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
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (2) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cambodia's TRC Discusses Its Plans for National Broadband

7|17|15   |   10:33   |   (0) comments


In this video, Chakyra Moa, Chairman of Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC), talks in in-depth with Heavy Reading about the Cambodia's current telecom market and TRC's goals and expectations for the future.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Phone

7|16|15   |   2:09   |   (4) comments


A man has an opportunity to purchase the world's first working 5G phone. Imagine the possibilities...
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile Launches RCS Messaging
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/22/2015
Huawei Working Hard for Rural Success
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/22/2015
AT&T U-verse TV Hits the Skids
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/24/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent, Vodafone Test TWDM-PON
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 7/22/2015
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Cat Sense Click Here
Can you hear me now?