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The Almighty Buck The Internet Wireless Networking

AT&T Lowers Data Access To Just $500/GB 339

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the cheap-at-twice-the-price dept.
GMGruman writes "No doubt in a move to demonstrate how having fewer carriers (once it buys T-Mobile) will be good for US cellular customers, AT&T has announced lower data pricing for customers not on contract: On a per-gigabyte basis, GoPhone users will only pay $500 rather than the previous $5,000. Such a deal. The pricing is indeed lower, but even the best option for such users is five times more than regular customers pay. And given that pay-as-you-go pricing is what the poor and people living paycheck to paycheck use, the result is those who can afford the least still pay by far the most."
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AT&T Lowers Data Access To Just $500/GB

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  • for pete's sake (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @02:52PM (#35798202)

    there isn't an industry in as sore need of regulation

    most of all, i am quite tired of paying the same mandated data plan price for rural 2g

    • by kimvette (919543)

      Sure there is: cable (internet, TV, telephone). They've been pulling similar crap for ages.

      • Sure there is: cable (internet, TV, telephone). They've been pulling similar crap for ages.

        Has anyone else noticed that they are all actually the same industry. The cheap and easy transference of data...

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      I'm also using a prepaid card, but on this side of the pond I'm paying 1â/GB. Minor difference.

      • by lennier1 (264730)

        Seems like /. fucked up the formatting. It's 1EUR/GB and after 20 GB I don't pay any overage but the speed is reduced to GPRS until the end of the month.

      • Re:for pete's sake (Score:4, Informative)

        by schnell (163007) <[me] [at] [schnell.net]> on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:55PM (#35799186) Homepage

        The rates you're getting sound very good - much better than typical US prepaid rates. However, the pricing from the submission is a typical Slashdot sensationalist headline (and hackjob Infoworld article) and is not really comparable. The actual pricing from TFA is:

        • $25 for 500MB
        • $15 for 100MB
        • $5 for 10MB

        So it's only $500/GB if you buy it in 10 MB increments ... kind of like how you'll pay about $150 for a bottle of bourbon if you buy it as shots vs. $25 buying the whole bottle at the liquor store.* But pointing that out evidently doesn't generate outrage and pageviews. Again, not nearly as good as 1 Euro per GB, but also not "$500 per GB."

        I know it's a lot to expect Slashdot to actually read things before posting, but I foolishly continue to hold out hope.

        * Happy hour and dive bars excluded. Add 50% if you are in New York City and 100% if you are in a trendy bar in New York City. Just give up if you are in Tokyo.

        • From TFA:

          >>Of course, there are other plans: One costs $150 per gigabyte if you buy 100MB increments (15 times what regular customers pay), and the other costs "only" $50 per gigabyte if you buy 500MB increments (5 times over the regular customer cost). Such a deal!

          So it's pretty much covered in it.

          And of course, $50 per gigabyte is such an awesome deal, isn't it?? Just to put that in perspective, "pay-as-you-go iPad users pay $10 per gigabyte".

        • by afidel (530433)
          How the F is $25/500MB a good deal when I get unlimited text, data, and 300 minutes of voice from Virgin for that amount? That's the kind of seriously bad pricing that kept me from ever even considering a smartphone for my wife (previously a T-Mobile prepaid customer). The amazing thing about the Virgin pricing is that additional minutes are only $.10/minute so even if she does go over one month it's not like I'm getting raped unlike some of AT&T's plans where overage minutes are $.50/month.
    • by tmosley (996283)
      Not really. Boost has unlimited talk text and internet for $50/month. Pay on time for 6 months, and they knock the bill down $5. Keep paying on time, and it will bottom out at $35/month.

      I just don't understand why anyone would use ATT's shitty service when there is one that is so very much better that is readily available.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I just don't understand why anyone would use ATT's shitty service when there is one that is so very much better that is readily available.

        Because in many areas, there isn't.

      • by mellon (7048)

        If you factor out the phone subsidy, that's more than AT&T charges. The problem is that with AT&T there's no option to factor out the subsidy.

      • I just don't understand why anyone would use ATT's shitty service when there is one that is so very much better that is readily available.

        There is. I use it and like it a lot. We call it T-Mobile. Other than that, no GSM around here. Oh wait....

