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AT&T CEO says it's 'too early' to talk about 3G FaceTime fees

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson on Tuesday responded to rumors claiming the telecom would charge a data fee for customers using Apple's upcoming over-the-air FaceTime feature on its network.

Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo., Stephenson admitted that he had heard the rumor which began circulating earlier in the day after an iOS 6 beta error message sparked speculation that AT&T will indeed charge data fees for "FaceTime over cellular," reports TechCrunch.

?I?ve heard the same rumor,? Stephenson said, claiming his company was working with Apple to get the technology stabilized. ?It?s too early to talk about pricing.?

Stephenson was also asked about a possible pricing plan that would involve app developers to pay for their customers' data plans through direct payments or ad revenue. The CEO likened the situation to a "1-800" toll-free phone number and noted some mobile content providers have shown interest in such a system.

Randall Stephenson


The AT&T chief recently bemoaned the company's original plan to offer unlimited data to iPhone users, saying that the business model keeps him "awake at night worrying."
post #2 of 62
Making such a statement counts as talking about it. And the message is easy enough to interpret: we will be Double charging you for data used in this manner

EDIT: I should clarify that by 'double charging' I don't mean anything other than paying for a data plan, and also paying (whether flat fee or otherwise) to have FaceTime over that data connection enabled. If it's like paying to tether, it's paying twice - once for the connection, and once for using it in a certain way.
Edited by jinglesthula - 7/18/12 at 6:52am

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post #3 of 62
They're not called AT&Fee for nuttin.
Edited by iSheldon - 7/17/12 at 7:53pm
post #4 of 62
Yeah, ~tomorrow~ is probably a better time to bring in the fees.
post #5 of 62

And then they wonder why so many people end up jail breaking their iPhones....I'm sure someone will come up with some app or jailbroken script that allows you to get around this bullS%&*

post #6 of 62

That is such a lie, the Unlimited data plan is not the problem, because they throttle your data to below 54k dial speed at which point your phone is completely useless. I like many other will switch over to verizon if they decide to cheat us on this. 

post #7 of 62

Translation: AT&T is still looking for a loophole in their Apple contract that will require Apple to implement the fee interface. The legal costs will be balanced against the cost of negative publicity for charging a fee.

Clearly AT&T hasn't gotten enough negative press for charging for tethering on the AT&T iPad either.

post #8 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinglesthula View Post

Making such a statement counts as talking about it. And the message is easy enough to interpret: we will be Double charging you for data used in this manner

I doubt they'd double charge for data. I'd expect it to be a flat monthly fee and then you use your data as is. i'd also expect it not to be available to those still on Unlimited plans, just like tethering.

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post #9 of 62
Yep.. It's too early. They want to test how much outrage will come out of this first.
post #10 of 62
I'm on Verizon only because it's a monopoly here...trust me it's no better
post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I doubt they'd double charge for data. I'd expect it to be a flat monthly fee and then you use your data as is. i'd also expect it not to be available to those still on Unlimited plans, just like tethering.
I don't understand your statement. If I'm paying AT&T $30/mo for 3GB of data, and they start to also charge me for the luxury of using data for specific applications, that is an additional charge. FaceTime data use should come out of that 3GB I'm already paying for just like everything else; if I use more than 3GB, THEN they can charge me more.
post #12 of 62
Every time I see this douch I get an ill feeling
In my stomach. Keeps him up at night.
Its always that same picture too. They need
To loose a bunch of customers already and
Give him a good reason to not sleep at night.
post #13 of 62
Quote:
“I’ve heard the same rumor,” Stephenson said, claiming his company was working with Apple to get the technology stabilized. “It’s too early to talk about pricing.”

 

Yeah,, everything is set except for how much we will charge for the service.

post #14 of 62

The only thing Randall Stephenson stays awake thinking about is how big his bonus is going to be this quarter...... 

post #15 of 62

LOL!

There is never a, "TO EARLY TO TALK ABOUT MONEY", narrative  when it comes to these greedy a** CEOs and their corporations. 

