Do capped data plans make LTE connectivity a waste for tablets? Perhaps, but don’t tell that to the millions of people who are adding their tablets to their monthly shared plans. New research from Strategy Analytics has found that more than 40 million tablets are hooked up to either 3G or 4G mobile networks, roughly double the number of tablets that had data plans for 3G and 4G networks in 2012. The firm projects that there will be around 165 million tablets on mobile data plans by 2017, an eight-fold increase from the number of tablets on data plans in 2012. Strategy Analytics analyst Susan Welsh de Grimaldo notes that “while direct mobile broadband subscriptions on tablets represent less than 10 percent of the total tablet installed base in 2012, they were a key driver of positive postpaid net additions at leading operators AT&T and Verizon Wireless in Q1 2013.” The firm’s full press release is posted below. More →
Anyone who has ever suspected that carriers overcharge for monthly wireless data can now feel some vindication: A new study from UCLA suggests they’re probably right. MIT’s Technology Review says that the study looked at mobile data calculations from two major wireless carriers and found that while carriers usually got things right, they “tended to overcount” when they did err in their estimates. And this doesn’t just affect people who spend their entire days streaming video either, as the researchers found that “even typical use of a phone could lead the data to be overcounted by 5 to 7 percent.” More →
A combination of data caps and higher retail prices will significantly hurt demand for tablets equipped with 4G LTE connectivity over the next few years, according to the latest report from research firm CCS Insight. As reported by FierceWireless, the firm found that the share of tablets shipped with cellular-based connectivity will slip to just 37% by 2016, down from 48% in 2011. The reason for this is clear: People want to be able to consume large amounts of data on their tablets without incurring pesky overage fees and thus prefer Wi-Fi for their tablet connections. More →
AT&T on Monday announced a new plan that will let developers pay for the data used by their apps and services. The data consumed by apps that make use of this new feature would not apply toward a user’s data cap. The new service was pitched as a way for content providers to ease customers’ growing concerns over wireless data usage, however one public interest group sees the feature as a slap in the face to AT&T subscribers. “This new plan is unfortunate because it shows how fraudulent the AT&T data cap is, and calls into question the whole rationale of the data caps,” Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, said in a statement. “Apparently it has nothing to do with network management. It’s a tool to get more revenue from developers and customers.” Read on for more. More →
AT&T’s questionable policy with regard to unlimited smartphone data plan holders recently found its way back into the limelight following a new wave of subscriber complaints. The nation’s No.2 carrier no longer offers an unlimited data plan to smartphone users, though many subscribers on its network still have grandfathered plans that provide an unlimited amount of smartphone data each month. Subscribers who approach the top 5% of unlimited data users in a single billing period see their data speeds throttled, however, and countless users have found that AT&T is now beginning to throttle users after less than 2GB of data usage in a billing period. According to a new study, subscribers are right to be furious at AT&T because throttling does nothing to alleviate network bandwidth issues. Read on for more. More →
AT&T on Friday responded to claims that it throttles the data speeds of smartphone users on tiered data plans once their monthly data allotment has been surpassed. A report from TechSpot on Thursday claimed that AT&T users on tiered data plans were not just being charged overages when their soft caps were exceeded, but also hit with reduced data speeds until their current billing periods ended. An AT&T spokesperson confirmed to BGR via email that this is not the case, however. As BGR reported in July, data-speed throttling applies only to smartphone users with grandfathered unlimited data plans, the spokesperson confirmed. Subscribers with AT&T’s newer tiered data plans are charged overages when they exceed their monthly data allotment in a single billing period, but their throughput is not affected.