?Ē Mr. Stephenson said. ďThe answer to the question was, youíre investing in Steve Jobs. Letís go after this thing. And we went after it, and the rest is history.Ē
    AT&T once offered the unlimited data plan for most phones for only $30 per month, which is a very cheap price in comparison to the overpriced tiered data plans that are now plaguing cellular providers everywhere. Stephenson admits that he regrets offering the unlimited data plan because heavy data users take advantage of the unlimited data and donít get charged overages Ė this leads to less revenue for the company.

    While Sprint continues to offer unlimited data and plans to do so even beyond the release of the next generation iPhone, AT&T and Verizon have moved past unlimited data, offering very limited services for almost the same price as Sprint wants.

    Apart from his beef with the unlimited data, Stephenson trash-talked Apple iMessage as well in respects to the fact that it means less text messaging from AT&Tís end. AT&T offers an unlimited text messaging option, but also used to offer limited text messaging options, which people have been getting around with Appleís internet-based communication system. With the amount of Android phones out on the market today, it's not as if iMessage controls the entire messaging world (it is iOS-to-iOS only), which illustrates the C.E.O.'s true, greedy colors.

    All in all, while AT&Tís Stephenson appears to have a lot of issues with the way the iPhone is running the phone industry today in terms of iMessage and cellular data, there isnít much he can do about it as closing the iPhone out of AT&Tís phone options would kill the companyís revenue dramatically.

    As for Apple? They should just keep releasing these free, Internet-based features so AT&T canít make us pay for them!

    Sources: New York Times
    This article was originally published in forum thread: AT&T CEO: We Never Should Have Offered Unlimited Data; and iMessage...? started by Anthony Bouchard View original post
    Comments 83 Comments
    1. Beastly L92's Avatar
      Beastly L92 -
      And this is just one of the many reasons why AT&T will be permanently and emphatically shown the door once the iPhone 5 launches. Network, customer service, false advertisement and disrespect.
    1. Effenpig!'s Avatar
      Effenpig! -
      Greedy bastard! I'd love to know the actual stats of their data usage. How big of a percentage of unlimited users gobble up obscene amounts of data compared to the tons of people who pay/paid $30 per month and either use very little data ( or like me can't even get data). I wish they would use some of that money they earn from their underpriced data plans and upgrade some towers. Christ, I barely get edge, Today I gave up trying to open a google search page after ten minutes and I live in a fairly large metro area 30 minutes from the state capital.
    1. iPod's Avatar
      iPod -
      Too bad sprint service is so bad... Unlimited data is tempting though
    1. brodimus's Avatar
      brodimus -
      And here come all the ignorant comments. You guys just don't understand what it's like to have to get gold faucets for your yacht instead of platinum ones. Until you've all had to settle for the Bentley instead of the Lamborghini you really wanted, you'll never feel his pain.
    1. Beastly L92's Avatar
      Beastly L92 -
      How did they expand their network? by trying to buy T-Mo's crappy network.

      How did they deal with VZW having a 4G network many times their size as a direct result? They spent hundreds of millions dollars lobbying to downgrade the 4G standard to include their HSDPA network.

      And now, how are they dealing with network congestion? By throttling a long term customer like me.

      FIRED!!!
    1. vantheman169's Avatar
      vantheman169 -
      Funny thing is if I pay $30 bucks a month for unlimited family messaging and I use iMessage therefore not using their service, you would that would cost them less money than if I just sent a text message using their service? Either way I am paying for it. Unless he is aiming that comment at people who dont have a txting plan...idk just my 2cents....They are effin greedy tho!
    1. RichResk3's Avatar
      RichResk3 -
      At&t didn't address this the right way, but in their defense my data usage has skyrocketed since iMessage, and my texting numbers are way down. I love my unlimited plan.
    1. TheExtra404's Avatar
      TheExtra404 -
      wow. -_-
    1. purplemonkeyspank's Avatar
      purplemonkeyspank -
      "AT&T once offered the unlimited data plan for most phones for only $30 per month, which is a very cheap price in comparison to the overpriced tiered data plans that are now plaguing cellular PROVIDERS everywhere."

      HA! Poor network providers everywhere! :'(...... I think you meant plaguing poor customers forced into these over priced plans. CUSTOMERS. forget the greedy b*satard providers.
    1. CONVBMW's Avatar
      CONVBMW -
      PIGS !!!!!! Had the T-Mo merger gone thru, I had plans to jump ship. This is exactly one of the reasons why.
    1. j1mmy247's Avatar
      j1mmy247 -
      Quote Originally Posted by brodimus View Post
      And here come all the ignorant comments. You guys just don't understand what it's like to have to get gold faucets for your yacht instead of platinum ones. Until you've all had to settle for the Bentley instead of the Lamborghini you really wanted, you'll never feel his pain.
      Are you own a yach or a Lamborghini ?
    1. Golfinglenn's Avatar
      Golfinglenn -
      If Verizon was smart they would bring back the unlimited data plan and AT&T users would jump ship quick.
    1. MaStA819's Avatar
      MaStA819 -
      As if they all aren't greedy...you all aren't that ignorant are you?
    1. prestone683's Avatar
      prestone683 -
      Well. Two words. **** AT&T.

      I guess I remember why I left and went to a company that actually offers service in my area. Oh right, if only I wasn't a blood sucking leech on their network, they'd offer services here. It'd still be 3G, but call it 4G.

