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Devices/smartphones

Capping the Data Gusher

To cap or not to cap? That seems to be the question under the sea and over the air. Well, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) blinked and imposed new caps on its 3G data gusher Wednesday, doing away with unlimited data plans for smartphones.

Here's a roundup of our news, your views, and the best of the rest on the major change in data pricing in the US. What we said
Click below for news and opinion from Light Reading on today's news: And check out Phil Harvey's video comment on the data shift:



What you said
Unsurprisingly, readers have been vocal on the message boards about what could be the start of a sea change in US wireless billing. Many of you are angered by the move from unlimited, but others see a tiered system as inevitable:

"AT&T is sinking their own ship with 3G pricing from the past, and an attitude that customers will allow themselves to be endlessly milked no matter how outrageous the mobile data costs," writes Mark Buse on this thread.

"At least they're making the decision to go elsewhere pretty simple," agrees Stevery.

"Welcome to the future" suggests Jevopic. "With 1-2 Mbit access, it's difficult but doable to run a network without data caps. With LTE and 40-60 Mbit access, it's just impossible. Some users may use terabytes, thereby ruining the service for all the other customers. My interpretation is that AT&T are preparing for LTE."

Meanwhile, user ycurrent has a more practical suggestion: "If 98% of AT&T smartphone users consume less than 2Gb/month, then 'smart' smartphone users should switch to $25/month!"

What they said
A few of the highlights on the capping issue from around the Web:

iLonge pulled together data usage charts for a series of users and found winners and losers under the new schemes. "A $20 fee for the privilege of using your 2GB plan more fully is ridiculous; a lower fee for tethering, or a similar fee with an unlimited plan would have been less objectionable," the site suggests.

"There's something sleazy about AT&T capping data plans right after raising early termination fees," suggests BetaNews.

ZDNet, meanwhile, is wondering if Verizon Wireless will follow suit with tiered pricing on 3G. The operator didn't want to comment when LR Mobile asked them just that Wednesday afternoon.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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FbytF 12/5/2012 | 4:33:53 PM
re: Capping the Data Gusher

So when did Harvey become a schill for AT&T?

Larry.Goldberg 12/5/2012 | 4:33:52 PM
re: Capping the Data Gusher

Everyone's seen the graph...  ARPU up a bit and data usage exploding.  In hindsight, home price versus income growth looked similar.  It's unsustainable, and needs to be fixed if the industry is to grow.  Growth means more bandwidth, and the prices will come down on their own.  


I don't want to subsidize kids watching videos and streaming Pandora all day.  I hope others follow.   


 

wentriken 12/5/2012 | 4:33:51 PM
re: Capping the Data Gusher

THIS COMMENT IS BASED ON SMARTPHONE DATA USAGE, REGARDING THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THE OP.



"Welcome to the future" suggests Jevopic. "With 1-2 Mbit access, it's difficult but doable to run a network without data caps. With LTE and 40-60 Mbit access, it's just impossible.
I can barely get YouTube videos to run reliably at tens/hundreds of kbps. Let's start there.

>> Some users may use terabytes, thereby ruining the service for all the other customers. My interpretation is that AT&T are preparing for LTE."
2 terabytes / month / 1.544 megabits per second = 4.1. When you use your cell phone at a dedicated rate of 4 T1 lines bonded together, call me.



Is this the 90's again with these growth projections?


 

^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 4:33:50 PM
re: Capping the Data Gusher

exactly what I was thinking.  


sailboat

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:33:49 PM
re: Capping the Data Gusher

Disagree that it has no impact, in fact, the timing comes before the likely launch of the next version of the iPhone, there's going to be a bunch of people that want to upgrade in the July-August timeframe.

FredStein 12/5/2012 | 4:33:49 PM
re: Capping the Data Gusher

For most SmartPhone users it has no impact. Most are already locked into a two year. Some will save, a few will pay a bit more.


 


Ideally AT&T will continue upgrading its network. Long overdue. Today's radio, core networking, and backhaul technologies can give AT&T vastly more capacity.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:33:44 PM
re: Capping the Data Gusher

 


I am an example of a soon to be impact.  I was planning to dump my G1 for an iPhone when my contract was up in October.  I am now rethinking that.  No clear plan yet.


seven

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:33:44 PM
re: Capping the Data Gusher

I'm on a similar track, I'm wondering if the HTC Emerald project might be the answer now. 

Duh! 12/5/2012 | 4:33:43 PM
re: Capping the Data Gusher

Don't be surprised if VZW, Sprint and T-Mobil follow suit.  I'd be willing to bet that they've all been waiting for one competitor to make the first move.  The inexorable conclusion is, the "all you can eat" model is not sustainable.   Certainly not with the growing disparity between the demand of light and heavy users.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:33:40 PM
re: Capping the Data Gusher

I think its pretty much a dead cert that Verizon will follow suit at least when it moves to LTE. Nobody is copping to it yet though.


 


 


 

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