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AT&T Should Be Investigated For 'Fraudulent' Data Policies, Says PK 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the reach-out-and-throttle-someone dept.
zacharye writes "AT&T on Monday announced a new plan that will let developers pay for the data used by their apps and services. The data consumed by apps that make use of this new feature would not apply toward a user's data cap. The new service was pitched as a way for content providers to ease customers' growing concerns over wireless data usage, however one public interest group sees the feature as a slap in the face to AT&T subscribers. 'This new plan is unfortunate because it shows how fraudulent the AT&T data cap is, and calls into question the whole rationale of the data caps,' Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, said in a statement. 'Apparently it has nothing to do with network management. It's a tool to get more revenue from developers and customers.'"
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AT&T Should Be Investigated For 'Fraudulent' Data Policies, Says PK

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  • AT&T Investigated (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @06:14PM (#39190289)

    I don't need to read more than "AT&T Investigated" in order to agree.

    That is all.

    Hang'em high.

    • ATT is hardly beyond redemption. The cable companies arent any better and the other alternatives are few and often expensive. ATT is one of the members of a corrupted industry.
      • by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:28PM (#39191193)

        They are beyond redemption, but not alone. It's good somebody is bringing that up.

        *EVERY* carrier is fucking over the consumer with over sold bandwidth, unrealistic caps, and deceptive marketing practices.

        It's more problematic with wireless carriers since they have real problems trying to over sell it because everyone is breaking down the door at the same time for the non-existent bandwidth.

        Same thing has happened to Clear in more than a couple of markets. They overloaded their networks so badly their 4G operates no better than 3G.

        I hope they destroy AT&T over this, and stick their head on a spike. Maybe put some fear into Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint from pulling the exact same crap.

        • by anubi (640541)
          This has been an interesting topic... how should a carrier charge?

          Internet access has been a pain-in-the-arse for me, too - where "advances" in technology gives webmasters opportunities to use more and more bloatware, which I must download in order to view often simple content.

          Javascript is by far the most egregious, with flash running a close second. A couple of those on the page can cause me to download megabytes of unwanted crap while I am looking for a simple link to what I am looking for.

          This
          • by Omestes (471991)

            ...my State government has been telling us we are running short of freshwater and the farmers need it. If that be the case, I would rather see the water on the crop, not in the gutter in front of my house.

            Every time my state says things like this I giggle and use more superfluous water. Why? I live in Arizona, and find it unconscionable that cotton farmers should get some sort of moral priority over normal citizens (cotton is a very water intensive crop, and we're in a state with very little water). The same goes for other water intensive industries here.

            That said, we have a xeriscaped yard (if we wanted grass we wouldn't have continued to live in the desert), and our toilets are completely useless (whic

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            Javascript is by far the most egregious, with flash running a close second.

            Only bad, misused javascript. Javascript is simply plain text, and a good programmer doesn't need to use much. Unfortunately, few web sires have good programmers and many don't have any at all, using software HTML writers that may load a whole javascript library when one or two lines of it is all that's actually used.

            I do my best to avoid those sites.

            even have one of those damned toilets that require five to six flushes to get the jo

        • Part of the problem is lack of internal carrying capacity from the cell towers. Each tower has a limited amount of bandwidth available. From what I understand, the data links to the towers are the choke point. Perhaps there's room for improvement in this area. I wouldn't know. Secondly, you can only allocate so many channels within the cellphone spectrum. And then there are giant buildings in a downtown district that are known to create shadows or blind-spots of limited to no service.

          Basically, the wireless

    • I think we should investigate smartphone users who are still with AT&T. Those people should be in zoos.

      • by HuckleCom (690630)
        Moo
      • I think all of their texts are being used to compose Shakespeare. You know, the whole "million monkeys" thing.
      • by peragrin (659227)

        why AT&T provide more or less equally bad service at equally bad pricing, with coverage that is basically the same(shitty).

        you go with a service that provides the best overall quality for the area you are in and know that another area it will be the opposite unless it is rural then they both suck.

      • by Firehed (942385)

        What, and move to Sprint or Verizon who are both saints? Who are you trying to fool? While I by no means like AT&T, I a) still have my grandfathered unlimited data plan and would happily go to small claims court if it becomes an issue and b) can use data while on a call, which is impossible on CDMA networks.

