Usage-Based Data Plan for the iPhone?

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usagebaseddataplanThe CEO of AT&T is hinting that iPhone users need to decrease their usage or data plan rates may soon be based on usage, rather than unlimited.

iPhone users have voiced plenty of complaints about data slowdown when a large number of  iPhone users converge on one location. For example, at a recent Vikings game my iPhone was borderline useless—so many users in one place drags the data network to a crawl.

In some cities, like San Francisco and NYC, there are so many iPhone users that the data networks are not up to speed—a problem AT&T admits. The CEO is pleading with data hogs to curb their “overconsumption” to reduce the drag on the network. If not, future pricing plans may be based on actual data usage.

I love my iPhone, but iPhone users already pay high data rates to AT&T for the iPhone data plan. Threats of a usage-based plan are even more ridiculous when you consider the iPhone also runs on Wi-Fi when available. If the iPhone becomes available on other wireless carriers, with comparable data plans, AT&T may lose a huge portion of their customer base.

AT&T CEO Wants iPhone Users to Limit Usage | Mashable

(photo: AMagill)

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  • Chase Adams

    I sure hope it’s nothing more than an empty threat because I use a LOT of data…and It wouldn’t be worth it to pay based on usage. Thanks for the blip!

  • Yeah – I don’t really get it. Their network has issues handling all the data usage…which makes our service slow…so then we have to pay to use a slow network?

  • Also, European 3G providers are not reporting the same problems. It seems to be AT&T’s problem.

  • The Market

    AT&T

    You will provide your customers the service they paid for. Keep your logistics problems in the boardroom.

    I understand the difficulties you are dealing with in pleasing shareholders and efficiently allocating resources from your unique perspective, but as a customer, I DON’T CARE!

    The point is, I want my I-phone to work and get unlimited internet… period…. If you can’t provide that, someone else will…

    If you feel that you could better compete by adjusting your price structure (haha, that’s a good one) by penalizing customers who utilize your service to their needs?… Well, good luck with that….

    Quit trying to argue with the market and demand… And if improving your capacity doesn’t fit with AT&T’s business model… So long, and thanks for the fish!

    I pay hours of my labor for your “service”, pardon me for expecting to get what I pay for… Save your sob stories, and figure it out…

    Am I just crazy? Or is anyone else with me?

  • I think AT&T is going to have a serious problem if they move to a usage-based plan. People will either buy another device, jailbreak their iPhones to work on another network, or Apple will be forced to partner with another company.

  • The problem with all of your arguments is that it assumes that limited-usage pricing will be more expensive for must users.

    A smart AT&T will create limited-data plans for a variety of user profiles that doesn’t penalize the average user.

    Much like cell phone plans, if they let users pick their monthly price based on their expected usage, a handful of iPhone users would choose the super-high-usage plan and a handful would choose a super-low-usage plan. AT&T could segment the bottom group of users into really cheap data plans, the top group into really expensive plans, and average users would probably pay the same (or maybe even less, if subsidized by overages and heavy users) as they pay now.

  • Good point.

    At the same time, other carriers have similar devices with cheaper unlimited usage.

    Also, people tend to get annoyed when they asked to either: (1) pay more for what they currently have; or (2) pay the same and get less then what they get now.