      • by daenris (892027)
        Because Boost can't roam off its (i.e. Sprint's) network. So if you happen to live (or travel to/through) any of the vast regions without Sprint network coverage, you're out of luck and get no signal. Anywhere in this map (http://www.boostmobile.com/coverage/#?map=cdma ) that isn't dark green gets no service on Boost (or Virgin Mobile for that matter). Both companies advertise it as "no roaming charges" but this is simply because they don't offer any roaming at all. You're either on Sprint's network, or
    • Re:for pete's sake (Score:4, Insightful)

      by halivar (535827) <bfelger.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:53PM (#35799150) Homepage

      Owning a smart phone with a data plan isn't a human right. Don't want to pay that much for the data plan? Don't. Live without it. Billions do it every day.

      If, on the other hand, you choose, of your own volition, to pay the exorbitant fee for the data plan, you only serve to prove that the pricing was reasonable and correct.

      • Re:for pete's sake (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @04:09PM (#35799388)

        Owning a smart phone with a data plan isn't a human right. Don't want to pay that much for the data plan? Don't. Live without it. Billions do it every day.

        Controlling a piece of a the public airways isn't a corporate right. Don't want to charge reasonable rates for data plans? Don't. Live without that government granted monopoly on public property. All the other corporations do it every day.

        • by furball (2853)

          What was the point of AT&T paying the US government licensing fees for those public airways again?

      • One thing to remember is that the scarce bandwidth (aka - airwaves) we do have belongs to the public - its the FCC's mandate to regulate this.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @02:52PM (#35798218) Homepage

    ...is, of course, a necessity of life (in addition to cable television).

    • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @02:55PM (#35798252)

      With proper regulation it could be a more efficient use of money than having a landline and internet. The problem is that there's no competition at all in the American telecommunication industry, and I'm really curious as to what exactly they're referring to when they claim it's competitive.

    • ...is, of course, a necessity of life (in addition to cable television).

      For some, who are required to have ready access to email 24/7 for their jobs, it does become a necessity of (employment) life.

  • How silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @02:54PM (#35798240)
    "And given that pay-as-you-go pricing is what the poor and people living paycheck to paycheck use, the result is those who can afford the least still pay by far the most." What a silly comment. First, I doubt that people who are poor and use pay as you go generally have smartphones, and if they do, they are far less likely to be data users. Second, we are not at the point where smartphones with data are a can't-exist-without-it commodity. If you are this poor, should you be wasting money on any data plan? Certainly data prices from mobile providers are shockingly high, but this is a silly "think of the children" style fallacious appeal to emotion.
    • by voss (52565)

      Most people with pre-paid phones need voice and text messaging...not data plans.

      • by grcumb (781340)

        Most people with pre-paid phones need voice and text messaging...not data plans.

        Oh, so it's okay to rip off the ones who actually do need data, then? Or maybe poor peoples' bandwidth actually does cost orders of magnitude more than that of others?

        • by sorak (246725)

          Most people with pre-paid phones need voice and text messaging...not data plans.

          Oh, so it's okay to rip off the ones who actually do need data, then? Or maybe poor peoples' bandwidth actually does cost orders of magnitude more than that of others?

          Or maybe it's ok to rip off people who make bad decisions....Freedom for the rich, but if you're poor, then it's "why do you need that?"

    • Re:How silly (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Stenchwarrior (1335051) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:17PM (#35798582)

      "And given that pay-as-you-go pricing is what the poor and people living paycheck to paycheck use...

      And people with bad credit.

    • The cellphone carries are like the bottled water industry even with data plans. They charge 1 dollar for what costs them .001 dollars, even more if you don't have a subscription.
    • by amiga3D (567632)

      It's pretty silly for most people, poor or not, to pay such ridiculous prices for what little value that cellular data services provide. I can easily pay what they ask but it galls me to just let someone fuck me like that. I'd rather donate to the red cross or something than some bastard in an ivory tower who manipulates my crooked ass congressman into voting to let him rape my wallet. I've got internet at home and a laptop with wifi for hotspots. Until they get reasonable about prices they can kiss my

    • by Jawnn (445279)

      "And given that pay-as-you-go pricing is what the poor and people living paycheck to paycheck use, the result is those who can afford the least still pay by far the most." What a silly comment. First, I doubt that people who are poor and use pay as you go generally have smartphones, and if they do, they are far less likely to be data users. Second, we are not at the point where smartphones with data are a can't-exist-without-it commodity. If you are this poor, should you be wasting money on any data plan? Certainly data prices from mobile providers are shockingly high, but this is a silly "think of the children" style fallacious appeal to emotion.

      Well..., that is one of the most unrealistic and out-of-touch utterances since Barbara Bush commented on how having to seek refuge in an old sports stadium in a distant city was a step up for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
      You, sir, are insensitive and clueless idiot. Do youself a favor and educate yourself on the plight of the poor. You have a great deal to learn.

