Oh my. The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday issued a massive smack down against AT&T for offering consumers “unlimited” data plans and then severely throttling their speeds once they reached certain limits every month. In all, the FCC hit AT&T with a huge $100 million fine for allegedly misleading consumers, although AT&T has vowed to not take this lying down. More →
You know those pesky new net neutrality rules? They’re not perfect, but they are shockingly consumer-friendly considering they were spearheaded by the FCC’s former cable lobbyist boss. There’s no question that they will help ensure that the Internet is a level playing field by preventing carriers from prioritizing traffic and throttling bandwidth. Of course, that’s why several big ISPs hate them so much.
Among the carriers that hate the new rules is AT&T, which hasn’t exactly tried to mask its feelings on net neutrality in the past. Behind closed doors, however, it appears as though the company is willing to completely forget that net neutrality violates its rights and harms its business… as long as its acquisition of DirecTV is allowed to proceed. More →
For a while now I’ve been very wary of AT&T’s “sponsored data” program that allows companies to pay AT&T money in exchange for their services being exempt from the carrier’s data caps. This has the potential to seriously distort the market for online services by giving AT&T outsize power to pick winners and losers — after all, what chance would an upstart video streaming company have against an established company if its users are constantly worrying about being hit with overage fees for using it? More →
All big companies spin the truth in ridiculous ways, but every once in a while a company will try to distort reality in such a way that you just have to tip your cap in awe. Such was the case this week when AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson explained why his company plans to move forward with $18 billion worth of broadband investments despite the fact that the Federal Communications Commission earlier this year passed what he and his fellow big carriers depicted as investment-destroying net neutrality regulations. More →
Good news for AT&T subscribers who have “unlimited” data plans: It seems that the carrier isn’t going to slow down your connection speed unless you’re using a congested cell site. Ars Technica flags a recent change in AT&T’s network management policy in which the company specifically states that “customers on a 3G or 4G smartphone or on a 4G LTE smartphone with an unlimited data plan who have exceeded 3 gigabytes (3G/4G) or 5 gigabytes (4G LTE) of data in a billing period may experience reduced speeds when using data services at times and in areas that are experiencing network congestion.” More →
Last October, AT&T was slapped with $105 million in fines and fees by the Federal Trade Commission for hitting its subscribers with bogus “cramming” charges. For those who don’t recall, cramming is the practice of billing customers for things like ringtone subscription services when customers never registered for the services to begin with.
The bulk of the $105 million AT&T was forced to pay out will go toward refunding its customers for those bogus charges, and you only have two more days to claim your piece of the pie. But how do you know if you were slapped with cramming charges? And how do you get your refund?
Here’s everything you need to know: More →
Ah, the story of ISPs making promises they can’t deliver — does it ever get old? Ars Technica brings us the sad tale of Dave Mortimer, an AT&T customer in the town of Lowell, Michigan. Before Mortimer moved into his new house in Lowell, he asked whether AT&T would be able to provide it with a broadband connection of at least 20Mbps. AT&T said that it could and, what’s more, AT&T’s own U-Verse availability check said that it could. After buying and moving into his new house, however, he learned the awful truth. More →
AT&T has made a huge $25 million mistake. The New York Times reports that the Federal Communications Commission slammed AT&T with a massive $25 million fine on Wednesday for “failing to protect the personal information, including the Social Security numbers, of its customers.” Essentially, employees at AT&T’s call centers in three different countries stole roughly 300,000 customers’ names and Social Security numbers and then sold them to third parties. That’s obvious a very bad thing. More →
Much like in real estate, sometimes the price you pay for Internet service simply boils down to location, location, location.
Earlier this week, AT&T rolled out their gigabit Internet service in Cupertino, right in Apple’s backyard. Dubbed AT&T GigaPower, Ma Bell is offering blazing Internet speeds of 1Gbps for $110/month. Of course, if you just so happen to live in an area where Google Fiber is available, AT&T will lower the price to $70/month.
T-Mobile’s mobile network — and in particular its coverage in non-urban areas — remains its biggest weakness. That said, T-Mobile’s strategy right now seems to be to concentrate on improving its mobile data network in urban areas where it’s shown huge improvements over the past couple of years. T-Mobile’s aggressive “Un-carrier” moves have also forced rivals to play defense by making similar moves of their own and new analysis from BTIG Research suggests that this is taking a particularly big toll on AT&T. More →
Smartwatch fans have precious few choices when it comes to devices that don’t look like a terrible cross between a Swatch watch and a Casio wrist calculator. Beginning soon, however, that is going to change. Apple is expected to announce Apple Watch launch details during its event on March 9th, and the device will begin shipping in April, according to earlier comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Your wireless carrier will probably tempt you with the offer of a cheap smartphone the next time your wireless contract expires. As The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern explains, however, you shouldn’t even think about taking them up on it. More →
Last week, legislation from the U.S. government requiring carriers to unlock their customers’ phones went into effect. There are still some restrictions, but unlocking your phone should be easier than ever before. Unfortunately, only one of the four major carriers is actually abiding by all of the requirements a week after the new rules were set in place. More →