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Iphone Wireless Networking Apple

iPad Bait and Switch — No More Unlimited Data Plan 670

Posted by kdawson
from the nice-while-it-lasted dept.
_KiTA_ writes "AT&T announced today that the iPhone will gain tethering, finally, at an extra $20 a month, but only for people on a new 2GB a month plan. They also quietly announced at the same time the real news — that the $30 Unlimited Data plan on the iPad 3G will be axed in lieu of the same data plan. Yes, this would be the same 'revolutionary data plan' that Steve Jobs was so proud of during the iPad unveiling — it lasted just a month after the 3G model was delayed to May 7. People feeling vibes of previous Apple iDevice releases are not alone. Existing accounts will be allowed to grandfather in, although Apple has removed the ability to purchase the iPad from the online store at this time, and AT&T has a history of changing its plans without warning. Finally, there is no word on what happens if you ever let your Unlimited plan lapse for a month at this time."
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iPad Bait and Switch — No More Unlimited Data Plan

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  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crow_t_robot (528562) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:14AM (#32429756)
    Congrats to the early adopters, I guess. Apparently, these two companies are making so much money that they can just do whatever they want now without repercussion.
  • by mp3LM (785954) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:15AM (#32429766) Homepage
    I'm going to go out on a limb ... from just the summary it would appear that this has very little to do with actions from Apple and has to do with actions from AT&T. If we were required to pick a 'bad guy' in this situation the choice would clearly be AT&T. However, everyone knew it was just a matter of time before tiered data plans started and unlimited stopped as it just makes sense. Yeah no...I get it...free and cheap is nicer...but I'd rather have the tiered data plan then have them go out of business and have nothing.
  • by Miros (734652) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:15AM (#32429770)
    AT&T knows that it will lose its shirt selling unlimited dataplans in the long run, particularly on a device like the iPad which will probably be even worse for them in terms of bandwidth consumption than the iPhone. Still sucks though, and still has that unsavory characteristic of a bait-and-switch. Well folks, it looks like AT&T decided to show up for the "get rich quick off the iPad party" after all. He makes a foul guest.
  • Luxury items (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:15AM (#32429772)

    Luxury prices. You want it, you get it, now shut up. I'll keep my PC, thankyouverymuch.

  • by FPCat (646737) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:17AM (#32429784)
    I think you've confused Apple and AT&T. This is an obvious sign that the new iPhone won't be AT&T exclusive. AT&T is trying to get a last minuet surge by allowing people that sign up by June 7th to get the old rates. When the new phone is announced AT&T's iPhone business will take a major hit
  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:17AM (#32429788)

    Outside of tech and telecom, are there any industries that can get away with "reserving the right" to "change the terms of this agreement without notice" or to sell products without "any implied fitness for merchantability or usefulness for any purpose"? Car companies and real estate deals could never operate with this kind of crap -- people just wouldn't stand for it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:18AM (#32429790)

    AT&T is in no danger of going out of business offering unlimited plans. Bandwidth is measured in throughput, not transfer.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:18AM (#32429792)
    Of course, had Apple not produced a locked down, proprietary iPhone, we would have been tethering all along, and it would be easy to assign blame to AT&T. From where I sit, Apple is helping AT&T, and while they may not be the only company to do so, it is certainly not the case that Apple is completely innocent here.
  • Complain Much? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:20AM (#32429808)

    I agree that losing the unlimited plan isn't great, and that the new plans should be set higher than 200MB and 2GB per month.

    Other than that you are off base. You can purchase the iPad online at Apple's website. How would you like AT&T to notify you of changing plans? They are changing the plans with a week's notice, if you don't like the new plan you don't have to switch to it. Simple. The new 200MB plan would probably work for most people and save them money since they have wifi in their home and work. Comparing it to the price drop of the original iPhone is ridiculous.

    I'm guessing you don't have an iPad, but just want to complain.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:22AM (#32429820)
    I once read the back of a Greyhound ticket, and I am pretty sure it said something to the effect of "change the terms of this agreement without notice." Now, I would not say it is really a comparison, since they would be hard pressed to charge people extra for a ticket they already purchased or to pull other "bait and switch" schemes, but that sort of legalese is not really unique to tech companies.
  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:24AM (#32429836)

    At first like the submitter I thought this was only for the iPhone and iPad, but after checking the press release from AT&T [att.com] it turns out it's for all Smartphones. So these are the new data plans for the iPhone, the iPad, the Nexus One (and all other Android phones), the N900 - everything.

