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AT&T downplays worries of tiered 3G pricing

updated 12:15 pm EST, Thu December 17, 2009

ATT says it will turn to femtocells first

AT&T tried to allay fears of mobile data price changes late Wednesday in a brief discussion of the company's plans (subscription required). Wireless CEO Ralph de la Vega is adamant that the carrier has "not made any decision" about introducing tiered pricing that would charge customers for more bandwidth. Critics had raised concern that the company would use monthly transfer caps to either delay or help pay for network upgrades.

The executive instead suggests that the carrier will use alternatives to regular cell towers to mitigate the load on its network. Its in-testing 3G femtocells will give customers a local 3G base to use with voice and data, but the company is also considering expanding the number of available free Wi-Fi hotspots and would reduce the burden from smartphones and data modems. Part of this may already be in effect as McDonald's Wi-Fi, run by AT&T, will be free to use from January onwards.

Most of the steps are direct reactions to the iPhone, which has been primarily responsible for the roughly 5,000 percent jump in data traffic on AT&T's network in the past three years. While concerns have been raised about the efficiency of the iPhone's cellular performance, the spike is mostly attributed to its much more intuitive web browsing as well as a rush of third-party apps, many of which depend on Internet access.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. Arty50

    Mac Elite

    Joined: May 2000

    +4

    Confirmed

    "The executive instead suggests that the carrier will use alternatives to regular cell towers to mitigate the load on its network."

    Translation:
    "We're cheap b*******."

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009

    +5

    don't worry

    tiered pricing is literally weeks away. we haven't made a final decision yet. it'll be made right before it's implemented. now give us your money and move along.

  1. pairof9s

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +1

    Ironic...

    that this article comes right after the article about EyeTV 3 being able to stream live TV to iPhones via 3G.

    "not made any decision"....oh, it's been decided, brother, it's been decided for sure!

    Thus another reason that Apple's decision to exclusivity with AT&T on all US iPhones is the one dark(ening) spot on this wonderful device.

    /

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +3

    Re: Ironic

    Not sure the irony, since you could stream other video to your iPhone before now anyway.

    Thus another reason that Apple's decision to exclusivity with AT&T on all US iPhones is the one dark(ening) spot on this wonderful device.

    Right, because we know it is only ATT who's thinking of this, and only because they have the iPhone. Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc. would never dream of switching to tiered pricing. Esp. Verizon, where the customer is always the prime concern.

  1. pairof9s

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +2

    Re: Re: Ironic

    You often make counters that in no way reflect on the statement you critique.

    "Not sure the irony, since you could stream other video to your iPhone before now anyway."

    So what does that have to do with the irony of a preceding article talking about streaming data-heavy video through the 3G network and the subsequent article saying that such heavy data usage is going to cost users more? My statement has nothing to do with implying EyeTV was first or that such info even mattered to the irony!

    "Right, because we know it is only ATT who's thinking of this, and only because they have the iPhone..."

    Once again with the misinterpretation! The operative word in my sentence was "exclusivity", not "AT&T". That AT&T is the carrier and not Verizon is just an interchangeable component within the central issue of this article...that consumers for iPhones in the U.S. do not have the option or the competition to avoid these pricing maneuvers.

    /

  1. climacs

    Junior Member

    Joined: Sep 2001

    +1

    testudo is an idiot

    full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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