∞ AT&T looks to curb excessive iPhone data usage

AT&T is looking to iPhone users to cut back on their data usage as a way to ease traffic on its network, according to the company’s CEO, Ralph de la Vega. iPhone 3GSWhile a usage cap is the first thing that comes to mind, de la Vega ruled that out as a possibility. Instead, he said AT&T would give users a reason to cut back on their data usage by giving them access to the amount of data they used.

AT&T is hoping that will help change the way people use their devices.

“What we actually found out is customers didn’t know how they were using data… but once you alerted them to it, they actually reduce their consumption significantly,” said de la Vega.

AT&T said details of its plans wouldn’t be available until next year, but said it wouldn’t affect the majority of its customers.

[Via WSJ]



  • Chris Wilson

    There isn’t a chance that if they contacted me I’d slow down my usage. In fact, I’d probably say “That’s great to hear that I’m getting something out of the expense. Now if you’d just let me stream my TV, use VoIP, and stop dropping calls all over town I’d be completely satisfied.”

    • Jim Dalrymple

      I agree. I really wouldn’t care.

  • http://crankygeek.com Jack Brewster

    I don’t understand why telling users how much they’re using would cause them to decrease their usage. I actually get a smug sense of satisfaction when I see what my data usage is compared to my wife and her WinMo phone (with Exchange ActveSync enabled).

    As I see it, I’m paying for the all you can eat buffet and you’re crazy if you think I’m not going to grab extra lobster and crab legs.

    • Jim Dalrymple

      I agree.

  • JohnO

    If they want me to use less data (and I assume they mean 3G data, and not WiFi data), they’d have to charge me less money.

    The Sprint billing web site can easily show a line graph of data usage (and text messages, and airtime minutes) over the last 12 months. AT&T should have something similar.

    I just went on the AT&T billing web site, and had to manually look back at my last three bills to find the total KB used each month.

    Here is my usage:

    156,046 kb 170,885 kb 115,358 kb

    I’m guessing I’m on the low end of the usage spectrum, and yet I have been using it as much as I want to use it. I am fortunately in reach of WiFi for many hours of most days, and I haven’t yet had a reason to do much streaming video.

    John

    • John

      Get AT&T’s myWireless app. It shows data usage. Right now I have 333.79MB in 23 days of my billing cycle. Not enough to justify $30/month in my opinion.

      I think making it easier for people to see their data usage is just going to make them question why they are being charged so much for data.

  • Eric

    What part of unlimited do they not understand?

    • Jim Dalrymple

      Makes you wonder.

  • JohnO

    I’ve got the wireless app. It is good at showing current month info (as is the web site). What AT&T doesn’t have is a way to quickly review usage over time. I agree that my usage might be in the $12/month range if I could set my price…

  • John

    Good point. I just don’t pay attention to my usage since it’s unlimited. If anything, I’ll just be upset I didn’t use more to justify the cost. They won’t change my habits by making it easier for me to track.

  • Michael Lewis

    I would pay $30 for their data use if they lowered my voice charges and gave me reasonable texting access. As it is I pay nearly $50 a month and probably talk a max of 3 hours and have to pay for any text msg I send. I can definitely do better with a pay-as-you-go plan, but the phones I’ve seen for those don’t sync with my Mac or are limited in one way or other that I want.

    All the carriers’ plans are pretty confusing and the services overpriced across the board as far as I’m concerned.

  • http://www.basilweb.net Walt

    I don’t check monthly bills as I don’t have a pressing enough need to look through my bill and try to decipher 3 separate phones, two of which are iPhones.

    I do like to look at my own usage details on the iPhone though. My statistics carried over from my original iPhone to the 3GS, and my total Cellular Network Date is at 584MB sent and 3.7GB Received. That comes down to an average of 128MB per month. Of course I’m sure my network eatery increased with the change from EDGE to 3G. ;-)

  • http://www.thegraphicmac.com Jim

    You almost get the impression that they WANT YOU to drop them. I’m curious as to what they’ll say/do if Apple opens up the iPhone to Verizon and they lose every last iPhone customer they have.