Don't make be just a gasket. LOL!

post #16 of 62

Is this the same guy who few months ago didn't know that his customers cannot unlock their iPhone after they fulfill their contracts?

post #17 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post

I don't understand your statement. If I'm paying AT&T $30/mo for 3GB of data, and they start to also charge me for the luxury of using data for specific applications, that is an additional charge. FaceTime data use should come out of that 3GB I'm already paying for just like everything else; if I use more than 3GB, THEN they can charge me more.

1) Double doesn't equal additional.

2) I'm amazed that you don't see how voice call is inherently different from loading a webpage despite, at the base level, it's all technically data, yet you aren't saying that carriers are wrong for charging you for voice minutes instead of just accounting for the actual data being sent and received. In 2012 people I do expect people on an tech forum to have a modicum of comprehension about differences between standard best effort data over TCP that can be checked and resent if something is missing and UDP real time data with the highest QoS priorities to ensure the best possible conversation with a importance in preventing from delayed, dropped, or out of sync frames.

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post #18 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

In 2012 people I do expect people on an tech forum to have a modicum of comprehension about differences between standard best effort data over TCP that can be checked and resent if something is missing and UDP real time data with the highest QoS priorities to ensure the best possible conversation with a importance in preventing from delayed, dropped, or out of sync frames.

You lost me.....

All I got out of your post is you need to lower your expectations. :-)

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post #19 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

You lost me.....
All I got out of your post is you need to lower your expectations. :-)

Really? Maybe I am expecting too much.

Here's the basic rundown. When you load a website, get an iMessage, email, etc the data comes from the source to your device. Your device will inspect and acknowledge the data and if anything is corrupted or lost it can request new packets that are sent and then rechecked. There are many levels of redundancy built into the networking model to ensure delivery.

With VoIP (and by extension, video conferencing) all that goes out the window. There is a session set up to link the two end points and then the data is sent back and forth without the redundancy, error checking, and retransmissions that you find with TCP/IP. This is because RTP is better for UDP/IP. This is because TCP likes reliability where as UDP likes speed. This is important to VoIP because any delay is jarring to the listener. Even if we weren't used to standard telco voice calls feeling instant it would be jarring.

Now for VoIP to work it's not simply using the transport protocol with the smaller, simpler header but also making sure that these very specific packets using these very specific protocols are sent first. We call this QoS (Quality of Service). That means when all these packets get routed through router after router across the globe that the ones being used for VoIP are sent with the highest priority. This type of effort is considerably more complex and costlier to setup and maintain.I know this because I've done this.

It's easy to think of a 64Kbps analog call that can be compressed to 8Kbps for a modem voice codec as tiny but when you need that protocol to have no noticeable delay (or other routing artifacts) it gets tricky. Now at this point I've only really mentioned VoIP but video conferencing is no different, expect for the fact that it has all the same pitfalls as VoIP except that video requires a lot more data than simply voice. Now there is the benefit that a missing or corrupt packet might not be noticeable to the naked eye as easily with voice but there is so much traffic for video compared to voice that the issue is significant, especially when you through in QoS.

Does that clear how a webpage is different from a voice call?

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post #20 of 62
It should be illegal to double dip customers on something already paid for. I pay for gas...Now imagine the gas station attendant asks where are you going so they can charge you an additional fee. Who the hell would tolerate that. I am on a tiered plan. How I choose to use my tiered data should be my choice. If I go over, I pay a fee, if not, kiss my ass, I already paid you.
post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Technarchy View Post

It should be illegal to double dip customers on something already paid for. I pay for gas...Now imagine the gas station attendant asks where are you going so they can charge you an additional fee. Who the hell would tolerate that. I am on a tiered plan. How I choose to use my tiered data should be my choice. If I go over, I pay a fee, if not, kiss my ass, I already paid you.

If you are using that analogy charging for, for example, minutes for voice calls and data for internet is really like charging you petroleum as gas for driving and petroleum as oil for the engine. It all might be data/oil at the base level but it's not used in the same way.

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post #22 of 62
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Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


If you are using that analogy charging for, for example, minutes for voice calls and data for internet is really like charging you petroleum as gas for driving and petroleum as oil for the engine. It all might be data/oil at the base level but it's not used in the same way.

