AT&T, Apple & Google

9:10 AM -- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's letters to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) about blocking the new Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Voice application are definitely signs of a new broom at the government agency.

After all, carriers have blocked applications like Skype Ltd. before (although, ironically, the VOIP package is a top application for the iPhone). Didn't hear too much about those issues until Obama's new team was onboard, did we?

The Google Voice app allows users to make cheapo phone calls and add some presence-type features to their phone service: For instance, you can choose which callers are routed to your home phone or cellphone, while callers can use your "Google Number" to reach you wherever.

This whole issue seems indicative of operators that are too focused on the past and not looking forward to data-intensive packages. I wonder when carriers are going to start to get serious about data plans and VOIP services. Voice is still the cash cow at the moment, but for nearly every carrier data is the growing segment.

So when are they going to start to look at stranding out packages for different types of data users? The gamer, the regular browser, the texter, the music downloader, the VOIP caller, and more. Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and other network tools make it easier than ever to find out what type of traffic is on the network and bill for it.

As far as I know, only Verizon Wireless has said that it is considering moving from the unlimited data package model (usage caps aside) to something more stranded. If data continues to grow, however, and voice continues to shrink, then it is going to become a bigger issue and VOIP software running over the network is going to start to look less significant.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

w_greene 12/5/2012 | 3:59:14 PM
re: AT&T, Apple & Google

As far as I'm concerned, data is data.  The provider of the pipe has no more right to analyze what I'm sending/receiving than the government. :-)  I'm interested in data only services such as WiMax to simpley avoid all the nonsense associated with paying individually for voice, text, or data.  I know this is probably a pipe dream since providers are all in bed with each other, but that's the model I want to see.



joset01 12/5/2012 | 3:59:14 PM
re: AT&T, Apple & Google As a consumer I completely agree. I suspect, however, that carriers will need to increase revenue from data to supplant falling voice revenues. Different rates and plans is one way to do that. It will likely become a more controversial issue too.

RussLarson 12/5/2012 | 3:59:13 PM
re: AT&T, Apple & Google

w_greene is right.  Data is data.  Wireless and Wireline carriers should not be carving up rates based on different data types.  Obviously voice revenue will continue to decline and revenue gaps will need to be filled, and this will happen naturally.  We don't need rate plans based on types.  We need the networks to continue building higher bandwidth pipes for the ever increasing traffic flow, and "unlimited" data plans will need to continue to be available for the mass audience (non-capped unlimited) that accounts for 95% of the normal traffic.  The traffic will continue to increase (e.g., IPTV) but so will the technology deployments if these carriers want customers.

By the way, who thinks WiMax and LTE is 4G?  What a joke.  I know it's been pointed out on these pages many times, but let's continue to say what it is.  It's 3G inflated.  I don't think 8Mbps to 12Mbps pipes are the answer to IPTV or other high bandwidth applications.  Carriers and equipment innovators will continue to need to progress forward.

AllKindsOfThings 12/5/2012 | 3:58:53 PM
re: AT&T, Apple & Google

Well, as the equation "modernize and upgrade" to deliver ever growing amount of data at the same or lower proces while at the same time shifting to a non-scaling model such as with a monthly cap - cannot function endlessly.


Even if new technology can positively shifts the "baud/penny" ratio in operational cost, most network equipment vendors have not yet offered to just replace a Tin Lizzy model of Network Equipment for a turbocharged Porsche for free - unfortunately for us consumers, but in the end its always the same: You can just get what you pay for in the long run.

If Telco marketeers were stupid enough to buy into pulverizing the scaling income model of increased usage, then some other thing will have to come into existance as a numeric basis for scaling - the amount of active users, devices or services that are used (or different numbers of services that are unblocked).

A bakery will go bankrupt if they have to produce ever growing loafs of brand to be sold for the same or lower price, while the flour price is not dropping as quickly as the usage of the flour increases by the volume of the bread.

Carriers will ultimatively go bankrupt if they don't retain old or invent new core service propositions that allow a scaling model for income - no matter to what this the industry will ultimatively transform into.

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