AT&T Wants More $MONEY$

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AT&T customers might have to pay more for their service.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Ralph de la Vega, AT&T CEO, said the carrier might have to change its $30 unlimited data plan for an ala carte pricing plan.

This is due to the stress multifunction phones have placed on their network.

With about 3% of smart-phone customers driving 40% of data traffic, AT&T is considering incentives to keep those subscribers from hampering the experience for everyone else.

Mr. de la Vega added the new pricing plan would give $eriou$ $martphone cu$tomer$ a rea$on to $cale down their data u$age.

What we actually found out is customers didn’t know how they were using data… but once you alerted them to it, they actually reduce their consumption significantly.

I’m sure most users do at some point, but the whole advantage of having an unlimited plan is to have peace of mind.

As it is – AT&T’s lack of performance in saturated user areas like New York and San Francisco has left a lot of customers dissatisfied with the company. These are not recent problems either, these heavily populated areas have had an issue with AT&T since the introduction of the iPhone.

If AT&T changes the terms of the contract the customer has the right to cancel their contract without penalties. Something the company should avoid by working on their infrastructure rather than alienating A LOT of customers.

Now with 2 expected Android devices joining their network things are not looking too good for the stability of their data infrastructure.

To add insult to injury Consumer Reports recently rated AT&T fourth out of the top 4 US carriers.

OUCH! I’m sure there’s not an app or a map for that.

Below are pictures taken from 9to5mac.com illustrating the CS report.

z40

Writer’s Comment:
“If you’re consuming more than 5GB of data per month, don’t be surprised if AT&T gives you notice.”
This is from another source too.
For those of you who commented on the “unlimited” 5GB comment. Some RANDOM editor took it off.
There’s an “imaginary” 5GB cap the providers have. Kinda of like the one ISPs had. Once you hit this mark they pay a close attention to your account.

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  • tmofan

    No issues with TMO….but I wish we got better phones!

  • Dustin

    That’s curious to me. I’m a sprint customer and my bill for a two line setup with unlimited data is $110, but that includes everything. My brother and his wife who have a verizon plan with two lines and data is $180 because they have to pay for text messages and extra for data on top. It is sad that you have to dig to such specifics to compare plans, but such broad generalizations don’t work when comparing these things. It’s like calling an Iphone and rotary phone “phones”. It doesn’t tell the whole story.

  • Ryan

    F them! I hope they get coal in their stocking this Christmas.

  • JT

    It’s so funny to me, Sprint and T-Mobile are both lowering their prices and all these all you can use plans are coming up from Wal-Mart and boost, etc. Yet AT&T is still raising it’s prices. And with iPhone exclusitivity running out I think they’re giong to lose A LOT of customers to this becuase iPhone uses way more data than a Blackberry just on based off it’s software, if Verizon offers the iPhone with better coverage and for cheaper AT&T will see it’s customers jump ship so fast.

  • LL

    Not one word in my Verizon contract mentions anything about 5GB. Nor does the online data usage tracker.

  • dadeboe

    So who has the better network again? I think att needs to pull those ads.

  • http://www.cjmillisock.com CJ Millisock

    “I’m sure there’s not an app or a map for that.”

    LOL!!

    I hope AT&T does this. I will *instantly* get out, and upgrade to Android.

  • clems

    The Verizon $30 data plan I have is not capped at 5 GB as mentioned in the article. I called to confirm this from CSRs as well as looking at my online “usage statistics.” Both say the data is “Unlimited.”

    Phone: Droid.

  • DonnyIrish

    The reference to Verizon and the 5GB cap is referring to their WiFi, broadband cards and such. I have big red and 4 phones on my account, including 2 Eris’ (which includes 2 data plans) and unlimited texting for all 4 phones. But with my work discount of 17%, I pay less than $180.