I would say an accurate analogy would be if, when attempting to drive your car in a certain town, you were required to first stop at a gas station and pay them to enter. And they don't put any more gas in your tank.

post #23 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andysol View Post


You lost me.....
All I got out of your post is you need to lower your expectations. :-)

 

You have to admit SolipsismX...that was funny.

post #24 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by franktinsley View Post

I would say an accurate analogy would be if, when attempting to drive your car in a certain town, you were required to first stop at a gas station and pay them to enter. And they don't put any more gas in your tank.

But that's not accurate at all. You have data for your phone regardless if it's a tech website or a travel website. Consider that a different town, or something else like email and webpages. Regardless of where you drive your car still uses the same kind of refined oil for that same task. This is how a voice call, VoIP and regular best-effort data differs.

That said, if your concern is that carriers will charge an excessive amount for the service the way they do with SMS then that would be valid but to claim that they shouldn't charge for inherently different types of data is a foolish stance. As previously noted supporting QoS for video conferencing does have a significant cost on HW, setup and support. On top of that, heavy QoS scales worse than data.

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post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by franktinsley View Post

I would say an accurate analogy would be if, when attempting to drive your car in a certain town, you were required to first stop at a gas station and pay them to enter. And they don't put any more gas in your tank.

Or you pay taxes, title, and registration every year and then you have to pay to drive over certain parts of Interstate highways, bridges, and tunnels.... oh wait.


Edited by NasserAE - 7/17/12 at 10:41pm
post #26 of 62
It might not be as bad as people think. I'm pretty sure they're doing this to prevent people from chewing all their data in just a few FaceTime calls.
FaceTime data won't count toward your monthly data allowance since it will be a separate feature, which is not bad as long as AT&T doesn't charge more than $5 for the service.
post #27 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by fraklinc View Post

It might not be as bad as people think. I'm pretty sure they're doing this to prevent people from chewing all their data in just a few FaceTime calls.
FaceTime data won't count toward your monthly data allowance since it will be a separate feature now which is not bad as long as AT&T doesn't charge more than $5 for the service.

Maybe they'll make it separate data, too, but I think the most likely is to charge a flat monthly fee (which is essentially for priority data) and but having it still use your total data allowance/

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post #28 of 62
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Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

But that's not accurate at all. You have data for your phone regardless if it's a tech website or a travel website. Consider that a different town, or something else like email and webpages. Regardless of where you drive your car still uses the same kind of refined oil for that same task. This is how a voice call, VoIP and regular best-effort data differs.
That said, if your concern is that carriers will charge an excessive amount for the service the way they do with SMS then that would be valid but to claim that they shouldn't charge for inherently different types of data is a foolish stance. As previously noted supporting QoS for video conferencing does have a significant cost on HW, setup and support. On top of that, heavy QoS scales worse than data.


edit: Here is a different analogy you might be able to understand. Do you think it's fair to be charged more for overnight mail than for mail that will get there when it gets there? If so, why do you see a difference between priority data and data that will get there when it gets there?

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post #29 of 62
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Originally Posted by David Dalen View Post

That is such a lie, the Unlimited data plan is not the problem, because they throttle your data to below 54k dial speed at which point your phone is completely useless. I like many other will switch over to verizon if they decide to cheat us on this. 

 

No Unlimited plans are the problem. They were created back in the day when few folks went over like 4-5GB. Which isn't the case anymore. But because they can't yank the plans mid stream without issues throttling, which has always been in the terms as an option, is used. 

 

They could pull a move like Verizon is about to do. Just drop unlimited plans for anyone that wants to upgrade with a contract subsidy. You want to keep unlimited you have to pay full price. but they don't have the brass ones to try a move like that. So the best they can think up is this nickel and dime scheme where you have to pay extra to tether, extra to FaceTime over 3g etc. On the plus side, at least you do get more data and it's a tad cheaper than just going over on your monthly plan and paying overages (although not much cheaper)

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post #30 of 62
Yeah they could go that route and charge a small flat fee for priority data. My opinion is that they're going to market FaceTime as a feature that's data exempt and at the same time try to get companies like skype to do the same thing. But then again I hope I'm dead wrong cause then in a few years they'll start charging a extra fee to exempt YouTube data as well and bye bye net neutrality as others will follow.
post #31 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

No Unlimited plans are the problem. They were created back in the day when few folks went over like 4-5GB. Which isn't the case anymore. But because they can't yank the plans mid stream without issues throttling, which has always been in the terms as an option, is used. 