    AT&T claims that this will bring down bills for the average user, and I don't doubt this is true. However the better the Smartphone the easier it is to burn through data, so this seems to be a tactical strike against all high-end Smartphone users, and a blatant attempt to drive away iPad users (2GB for an entire month of browsing on a 10" device, really?). And this is timed to coincide with the launch of the next-gen iPhone, which is widely beleived to have a front-facing camera for video conferencing, which would burn through additional data. I also don't know how you're going to get away with significant video streaming on 2GB a month, but perhaps that's the idea?

    Progress, it seems, is getting less for more. Ultimately the 5GB of data that actually came with an "unlimited" plan is now $25 + $30 in overages. It continues to amaze me just how far we've come since 2008...

  • by Gr8Apes (679165) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:24AM (#32429842)

    well, this will put a crimp in whether to purchase that snazzy new iPhone purportedly coming out this month. Nice, AT&T. First we find out that yes, AT&T has a 5 year exclusive deal, so yes, you will only be able to buy the new iPhone on AT&T's crappy network because you'll be there for 2 years. But now with the 2GB cap (tethered only? Or do you have the option of the original unlimited without it? The TFA doesn't say) it all of a sudden becomes hmmmm, should I? Maybe a Droid isn't so bad after all despite its shortcomings in usability.

    The long and the short of this one is: guess I won't jump to the phone I really wanted if there is no unlimited plan, as I'm not interested in getting walloped with that nice $1/MB or whatever they're charging as overrage fees.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:26AM (#32429860) Homepage

    Yeah no...I get it...free and cheap is nicer...but I'd rather have the tiered data plan then have them go out of business and have nothing.

    What makes you think that was the choice? Is AT&T on the verge of bankruptcy and I haven't heard?

    I'm a bit tired of people implying that we should sympathize with these companies by saying, "But they had to screw our customers and engage in shady and unscrupulous behavior! The only other option is to give everything away for free, and they'd go out of business!" Meanwhile these companies are raking in billions of dollars in profit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:26AM (#32429862)

    How is this insightful? is this Fox News? AT&T controls the network, Apple does not. Why would Apple care if you tether the iPhone? Apple wants you to use the iPhone, period.

    By your failed logic, Apple would disallow tethering outside of the USA, which of course is not the case. This is simply AT&T dictating the use of their network.

  • by Miros (734652) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:28AM (#32429880)
    They are in danger of becoming dumb, fat, pipes and then collapsing into Bertrand [wikipedia.org]. Artificially restricting service to produce multiple levels is just the first step in a whole big plan to can-opener themselves back into a more powerful spot in the value chain for mobile.
  • by cwingrav (8705) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:29AM (#32429892)

    So, they are producing two new dataplans that are cheaper then the current that they say cover 98% of their use base. To me, I think this means I'm going to at least save $5 a month here. Also, tethering is FINALLY announced! I'm excited with this news! I would like unlimited tethering but I work with technology and realize not all things are feasible as continued unlimited plans, especially with tethering, would destroy an already slammed network.

    Slashdot seems to be missing reality here and the compromise that AT&T is making with their network. Ok, hit me with all your complaints about how evil something or other is.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:29AM (#32429894)

    Yes, how terrible that they are changing the terms that they are offering to new customers. Vile. Just vile.

    I guess it's a bit of a bummer for the people that paid extra for the 3G with the idea that they might activate it only now and then, but I'm not sure they should have expected the terms to last forever (but expecting the terms to last for more than a month probably isn't crazy).

  • by Lythrdskynrd (1823332) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:31AM (#32429920)

    I'm going to go out on a limb ... from just the summary it would appear that this has very little to do with actions from Apple and has to do with actions from AT&T. If we were required to pick a 'bad guy' in this situation the choice would clearly be AT&T. However, everyone knew it was just a matter of time before tiered data plans started and unlimited stopped as it just makes sense. Yeah no...I get it...free and cheap is nicer...but I'd rather have the tiered data plan then have them go out of business and have nothing.

