AT&T to limit iPhone bandwidth of heavy users

Wiss

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 5, 2009
6
0
Earth
Read an AP article that AT&T will limit iPhone data usage.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iO1Mbl089JyTchsnJotLL9TR9e7AD9CFSBT00

AT&T: Tighter control of cell data usage ahead
By PETER SVENSSON (AP) – 31 minutes ago
NEW YORK — Wireless data hogs who jam the airwaves by watching video on their iPhones will be put on tighter leashes, an AT&T Inc. executive said Wednesday.
The carrier has had trouble keeping up with wireless data usage, leading to dropped connections and long waits for users trying to run programs on their devices. AT&T is upgrading its network to cope, but its head of consumer services, Ralph de la Vega, told investors at a UBS conference in New York that it will also give high-bandwidth users incentives to "reduce or modify their usage."
De la Vega didn't say exactly how or when the carrier would change its policies, but he said some form of usage-based pricing for data is inevitable.
Right now, the carrier has a monthly usage cap of 5 gigabytes on its data plans, the same as other carriers. That's an ample allowance for most people, and gives them little reason to curtail their usage. AT&T also doesn't make it easy for subscribers to know how much data they're consuming.
"We need to educate the customer ... We've got to get them to understand what represents a megabyte of data," de la Vega said. "We're improving all our systems to let consumers get real-time information on their data usage."
Just 3 percent of "smart" phone users are consuming 40 percent of the network capacity, de la Vega said, adding that the most high-bandwidth activity is video and audio streaming. Several applications on the iPhone provide nonstop Internet radio.
De la Vega also defended the network's performance, saying testing showed that AT&T's third-generation, or 3G, network was faster than that of competitors, and that major problems are concentrated in New York and San Francisco, which are packed with smart phone users.
AT&T is locked in a TV ad war with Verizon Wireless, which is touting its wider 3G network coverage. The two recently agreed to drop two lawsuits about their dueling claims.
 

carlgo

macrumors 68000
Dec 29, 2006
1,804
17
Monterey CA
Great news from the Secret Lair! Simply don't use the features they promote!

So, will I be able to make a phone call soon? Just a phone call would be super.
 

AndyCodez

macrumors regular
Aug 6, 2009
187
0
AT&T are a bunch of idiots. I got this phone so I can do what ever I want with it. Don't advertise things and then take these features away . I liked being able to download full cd's from itunes on the 3g network until they started limiting the size of downloads with apps and music from itunes/app store.

If another company will allow me to use my iPhone I would switch if they were more competitive and allowed me to do these things. I pay enough monthly for my fiance and my iPhone.

Quit sucking AT&T.
 

zap2

macrumors 604
Mar 8, 2005
7,242
1
Washington D.C
This is a very misleading title...they didn't say limit, but ""reduce or modify their usage."

We don't really know what that mean, but its a shame that this article started out so poorly
 

Wiss

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 5, 2009
6
0
Earth
Not so fast... There is already a cap...

This is a very misleading title...they didn't say limit, but ""reduce or modify their usage."

We don't really know what that mean, but its a shame that this article started out so poorly
Actually they already have a 5 meg cap. They state it in the article... But so do most of the other carriers (5 meg limit).

I bet that will drop lower...
 

BanjoBanker

macrumors 6502
Aug 10, 2006
354
0
Mt Brook, AL
My brother had an "unlimited" data plan with Verizon for his laptop a couple of years ago and they cut him off. One day he was out on a call and stopped to look up the customer's data on his laptop and it would not connect. Luckily he was near a hot spot. However, when he called Verizon tech support they told him he needed to speak with customer service? The CS people told him his account had been canceled for excessive usage! They had no response to his query about how he could have excessive usage on an unlimited plan. To add insult to injury, they tried to ding for an early termination fee! Face to face time with the local Verizon rep took care of that, but the whole incident has left him very upset with Verizon. I suspect there will be bandwidth useage pricing on mobile devices within the next year or so. And the a** ****s at Verizon will lead the way with some incomprehensiable plan with outrageous pricing..
 

zap2

macrumors 604
Mar 8, 2005
7,242
1
Washington D.C
Actually they already have a 5 meg cap. They state it in the article... But so do most of the other carriers (5 meg limit).
Thats true, and while in principle it bothers me, it practice, it doesn't effect me.