    • by Idbar (1034346)
      Ironically, they're going to be investigated because they're supposedly trying to offset the traffic load from heavy consuming adds to the developers instead of the customers.

      While I see this may end up in double dipping and charging everyone twice "by mistake". It's weird they don't want to investigate ATT because of their caps and irrational plans (as most of the other carriers), but because they will be charging app development companies for abusing data from users that probably don't expect it.
      • by cob666 (656740)

        Ironically, they're going to be investigated because they're supposedly trying to offset the traffic load from heavy consuming adds to the developers instead of the customers.

        No, they are NOT trying to offset the traffic load. They are trying to get content providers to pay for data usage, the traffic load isn't going to change and in fact may actually increase. If I'm using say 2GB/month and suddenly x number of content providers are being charged for 1/2 of my data usage then my usage drops to 1GB/month. I'm not going to be so concerned about going over my data limit and possibly use more data, say up to 1.5GB/month. NOW, my usage is ACTUALLY 2.5GB/month.

  • Well, yeah... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    " 'Apparently it has nothing to do with network management. It's a tool to get more revenue from developers and customers.'"

    Well, yeah. And the customers buy it anyway. Darn that free market.

    • Re:Well, yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DickBreath (207180) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @06:23PM (#39190429) Homepage
      Your free market remark is a red herring.

      We are talking about government granted monopolies to public spectrum. There is a limited amount of spectrum. It's not infinite. Government manages it in the public interest. AT&T is granted a license to use some spectrum in the public interest. They cannot just do anything they want with it and charge anything they can manage to swindle customers out of.

      If AT&T were charging for access to read their opinions, then that would be a free market. I could just say no and go away. I could go elsewhere and read someone else's opinions for less, or for free. The difference is that there is an extremely limited number of wireless operators that effectively collude on price. Therefore it is important to regulate AT&T and prevent them from charging arbitrarily high prices that are completely unrelated to the cost + reasonable profit of delivering those services.

      My response to complaints about the regulation of public utilities is this: If AT&T doesn't like it, then they could just get out of the business and let someone else take over their license to that valuable public spectrum.
      • AT&T aren't granted a license, they are sold a license for hundreds of millions to billions of dollars at a time, which substantially changes the argument and can hardly be claimed to be "in the public interest" in the first place.

        • AT&T aren't granted a license, they are sold a license for hundreds of millions to billions of dollars at a time, which substantially changes the argument and can hardly be claimed to be "in the public interest" in the first place.

          The two are not mutually exclusive. For example, one could argue that AT&T gets a substantial cash discount in exchange for being required to steward the spectrum in the public interest. That such stewardship is worth a cash discount of many billions of dollars. After all, where else is AT&T going to get spectrum from? They are buying it from a monopoly source so the price is whatever we say it is. And still they buy it from us, damn that free market.

        • by sjames (1099)

          No. The license they pay fore comes with a public interest cause attached. They knew that when they bid on it.

          • by jd2112 (1535857)

            No. The license they pay fore comes with a public interest cause attached. They knew that when they bid on it.

            Shareholders are the public right?

            • by sjames (1099)

              They are a small fraction of the public. The rest is supposed to benefit as well.

        • by shaitand (626655)

          That's like claiming you should be able to do whatever you want on the road because you paid a toll or paid a fee for your drivers license.

  • by DickBreath (207180) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @06:15PM (#39190309) Homepage
    So all the bandwidth everyone needs is actually there? The data caps were just a ruse to get more money for it.

    Since people balked, even sued, AT&T now proposes that maybe developers could pay the difference.

    That is telling. It means the bandwidth necessary for, say, Netflix never was a technical problem. It's just that AT&T looked at the fact that they are just a dumb pipe and AT&T wanted more money for valuable content traversing its network. It's the Net Neutrality problem all over again.
    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @06:47PM (#39190767) Homepage
      Ultimately it's just a method for AT&T to hide the fact that they're charging their customers by having someone else charge them instead. Because you know how this will work, right? AT&T will charge Netflix, and that will cause Netflix to increase their prices. You'll pay the price either way.
      • by powerlord (28156)

        AT&T will charge Netflix, and that will cause Netflix to increase their prices. You'll pay the price either way.

