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AT&T warns of coming clamp-down on iPhone data hogs

post #1 of 213
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Users who consume more than their fair share of bandwidth on AT&T's wireless network could have a higher monthly bill in the future, one company executive said Wednesday.

Speaking to investors at a UBS conference in New York, Ralph de la Vega, head of consumer services for AT&T, said that the nation's second-largest wireless provider has been working to improve its network as bandwidth-hungry devices like the iPhone 3GS have resulted in poorer quality service. But he also said, according to The Associated Press, that it is inevitable that high-bandwidth users will be charged for what they use.

The report noted that 40 percent of the network capacity for AT&T is used by just 3 percent of smartphone users. Most of the bandwidth goes to activities like streaming audio and video, available through various applications for download on the iPhone.

De la Vega also revealed that the company intends to improve its network coverage in major metropolitan areas like New York and San Francisco, where there is a higher concentration of smartphone users.

Earlier this year, the iPhone was referred to as the "Hummer of cellphones" as AT&T's network struggled with dropped calls and slow data following the launch of the iPhone 3GS. A report said that the average iPhone user consumes 10 times the bandwidth of a typical smartphone user.

AT&T is spending $18 billion this year, part of it to upgrade and expand its 3G network. But at the moment, it does not have a data cap for iPhone users.

De la Vega reportedly said that AT&T will give bandwidth-hogging users incentives to "reduce or modify their usage." He said the company also, in the future, hopes to make it easier for subscribers to determine how much data they use each month.

"We've got to get them to understand what represents a megabyte of data," he said. "We're improving all our systems to let consumers get real-time information on their data usage."

Competitor Verizon, America's largest wireless provider, has recently taken aim at AT&T's 3G network coverage. AT&T has fired back and insists that its 3G network is faster than its competitors' networks.

Multimedia messaging functionality failed to meet its deadline for iPhone users this past summer after AT&T was concerned its introduction could have further impact on its network performance. The wireless provider has also held off on allowing data tethering, stating that more work needs to be done on its 3G network to support the additional bandwidth.
post #2 of 213
Hopefully this is a wake up call for Jobs that AT&T doesn't consider themselves to be up to the task of being the sole wireless provider for the iPhone.

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post #3 of 213
It's certainly what pushed me from Comcast to Clear at home!
post #4 of 213
I agree with above....any data cap on the iphone will result in me for one leaving the network...then again...they can't 'force' u to change ur current unlimited plan to one that caps data....they can only grandfather the plan...
post #5 of 213
Tiered data pricing NOW! Tiered data pricing NOW! The $30 unlimited data plan is what is keeping me from getting an iPhone...Let ME be in control of how much bandwith I use and give me a fair price to reflect that...
post #6 of 213
....unlimited not mean unlimited? Don't offer an unlimited plan and then cry when people use as much as they can. Fix your network AT&T, don't blame your customers for your own problem. We pay you a premium for our phone service and data use, you should give us a premium service, PERIOD.
post #7 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by williado21 View Post

Tiered data pricing NOW! Tiered data pricing NOW! The $30 unlimited data plan is what is keeping me from getting an iPhone...Let ME be in control of how much bandwith I use and give me a fair price to reflect that...

The pricing tiers would probably start at $30....
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post #8 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Users who consume more than their fair share of bandwidth on AT&T's wireless network could have a higher monthly bill in the future, one company executive said Wednesday.

De la Vega reportedly said that AT&T will give bandwidth-hogging users incentives to "reduce or modify their usage." He said the company also, in the future, hopes to make it easier for subscribers to determine how much data they use each month.

Are you f--king kidding me?

Don't advertise what YOU CAN'T DELIVER, AT&T. This why you suck, and this is why you will lose 40% or more of your iPhone users the minute they can jump ship to another carrier.

OMFG.

"Yes, you can even download this and that, and do things with internets! Just don't do TOO much cool stuff with internets, or we'll lock you down. Everybody only gets a little fun."