Hopefully AT&T comes up with a reasonable solution..one that involve, improving their network a lot!
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
This is a very misleading title...they didn't say limit, but ""reduce or modify their usage."
De la Vega said they 'will introduce "incentives" to encourage customers to cut back on their data usage.'

Sounds like the Godfather making an offer you can't refuse.

So will the "incentives" be positive, with lesser data prices if you use less data?

Or will the "incentives" be negative, with massive bills if you use too much?
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,641
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Or will the "incentives" be negative, with massive bills if you use too much?
Do you really have to ask? :p

I think that perhaps the government should investigate any moves like this in relation to advertising. It is a valid point to me, that if users are clogging up AT&T (or anyone else's) network using services that AT&T has advertised as benefits of patronage, then at minimum the user has a reasonable right to expect these services and arguably the failure to mention the adverse impact, given that it is actually present, constitutes falsehood in advertising.

It's irresponsible for these service providers to go on constantly about letting their users watch live TV and use Loopt and tweet and do this and that from their phones if they cannot deliver reliable service.

It's irresponsible for these companies likewise to offer air-cards for notebook computers, which almost invariably entails high bandwidth usage, and from a more fixed location than a cell phone (which is less favorable to the network).

If the issue is with jailbreaked phones and other hacks, then fine, I have no issue with charging overage fees and fines to people who violate the terms of their agreement if it can be shown they make the network unusable for others by doing what they've been expressly asked not to do.

But I remain skeptical. How many notebook data cards are out there for every jailbreaked iPhone running netshare or video streaming? I'm thinking the ratio favors the data cards.
 

Surely

Guest
Oct 27, 2007
15,043
8
Los Angeles, CA
"AT&T will probably introduce a pricing system that penalizes heavy data users."

From this LA Times article/blog:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2009/12/att-says-it-hopes-to-start-charging-smartphone-customers-for-heavy-data-usage.html

An excerpt:

In a presentation to investors today, AT&T's head of consumer services, Ralph de la Vega, acknowledged that just 3% of iPhone users accounted for a massive 40% of the data traffic on AT&T's mobile network. By using data-intense applications such as streaming audio and video services, a small number of iPhone users have been putting a huge burden on the company's network, causing lackluster performance in major markets including New York City and San Francisco.

But those data hogs may soon see their phone bills fattening, too, de la Vega said.

AT&T will probably introduce a pricing system that penalizes heavy data users, he said, to encourage them "to either reduce or modify their usage so they don't crowd out the other customers in those same cell sites."

"We've got to get to those customers and have them recognize that they need to change their patterns or have to face other things," De la Vega told a group of investors at UBS.

De la Vega did not offer specifics on the data pricing.
I wonder what they will consider a heavy data user?
 

Rayfire

macrumors 68030
Aug 25, 2008
2,559
127
PNW
Wow, I guess there really will be no such this as unlimited data for $30 if they're gonna implement that new pricing system. They should have a pricing system then for those light data users if so.
 

Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,286
14
It's the <1% of users that use 40% of the bandwidth.

I rather they getting kicked off or paying more.

On Verizon you would just get cut off if you abuse their network.
 

aphexacid

macrumors 6502a
Jul 31, 2007
915
18
Chicago
If they're abusing, i'd like to see exactly how much data they're eating up every month. on average, i use about 1GB a month. I doubt i'm considered a hog.

i bet these guys sit and tether all day, like i hear about some of the guys on macrumors and hofo. if thats the case, then yes, boot them. get a REAL internet connection you cheap bastards.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,851
30,366
Boston
Personally depending how this fleshes out, would be enough for me to dump the iPhone. I'm not a heavy user by any stretch of the imagination but if my bill goes up because of this (I suppose after my contract), I'd jump ship to verizon on a droid phone.

I'm not sure why att is moving to this when competition is heating up and they've not been the best at keeping customers happy, i.e., 3g coverage, dropped calls, mms, tethering, etc. Why give them more reasons to leave. I wonder how apple feels about this, and if this would factor into their decision not to renew the exclusive contract with att.
 

djellison

macrumors 68020
Feb 2, 2007
2,228
4
Pasadena CA
Simple - if you're not actually going to be honest and allowed 'unlimited' to be 'unlimited' then set a fixed limit so everyone is aware of what they're paying for and what they can get.

Orange in the UK set it at 750 meg. Dishonestly, they claim this to be 'unlimited' which is a lie - but at least we know what the number is.