  • Jeff

    this is absurd….att needs to invest in improving their ability to handle this kind of thing ….i hope the rumors are true and they are losing their exclusivity because if they are not then its going to be bad news for them and apple

    how much more will people be swilling to pay for the jesus phone when att keeps bumping up rates and other carriers keep releasing progressively more attractive options

    this whole fake bandwidth crisis is just absurd its just an excuse for a bloated regressive company to desperately cling to the old model….the market will surely punish att for this

  • NowVoyager

    The New ATT is the old SBC. Gouge, gouge, gouge. Wake up ATT, John Q. Public is now an informed consumer with options!

  • Sam

    Part of this is psychology as well. People have had it beat in their head that Verizon’s voice service is second to none. And, while I do believe this is true, people pay a bit of a premium for Verizon service and this is reflected in the score. If you have no issues with a service and pay a premium for it, you’re going to think it’s an amazing service. If you pay a bit less and don’t have any issues, people tend to think “the service is good…not as good as X service, but it does the job.” On the flipside, look at AT&T. The service isn’t bad…it works fine for the most part with some drop out issues. But look at all of the people with $100/m iPhone bills. If you pay that kind of money, you’re probably going to get infuriated everytime you loose signal. I bet if you sampled AT&T users who ONLY use voice service, their voice rating would be much higher.

    As Dustin said, the numbers are only half of the story.

  • http://phandroid.com Talton "Phases" Pettigrew

    I just received the following from my VZW rep: “The data plan for smart phones is unlimited. There is no cap or soft-cap. The 5GB limit is only on the aircard plans. As far as I know, there is no plan to limit data usage on smart phones.”

    Also I should note – I trust her, she’s very good.

    I will edit his article to be.. safer.. in that sense. Actually I’ll just remove that sentence as it is sorta superfluous anyway.

    Thanks guys.

  • Steve L

    If I’m not mistaken, AT&T is the only unionized carrier left. So, yeah, good luck with the cries for improved infrastructure. The union heads will not allow a company to do well if it means union workers have to work a little harder. That company will be gone in 5 years.

  • su2lly

    I think this is setting up Sprint and to some extent T-Mo to gain more ground. If both of them play their cards right with 4G, it’s things like this that are going to eat away at VZW and AT&T. I’ve been a VZW customer for close to 10 years now and I got the droid on the day it was released and I love it. My only problem is when the bill comes. If cheaper alternatives keep getting more reliable then I’m willing to pay the early termination fee to get away from VZW. If I was with AT&T I would be paying the ETF on principle alone.

  • Matt

    I pay AT&T $95 a month for 450 minutes with unlimited data and txting!! I’m out of contract so I’ll be moving to Sprint probably. Just waiting for a new phone to come out.

    So yeah go ahead and raise prices!!

  • coolMANDINGO

    @tmofan. You’re right tmo doesn’t really have an issues its their inability to choose a good phone that messes them up. Why would they chose the cliq over a droid,mytouch over eris,behold over a moment etc. I want to get a new phone and willing to pay good to great money for Hero or X10. But tmobile choose to come up with the lacklsuter phones almost forcing me to cancle their service. Tmobile does have the most cost friendly plans but with SHIT phones. It doesn’t balance out. I’m pleasding tmobile please come out with a worthwhile phone. I really don’t want to spend $110 a month without tax with verizon or sprint or att for unl message and data and atleast 700 minutes. I’ve been with you tmobile for 7 years are u really going to lose me over a crappy phone like the behold??

  • http://jonmayer.squarespace.com Jon Mayer

    @clems Good to know, I still thought it was 5GB just not listed in large print as such. I think in the small print there is that caviat, but only if you are really a data hog. Surpasing 5 gigs every once in a while won’t get your bill blasted.

  • lowendall1880

    So when people say that Tmo’s plans are cheaper than Sprint’s, I am assuming that they are comparing family plans or something that is not individual plans? I just switched from Tmo to Sprint because their individual plan saves me $15/month compared to the best possible plan I could get from Tmo. These were both unlimited minutes/text/data. I really liked Tmo but their phones drove me away.

