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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    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]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.[/I]
  • Reply 2 of 61
    isheldonisheldon Posts: 570member
    They're not called AT&Fee for nuttin.
  • Reply 3 of 61
    sr2012sr2012 Posts: 896member
    Yeah, ~tomorrow~ is probably a better time to bring in the fees.
  • Reply 4 of 61


    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%&*

  • Reply 5 of 61


    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. 

  • Reply 6 of 61
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,486member


    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.

  • Reply 7 of 61
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 61
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Yep.. It's too early. They want to test how much outrage will come out of this first.
  • Reply 9 of 61
    I'm on Verizon only because it's a monopoly here...trust me it's no better
  • Reply 10 of 61
    cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 61
    kimk69kimk69 Posts: 77member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 61
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,158member

    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.

  • Reply 13 of 61


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

  • Reply 14 of 61
    maccherrymaccherry Posts: 924member


    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!

  • Reply 15 of 61
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,158member


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

  • Reply 16 of 61
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    cory bauer wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 61
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    solipsismx wrote: »
    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. :-)
  • Reply 18 of 61
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    andysol wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 19 of 61
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 61
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    technarchy wrote: »
    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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