You AT&T morons should have built and should be building a network capable of delivering the content and bandwidth of the 3% to the other 97%, you tools. Sucking down $30 a month just for my f--king bandwidth? Really? REALLY?

I pay less than that for home internet and can download all f--king day and night, with no restrictions.

I hate AT&T with every fiber of my being now. This is my back-breaking straw right here.
post #9 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

Hopefully this is a wake up call for Jobs that AT&T doesn't consider themselves to be up to the task of being the sole wireless provider for the iPhone.

Gimme a break. It's a wakeup call to the data hogs. They should be paying extra for extra heavy usage.

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post #10 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielSW View Post

Gimme a break. It's a wakeup call to the data hogs. They should be paying extra for extra heavy usage.

You shouldn't have to pay extra for using more of an UNLIMITED service. Period. This is wrong and abusive to consumers.
post #11 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bretbenz View Post

....unlimited not mean unlimited? Don't offer an unlimited plan and then cry when people use as much as they can. Fix your network AT&T, don't blame your customers for your own problem. We pay you a premium for our phone service and data use, you should give us a premium service, PERIOD.

Well the iPhone is a data hog, but on other networks like Verizon their data plan is a 5GB cap before they start to investigate you and throttle your speeds.

AT&T should just have different levels of data for the iPhone.

$15 - 2.5 GB

$30 - 5GB

$50 - True Unlimited

(emails not included in data usage)

I think that is fair, if you want all you can eat data then you can pay the full price premium.
post #12 of 213
This is really terrible.

If they actually do this I hope (and believe) that people will make this into a huge PR disaster for AT&T.

They are obviously the worst network, bar none.

Instead of blaming their users they should be fixing their piece of sh1t network
post #13 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by echosonic View Post

Are you f--king kidding me?

Don't advertise what YOU CAN'T DELIVER, AT&T. This why you suck, and this is why you will lose 40% or more of your iPhone users the minute they can jump ship to another carrier.

OMFG.

"Yes, you can even download this and that, and do things with internets! Just don't do TOO much cool stuff with internets, or we'll lock you down. Everybody only gets a little fun."

You AT&T morons should have built and should be building a network capable of delivering the content and bandwidth of the 3% to the other 97%, you tools. Sucking down $30 a month just for my f--king bandwidth? Really? REALLY?

I pay less than that for home internet and can download all f--king day and night, with no restrictions.

I hate AT&T with every fiber of my being now. This is my back-breaking straw right here.

Wirelessly?

And no restrictions?

Seems like most providers are now beginning to limit monthly home internet usage if not already. Mine went from 0 to 66 GB when it was bought out by a major firm. Couldn't really complain. Everybody else had lower baseline caps.

Experience has shown that when a second choice becomes available, it is even more restrictive, offers less options or is invariably more expensive.

Somehow, there doesn't seem to be an understanding that when AT&T priced out their initial data plan, it didn't have any guidelines as to just how much they were giving away. Naturally, most would understand that the limitations on the original iPhone did not or could not give anybody insight into the amount of data usage that would be forthcoming by upgrading its functionality.

Only those countries that had access to AT&T's absolute data usage in year one had the foresight to limit their data plans on launch and consequently were capable of charging accordingly for any extras.

It should be remembered that one of the conditions that Jobs insisted on for exclusivity was that the network be improved upon and the price of the existing data plans be significantly reduced. Well, no body else came to the table. And if it weren't for AT&T, not only would the iPhone not succeed or advance as it has, but a lot of the rest of the world would be charging more.

AT&T has reported that they have spent $18 billion upgrading their network. Obviously, a condition that is easily verified being a public company.

And has promised more. Yet when they provide a means for users to help identify problem spots, we get a backlash and a call not to participate. Just how can that help improve the system?