  • archie

    95 dollars a month, wow I only pay 70 with Sprint plus they offer dicounts depending on where you work. And also you get any mobile calling which let’s you call any cell phone on any network completely free no matter the Carrier, with things like that I personally say who needs rollover minutes everybody I know has a cell phone and the only time i use minutes is when im callin the job or the bank to check my account which only uses about 20 minutes a month. I was thinking about switching to at&t but with its recent issues and now thos they. An forget it

  • David

    I’d have to take a slightly different perspective than the way his comments have been understood here … what he’s suggesting is a cafeteria plan for data usage given the negative feedback on the $30/month plan required (not optional) for most smart phones and even more for business plans. By offering cheaper plans for people that know they don’t need that much data they’d be perfectly fine NOT using pandora the whole time or doing anything and everything they need. What’s wrong with this? He isn’t suggesting raising the prices, he’s saying if people have the option of paying less and using less then many will.
    Disclaimer: I work for at&t. While I’m certainly not an at&t fanboy being an employee of an acquired company I don’t argue at all with the option to spend/use less. On the flip side, if I opt to pay full price for unlimited, I damn well expect to get every last bit as fast as I feel like which is where my peers on the mobility side need to step up to the plate.

  • maddmatt02

    I wont leave sprint if I dont have too, unless another carrier really lowers there prices.

    I have 3 lines, 1600 minutes, N&W at 7pm, the new anymobile deal, all lines have unlimited nav/web/text/tv and music premier for 135.

    I dont live in a EVDO area, but I really dont browse the web on the phone unless Im using wifi. but if all Im doing is DL’n an app or just checking email, the 1xRTT or whatever it is isnt that bad for things like that.

    I had ATT before sprint though, and where I lived, it was actually one of the best and since I wasnt using data back then, it was comprable in price to the rest.

  • http://web.mac.com/barrywoods barry99705

    From what I’ve read and whatnot, it’s not the att backbone that’s really the problem. They just don’t have enough towers. A cell radio can only handle traffic from a set number of phones/modems. The reason that the bigger cities have problems is they have more users than the towers can handle. I live in the Dayton OH area and have never had speed issues with my iPhone, or Tilt. The only reason I jumped ship to Verizon was for the Droid. If Att had a competitive android device, hell any android device I probably would have stayed with them. My wife and my sister are still with Att, both have iPhones and have no issues.

  • ari-free

    Apple only makes money when people buy the iphone and apps. They don’t make any money if people actually *use* the internet on it. It’s just a big cost as it hurts AT&T’s network. On the other hand, Google actually makes more money the more you use the internet. Now that they have AdMob, they even make money the more the iphoners use their apps…(hmm maybe that’s why Apple seems to favor lots and lots of one-shot apps and games?)
    People will want to use more and more bandwidth. They will want to have TV on their phone. They will want to have video calls. They already want Flash in their web browser. AT&T/Apple won’t be able to deliver.

  • ari-free

    I wrote “On the other hand, Google actually makes more money the more you use the internet.”

    and could compensate the carrier for the usage.

  • freebirds87

    Thank you AT&T for ruining the GSM experience for everybody, now we can settle for CDMA and just be behind the rest of the world…. again.

  • ari-free

    verizon is switching to LTE

  • hounddoglgs

    This is a ridiculously stupid move by AT&T, which seems to enjoy supplying the nails for it’s own coffin. These are their highest paying customers that they are going to crap on. Also, if AT&T is dumb enough to attempt to modify existing contracts, anyone who had the unlimited data plan will have the option to bail on them with no early termination fees.

  • chris

    @Sam, I only have AT&T voice service, and it blows.

  • Kyanro

    Why don’t they just make their network better…AT&T is making me mad.

  • Ross

    AT&T is your great-great-great-grandad’s phone company, and still act like they’re that old. No surprise they’d rather tell you how your are using the network wrong than actually adding long overdue capacity. Not to mention their phone lineup is plain stodgy. I’d bet that if the iPhone was a 3G from the start they wouldn’t have taken it. If they could sell you a candlestick, I mean rent you a candlestick phone, they would.

  • just some dude

    not exactly proof, but just goes to show that AT&T cant handle all the traffic on there network. They need to limit traffic and this is there attempt.

