As we’ve seen another carrier struggle recently with unlimited video streaming, and the Net Neutrality implications of throttling or degrading performance for network stability, AT&T looks to be returning to a business model consumers will understand easily: Unlimited Data.
Of course there’s a small catch. Unlimited data plans will be offered as part of a bundled service with AT&T TV (formerly DirecTV).
Earlier this week, Big Blue took the wraps off of their new Unlimted plan for DirecTV, AT&T TV, or U-Verse TV subscribers. They’ll pay $100 a month for the first phone, additional phone lines will cost $40, and the fourth phone line will be free.
It’s an exciting move. Instead of cherry picking a handful of individual services or apps, a fully bundled AT&T customer will have few restrictions on streaming any content they desire. As of now, the only limit appears to be a vaguely worded footnote that at 22GB of usage in a month “reduced speeds may apply”. How that might be enforced is still unseen, but it’s a fairly healthy chunk of mobile data for folks looking to move up from plan that often start users off around 10GB per month.
You can read the full AT&T press release below.
Continue reading AT&T Revives Unlimited Data for AT&T TV Subscribers
The GAO released their report on Fixed Internet Usage and Usage-Based Pricing. The 41 page report details their testing and offers up their recommendations.
That the FCC should work with providers on educating consumers and developing a code of conduct for pricing and service. The FCC has already stated that they will be monitoring complaints to see if a more direct approach is necessary, but there hasn’t been much consumer uproar over capped home internet plans, especially as many groups are trying to influence the FCC’s “Fast Lane” proposal. With more of the focus on Net Neutrality and the upcoming Time Warner + Comcast merger, there’s probably far less noise being made about data caps.
This could become another battle soon however, as caps are another way ISP’s can enforce their policy and services to the detriment of their competitors, and it could have a chilling effect on consumer behavior. We’ve already covered Comcast’s horrifically bad “Flexible” plans, but it’s no surprise that more communities are following Chattanooga’s example and looking to build their own public data networks.
GAO Report: FCC Should Track the Application of Fixed Internet Usage-Based Pricing and Help Improve Consumer Education
Comcast has been flirting with data caps, and for customers in those markets, Comcast will be introducing new rates to save money on home plans, with new fees for going over your cap. These new rates however are raising some eyebrows.
The pricing on data has always been somewhat suspect. Each month you pay for a quantity of data, but if you don’t use it all, your remainder disappears at the end of the month. If you bought food this way, you’d be outraged by all the waste when your leftovers are thrown away. To date, no company has introduced any kind of rollover data for capped plans.
While XFINITY will be offering more data each month, moving Economy Plus customers from 250GB to 300GB, their cost savings scheme seems horrifically unfair.
If you live in Jackson Mississippi for example, 300GB of data, at up to 50Mbps speed, will cost you around $60 a month after promotional pricing. If you want to save some money on that monthly bill, Comcast is happy to lower your data cap and reduce your bill. If you reduce your monthly data rate from 300GB a month to 5GB a month you can save $5 off your plan.
You read that right. That was not a typo. To save $5 a month your plan will be cut from 300GB to 5GB. You will lose 295GB. That’s a 98% reduction in your data for a 12% price break. Continue reading Comcast XFINITY: Cut Your Internet Data Cap by 295GB, Save $5
Data mobility often comes with limitations, caps or throttling. This can have a chilling effect on customer use and innovation. Developers might shy away from data driven services if their target audience can only use those apps on WiFi.
AT&T took the wraps off their Sponsored Data program today at the AT&T Developer Summit. Essentially Sponsored Data is a “toll free” data service similar to how a 1-800 telephone number works. Companies sponsor a site or service, and customers wont get hit with data usage on their bill.
It’s a novel model at working around some of the existing business models which often place more burden on consumers’ pocket books. Now various 3rd party companies can provide additional value to their users, while encouraging more data mobility services.
More info at http://www.att.com/att/sponsoreddata/