AT&T CEO regrets unlimited iPhone data, fears iMessage | iLounge News


AT&T CEO regrets unlimited iPhone data, fears iMessage

Speaking in a recent on-stage interview at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made several comments about the iPhone. According to The New York Times, he was particularly hard on the company’s decision to introduce the iPhone with unlimited data. “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. “And it’s a variable cost model. Every additional megabyte you use in this network, I have to invest capital.”

Stephenson also said we worries about potentially disruptive new technologies replacing the company’s own offerings, singling out iMessage as one example. “You lie awake at night worrying about what is that which will disrupt your business model,” he said. “Apple iMessage is a classic example. If you’re using iMessage, you’re not using one of our messaging services, right? That’s disruptive to our messaging revenue stream.”

Finally, Stephenson briefly mentioned the board meeting in which the company discussed whether to carry the iPhone. At the time, the company was named Cingular, and was headed by Stan Sigman; Stephenson was on the company’s board. Sigman was enthusiastic about the product’s potential, even though he had yet to actually see the device. “I remember asking the question: Are we investing in a business model, are we investing in a product or are we investing in Steve Jobs?” Stephenson said. “The answer to the question was, you’re investing in Steve Jobs. Let’s go after this thing. And we went after it, and the rest is history.”

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cap irstlie

Posted by cxc273 on May 8, 2012 at 10:50 AM (CDT)


We are using iMessage and not your text messaging plans because you want to charge $20.00 a month.  No other option.  Bring back the $5.00 a month plan and ill sign back up.

Posted by beaky1211 on May 8, 2012 at 11:29 AM (CDT)


A clever law firm will use this as additional evidence that AT&T intentionally and knowingly cancels and changes accounts without being requested to do so, and upon reinstatement no longer provides the unlimited data plan to the same customer. This has happened to me and several relatives.  It took hours on the phone and much complaining to get AT&T to restore the unlimited data plan that they alone removed from one of our phones.


Posted by Scott L. on May 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM (CDT)


Oh poor AT&T… Users are rebelling against the stupidly high cost of their messaging plans by using newer, cheaper, and more capable technology.

Boo hoo.

If they didn’t charge ridiculous amounts of money for text messaging plans (a service which everyone now knows costs almost nothing to deliver) and offered more options than “unlimited or nothing” then maybe users might not have abandoned their text messaging plans in favor of iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc.

That said, I’m sure that AT&T and Verizon are working feverishly to find a way to block you from using these alternatives over their data network, or even better, a way to charge you and the company that operates these apps for access.Remember: Bits aren’t just bits - wireless carriers can block any traffic they don’t like.

Also, if there were ever an indicator that AT&T will soon put an end to those existing unlimited plans soon, this is it.

Posted by rpboyer on May 8, 2012 at 2:55 PM (CDT)


Why is it that the majority of people in charge seem to have all the adaptability of late era dinosaurs?

It is as clear as day that within a decade there will only be data transfer and cloud storage plans, that wireless communication will be just like our wired. The only way that won’t come to pass is if poisonous relics like this guy manage to use their cartel power and undue gov’t influence to prevent the demand from the customer base from shaping the supply.

Posted by Code Monkey on May 8, 2012 at 4:25 PM (CDT)


The text messaging all comes down to data and math.

Let’s do some…!!!

It takes about 6000 160 character text messages to consume ~1mb of data. If we use the $14.99 for 250mb data plan it costs $0.06/mb. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say the overhead to transmit the 6000 messages is 1mb of data. That’s 2mb or $0.12 in data usage.

Now let’s look at the messaging plan. We’re paying $20.00/month for a few mbs of of data transmitted. That is completely ridiculous.

Wireless companies need to get off their butts and find new products and services that are worth paying for. Apple did it with their first attempt. Love em or hate em there’s something to be said for what they’ve accomplished. AT&T would be going the way of the Dodo much like RIM if had they not gone with the iPhone. Let’s not forget they were flagging badly prior to iPhone era.

Just my worthless $0.02

Posted by The Dude on May 8, 2012 at 10:54 PM (CDT)


This clown stated “Every additional megabyte you use in this network, I have to invest capital.”  Mr.Stevenson…Your 2011 1st Qtr profits INCREASED 39% for a net income of 3.4 BILLION Dollars up from 2.5 Billion the previous year!!! You activated 3.6 million iPhones during the same period, a MILLION more then the time a year prior. AND YOU ARE WHINING about how you have to INVEST capital for the few remaining customers that still maintain unlimited plan???  You are WHINING about how you do not like the current Smartphone industry that is MAKING YOUR PROFITS???  You sir, need to pull your head out of the sand, look at the current world economy status and quit trying to pad your pockets more then you are now over your own insecurities!!!

Posted by Gary T Britton on May 14, 2012 at 10:44 AM (CDT)

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