    • by fermion (181285)
      It really has nothing to do with poor/rich and smartphones. It has to do with those want a recurring known bill, and those who want to minimize costs. A person of means who does not use a phone a lot might very well decide to use a pay as you go plan. If you don't use a phone every day, it could be cheaper than the basic plan.

      People of limited means may indeed have a smart phone, but it is unlikely they have a smart phone from ATT. ATT, or Verizon for that matter, are simply not the value carriers. Wh

    • by vlm (69642)

      "And given that pay-as-you-go pricing is what the poor and people living paycheck to paycheck use, the result is those who can afford the least still pay by far the most."
      What a silly comment.

      I agree, for different reasons. I'm not wealthy, but I'm doing ... pretty well. I didn't get to this level by signing high multi-year monthly payment contracts. Needless to say I have a pay as you go phone. I pay about $10 per month to virgin mobile on average. That's like 20 minutes of service, which is all I need, and its worth well over $10 to me so I'm very happy with it (shh, don't tell VM)

      I have almost no use for mobile data, but I might sign up for one month during a vacation or something (googl

    • by kaiser423 (828989)
      A large number of poor people access the internet solely through smartphones. It is much, much cheaper to add data to a phone, than it is to get even the most basic of service.

      Dropping your landline and use the smartphone for internet is typically the cheapest deal out there, rather than having a line+dialup or line+cable/dsl internet.

      Some websites that cater to the poor have numbers of ~50% of the users accessing the data through a smartphone.
  • Gasp! The thought of all those poor people who can't afford to use their smart phones, tablets, and netbooks is almost too much to bear... Get a little perspective.

    • Re:Oh no! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:04PM (#35798390) Homepage Journal

      I think the point is that those people are getting soaked. If you want a smart phone you better not want to go prepaid. Of course there are other carriers that do not abuse their customers at that rate. The problem is that one of them is being bought by AT&T... Hey FCC and FTC did you see this?

      • Don't you watch the news? Every time the FCC listens to Slashdot, Congress takes away a piece of their power...
      • by reg (5428)

        I use prepaid on a smartphone because it is the best deal. I don't download movies on my phone, and it connects to wifi in it's most common locations. Hence I only use 15MB or so of data a month. Buying a 100MB ($20) package every now and then and a monthly 1MB ($5) package every month so the 100MB keeps rolling over, means I can go for about 6 months, at $20+6*$5=$50, or just under $10 per month. If I had a contract, that would be $30+ per month on top of my contract. Don't be fooled by Costco pricing

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          I don't download movies but I do download podcasts and stream radio and use RDIO a lot. If you can live with the limitations then great but the price per is till way too hight. Wouldn't you like to pay $20 for a 2 gig package every year os so instead of $10 per month? I mean if it was avail about to you.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    T-mobile web day pass is $1.50/23hr, unlimited access.

  • canada overage costs (Score:5, Informative)

    by ustolemyname (1301665) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:00PM (#35798328)
    Canada:
    TELUS: $50/gb
    Rogers: $30/gb
  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Redbaran (918344) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:00PM (#35798330)
    Let them charge as much as they want! All the better for companies like MetroPCS and the pay-as-you-go shops. Walmart has a $45 30day unlimited everything plan: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Straight-Talk-Unlimited-Text-Talk-and-Web-Access-30-Day-Service-Card-Email-Delivery/15443344 [walmart.com] This isn't discrimination against "the poor and oppressed" like the summary implies, it's more like a stupid tax for someone who can't find a better deal.
    • That might go away soon or be replaced with something more expensive because Walmart is only reselling Tmobile
    • by hedwards (940851)

      There's only 4 options at the moment, and if the AT&T acquisition of T-mobile goes through we'll only have 3 options. Sure there are others, but Boost is owned by Sprint, and any other parties wanting to be cell phone carriers would have to contract with one of those 4.

      Same ultimately goes for people that are wanting internet service at home, there's an extremely limited number of options. The markets don't function well when there aren't any choices to make.

      • by guruevi (827432)

        Depends on where you live really, AT&T/T-Mobile and Sprint seem to collude to exclusively cover certain areas whereas Verizon simply doesn't want to cover it.

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:01PM (#35798344)

    "those who can afford the least still pay by far the most."

    could perhaps more accurately be written:

    "those who typically use the least get charged the most per unit."

    or shortened to:

    "you save money if you buy in bulk."

    Of course, I'm not defending the outrageous rates—just the melodramatic language.

    • by Myopic (18616)

      Why did you conflate "afford the least" with "use the least"? I don't see the connection.