      About 2 years ago I was listening to a podcast, (just before unlimited was hitting and becoming big for messaging and calls) and the guy (Leo Laporte) was talking about the math involved in what a representative cell phone company makes or rather sells text messaging 'rates' for. I understand it's not truly data, and so didn't he but if you actually figured it out. (message total length of 160 characters, plus frame headers) its RIDICULOUS if you map out what they sell that data for...

      It was like $1150 per gigabyte.

      I forget the exact math... But he did it on the show...
    1. mr117's Avatar
      mr117 -
      Sounds like buyer's remorse to me. He wanted the iPhone business (Verizon turned it down) and that's what it took to get it. I have the unlimited data plan, never dl all that much on 3G (but can if I need to), because I mostly dl on wifi, and I like iMessage as now I don't go over (my wife has the unlimited plan on her non-iPhone) my limited plan because literally everyone else I text with has an iPhone. Too bad he can't make more money on texts, but that's the way the business model crumbles. I actually don't have a problem with AT&T service, but this really wasn't smart of him to say publicly.
    1. demonknight9's Avatar
      demonknight9 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Beastly L92 View Post
      And this is just one of the many reasons why AT&T will be permanently and emphatically shown the door once the iPhone 5 launches. Network, customer service, false advertisement and disrespect.
      I just cannot understand how they can charge $30 for unlimited internet to people that sign up for a 2 year contract? I live in the UK and the 3 Network is offering truly unlimited internet for £5 which is about $8?? Very good coverage and no limits. This is on pay as you go!!!

      If you go on a contract you can have 500 anytime any network minutes, 3000 texts and unlimited internet with tethering included for £25!

      Compared to AT&T its laughable
    1. docmagoo2's Avatar
      docmagoo2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by demonknight9 View Post
      I just cannot understand how they can charge $30 for unlimited internet to people that sign up for a 2 year contract? I live in the UK and the 3 Network is offering truly unlimited internet for £5 which is about $8?? Very good coverage and no limits. This is on pay as you go!!!

      If you go on a contract you can have 500 anytime any network minutes, 3000 texts and unlimited internet with tethering included for £25!

      Compared to AT&T its laughable



      Carlos R you're correct. I have O2 uk and am grandfathered into unlimited data (when it was offered as a FREE bolt on) and will continue to use this. Only thing is I can't change tariff without losing it and the most the new tariffs come with is 1GB for £10. Rip off I say, yet still cheaper than the US. I was speaking with some cretin on customer services (I swear they must scour the country for the stupidest people and specify extra stupidity as a person spec) who told me 1GB is all I can have on a new tariff, and Once I use this I need to ring O2 to add more! (he was talking poop) anyway thanks for all the data O2! I'll stick with free unlimited
    1. ragecody's Avatar
      ragecody -
      Quote Originally Posted by beastly l92 View Post
      and this is just one of the many reasons why at&t will be permanently and emphatically shown the door once the iphone 5 launches. Network, customer service, false advertisement and disrespect.
      word
    1. Ezcaflowne's Avatar
      Ezcaflowne -
      Hmmm... If they want to make extra money all they have to do is charge an insane amount for minutes rather than charging more for data. Most people use text messaging now days as their way of communication anyways. Those minutes would be gold to att. So it would only make sense to charge more for minutes than data. Even a lower amount of minutes for a higher price
    1. Meh's Avatar
      Meh -
      Quote Originally Posted by demonknight9 View Post
      I just cannot understand how they can charge $30 for unlimited internet to people that sign up for a 2 year contract? I live in the UK and the 3 Network is offering truly unlimited internet for £5 which is about $8?? Very good coverage and no limits. This is on pay as you go!!!

      If you go on a contract you can have 500 anytime any network minutes, 3000 texts and unlimited internet with tethering included for £25!

      Compared to AT&T its laughable



      You think THAT's bad? Try being here in Canada with Rogers on a 3 year contract.

      Here's the breakdown of my

      Unlimited Plan w/6pm Clock* 30.00
      iPhone Value Pack + Vvmail* 15.00
      6GB Data Service Plan 30.00
      Tethering Access 0.00
      Gov't Regulatory Recovery Fee 2.35
      6pm Early Evening Calling 0.00
      Call Forwarding/Call Transfer 3.00
      Savings: Call Forwarding/ Call Transfer -3.00

      Total before taxes: $80.25
      HST (862395381 RT0001) 10.44

      Total for Wireless: $87.59

      What a ******* rip off. Coincidentally, I work at a bank and once had one of the Rogers' call in. Good lord did I have a list of **** I wanted to say to her but couldn't! Oh and just to let you know, if I go over my data usage, I get charged 5 cents per KILOBYTE. WTF. There's 1024 kilobytes in 1 megabyte. It'd cost me $51.20 to use 1MB over my limit. It's why I had to cancel Netflix, which I was using primarily for on the go movies. Their app is an absolute piece of crap because it doesn't even track your data usage in real time. It says it's delayed by about 4 hrs and I once waited to see my data usage at the time to time my Netflix watching. 1 movie later and I get a text from them saying I've used up 75% of my data and one that says I've used 100% of my data at the same time. Thanks guys, real helpful. -_- I'm going to skip the next iPhone even though I'm sure it'll be awesome and I'm due for a hardware upgrade because I just can't deal with this BS anymore.