    Really? Have you read none of the articles on what the markup is for a Gigabyte of data bandwidth; on a text message? Please. Nobody is going to see AT&T go out of business. I hope they get their arses handed to them in a class action suit.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:32AM (#32429922)

    And when will slashdotters see that Apple is bad for the industry?

    Because AT&T changed their data plans?

    They want to control everything, require you to buy Mac OSX to develop for iPad and iPhone, charge a lot more for hardware than needed and do shit things like this.

    How utterly controlling of Apple to let AT&T do something like this! Wait...

    Apple is the new bad guy, not Microsoft.

    Call me when Apple engages in even a tenth the shenanigans that MS has.

  • by Miros (734652) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:32AM (#32429924)
    It's not untenable, we're just in a transition phase. At some point wireless networks will have capacity that far exceeds demand, and the carriers will collapse into a price war (Bertrand Competition [wikipedia.org]) which will result in what we would now probably consider a good data-plan becoming virtually free at some point. This is the same thing that happened to phone companies with local and then long distance service, as well as a host of other industries over time. Sucks for AT&T, and Verizon though (Sprint probably wont make it). Sure, they're making stupid amounts of cash (billions and billions of profit per quarter) but they know where this road goes and they are trying really hard to change course to keep from getting right back to where they all started -- in the POTS business of the future.
  • by Sepultura (150245) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:35AM (#32429944)

    But it is easy to assign blame to AT&T. In the rest of the world we have tethering, and always have. We also have competition. Up here in Canada pretty much every cell carrier (at least all that carry smart phones) sell the iPhone, and you can tether. When my wife bought her new iPhone from Telus tethering was one of the promotional points they used to sell it to her. Not only that, but a telus rep helped her to figure out how to set up a VOIP system at home (through another company) with a "digital receptionist" feature that allows her to call home for free from anywhere in Canada and then connect over VOIP to anywhere in the world at the VOIP rate. I thought that was pretty decent.

    So it's not exactly fair to say it's Apple's fault. What would be fair would be to ask why in the hell they're sticking with AT&T in the first place - it's like Randell Stephenson has some compromising pictures of Jobs with a goat. Or worse yet, Woz.

  • APPL (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cosm (1072588) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (3msoceht)> on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:36AM (#32429960)
    Let me do everybody a favor:

    apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple apple

    Ok, now that that's out of our system, can we talk about something else for once?
  • Google FTW. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headhot (137860) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:36AM (#32429962) Homepage

    I heart my Nexus 1. Not being tied to a carrier.

    Shell out the bucks out front. You'll save it in the long run.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:39AM (#32429988)

    You got +5 Interesting, but are entirely off topic. AT&T are changing the plans they offer, existing customers don't lose their current plans.

  • by Amarantine (1100187) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:41AM (#32430012)

    They want to control everything, require you to buy Mac OSX to develop for iPad and iPhone

    Yeah, the bastards. Imagine i'd have to buy Windows to develop for the Windows Phone 7 platform. Or that i'd have to buy a PlayStation3 to play God Of War. No, Apple is clearly the bad guy here, how dare they impose such system requirements on us.

    charge a lot more for hardware than needed and do shit things like this.

    Yes, their profits are far higher than software companies. No wonder Microsoft still operates from Ballmer's basement, they practically *give* Windows and Office away.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:44AM (#32430040) Homepage

    Slashdotters have seen this for a long time. Unfortunately, many who complain about Apple get modded as troll and face the same old "if you don't like it, don't buy it" nonsense which completely ignores the potential damage that can result in the PC and Mobile device markets at large. It's rather like the game DRM discussions where people say don't buy blizzard or whatever game maker is installing ridiculous measures that manage to get cracked before it hits the store shelves. It's not about the publisher or manufacturer specifically, but rather it is about potential industry trends that we would like to see stopped before it catches on. And while it is true that the "don't buy it" thing sends a sort of message to people who are doing it or are interested in doing it, nothing says it better than massive complaints and comments directly from users here and later elsewhere and directly to the sellers which is what I, personally, advocate. After all, just not buying it means "someone is pirating it!"

