A small article in today’s (December 10) NY Times – AT&T to Urge Customers to Use Less Wireless Data had me shaking my head. Here is a link to the article – http://bit.ly/8IgbCg. For those that do not know AT & T is the primary carrier for the Apple iPhone. With nearly 100,000 iPhone apps and with a substantial number of all-inclusive data plans it’s no wonder that the network is fast becoming overloaded.
They told us years ago that these days would come. When we first installed cable modem service a number of years ago the fear was that as more people adopted cable modem service to access the internet the ‘stream’ would become exceedingly clogged thereby slowing down overall communication. While I have not experienced more than one or two occasional slow-downs (apparently in our area we have some of the fastest service around), I fully expect that things could get worse before they get better.
What I found to be the most interesting statistic in the article was that 3% of Apple iPhone data traffic accounts for 40% of AT & T’s wireless data transmissions. So AT & T wireless is considering a pricing scheme that would ‘address the usage’. So I interpret that as what iPhone users that are on unlimited data plans are getting now will soon have to pay more. That strategy has been attempted (unsuccessfully) by frequent flyer programs and I suspect the same will be true of data plans. The horse is out of the barn folks and people are accustomed to getting it for a low flat price. Good luck with that.
An AT & T spokesman emphasized that the company would first focus on educating consumers about their data consumption in the hope that doing so would encourage them to cut back, even though they are paying for unlimited data use.
“We’re going to try to focus on making sure we give incentives to those small percentages to either reduce or modify their usage, so they don’t crowd out the customers on those same cell sites,” he said.
How do you think that will go? Companies are encouraging people to use their Smartphones to a greater extent but the provider is hoping people will use them less.
So at this moment I am happy to be a Blackberry Storm customer since the Verizon network is notably superior to AT& T, (ask any iPhone user about the frustrations of making phone calls on their iPhone) and there are so few apps for the Storm (a feature I don’t like but I guess is some sort of weird benefit).
Like Charlie Brown would say – ‘I can’t stand it’. Or understand it.