  • Kyanro
  • by

    @freebirds87 – EXACTLY!

  • Dennis

    And now, Verizon is “just beginning” to get the very type of users that AT&T has had such growth on… When the percentage of their users with data plans with same demands of data equals that of AT&T’s users, such as the multitude of iPhone users, then it will be an equal comparison.. That you have a large 3G network is nice, but if the majority of those users don’t do crap with 3G, then you have little stress.. I guess we will see how things are in a year or two.

  • paul monroe jr

    Man, at&t has the most expensive plans I’ve heard of. I have a friend of mind who got a individual plan with at&t, maybe like 3 or 400 minutes and unlimited data (before this news) and he pays like 100$ a month? Ouch! I’m personally going over to sprint, I’m getting a hero. I love the hero’s sense ui, and sprint has some great plans. I have t-mo now and their customer service is terrible, they are more expensive than sprint, and because I’m a flex-pay customer they treat me like shit. I’m predicting that sprint will eventually become the num 1 or 2 carrier next to VW, but at&t, and the iphone are on their way out people are getting tired of being told what they can or cannot do on phones they buy and plans they continually pay for.

  • xjm

    the 5gb ceiling on the verizon phones are only if you tether with your phone. if you don’t, then you get unlimited data. I asked quite a few reps about this and they all said the same thing.

    Secondly, verizon gets a version of the iphone next spring, so unless at&t does something soon, I foresee the verizon network about to become super awesome.

  • Nate

    @xjm

    So this 5GB limit applies if you are paying that extra (is it $30?) on top of the $30 data plan for the tethering benefit?

    I wish Verizon would allow tethering as part of the data plan, even if it had a lower download limit. It just seems like a whole lot of $$$ to add tethering.

    I have heard that there’s software out there to get around it, but then guess you’re on dangerous ground in terms of violating your contract.

  • Stonn

    I’ve been with Verizon. I’m up for new phones, but with their new $350 ETF on advanced devices, I may go elsewhere.

  • Gregg Haevns

    the expense of information is getting out of hand. A poster above talks that it only costs him $180/month. WHOO.. My TV costs $90/month, my internet cable only $48, My land line and single cell phone (non-data)costs $60. BTW, I have to have a land line because I can’t find a cell carrier that will work inside my house That is over $195 for information access every month. Nearly $2400per year. No wonder people are going broke. Information is not cheap..

  • Robfactory

    It’s not really a cap, but rather an imaginary line carriers have. Once you hit this limit they’ll begin looking into how you are using your bandwidth. Some even send out letters as stated above.

  • kev

    Bye bye AT&T if they raise the data plan! im currently an iphone user and i wouldnt hesitate to leave the comnpany. Its already alot to pay for the data in the first place?!

  • Becker

    Wow you guys all are getting gouged, I got cricket, it is 65$ a month and it has unlimited everything, you name it I have it unlimited.

    Gosh sucks you all have those cookie cutter plans LOL :)

  • Becker

    Oh and those who complain about T-Mobile, FYI they have the best service abroad for those who travel the world, and Sprint is the absolute worst Cell company out there, there customer service is the worst, and they gouge, gouge, gouge. Ask anyone SPRINT Sucks. Verizon, is also expensive but still better than sprint, sorry for sprint/nextel users, make sure you read that contract, they have hidden fees like text in Roam, and stupid stuff like that. Just be ready to shell out the money.

    Your happy cricket User LOL :)

  • Eddie

    I have been with TMO for 6 years, I live in LA and have never had a dropped call except for the time i had the MDA powered by Windows Mobile, I’ve had the G1 since it came out it runs great but it sure as s is not an Iphone, or a Droid, over the holidays I played with the droid and was amazed at the speed, an android is an android then i asked how much do you pay Verizon, 120$ for 450 minutes and unlim data and txt, I almost choked I pay 125 3 lines 2000 minutes Unlimtd text and data, there is no way Im about to pay the same amount of money for the same thing, I Cant wait till the Nexus One comes out Subsidized or straight up ill be getting one, if the droid is an indication of the N1 I’m so there.