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:44AM (#32430042)

    Of course, had Apple not produced a locked down, proprietary iPhone, we would have been tethering all along, and it would be easy to assign blame to AT&T. From where I sit, Apple is helping AT&T

    They're not just helping AT&T, they're in a symbiotic relationship.
    Full disclosure, I own an iPhone.

    Apple: "Customer, dear customer, you want tethering? Well, it's in the App Store from a company called Null River."
    AT&T: "No it's not."
    Average iPhone Customers: "What's tethering?"
    Apple: "We pulled the app for review, but will bring it back shortly."
    AT&T: "No you won't"
    Customers: "Want tethering even MORE now!"
    Apple: "If you buy the new iPhone 3Gs you can now get tethering!"
    AT&T: "No you can't."
    Apple: "If you buy the new iPhone 3Gs [in a country other than USA] you can now get tethering!"
    Customers: "Tethering! *frothing* Tethering!"
    Apple: "We worked out a remarkable deal with AT&T, and now you can tether! Buy an iPhone 4G today!"
    Customers: "Tethering! See, I knew tethering would happen if I just bought enough iPhones!"
    AT&T: "Sure, it's true, you can tether, but at a rate that it will be useless for laptops. And pay more for the reduced network bandwidth losers! Ahahahahaha!"
    Apple: "Look at all these iPhone moneys! We can haz cheeseburger now."
    Null River: "Um, what the hell happened?"

  • by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:45AM (#32430048)
    You do realize tethering for the iPhone is available outside the US, and has been for a long time?
  • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:48AM (#32430080)

    And thus the $20 extra charge for tethering. There was no need to cut the $30/unlimited plan just to introduce tethering. Anyone giving this even the slightest thought knew that AT&T was going to charge a huge surcharge to enable tethering.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:51AM (#32430098)
    Since evil is available in infinite supply, I'd say they're both evil as well as MS and Google while we're at it. Since I've still got evil to spare, I think that the US government is also evil for allowing our money to subsidized Israeli war crimes.

    But seriously, this is /. either it's anti-Apple or pro-Apple we don't allow them moderates in here.
  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:57AM (#32430148)

    Re: airlines -- there are legitimate changes in logistics due to mechanical failure, weather pattern changes, volcanoes, whatever else have you, that can affect what planes or crew are available, or whether or not the flight can safely take off.

    I'm sure there are examples in other industries of this sort of thing happening from time-to-time, but it just seems to me to be endemic in tech and telecom. Look at software for instance -- "pay s $300 for the right to use what's on this plastic disk, but not ownership, and btw -- we're not going to promise that what's on the plastic disk does anything, anyway." That's just dicked up.

  • Abso-fing-lutely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:58AM (#32430164) Journal

    Screw AT&T - take your Nexus One you've got on AT&T's network and get a plan from Verizon!

    Oh, it doesn't work on Verizon. Well, fuck that - go to Sprint!

    Oh, it doesn't work on Sprint either. Damn it, go use T-moboile!

    Oh, it won't do data on their high speed network.

    See, even if you buy your own hardware, the lack of cellular data standards will fuck you over anyway. Unless, of course, you want to buy another unsubsidized phone, in which case you can pay an extra $600 (=$25/mo for two years) to switch.

  • by teg (97890) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @08:59AM (#32430176) Homepage

    Of course, had Apple not produced a locked down, proprietary iPhone, we would have been tethering all along, and it would be easy to assign blame to AT&T. From where I sit, Apple is helping AT&T, and while they may not be the only company to do so, it is certainly not the case that Apple is completely innocent here.

    Since Verizon and Sprint don't use GSM like the rest of the world, "being locked down to AT&T" in the US means "not making a separate, completely different model from what the rest of the world uses for Verizon and Sprint". It's not as easy as just having an exclusivity deal expire. Using different networks is one way the US carriers can avoid having the market be as competitive as in Europe.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:00AM (#32430186) Homepage Journal

    AT&T controls the network, Apple does not.

    Apple is the one that has required that you use AT&T if you want to use their products.

    Anybody want to start the countdown until a new model iMac has an AT&T lock-in too? Maybe just a entry-level model, but still...

    Apple products are lovely, but their business model is ugly and hostile.