  • Virgin Mobile has two Android phones which get you unlimited data for $25/month. It's far and away the cheapest smart phone data plan in the US. Who cares what T does when we have VM?

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      VM is wholly owned by Sprint.

    • Who cares what T does when we have VM?

      Virgin Mobile doesn't seem to exist within a 500 mile radius of where I live. Not much help.

  • by paulsnx2 (453081) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:04PM (#35798396)

    The Internet is supposed to be only for looking at web pages, no access to actual video or audio content. Want to play a multi-user game? Ha! Not if significant network traffic is required!

    250 GB limits on their AT&T U-verse connection (does not apply to your cable subscription). Some have reported upwards of 4000% errors on their data meter (when AT&T's numbers are compared to those collected by DD-WRT routers).

    2 GB limits on their data plans for smart phones.

    Obviously they already prevent any pre-paid access to the Internet.

    I never did hear if they ever disabled the fiber optic splitter they installed so all their traffic went directly to the NSA.

    Seriously, these guys are the biggest threats to the Internet yet.

  • by Boycott BMG (1147385) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:07PM (#35798446) Journal
    From the press release http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=19623&cdvn=news&newsarticleid=31797&mapcode=consumer%7Cmobile-devices [att.com]

    NEW: $25 FOR 500MB $5 for 10MB (previously $4.99 for 1MB) $15 for 100MB (previously $19.99)

    It is only $500/GB if someone were to sip 10MB at a time. Although the price for the best deal ($50/GB) is still way higher than those on contract.

    • I suspect that $50/GB is really not that terrible, comparatively, with month-to-month plans, if it doesn't expire and you can actually use the entire GB you payed for.

      I say that, because I'm pretty sure that most folks on month-to-month plants don't really use as much bandwidth as they're paying for every month, and in the end, most of the contract folks are paying at least $50/GB too.

    • yeah. but a title that says people pay more per unit when they commit to buying less at a time is hardly exciting. that applies to canned peas.
  • The problem with pay as you go data in the US and Canada is that tourists visiting have to pay through the nose whether they decide to roam or try to go "pay as you go" during their short trip.

    It would be much better if the AT&T and the HSPA carriers in Canada offers day passes for tourists or even some sort of week pass at a reasonable price with a "rental" sim like you can get in Japan.

  • by v(*_*)vvvv (233078) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:11PM (#35798500)

    T-Mobile is way cheaper... oh wait...

  • Remember that market prices are not set based on cost. They are set based on willingness to pay (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willingness_to_pay). All large corporations set their prices this way, based on economic and business theory.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:23PM (#35798686) Journal
      Yes and no. Yes in that willingness to pay is the proximate criterion on which prices are set. No in that one of the major determinants of somebody's willingness to pay is what other providers of similar or identical commodities are charging. In reasonably competitive markets, price competition between approximately equivalent providers of a given good or service means that, in the end, willingness to pay is approximately equal to the lowest price, which is based on the cost structure of the outfit providing that price.

      In hilariously non-competitive markets, of course, willingness to pay and cost are more or less completely decoupled. The same is true for 'ahead of their time' products(where everbody's cost is much higher than anybody's willingness to pay, so the product stays in the lab). In a competitive market for a mature product, though, willingness to pay and cost are fairly closely related.
      • Touché. Seriously, though- thank you for an insightful post base on some real economic theory instead of inflammatory rhetoric. Mod parent up.
  • by BabyDuckHat (1503839) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:28PM (#35798752)
    "...those who can afford the least still pay by far the most."

    That's true almost everywhere in Capitalism.
  • I'm a 6-figure making Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go (month to month fixed price) customer. I lay out $25/mo for an unlimited data plan and 300 voice minutes. I use the data plan like a rented mule - voice only occasionally.

    Only chumps pay more. Cell phone contracts are for the weak-of-mind who think that their modern-day beeper is some kind of status symbol.

  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @03:52PM (#35799146) Journal

    Hey that's capitalism for you.

    You don't like what you're being charged go elsewhere because to regulate what companies can charge is Marxism.

    Or so I've been told by the libertarians, tea baggers, and republicans.

  • by zmooc (33175)

    LOL. I pay â5.99 / month for an unlimited data plan:P WTF is this shit.

  • I live in central Europe and my smart-phone has a pre-paid card with a 1GB data option enabled for 10 EUR (~14 USD) a month.

    That's by far enough for e-mail chat and the occasional map. And I can get rid of it anytime I want (just don't have to extend it for the next month).

    I'm always fascinated to hear the comparison from the new world.

  • couldn't afford FOOD. Who gives a flying rats ass about smart phone rates for the poor.

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