AT&T on Thursday announced a revision to its smartphone data throttling policy, which impacts users who have chosen to retain the unlimited smartphone data plan AT&T discontinued some time ago. AT&T’s policy had been ambiguous until now, with the carrier stating simply that the top 5% of smartphone users would experience slowed data speeds until a new billing period began. It was unclear how much data a subscriber had to use in order to approach the top 5%, however, and a number of reports claimed users were being throttled after using 2GB of data or even less. Now, AT&T is clarifying that it will only begin throttling smartphone users with 4G LTE devices after 5GB of data has been used in a single billing period, and subscribers with non-LTE devices will be throttled after 3GB of usage. It has also been reported that AT&T increased the speeds experienced by users while their data speeds are being throttled, but a company spokesperson declined to comment. AT&T’s full statement follows below. 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 stance on unlimited data is once again in the spotlight as a new wave of smartphone users cry foul over the carrier’s questionable policies. The nation’s No.2 carrier does not currently offer an unlimited data plan to its smartphone subscribers. Instead, there are three available data plans that include “soft” caps, allowing subscribers to continue using data services for additional fees after the soft cap is reached in a billing period. Users who have been with AT&T since before the carrier switched to tiered data plans — loyal customers who have in some cases maintained the same account in good standing for more than a decade — had the option to retain their unlimited data plans when AT&T first made the move to tiered plans. While heavy users were initially relieved when the opportunity to retain their old unlimited plans presented itself, that relief has quickly turned to disdain. Read on for more. More →
Wireless carriers around the world are digging themselves into a deeper hole by neglecting to experiment with innovative pricing models for 4G LTE services. While consumers have exhibited concern surrounding tiered data plans and bandwidth throttling, Ovum believes such models are necessary to combat the growing capacity crunch plaguing cellular service providers. This crunch, of course, is serious enough that AT&T is hoping to soon $39 billion in order to acquire T-Mobile USA and use the carrier’s precious spectrum for its 4G LTE network build-out. Smartphone and mobile broadband users are pumping more data over wireless networks than ever before, and speedier 4G LTE service only stands to exacerbate the situation. Additionally, carriers are missing the opportunity to find new ways to squeeze more revenue out of this new premium high-speed service. “We looked at the LTE pricing strategies of operators in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the US, and were disappointed with our findings,” Ovum analyst Nicole McCormick said in a statement. “LTE provides operators with the opportunity to experiment with new and innovative pricing models, which allows them to find the best way of deriving revenues from the premium service. However, most operators have not grasped this opportunity. Instead, LTE tariffs in the regions Ovum analysed are dominated by unlimited offerings and large data buckets, which can be problematic.” Ovum’s full press release follows below. More →
AT&T confirmed to BGR that it will soon begin revoking unlimited data plans from jailbroken iPhone users and other smartphone users who utilize unauthorized tethering and mobile hotspot solutions. Following reports from earlier this year, AT&T on Thursday confirmed that it will remove grandfathered unlimited data plans from accounts belonging to users who tether or use unsanctioned mobile hotspot apps without a tethering plan, which is expressly prohibited by AT&T according to its terms and conditions. “Earlier this year, we began sending letters, emails, and text messages to a small number of smartphone customers who use their devices for tethering but aren’t on our required tethering plan. Our goal here is fairness for all of our customers,” an AT&T spokesperson told BGR via email. The letter outlines three choices for customers who had been making use of unauthorized tethering solutions, one of which is “Do nothing and we’ll go ahead and add the tethering plan on their behalf — after the dated noted in their customer notification.” According to earlier reports, offending users will automatically be bumped to AT&T’s more recent tiered data plan, which affords 2GB of smartphone data and 2GB of tethering data for $45 each month compared to AT&T’s old unlimited smartphone data plan, which costs $30 each month but does not include tethering. A new report from 9to5 Mac claims that users will begin losing unlimited plans as soon as August 11th, but AT&T stated that the policy enforcement date varies depending on when the offending subscriber was sent the notification letter. AT&T’s full statement follows below.