  • by ukdmbfan (904348) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:04AM (#32430238) Homepage

    Apple is the one that has required that you use AT&T if you want to use their products.

    Then don't use them. People act like this is hard or something. Apple is not heroin, it's just capitalistic.

    Anybody want to start the countdown until a new model iMac has an AT&T lock-in too? Maybe just a entry-level model, but still...

    This is so hilariously out-of-touch with reality that your previous statement now makes perfect sense.

  • by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:09AM (#32430290)

    And if there is sufficient competition, they won't succeed. In a functioning free market, the price of their service should approach the cost of offering it. If they are able to artificially restrict service, then it's obvious more competition is needed.

  • by Miros (734652) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:12AM (#32430322)
    You are right. What's interesting here is that the result can be the same as that of perfect competition but with a duopoly. In this case it would be very difficult if not impossible for a company to decide today that they want to be a national wireless service provider built on their own infrastructure. The problem is even if they could finance the construction of all of the network infrastructure they would never be able to compete on price. They would have to pay off the debt they used to construct the network, but they are competing against companies that have been amortizing those costs over a decade or more. They wouldn't have a prayer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:13AM (#32430328)

    At some point wireless networks will have capacity that far exceeds demand, and the carriers will collapse into a price war...

    Oh right! Of course! Like what is currently happening with our wired/optical connections, right? Try to run this past me again after the companies have stopped trying to cap and hobble connections while charging ever-increasing amounts for worse quality connections.

  • by MattSausage (940218) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:15AM (#32430356)
    And once you create this competition, I will be the first to sign up for your cheaper, unlimited bandwidth. The free market is as much an idealized unattainable as the Star Trek no money communism utopia. It is great, in theory, but simply put, the cost of entry into most markets is too high, and thus a truly free market will never exist, because those in the market want to keep competition to a minimum.

    Pretty much the same thing can be said about democracy I suppose.
  • by MistrBlank (1183469) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:19AM (#32430406)

    Or I could just jailbreak my iPhone and give AT&T the finger.

  • by MistrBlank (1183469) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:20AM (#32430420)

    Those iPad owners are grandfathered in, as long as they keep paying on that plan.

    Part of the allure of the iPad was being able to drop and pick up the plan AT WILL because you are not locked in to a contract. They will no longer be able to do so.

  • by English French Man (1220122) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:21AM (#32430430)

    By your failed logic, Apple would disallow tethering outside of the USA, which of course is not the case. This is simply AT&T dictating the use of their network.

    This isn't exactly true. iPhone doesn't have tethering either here in France for instance; of course, I am not aware of every place in the world, but as tethering is available on android phones, and it doesn't seem to bother network operators, I wouldn't say that Apple is completely unblamable.

  • by xaxa (988988) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:31AM (#32430576)

    You can artificially introduce competition by requiring the companies that own the infrastructure to lease it at a fair price to competitors (or you could tell them to sort it out themselves, without the need for legislation).

    MVNO [wikipedia.org].

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:43AM (#32430742) Homepage Journal

    What makes you think that US wireless service (or much of any other U.S. industry for that matter) is a functioning free market?

    It's huge companies operating in a virtual trust structure. You have no real choice... just varying degrees of bad.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:46AM (#32430784) Homepage Journal

    Yeah! And BP *had* to ignore all those safety protocols or else they wouldn't have been profitable and they would have gone out of business. Let's forgive them too! After all, they only way the could have survived was to dump 800 gazillion gallons of oil into a Louisiana swamp. And then run away.

    In other words, I agree. Stop apologizing for giant corporations who happily screw you in the name of profits. The CEO of AT&T probably makes enough in bonuses alone to pay for everyone's unlimited data plans. He probably spends more on lunch than you make in a year. This year's new yacht could probably cover everyone's data plans handily.

    Stop being apologists. Those guys can get by on normal salaries just like you and me. They won't starve to death if they are forced to only make a million a year instead of 20 million. If executive pay weren't so ludicrous, I'm sure large companies would be even more profitable, and yet, you're happliy giving them even more of your money in return for even less -- just so a few can retain their mansions, and the company can be even more profitable doing less.

