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AT&T CEO keeps door to 3G FaceTime charges open

updated 01:30 am EDT, Wed July 18, 2012

In-development feature stability being worked on

Speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was asked about the report that AT&T might charge customers extra if they want to use FaceTime over 3G. The feature was announced during Tim Cook's Worldwide Developer's Conference keynote speech, to a muted carrier response.

Initially, the company offered a similar statement to the one it issued after the keynote: "we'll share more information with our customers as it becomes available." At the Aspen conference, he slightly amplified his remarks, saying that "I've heard the same rumor," in regards to an additional fee for FaceTime over 3Gm and adding that "it's too early to talk about pricing" as AT&T is working with Apple to get the technology optimized.

AT&T discontinued unlimited data for the iPhone in 2010, with the exception of grandfathered plans, and has moved to tiered data offerings. AT&T has come under fire since the discovery from users, complaining that FaceTime data is no different than other kinds of data and no additional fees should be applied above normal bandwidth fees. Some 70 percent of customers on tiered data plans take on the larger, higher-cost options already. Mobile data alone generates $6.1 billion per quarter for AT&T.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. Paul Huang

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 09-18-99

    Because Stephenson does not want any 'sleepless nights'. Yes, he did use the phrase 'sleepless nights' during an interview when the interviewer mentioned iMessage. Families could easily bypass the $30/month fee and send each other unlimited iMessages. The money saved over the two-year contract period is $720. $720 pays for five iPhone with money to spare. No wonder he has been tossing and turning.

    The same applies here with FaceTime. There will likely to be a tag-on fee even though data plan is being used.

  1. TheGreatButcher

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 06-11-00

    If you're paying for data, it shouldn't matter what data you're using. AT&T either doesn't get it, or they enjoy bad press.

  1. ebeyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-09-04

    Butcher,

    Could it be both?
    EB

  1. gmsquires

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-02-09

    AT&T is just like so many other service businesses. They try to figure out how they can "nickel and dime" their customers through every conceivable fee or add on service charge they can think up. Stephenson was sooo upset about iMessage eating in to their usurious fees for texting when that service doesn't really cost them anything. Texting fees are "gravy" for wireless services.

    Funny how these same multi billion dollar companies whine when they are hit with taxes to help pay for real cost infrastructure costs from the governmental bodies they want to get services for free.

  1. phillymjs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-19-00

    Bits are bits are bits. There is absolutely no :censor: reason to classify some differently than others except pure, unadulterated greed.

    The cell providers like predictable, recurring revenue. They get more of it when they can charge you an extra $20/month for a feature you might not use all the time. They get less of it when you simply get X amount of bits per month and every advanced feature you use draws from that same allotment.

    That's why they always priced per-use text messages so outrageously... they wanted to drive you to the monthly plans, which give them that predictable, recurring revenue.

  1. TylerDurden

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-18-01

    Here's a photo of the CEO at the conference:

  1. cgc

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 03-25-03

    Originally Posted by gmsquiresView Post

    AT&T is just like so many other service businesses. They try to figure out how they can "nickel and dime" their customers through every conceivable fee or add on service charge they can think up. Stephenson was sooo upset about iMessage eating in to their usurious fees for texting when that service doesn't really cost them anything. Texting fees are "gravy" for wireless services.
    Funny how these same multi billion dollar companies whine when they are hit with taxes to help pay for real cost infrastructure costs from the governmental bodies they want to get services for free.



    That's part of it and AT&T's network will crumble under the added bandwidth rqmt facetime imposes. Crappy network + greedy corporation = sleepless nights + fees.

  1. OkieDoc

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-07-01

    First: MacNN, your new comment system is confusing and ugly

    Second: totally agree that it sucks, but I also understand that FaceTime can be a big data hog. BUT I can't imagine that it can be any worse that streaming YouTube videos?

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