Light Reading

AT&T Enforces Data Cap on Femtos

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
6/17/2010
50%
50%

In the aftermath of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s announcement of new mobile data price plans, the operator reveals that data used on its Microcell femtocell will be included in subscribers' newly capped monthly data allowance. (See AT&T Intros Mobile Data Caps, Capping the Data Gusher, 5 Mobile Apps That Bust Data Caps, and BillShrink: AT&T Data Caps Mean Paying Twice.)

First spotted by Current Analysis research director Peter Jarich, the news that 3G data traffic running over the AT&T Microcell will count towards a user's monthly data limits, just as making voice calls over the Microcell counts towards a user's monthly bucket of minutes, was confirmed by an AT&T spokeswoman. (See Femto Watch: Vodafone Means Business in Spain and AT&T's 3G Femtocells Now in More US Cities.)

It is possible to get unlimited calling on the Microcell for $19.99 per month, but this is only for voice calls, not data.

In contrast, WiFi usage does not count towards a subscriber's monthly data limit.

A pricing policy that includes femto usage in the data caps and not WiFi shows AT&T's preference for WiFi access. And in terms of offloading mobile data traffic from its busy 3G network, this policy also shows that AT&T's femtos take a back seat to WiFi. (See Deutsche Telekom Joins Rush to WiFi Offload and MWC Preview: Data Offload to the Rescue.)

Here is AT&T's position on the Microcell:

"The 3G MicroCell complements Wi-Fi by providing enhanced in-home voice coverage and reliable data when Wi-Fi may not be available -- but it is primarily intended for voice calls," said the AT&T spokeswoman in an email to Light Reading Mobile.

For consumers, the femto price model means that they will pay AT&T for the Microcell to get better indoor 3G coverage, pay for the backhaul connection to AT&T's core network, and pay AT&T to use that indoor 3G base station.

AT&T isn't alone here. Vodafone UK also counts voice and data traffic from its Sure Signal femtocell towards a subscribers' monthly voice plan and data limit. (See Vodafone Revs Femto Engine and Brits Get Femtos From July 1 .)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
optodoofus
50%
50%
optodoofus,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:32:02 PM
re: AT&T Enforces Data Cap on Femtos


No one knows how to shoot an opportunity in the foot like AT&T.  I bet this makes all those people at the Femto Forum pretty happy. 


optodoofus

Michelle Donegan
50%
50%
Michelle Donegan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:32:02 PM
re: AT&T Enforces Data Cap on Femtos


AT&T's femto pricing hasn't changed -- usage always came out of subscribers' plans -- and its attraction to WiFi access is clear. 


Dean Bubley at Disruptive Analysis has an interesting take on this and suggests that it looks as though AT&T's tiered price policy is disconnected from its femto project. Check out his blog here: 


http://disruptivewireless.blogspot.com/2010/06/at-tiering-femtocells-and-holistic.html


Is this actually a billing systems issue? Can AT&T's billing systems distinguish femto traffic from macro traffic so that it can give preferential billing to the femtos if it wanted to?


 

Michelle Donegan
50%
50%
Michelle Donegan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:32:02 PM
re: AT&T Enforces Data Cap on Femtos


Isn't AT&T missing a trick with their femto pricing -- wouldn't it be beneficial to AT&T to encourage users to use their Microcell at home? 

paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:32:00 PM
re: AT&T Enforces Data Cap on Femtos


 


So if femtos are for voice, why make them 3G (or theoretically 4G)?  Why not make them 2G?


seven

OpEd
50%
50%
OpEd,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:31:59 PM
re: AT&T Enforces Data Cap on Femtos


Subsidize their network coverage - and pay a premium for the privilege.  But please use Wi-Fi!   ....and yet here we stay.


Is Steve Jobs a sadist?


 

klaus
50%
50%
klaus,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:31:57 PM
re: AT&T Enforces Data Cap on Femtos


It's a lot like back in the day when online banking was just starting off: It actually cost more to pay online than it did to mail a check. Or driving on a tollway: It cost more to own a tolltag than pay in cash.


Until the banks and tollway people figured out that, wait, since we are saving our resources and it costs us less, maybe we should ENCOURAGE our customers to use the new stuff.


AT&T will figure this out too. It is in their interest to move traffic off of their cell towers and on to femtocells. It doesn't make a lick of sense that there is no cost benefit to the customers.

mel99
50%
50%
mel99,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:31:53 PM
re: AT&T Enforces Data Cap on Femtos


... and why aren't they sharing ? :)


I am a company forced AT&T wireless service user for the past 2 years and where my residence is (and not so coincidentally where I need my cell phone the most) I am in a total signal black hole as far as AT&T's signal goes. Sometimes, my Blackberry graces me with 1 bar out 6, most of the time I am in SOS mode.


Last month, when my corporation's wireless cell account manager mentioned this microcell to me, I was hoping that, it would be something to put it up in the attic or some place where there still is some signal reception and it will act as a repeater of that signal, just more strongly. After seeing this article, I thought something was off, regarding that idea of mine and I dug into it a little and saw that it is a broadband internet bandwidth stealing snivel, nothing more. Even though it is offloading the wireless traffic from their precious network and hop it onto the VoIP traffic, I am still subjected to limitations imposed by the cell phone signal. Are they crazy or what ? I am going to pay for my broadband thru the nose, and then deliver it to AT&T's disposal to pay them more money. Does not make any sense at all. I think I am jumping ship to Verizon soon. Screw the greedy basturds at AT&T...


 

PeteC
50%
50%
PeteC,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:31:47 PM
re: AT&T Enforces Data Cap on Femtos


Currently the difference between AT&T and Vodafone plans is that if you have a smart phone on contract you typically only pay an extra £5 (approx $7.50) per month for unlimited data on top of your voice plan (I pay £30 instead of £25), so although there is no special dispensation for the Vodafone Sure Signal femtocell, no one really cares. I agree with the view that in the case of AT&T this is far more likely to be incompetence / being uncoordinated that a deliberate policy, and this may also reflect the fact that AT&T is sending all data from their femtocells back to the core network rather than offloading data traffic at the femtocell.

Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is not the easiest of topics to take on board, so here's a Light Reading infographic, developed following conversations with the folks at HP, that helps make sense of where NFV is taking the industry.
Hot Topics
Verizon Saves 60% Swapping Copper for Fiber
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/19/2015
Choosing a Technology Supplier? Consider Changing Your Selection Criteria
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 5/18/2015
Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/20/2015
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Smarter 'Dumb' TVs Will Drive OTT Adoption
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/18/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
I recently popped down to Texas to chat with CEO Eric L. Pratt about his company, Taqua.
Cats with Phones