  • Re:Complain Much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pros_n_Cons (535669) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:49AM (#32430828)

    The new 200MB plan would probably work for most people and save them money since they have wifi in their home and work.

    What plan should people get if they can get 3G but not cable or DSL where they live?

    This is me. i use sprint 3g on a mobile card, and am looking into using the EVO as a hotspot. I can see att losing many customers this way. but perhaps thats the plan. getting rid of the data suckers is cheaper than building better infrastructure?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @09:54AM (#32430908)

    Tethering finally announced??? WTF? I've been tethering for 4 years on my HTC 8525. Welcome to 2006 Iphone users...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @10:01AM (#32431028)

    Apple is WAY eviler than Microsoft ever thought of being. The only reason they got a pass for a while was that they were small and Microsoft needed a foil. Now that they are big, of the big boys out there, MS, Google, Apple, Apple is the scariest of them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @10:09AM (#32431124)

    It's not untenable, we're just in a transition phase. At some point wireless networks will have capacity that far exceeds demand, and the carriers will collapse into a price war.

    What, you mean a similar price war that so quickly broke out for SMS messages?

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @10:16AM (#32431218)

    So, they are producing two new dataplans that are cheaper then the current that they say cover 98% of their use base. To me, I think this means I'm going to at least save $5 a month here. Also, tethering is FINALLY announced! I'm excited with this news!

    This is like the culmination of everything bad about Slashdot, distilled down to the essence of why the general posting population have got the tech market so wrong for about a decade now.

    It's yet another "No wireless. Less space than a nomad moment" except that instead of involving the most basic of deductive reasoning to see why a product might be popular and avoid embarrassingly bad prognostication, here as you say a product is suddenly cheaper for 95% of tens of millions of iPhone users, and on top of that you FINALLY have the ability to tether which people have been (rightfully) bitching about for ages. And instead of saying "finally AT&T lowers prices a bit" you get a flood of whining because you cannot have enough bandwidth to stream a full 1080p HD rip of a movie per day on your PHONE!

    I mean, the fact the price is lower is right there. It doesn't take The Great Randi to think that tens of millions of people not using more than 500k/month outside WiFi coverage might just enjoy a cheaper plan, or that it might actually DRIVE sales to have a cheaper plan.

    If you want high hilarity, apply the fortune cookie trick to the many insane posts on this story - simply add "Cheaper data plan..." in front of every complaint. Some examples from current top rated posts:

    Cheaper data plan... will put a crimp in whether to purchase that snazzy new iPhone!

    Cheaper data plan means... you are unhappy!

    Cheaper data plan... still sucks though, and still has that unsavory characteristic of a bait-and-switch.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @10:20AM (#32431286)

    I don't understand this statement. Here in Nordic countries, mobile operators are actively advertising 3G internet as something that average people would want to replace their normal home DSL/cable with. I would assume normal home connections eat a whole lot more bandwidth then any smart phone/tablet. It's very profitable when you do it right.

    I think you actually mean "AT&T knows that it will earn more money selling non-unlimited data plans..." This is quite likely, especially considering how much it usually costs to go over, and how well apple fans have rolled over when it came to moving extra money out of their pockets and into apple/apple subsidiaries' pockets. Also known as "profit margin".

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LordNimon (85072) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @10:20AM (#32431294)
    Goodbuy, browsing /. in the bathroom!

    First of all, it's "goodbye", not "goodbuy". Second, you don't have a wireless router in your house? Even with the unlimited 3G plan, using 802.11 is always better.
  • by mapkinase (958129) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @10:33AM (#32431468) Homepage Journal

    Switching from unlimited to a meter will have an effect on web advertising as well. Nobody in the right mind wants to pay for downloading ad videos.

    Personally, I would welcome text-only internet if it comes to it. I kind of miss the environment of academy-only days of bitnet, email lists, usenet and gopher.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @10:35AM (#32431506)

    The wording on it is unclear, but it sounds like you have to be an existing user of the data plan to have it grandfathered in.:

    Existing iPad customers who have the $29.99 per month unlimited plan can keep that plan or switch to the new $25 per month plan with 2 GB of data.

      If that's the case, it is indeed bait-and-switch. You were supposed to be able to go on or off of it month-to-month, so you shouldn't have to currently have the $29.99 unlimited plan in order to have it as an option.