And sure, screaming out that you will move the minute another carrier becomes available is like the little kid who doesn't like having to let certain kids play, is going to take his bat and ball and go to Greenland.
post #14 of 213
Here's My Take:

There should be Tiered Pricing. Start off data plans at 10 bucks a month (you know, something reasonable) and the top should be unlimited at 80 bucks a month. Instead of download amounts per month, perhaps it would work better if each device had their speed capped? the 10 bucks a month would be 80kbps, the unlimited would be as fast as the network could handle, and then varying speeds in between at different price points. If bandwidth is the issue, then cap that!

As for how it is structured now, ATT should revise their contracts (and hey, if they REALLY wanted to be nice, allow people to opt out of the new contract by breaking it with no fee) to state a certain download limit a month and remove any sort of "unlimited" verbiage. I think Verizon did that with their non-smartphone data plan. Unlimited to them means 5gb of data a month on the non-smartphone plan if I recall correctly. (They need to remove the unlimited verbiage too)

Regardless though, ATT DESPERATELY needs to increase their network capacity!

None of this (as much as I'd like it to be) is Apple's fault aside from picking ATT.
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post #15 of 213
Why should anyone pay more for heavy use? It doesn't cost AT&T any more money to service someone who downloads 20GB of data in a month than someone who only downloads 1GB. The highway still has to be there no matter the amount of usage by a few people. Charging more for usage is just gouging and make the majority fear using their device.
post #16 of 213
deleted, I made a stupid comment.
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post #17 of 213
See here: Apple iPhone eats up 50% share of all mobile data traffic globally [55% in the U.S., Q3 2009]

Verizon has yet to deal with this kind of massive load on their 3G network. As Droid takes off, they will start to feel it, and start having the same kinds of problems AT&T is coping with now.

You're dreaming if you think Verizon is going to react any differently -- indeed, if ifail is right (see above, #11), then Verizon already has caps. This is inevitable. But unlimited means unlimited -- I don't see how AT&T can suddenly change the terms of one's contract. So enjoy it while it lasts, kids, and be sure to thank Steve for the incredible deal you got on data for those first two-to-four years.
post #18 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by yensid98 View Post

Why should anyone pay more for heavy use? It doesn't cost AT&T any more money to service someone who downloads 20GB of data in a month than someone who only downloads 1GB. The highway still has to be there no matter the amount of usage by a few people. Charging more for usage is just gouging and make the majority fear using their device.

Yes, but if they can scare people into using their devices less, that means they won't need as many "lanes" for the metaphorical highway. Less usage means less money needing to be spent on infrastructure, and AT&T has proven time and time again that they are unwilling, unable, or too incompetent to improve their network at all.
post #19 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by yensid98 View Post

Why should anyone pay more for heavy use? It doesn't cost AT&T any more money to service someone who downloads 20GB of data in a month than someone who only downloads 1GB. The highway still has to be there no matter the amount of usage by a few people. Charging more for usage is just gouging and make the majority fear using their device.

Are you high right now? People who soak up a ton of bandwith limit whats available to other users. This is why some cable companies try to throttle P2P connections cause they eat up a ton of bandwith with users constantly downloading stuff. The space is there but when your eating the majority of the pie and keeping other users from having acceptable service who pay the same price for the same service, there needs to be a medium to curb this habit
post #20 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bretbenz View Post

You shouldn't have to pay extra for using more of an UNLIMITED service. Period. This is wrong and abusive to consumers.

You pay for what you get. That's natural law. The only thing abusive here is yours and others' childish whining.

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post #21 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielSW View Post

Gimme a break. It's a wakeup call to the data hogs. They should be paying extra for extra heavy usage.


But that is not the deal. The deal is $30/unlimited data.

If ATT cannot deliver on the deal they made, they should allow the non-breaching party (me) to terminate the contract.

