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AT&T to tighten data usage controls

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By Jesse Hollington

Social Media & Software Editor, iLounge
Published: Wednesday, December 9, 2009
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AT&T indicated today that they plan to place tighter leashes on iPhone users who use excessive amounts of data for services such as streaming video. AT&T has had problems keeping up with increased wireless data usage since the release of the iPhone, leading to dropped calls and slower data connections. President and CEO of Mobility and Consumer Markets Ralph de la Vega indicated to investors that although AT&T is upgrading its network to cope with the increased data usage, the carrier also plans to give high-bandwidth users incentives to “reduce or modify their usage.” De la Vega did not provide any specific information on how or when the carrier would change its policies, but he did indicate that some form of usage-based pricing for data is inevitable.

Mr. de la Vega defended AT&T’s network performance, indicating that its 3G network is faster than its competitors overall, but that its major problems are concentrated in areas with higher densities of smartphone users such as New York and San Francisco, however he conceded that the current usage caps and lack of accessible usage information gives users little reason to limit their data usage and that AT&T needs to educate its customers to better understand data consumption and improve its systems to provide real-time access to data usage information. He also indicated that at this point it is approximately 3 percent of smartphone users who are consuming 40 percent of AT&T’s network capacity, with the most high-bandwidth activity being video and audio streaming to devices such as the iPhone.

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Comments

1

Of course, they keep running ads saying how great their network is, and showing the iPhone actually streaming video.  But now they’re saying, well, you shouldn’t actually be, you know, streaming video…

Posted by dave on December 9, 2009 at 10:39 AM (PDT)

2

What I am hearing is AT&T is whining and trying to give excuses why there is poor service.  AT&T wants to boast that they have the iPhone and it has all these abilities, but in return they don’t want you to use any of those that function if connected to AT&T’s network.  Other words; only time to use all the functions is in the Wi-Fi mode.

Posted by Jeffrey on December 9, 2009 at 11:11 AM (PDT)

3

Cry me a river AT&T, you don’t give me any credit for all the dropped calls but yet you say, oh please don’t use all the functions on your iphone, it slows down our great network. Maybe you should upgrade your network since I have to pay more anyway to get to use my iPhone.

Posted by Eric on December 9, 2009 at 11:49 AM (PDT)

4

This seems like a complete CYA move by AT&T for after they lose the iPhone. Limiting the bandwidth for iPhones opens up the network for the smart phones that will still be with AT&T, and will leave the reamining customers happy, and (AT&T hopes) the stockholders happy. Meanwhile, Verizon and iPhone will take over the world.

Posted by Dave on December 9, 2009 at 12:20 PM (PDT)

5

I think that AT&T should let users turn off the data plan on thier iPhones. I would keep mine of course, but maybe that will ease some of the stress on their network and they can unlock the tethering option for my phone.  If you charge me $40 a month for a data plan, then I should be able to use it for anything I want.  I have Uverse at home and pay $45 for internet there… so thats like paying $85.00 a month for universal internet access… A RIP OFF.

Posted by David Mowry on December 9, 2009 at 12:56 PM (PDT)

6

AT&T forces every iPhone user on their network to have a data plan. And now they are complaining that users are using the data plan. Unbelieveable! Like another post mentioned, AT&T should allow users to have an iPhone without a data plan. If they did, I would have two more iPhones on my family plan for my kids. They need a phone and would love to buy apps from the app store, but they don’t need data right now.

Posted by Jerry on December 9, 2009 at 1:55 PM (PDT)

7

I am so tired of this abusive, one-way relationship I’m forced into having with AT&T just because I have an iPhone. If Verizon doesn’t save the day by the time my contract is up, where else can I take my phone?

Posted by NB on December 9, 2009 at 6:43 PM (PDT)

8

I’m so sick of their excuses. The iPhone has been a data hog since day-one and only a fool would have expected otherwise.

Here’s the thing that makes no sense. If they knew the network couldn’t support the iPhone 2G, why on earth did they subsidize future models, thereby flooding the already overloaded network? And why do they continue to mandate a data plan for the iPhone?

Apparently they’re not interested in fixing the problems with the network.

Posted by Paul on December 9, 2009 at 9:08 PM (PDT)

9

are they crazy? how can they turn around and bite the hand that feed them? If they do, then I will be the first one to cancel my AT&T contract for good.

My co-worker has an iPhone and AT&T called her and told her that her account is under watch because she uses a large amount of data every month. She explained that she lives in alabama and she has no bars where her house is. AT&T then said that they believe she has an jail-broken iPhone (which she does not have) ... since she don’t have any bars the roaming somehow goes over t-mobile.