  • by chrish (4714) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @10:42AM (#32431602) Homepage

    iPhones aren't locked to a specific carrier in Canada, you can get them on Rogers, Bell or Telus.

    And yet, amazingly, all three offer identical plans at identical rates.

    Purely coincidental, of course, there's no collusion in telecommunications, just like there's no collusion at the gas pumps.

    When iPad and iPhone are available on other US carriers, you have exactly the same situation to look forward to. You'll be able to get exactly the same plan at exactly the same price from any of 2-3 different "competitors".

  • by rickb928 (945187) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @10:43AM (#32431612) Homepage Journal

    Well, this is the problem, isn't it? Who wants to sell fat, dumb pipes?

    The cable cos figured this out fairly quickly. First, CATV was a way to deliver better reception; a fat, dumb pipe. Then cable got alternative programming, then exclusive or premium programming, then pay-per-view. Video is pretty much tapped out since Interactive TV failed, and along comes the Internet. A way to sell the same pipe again. Yes, it needed bigger pipes, but that's offset by the revenue. VOIP gave them a third way to sell the same pipe yet again. Not a bad trick.

    Now wireless cos are working out how to do the same thing. Voice is obvious. SMS/MMS is just the second way to sell what is the same pipe in the way the cable cos sell video and Internet. Now wireless is selling Internet as the third stream.

    Well, despite the bigness and fatness of the pipes, there are actual limits. Charging more for volume is the model followed in video, with the cable cos charging us incrementally even for chanels that PAY THEM to be carried. Needless to say, channels that charge the cable cos end up costing us. And cable cos do have limited bandwidth. Most systems carry video, VOIP, residential Internet, commercial Internet, and some carry dedicated data channels not so easily categorized. Wireless is currently even more constrained, but while technology may yet give us way more capability in wireless, it will still be finite.

    And of course wireless cos will want to extract revenue from us, as much and as often as possible.

    I'm not the least surprised AT&T kills the unlimited data plan. They can't tolerate iPhone traffic in many areas, and the iPad soaks up data in a way that makes the iPhone look like it's using an eyedropper. Come on. Be honest. This was inevitable.

    What's interesting is trying to understand who's wagging the dog. Is Apple engorging AT&T by selling data-hungry devices that fatten AT&T's wallet, or is AT&T enabling Apple to sell data-hungry devices that further implant Apple's hold and attraction on and from their customers? The iPod succeeds mostly because of iTunes. iPhone succeeds mostly because of the app store. iPad? Probably because of something Apple is cooking up right now, and we haven't recognized it yet. The iPad is actually breaking Apple's typical strategy, because it is only locked into AT&T by a microSIM, which you can duplicate with a pair of scissors. Something else is coming. Maybe the successful AppleTV? Yes, the iPad screen is not HD ratio, but if you letterbox it up at the top of the screen, what do you do with the bottom of the screen? Answer - monetize it. The Apple Way.

    We'll see. But capped data plans were inevitable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @10:47AM (#32431654)

    Since Verizon and Sprint don't use GSM like the rest of the world, "being locked down to AT&T" in the US means "not making a separate, completely different model from what the rest of the world uses for Verizon and Sprint".

    T-Mobile [wikipedia.org] is a GSM-based carrier in the U.S. that isn't AT&T. Apple's lock-in is more than just a technology issue.

  • by Wireless Joe (604314) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @11:21AM (#32432132) Homepage
    So you want AT&T (and all other providers) to be a dumb pipe or not? This form of action would just be opening the door to traffic shaping, preferential treatment, etc; basically everything net neutrality is against. Do you really want to give AT&T an excuse to monitor the content you access?
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by davester666 (731373) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @11:25AM (#32432204) Journal

    Um, this ain't Apple. It's AT&T that's changing their available contract terms...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @11:26AM (#32432212)

    I was outraged when I saw the press release, then a friend calmly asked how many GB of data I use. After going through the last 6 months of bill statements, it looks like I use anywhere from 140 - 200 MB per month. I use data pretty indiscriminately, so I assumed my usage numbers would be much higher.

    AT&T is lowering my bill by $15/month? My mind has been blown.