That is Contract Law 101. I'm not suggesting anything other than the way things have been since the earliest days of British Common Law.
post #22 of 213
I love the heated reactions to this. If they're targeting some members of that very small audience40% of bandwidth being used by 3% of smart phone usersthey're targeting some extremely heavy users. I imagine this would include people who use gobs of data through unofficial tethering and other various heavy-duty activities. If they're only targeting people who use a truly inordinate amount of data that's fine; if they're targeting people who simply like to use Pandora daily, that's not. We'll have to see.
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post #23 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifail View Post


I think that is fair, if you want all you can eat data then you can pay the full price premium.

I already pay full price for unlimited, all I can eat data. That's the deal offered to me by ATT.

If they want to change the deal, they need me to agree to the change. If I don't accept their proposed chage, the deal should be continued on the existing terms, or they should buy me out of my contract.

I think that is fair. Indeed, that's been pretty standard stuff in Common Law jurisdictions for hundreds of years, so its pretty likely that most folks also think that "a deal is a deal" is fair.
post #24 of 213
"Fair share"? By whose definition? ATT initiated their relationship knowing full well that their infrastructure was inadequate. The price has been paid by all the residents of "Dropped Call City" since the first gen iPhone and now ATT has the chutzpa to put the blame on it customers.

Run, don't walk over to Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile.
post #25 of 213
Typical fanboy attitude that it's a crime that they might lose their unlimited data because they hog all of it. Forget about all the users that their IPhone is ruining service for. As long as they have their unlimited data, forget about everyone else. Typical if you ask me. Get Windows Mobile phones, they don't hog up bandwidth like an IPhone, they have hundreds of thosands more apps than an IPhone, no restrictions on what you can develop and what you can run, and they don't ruin peoples networks. I'll continue to enjoy my Omnia which is far superior to IPhones, and I will enjoy my unlimited data from Verizon that is always nice and fast and has 3G coverage wherever I go, from CA to LA
post #26 of 213
AT&T is comedy. With customer satisfaction at an all-time low, and with Apple on the verge of making the iPhone available to other carriers, AT&T threatens their customers with a punishment fee?

Let's see how this goes with generating customer loyalty.
post #27 of 213
They're coming for you solipsism, LOL.
post #28 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by yensid98 View Post

Why should anyone pay more for heavy use? It doesn't cost AT&T any more money to service someone who downloads 20GB of data in a month than someone who only downloads 1GB. The highway still has to be there no matter the amount of usage by a few people. Charging more for usage is just gouging and make the majority fear using their device.

Ah, another moron who is clueless about the real world. You must indeed be high.

Bandwidth hogs cost AT&T dearly for their extravagant over use of the network which denies others normal service in the form of slows, dropped calls, etc.

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post #29 of 213
This will be the usual case of a few greedy people ruining the deal for the rest of us.

You can tell them because they always complain that they can't get realtime video streaming 24 hours a day and the next iPhone doesn't have 128GB of storage at the same price.

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post #30 of 213
I wonder what ATT's idea of "data hog" is. I frequently use 800+MB on 3g. And I don't consider my usage out of the ordinary. With a growing number of services, that figure will only rise.
post #31 of 213
No one knew it would work out this way. No carrier would have been able to handle this type of data load.


Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

Hopefully this is a wake up call for Jobs that AT&T doesn't consider themselves to be up to the task of being the sole wireless provider for the iPhone.
post #32 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post

Here's My Take:



As for how it is structured now, ATT should revise their contracts (and hey, if they REALLY wanted to be nice, allow people to opt out of the new contract by breaking it with no fee) to state a certain download limit a month and remove any sort of "unlimited" verbiage.


Cool! I'd like to revise the contract too!

I'd like to change the price I pay. Indeed, I'd like to state a certain fee limit per month, and remove all the existing verbiage about fees. I REALLY want to be nice, so I'll allow ATT to opt out of the new contract by breaking it with no fee!