They could pull a move like Verizon is about to do. Just drop unlimited plans for anyone that wants to upgrade with a contract subsidy. You want to keep unlimited you have to pay full price. but they don't have the brass ones to try a move like that. So the best they can think up is this nickel and dime scheme where you have to pay extra to tether, extra to FaceTime over 3g etc. On the plus side, at least you do get more data and it's a tad cheaper than just going over on your monthly plan and paying overages (although not much cheaper)
Well I pay 20 euro a month (~$25) for an HSDPA+ unlimited voice and data plan (the latter being throttled down after 3GB/mo) without contract, I sure wouldn't want it to be scrapped. From what I see Americans are just paying way too much on many services: from cellphone, internet to cable television it is just ludicrously high priced compared to what you can find in Europe...
post #32 of 62

"AT&T CEO says it's 'too early' to talk about 3G FaceTime fees"

 

That's like a neighbor asking "How's your wife doing?" and you reply "It's too early to talk about divorce or getting a mistress."

post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

edit: Here is a different analogy you might be able to understand. Do you think it's fair to be charged more for overnight mail than for mail that will get there when it gets there? If so, why do you see a difference between priority data and data that will get there when it gets there?

So you would be ok with your ISP charging different rates for UDP and TCP connections? How about a TLS/SSL charge too, since that's like getting insurance or tracking on your parcel. Then an IMAP fee, and an HTTP fee?

Where does it end? One can always find principled ways to differentiate these layers/protocols. Is that what our internet is coming to? A laundry list of charges that requires a computer science degree to decipher?
post #34 of 62

What I find amazing is that, every time on this forum Apple competitors are mentioned, there is always somebody to state that "competition is good, competition will bring benefits to the customers, etc .." ; in the particular case of the Telcoms, nobody seems to mention this (which, in this case , is especially true, because ultimately, those companies deliver the same service, possibly with a different QoS, which could be the only way for the consumer to compare them, if there were factual elements to measure this ...).

post #35 of 62

This is all part of a great technological tragedy where people have all these amazing devices that can do so much and open so many connections, only to be hobbled by data caps, bandwidth throttling, and slow expansion of infrastructure (which I believe is in no small part deliberate), so that a handful of colluding firms can charge more and more fees so that people like Mr. Stephenson can sleep easy at night knowing that their next multi-million bonus is secure.

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post #36 of 62

http://www.iphoneincanada.ca/carriers/rogers-carriers/rogers-confirms-facetime-over-3g-support-for-the-iphone-and-ipad/

 

Funny how other carriers don't think it's too early and are already telling people it'll be treated no differently than any other data.

post #37 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Dalen View Post

That is such a lie, the Unlimited data plan is not the problem, because they throttle your data to below 54k dial speed at which point your phone is completely useless. I like many other will switch over to verizon if they decide to cheat us on this. 

 

As if Verizon aren't even bigger crooks than AT&T...

post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Yep.. It's too early. They want to test how much outrage will come out of this first.

 

We should get this on Reddit.

post #39 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

 

Yeah,, everything is set except for how much we will charge for the service.

 

No, no... We also have to work with Marketing to spin up some complete bullshit story about how iPhone users are hogging our network bandwidth and we need a way to control and compensate for that.

post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


1) Double doesn't equal additional.
2) I'm amazed that you don't see how voice call is inherently different from loading a webpage despite, at the base level, it's all technically data, yet you aren't saying that carriers are wrong for charging you for voice minutes instead of just accounting for the actual data being sent and received. In 2012 people I do expect people on an tech forum to have a modicum of comprehension about differences between standard best effort data over TCP that can be checked and resent if something is missing and UDP real time data with the highest QoS priorities to ensure the best possible conversation with a importance in preventing from delayed, dropped, or out of sync frames.

 

I don't get it. What does this have to do with his comment? If anything, your explanation underscores the fact that with users spending less and less time on voice calls and more time on data, the rates should be going down not up.

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