Now, I can’t believe that AT&T has the nerve to accuse her and put her account under watch!

I love my iPhone but if they push stupidness around then I cancel the AT&T contract and jail break mine.  SORRY

Posted by dennis on December 9, 2009 at 9:42 PM (PDT)

10

I have an iTouch, which, with the exception of the missing camera, is essentially an iPhone without the two-year sentence to AT&T prison.  It seems AT&T wants more of their customers to follow my lead—guidance which I encourage them to accept.  I bet quite a few would be happy to abandon their unlimited data contract today if AT&T waived the ETF penalty.

Posted by Jeff on December 10, 2009 at 2:25 AM (PDT)

11

Unbelievable. What morons (AT&T), idiots, I agree with the statement “bite the hand that feeds you”. Come on Apple, come on Steve, step in slap the hell out of these morons and let us enjoy this great device. I love the iPhone, Hate AT&T

Posted by Greg on December 10, 2009 at 5:12 AM (PDT)

12

“I bet quite a few would be happy to abandon their unlimited data contract today if AT&T waived the ETF penalty.”

Wouldn’t such an alteration of their policy be considered an “adverse material change” and thus create a window of opportunity, per contract, for people to leave AT&T Wireless without any ETF penalty?

Posted by Charles Farley on December 10, 2009 at 5:46 AM (PDT)

13

All I know is AT&T kicking people off their data plane, that have an iphone on the reservation, i live on, crappy deal, funny when i call 911 i get a drop call or they can’t hear me. guess i’ll go with verizon.

Posted by Zane on December 10, 2009 at 7:15 AM (PDT)

14

911? .. guess what! I called several times around midnight from a so called 3G area and I had not even a ring tone!!! ...

Posted by dennis on December 10, 2009 at 11:15 AM (PDT)

15

Can you say, “Class Action”... just try and penalize me for using my phone in the way it was intended and advertised to be used. I would also question if this would provide a change in terms of service that would allow for a way out of your two year contract. If so, Android, here I come….

Posted by AmberView in Gig Harbor, Wa. on December 10, 2009 at 11:20 AM (PDT)

16

11 months after moving to a rural area and getting no complaints from AT$T about my usage, my family bought a second iPhone.  4 months later, with still not a peep from AT$T, bought a third iPhone.  3 months later, AT$T starts telling me my family’s iPhones are using another carrier’s data access and WE are costing AT$T $1,200 per month per month.  I live in an area that AT$T must, perforce of law, complete acquiring—but they’ve been allowed to delay a year.  I should be native on AT$T network right now, but, alas, due to the costs to AT$T of acquiring 3 million rural customers in 19 states, they can’t provision for nearly another year.

I complained to Apple—Time to drop the exclusivity with a carrier who cannot provide Apple’s customers with an Apple-like experience.  Open up, Apple—let me legitimately choose Verizon!!!

Posted by KK in NM on December 10, 2009 at 1:09 PM (PDT)

17

AT&Ts; service is so erratic, I can no longer count on it for important calls.  Now they threaten data usage…I will not be renewing my contract when it comes up.  If the iPhone is not available on Verizon, I will move to an Andriod based phone.  I really love the iPhone, but can not be held hostage to a completely inferior network just for the phone.

Posted by Earldom in Los Angeles, CA on December 10, 2009 at 8:31 PM (PDT)

18

LOL!!!!! AT&T is a joke! They’ve been upgrading their network since they took over Cingular!!!! AT&T step up to the plate or else verizon will get the iPhone and good bye AT&T cell network (hopefully this happens)

Posted by Gino on December 11, 2009 at 3:39 AM (PDT)

19

What isn’t clear to me is whether data usage over wi-fi will be counted as “usage” by AT&T. I rarely watch video over the 3G/Edge network, but I do through my home wi-fi network. That shouldn’t affect their 3G network, so will they charge me for that usage anyway? If so, I’ll be ready to jump ship to Verizon when the AT&T iPhone monopoly gets busted.

Posted by Deanna on December 11, 2009 at 12:43 PM (PDT)

20

hmmmmmmm…was thinking of swithing from Verizon recently for an iPhone on AT&T.  Now that I read this, NO WAY JOSE’!

Here’s over 100,000 apps that you can use, but wait,,you’ll have to pay for them, and then again to use them!

WTF?

Posted by Peterphan on December 11, 2009 at 2:34 PM (PDT)

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