  • scott

    We pay 30 dollars for unlimited data, and like the person said before I only talk a couple hours on the phone and pay 40 a month and pay 20 for unlimited texting..If they start limiting data use I will drop ATT in a heart beat and go for a droid. ATT coverage map as far as 3g and voice is horrible in comparison to verizon. Hope ATT thinks twice before they lose iphone customers.

    • John

      You bring up another good point. Why is unlimited texting $20/month. I pay the $5 for 200, but unlimited texting should be included in the data plan. Each message is such a small amount of data. Just another money grab.

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  • GadgetGav

    Kiss goodbye to unlimited data plans. If you want an iPhone, you have to have AT&T in the USA, so if it’s killing their network, they’re going to take away unlimited and charge per kb. What this country needs is some competition to keep AT&T honest. You can get the iPhone from Tescos in the UK for goodness sake..! Imagine going to the local supermarket and being able to buy an iphone on contract OR pay as you go…

  • kernelpickle

    Perhaps Ralph doesn’t understand that iPhone users are paying for “unlimited data” because owning an iPhone means DATA ONLY!

    I can’t tell you how many other iPhone users I know that have all said, “I hardly ever use my iPhone as an actual phone!” The REASON they never use it like a phone, is because THEY CAN’T–everyone I know with AT&T, can’t legitimately call the device they use a “phone” because that implies “calling”, what they have are “text messengers”, “e-mailers” and “internet devices”! ( that does include several people I know, that aren’t using iPhones, because they have corporate BlackBerrys, have masochistic tendencies or have suffered closed head injuries)

    If they do anything to make their service any worse, THEY BETTER cut iPhone users loose, because they will quickly see JUST how bad their company is! If I could find any other carrier, with “unlimited data” at a comparable price to what I’m paying now–I wouldn’t even care if I lost some of the “visual voicemail” type features (since nobody can call me anymore!) OR if I could actually GET what I pay for now, I’d probably be willing to pay more if their service was good!

    (Sorry for venting at all of you nice folks, but if I hadn’t my violent rage for AT&T might boil over–let’s just say, by the time it subsides, the term “going Postal” would be rendered obsolete by the phrase “going Cellular!” Now, I’m off to look into iPhone hacks that might allow me to operate on another network! :-D )

  • Emily

    I don’t come anywhere close to using the voice minutes I pay for. I lose rollover minutes every month. If they think I’m going to slow down on my unlimited data they are CRAZY

  • daniel

    um i pay 30 bucks a month specifically for data, on top of 20 for texting ad 40 bucks for voice and the smallest 3g coverage and less voice coverage, and you havethe audacity to ask me to consume less, i’ll continue streaming NFL sunday ticket on my iphone and send all the freaking pic msgs i can! i pay for what you advertise – unlimited not um-limited

  • Mike DeGroff

    Any word on Apple opening the ATT “monopoly” on iPhone? After being a long-time user of Alltel/Verizon (and being TOTALLY satisfied with all phases of reception and customer service), I anxiously await the day I can even STAND IN LINE to dump ATT and return to Verizon. I can’t even get calls on my iPhone at home!

  • Mike DeGroff

    p.s. I’d even pay more!

  • David M.

    Time for Apple to open up iPhone to T-Mobile USA and Verizon.

    Hell, even Telcel Mexico can probably do a far better job than AT&T.

  • Mark

    with all the money I spend on music / apps / games and add my monthly bill for having this phone they should be giving me some perks. Saying they have sold more Iphones compared to whats out there is good. May guess is the bean counters don’t have a super computer handling this usage. They need to buy a bigger hard drive for there mini Mac to handle more sales. A big money maker like this and they want to cut back when they are leading everybody else what are they thinking.