A judge in Southern California on Friday awarded $850 to an iPhone user who was throttled on AT&T’s network, according to the Associated Press. Judge Russell Nadel of Ventura Superior Court in Simi Valley found in favor of Matt Spaccarelli, who filed a small claims case against AT&T last month. Spaccarelli argued that the carrier unfairly slowed speeds on his iPhone 4’s unlimited data plan and said his phone was being throttled after using a mere 1.5 gigabytes to 2 gigabytes of data per month, even though AT&T’s 3GB monthly plan costs the same price of $30 per month. Judge Nadel awarded Spaccarelli $85, instead of the $10,000 he requested, for each of the 10 months left on his contract — totaling to $850. 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 →
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.
Without as much as a peep from Verizon Wireless’ PR team, the nation’s top carrier on Thursday made the latest addition to its DROID line of smartphones available for purchase. Perhaps the silence is payback since Motorola announced the device last month in China before Verizon’s unveiling, which has historically preceded international versions of the phone. As we’ve known for quite some time, the Motorola DROID 3 features a dual-core 1GHz processor, a 4-inch qHD (960 x 540 pixels) touchscreen display, a full slide-out QWERTY keypad, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture support, 16GB of storage and global roaming support, all atop Google’s Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS. The phone is available from Verizon Wireless immediately for $199.99 on contract, and you’ll have to choose one of the carrier’s new tiered data plans along with it if you’re a new customer.
UPDATE: VZW finally decided to make the DROID 3 — you know, its brand new flagship Android smartphone — official. The carrier’s full press release can now be found after the break. Of note, the phone is available immediately online but won’t be in stores until July 14th. More →
Verizon has confirmed to FierceWireless that it will move to tiered data plans on July 7th, and the new plans are in line with earlier reports for the most part. If you’re worried about losing your existing unlimited plan, fear not; only new customers will be required to subscribe to one of three new data plans: $30 for 2GB of data per month, $50 for 5GB, or $80 for 10GB. Verizon Wireless will then charge $10 per GB of data past the monthly allotment. Mobile hotspot users will need to start paying a monthly fee starting on July 7th, too. Current 4G hotspot owners will be charged $30 for unlimited use and new customers will have to pay $20 per 2GB of data consumed. The good news? Verizon confirmed that existing customers can upgrade on or after July 7th and still hang on to their unlimited data plans — for now, at least. More →
Verizon Wireless has stated on multiple occasions that it will move to usage-based smartphone data plans next month, but the carrier has been tight lipped when it comes to sharing the details surrounding the new plans. Following a report on Monday that claimed to detail Verizon Wireless’ upcoming tiered plans, they have now been reaffirmed by a new leak. Android Central claims to have received internal documents showcasing the changes, and pricing lines up exactly with earlier reports:
- 2GB – $30/month
- 4GB with tethering/mobile hotspot – $50/month
- 5GB – $50/month
- 7GB with tethering/mobile hotspot – $70/month
- 10GB – $80/month
- 12GB with tethering/mobile hotspot – $100/month
The new documents also confirm that existing smartphone customers with unlimited data plans will be able to keep those plans after the changeover date, which is said to be July 7th. Hit the break for an email on the new plans reportedly sent by Verizon Wireless to retail partners. More →
Verizon Wireless will finally be shifting to the usage-based data plan structure we all knew was coming. Android enthusiast blog Droid Life on Monday reports that future Verizon subscribers will no longer have an unlimited smartphone data option starting July 7th. Instead, they will be forced to choose one of three tiered data options: 2GB for $30 per month, 5GB for $50 per month or 10GB for $80 per month. Those looking for tethering will have to add $20 to each of those plans, which works out to 4GB for $50 per month, 7GB for $70 per month or 12GB for $100 per month. Overages on any plan will run $10 per gigabyte. According to the report, Verizon will charge the same rates for 3G and 4G LTE data plans, so subscribers interested in newer 4G smartphones will not have to worry about paying a premium for data, as they might elsewhere — which is a good thing, considering these plans are already a bit pricey. Current Verizon customers will not be forced to switch to a new plan. BGR contacted Verizon for comment and while the company would not confirm the new plans or exact timing, a Verizon Wireless spokesperson did have this to say: “As we have stated previously, Verizon Wireless is making some minor changes to data plans including those for new smartphone customers. We will move to a more usage based model in July.”
UPDATE: Droid Life has also obtained an internal letter purportedly being sent by regional VPs that confirms usage-based pricing will be the same for 3G and 4G service. The letter can be found through the second read link below. More →
FierceWireless has a great article in which Roger Entner from The Nielsen Company breaks down smartphone data usage obtained from 60,000 cellphone bills. Apart from the fact that more than 1/3 of smartphone users do not have data plans and that 23% overall use no data per month, that data reveals that 6% of smartphone users are going through half of the data consumed. And what data everyone else using doesn’t add up to a whole lot. Although averages are not the best example to point to for a number of reasons, the average smartphone user went through 298MB of data in Q1 2010, up 230% YoY. Despite this growth, the reality is that all but all but 1% of smartphones users stand to benefit from being on a tiered data plan. In fact, on the whole, the only losers when it comes to tiered data are the carriers, as they lose out on revenue each and every time someone cancels their unlimited plan and moves to a tiered plan. There are quite a few other interesting tidbits to be learned from the article, so do hit the jump to check it out. More →
This information comes from a new tipster, but we have very good reason to believe that Verizon will begin rolling out its LTE network in 25 markets starting on November 15th. While 25 markets might not sound like a lot, but apparently they’re enough to give 100 million subscribers access to the next-generation wireless network. LTE handsets will not be immediately available at launch, but Verizon is planning to release “a slew of new devices” on Black Friday which is on November 26th. LTE data plans will indeed be tiered, but Big Red won’t be pulling a Sprint and charing a $10 premium for access to its 4G network. Oh, and don’t be surprised if Verizon starts harping about how its “empowering the user” with open devices.
Thanks, C.! More →