  • by MadUndergrad (950779) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @11:31AM (#32432284)

    These days you just can't count on wifi to be open. I don't care if a nearby home or hotel has wifi if it's encrypted. These days it seems you have to be inside an establishment that offers wifi to have access to it - that leaves about 99% of the city where I'm stuck with cell coverage.

  • $20 for tethering? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zxcvbnmasdfghjkl (1369753) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @11:50AM (#32432634)

    I think that the additional $20/month for tethering is ridiculous. You're paying a monthly fee to keep a function of the device unlocked. Whether I use 2GB/month on the phone itself or I use 2GB/month while using my phone as a router, isn't it all the same to AT&T? So, why the extra $20 for no extra cost to the provider?

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by delinear (991444) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @11:54AM (#32432682)
    Garnering massive amounts of free publicity about your revolutionary new data plans, then dropping them without similar fanfare a couple of months later sounds a little underhand, you have to admit. There's no way this was a short term decision, they must have known about this in advance, the least these companies can do is be honest - most people resent the fact that it seems like they're being gamed more than they resent the changes themselves, and I know it's naive and that's just the way the world works, but it doesn't mean doesn't royally suck.
  • by Barrinmw (1791848) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @12:01PM (#32432810)
    I don't think the Justice Department would allow that...at least they shouldn't allow it.
  • by atamido (1020905) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @12:12PM (#32433016)

    At some point wireless networks will have capacity that far exceeds demand

    This is so absurdly wrong that I'm doing away with moderating in this discussion to comment.

    With a wired network you can always run more wire and fiber to increase bandwidth and create full duplex communication. You can multiplex different signals through the same fiber. You can do all of these things to continually increase bandwidth to a location because you can protect the signals from interference by a millimeter of shielding.

    With a wireless network you have a limited number of frequencies that are usable. Only a limited number that aren't blocked/reflected by sheetrock, a piece of paper, or water vapor in the air. And the frequencies that do work get interference from reflections, devices that leak EM, and other broadcasting towers. For a given range of frequencies (the bandwidth) there are hard and fast rules about how many bits you can transmit. Not technological limitations, these are laws of the universe.

    The only way to work around this is to make the cells smaller, which means you need more towers, and more costs. Say that you have 6 towers to cover an area, if you halve designed transmit distance, you'd need 24 towers to cover the same area. And that only works so far because you have to balance transmit distance with still having enough power to transmit though walls.

    Perhaps if some sort of quantum entanglement method is created for cell phones that doesn't require EM radiation to operate, then unlimited wireless for everyone will be a reality. Until that point it's just delusions.

  • by Kooonsty (1365027) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @12:51PM (#32433744)

    It's not untenable, we're just in a transition phase. At some point wireless networks will have capacity that far exceeds demand, and the carriers will collapse into a price war (Bertrand Competition [wikipedia.org]) which will result in what we would now probably consider a good data-plan becoming virtually free at some point. This is the same thing that happened to phone companies with local and then long distance service, as well as a host of other industries over time. Sucks for AT&T, and Verizon though (Sprint probably wont make it). Sure, they're making stupid amounts of cash (billions and billions of profit per quarter) but they know where this road goes and they are trying really hard to change course to keep from getting right back to where they all started -- in the POTS business of the future.

    Just like how texting is virtually free now right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @01:07PM (#32434036)

    This isn't interesting, it's dumb. By visiting a particular website, you are giving implicit approval to receive their content, *including ads*. AT&T will just laugh at you.

  • The real plan (Score:2, Insightful)

    by joeyjoejo1200 (665127) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @03:48PM (#32436314)
    noobs, It's obvious what is being done here: 1- Make the deal cheaper for the 98% that don't consume massive amounts of data 2- Tighten the screws on the people hammering their network (the 2% using more than 2 Gig per month) This makes it better for all (just not me), its a culling of the outliers
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @03:54PM (#32436392)

    That's by NO means inevitable.

    You're looking at the scaling of bandwidth consumption vs. the scaling of increases in wireless frequency utilization (aka efficiency).

    Unlike wired infrastructure, you can't just create more frequency. There's a finite amount available, and an even more finite subset of that with desirable propagation characteristics. So no, it's not inevitable that wireless bandwidth will become a commodity.

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