Does that sound fair to you? If not, why can the other party to the contract (ATT) change the terms that they have agreed to previously?
post #33 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifail View Post

Well the iPhone is a data hog, but on other networks like Verizon their data plan is a 5GB cap before they start to investigate you and throttle your speeds.

AT&T should just have different levels of data for the iPhone.

$15 - 2.5 GB

$30 - 5GB

$50 - True Unlimited

(emails not included in data usage)

I think that is fair, if you want all you can eat data then you can pay the full price premium.

I do want 'all you can eat data' and that is what I am paying $30/mth for as is advertised by at&t. To change the terms in the middle of my contract would be anything but fair....

At this point, I think at&t is only trying to find the quickest solution to its poor network performance....but they are stiffing customers...

PS - there is no way for them to exclude emails from data usage...just as mms is counted to both txt message and data usage...
post #34 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

I already pay full price for unlimited, all I can eat data. That's the deal offered to me by ATT.

If they want to change the deal, they need me to agree to the change. If I don't accept their proposed chage, the deal should be continued on the existing terms, or they should buy me out of my contract.

I think that is fair. Indeed, that's been pretty standard stuff in Common Law jurisdictions for hundreds of years, so its pretty likely that most folks also think that "a deal is a deal" is fair.

They could easily eat the remainder ETF from your contract (you havent paid far in advance so you cant expect to get 1-2 grand)and say, your data plan will no longer be supported, so either deal with our new contract or gtfo...that would be their most likely solution. IF you dont agree to contract changes, you can leave just like that but i bet for most of the people on here they wont because they love their iphone so much.

30 Dollars, 5GB is reasonable. Hell maybe even 10 GB cause the iphone burns thru it so fast. But its iphone users who illegally tether their phone, and are using the phone none stop have made the service turn to absolute shit. IF you were on Verizon, you'd hit that 5GB cap as well.
post #35 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielSW View Post

You expect them to magically snap their fingers and the bandwidth is there for all you spoiled brats? No.


I expect them to honor the contract they signed. If they cannot, I expect rescission and damages.
post #36 of 213
Some people need to read their contracts. The bandwidth cap is 5GB and has been set at that even before the iPhone arrived. It's unlimited data with an *.

Edit:
5GB/Month
post #37 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

If not, why can the other party to the contract (ATT) change the terms that they have agreed to previously?

Hello? Read the article! They are not saying they are going to change existing contracts -- they are saying they will give bandwidth-hogging users incentives to "reduce or modify their usage."

I don't know what "incentives" means in this context, but it certainly doesn't mean they intend to break any contracts except by mutual consent between the parties.
post #38 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by steviet02 View Post

Some people need to read their contracts. The bandwidth cap is 5GB and has been set at that even before the iPhone arrived. It's unlimited data with an *.

It ios unlimited with an * but nowhere does it say I will be charged more for going over 5GB, nor does it say my service will be disconnected if I reach 5GB within the mth.
post #39 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifail View Post

They could easily eat the remainder ETF from your contract (you havent paid far in advance so you cant expect to get 1-2 grand)and say, your data plan will no longer be supported, so either deal with our new contract or gtfo...that would be their most likely solution. IF you dont agree to contract changes, you can leave just like that but i bet for most of the people on here they wont because they love their iphone so much.

How is it reasonable for ATT to breach the contract they signed, and insist on new terms, with no payment of damages to the non-breaching party?
post #40 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

I love the heated reactions to this. If they're targeting some members of that very small audience40% of bandwidth being used by 3% of smart phone usersthey're targeting some extremely heavy users. I imagine this would include people who use gobs of data through unofficial tethering and other various heavy-duty activities. If they're only targeting people who use a truly inordinate amount of data that's fine; if they're targeting people who simply like to use Pandora daily, that's not. We'll have to see.

I can almost guarantee that those 3% are almost all jail-broken phones that are tethering.
This is why AT&T hasn't offered tethering to the masses.
If these guys want to tether and slow down our access then they should pay for it.
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