Comments on: Why AT&T is evil to have multiple data plans A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: manubhardwaj Wed, 09 Jun 2010 01:20:08 +0000 Assume I have a jailbroken iPhone and a grandfathered account. I’d previously been scared of using up too much data because AT&T might slap a hefty data surcharge on me.

There was a soft limit of 5GB that people generally understood they must stay under. Additionally, even though I *could* go up to 5GB, I couldn’t really, because the network was so slow.

Their 3G network has improved in NYC over the past few months. Now that it’s created 200MB and 2GB hard limit plans, doesn’t this soft limit go away? Can’t all us grandfathers throw away our WiFi Cablevision/RCN/FiOS Internet connections and just start relying on our iPhone?

Sounds like a good deal for me.

By: BarryKelly Tue, 08 Jun 2010 20:34:01 +0000 @Paul_M – Oyster actually only optimizes for the day pass rate. Weekly and monthly travelcards (which are on Oyster cards themselves, but on registered ones, rather than anonymous pre-pay ones) are still cheaper if you travel a lot.

What the Oyster is good for is efficiency (it’s faster to move more people through, and probably 95% or more of people using TfL services use the cards), security (many buses don’t even accept money, having a ticket machine at the bus stop if you don’t have a card), monitoring the public (especially with registered cards), and of course it lets them charge absolutely criminal rates to the tourists who aren’t informed well enough to get their own card.

And of course TfL (as a whole) is not a private corporation, though it sub-contracts to some private companies (e.g. runs most of the buses in east London).

By: Paul_M Tue, 08 Jun 2010 03:03:42 +0000 Why does the Oyster Card even exist? When a company offers a lower unit rate in exchange for an advance commitment to purchase a certain number of units, I assume it’s a effectively a subsidy from customers who can’t correctly estimate their future wants to those who can. By contrast, the Oyster Card lets frequent users pay a lower rate without making any advance commitment. Isn’t that just a subsidy from infrequent users to frequent users? And if so, why is that a fair model?

By: ggeorgan Fri, 04 Jun 2010 05:28:07 +0000 How about a smartphone app that calculates that time to the end of the month and makes sure the subscriber exactly fills up his or her data usage to the data volume he or she has already paid for ? If need be, this would be done by accessing random web pages in the very last hours of the month.
Hopefully, then, data-plan sellers would think twice before continuing with discontinuous pricing.

By: Uncle_Billy Fri, 04 Jun 2010 03:34:50 +0000 I started using another of ATT’s newer services right now and they are absolutely diabolical, possibly to the point of fraud. The push it right to the limit. Embedded in the system are 10+ ways to charge you for things you shouldn’t be charged for. They even give you a credit of $50 when you sign up, to get you used to the idea of money flying out the window. “Well, I’m not really paying for it, so what does it matter.” But then you’re in, and probably don’t have the patience to fight their games and you just let the money trickle away. Also, their computers seem to be set up to pad extra time onto transactions, but in a deniable way.

By: absinthe Fri, 04 Jun 2010 00:52:47 +0000 For the guy that was talking about changing the contract late in the billing period, watch out! For calling plans at least, AT&T usually pro-rates, which means you’d need to watch for overages in *both* segments after switching. In some screwy cases, switching to a higher plan will make your bill even worse (for that month, anyway).

By: KidDynamite Thu, 03 Jun 2010 22:49:10 +0000 sensei for the win!!! well done, sir.

i don’t get the hubbabaloo – all AT&T is doing is giving you the opportunity to save money by not paying extra for data which you don’t need.

By: Sensei Thu, 03 Jun 2010 22:10:26 +0000 Seems that AT&T has been reading your thoughts on congestion pricing

By: y2kurtus Thu, 03 Jun 2010 21:12:45 +0000 TWAndrews has it just right… wireless bandwith will always be a limited resource in highly populated areas. The top 1% of network users are responsible for half of network traffic.

Steve Jobs himself said as much when he stated that verizon or any other carrier would face the same problems AT&T does within 1 month of an iPhone rollout.

Felix, you said that in the last 2 months you use roughly 300 mega bites of data. Put that in prospective… the ONLY people getting adversly effected by AT&T’s move are using 7 times as much data as the internet’s best blogger. Think about that.

A friend of mine working in IT says that some users (the top 1/10 of 1% are pulling down terabites of data/month… that’s 1 million megabites compared to your 300. No network can allow that and still have room for everyone.

I would make the argument that AT&T was much more evil prior to the change because they forced everyone to pay for the top 1/10th of 1% of users with dropped calls and slower connection speeds.

Keep up the great writing!

By: michael8 Thu, 03 Jun 2010 20:45:51 +0000 Felix,

Maybe I need to get my conspiracy-meter calibrated, or I give consumers too much credit, but I fail to see the evil.

AT&T has two goals:
1) maximize revenue (shareholders demand it)
2) maximize data service speed & availability to the majority of their customers (customers demand it)

I see your point, given your average data use. But the 200MB plan was not designed for you. It’s for folks like my mother who check their email 2x/day and may look up a restaurant listing once a month. The extra $15 for your second 200MB is to make sure you’re really like my mother and a genuine infrequent user. These people are irrelevant to network demand.

Since you’re not my mother, the 2GB plan is for you, so you never have to worry about exceeding your data allotment. The message is “you might as well get the 2GB plan unless you’re SURE you won’t go over” I admit it’s not ideal for you since 1) you will pay an extra $5/month and 2) you will probably never use more than 1/5th of your allotment. I’d suggest streaming some more videos. Check out TEDTalks on YouTube.

The $10/GB overage fees are for the punks who find ways to use their iphones to replace their home internet connection, or who spend hours per day watching videos and slow down the network for the rest of us.

The pure-utility model would make more sense for you and many other users, but it would dis-incent incremental data usage, which AT&T doesn’t want to do, since they make money from content and advertising deals.

(no I don’t work for AT&T or even like them. They have an abysmal network where I live, and the AT&T/Apple cabal infuriates me)

Hope I haven’t missed your point. Cheers.