        ... and either way the money goes to AT&T.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HuckleCom (690630)
      The beauty of this is like so:


      1. User pays same amount for 'capped' bandwidth regardless
      2. "Developer" pays for their bandwidth - even though it doesn't really line the pockets of the user with any savings
      3. "Developer" passes buck to users with higher prices/more ads.


      Wham-bam, thank you ma'am.
      • by suutar (1860506)
        and then AT&T can raise prices on the developer, who doesn't really have "switch carriers" as an option; all they can do then is drop the bandwidth back on the users, who won't be happy and won't (all) blame AT&T for it.
      • I've heard this explanation before, but one thing bothers me: Under the plan I read about, the customer would still get their gigs of data, it's just the sponsored content wouldn't be pulled from that allotment. So if Netflix paid the bill, for example, you could stream 10 gigs of Netflix and still have your 2 gigs left over for other services. The user wouldn't see a lower bill, but if they would see more data landing to their phone.

        I still think it's a shitty idea, it's just the 'double dipping' argume

        • by Renraku (518261)

          You're cute. The whole reason AT&T gives for capping their bandwidth so low is that they have limited bandwidth on their towers (and backends for landlines). Charging developers isn't going to fix this..you really think they'd make it to where netflix or someone similar would have to pay for all the bandwidth you used? This would make the limited bandwidth situation worse and would drive away newcomers to the mobile app market.

          No, more than likely what will happen is they'll charge the developer for

    • by AcidPenguin9873 (911493) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:46PM (#39191417)

      While I tend to believe that this is AT&T being corporate money-grabbing assholes, I have to disagree on the inference you made, that "we will allow the apps on our network if devs pay for bandwidth" implies "there is no capacity problem".

      Charging for something is a way for regulating demand for a scarce supply of something. It's literally Econ 101, supply and demand. AT&T has to charge someone for the capacity used, such that the rates charged for it will regulate it. If there's a capacity problem, the rates go up. When the rates go up, demand goes down, and the capacity eventually reaches equilibrium based on price. It's how any producer sets the price of something in limited supply and high demand.

      If demand is high enough for a sustained amount of time, then it's in AT&T's best interest to expand the production capacity (i.e. increase bandwidth available on their network), thus raising the supply. The marginal price goes down, but they are selling more total bandwidth, so their total revenue goes up. If they don't expand in a timely manner, a competitor comes in with better service for the same price, and all AT&T's customers leave and join the competitor.

      In any case, you need to attach a price to the thing in limited supply so that it self-regulates. If no one pays for it, that's when there's a capacity problem.

      If you want to argue about AT&T selling unlimited data plans that aren't really unlimited, that's one thing. You can also argue that bandwidth is not a true "physical" resource that takes cost to produce; once a certain capacity is in place, you shouldn't charge for usage. You can also argue that spectrum itself is scarce and the government grants a monopoly to these few companies, so competition is limited or nonexistent, and so they should be regulated. These are all fair arguments. But the general inference of "devs pay for bandwidth" => "no capacity problem" is fallacious.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I wouldn't have a problem with your mindless regurgitation of the tired assertion that, "Charging for something is a way for regulating demand for a scarce supply of something," if it was a hard good that was being sold. But you're talking about bandwidth that's sold on both the up and down side. Not to mention the fact that as a 'consumer' I have no control over the commercial side of the payload I'm required to download along with the 'content' I request.

        The average webpage has mushroomed in size from 15k

        • if it was a hard good that was being sold

          You missed the part of my post where I said: "You can also argue that bandwidth is not a true "physical" resource that takes cost to produce; once a certain capacity is in place, you shouldn't charge for usage."

          But you're talking about bandwidth that's sold on both the up and down side.

          What are you talking about? AT&T is proposing to *not* charge on the download side, i.e. not count the bandwidth towards the download cap of the end user. Instead, they would charge for it on the upload side, to the service provider who is delivering the content. Sure, the service provider may

          • by shaitand (626655)

            'You missed the part of my post where I said: "You can also argue that bandwidth is not a true "physical" resource that takes cost to produce; once a certain capacity is in place, you shouldn't charge for usage."'

            Perhaps he didn't buy the tatic where you toss an off-hand one liner at each of the arguments that erodes yours at the end to prevent others from expressing them and damaging your argument.

            • My post was addressing the (IMHO incorrect) inference that "devs pay for bandwidth" implies "there is no capacity problem." I stand by my original argument.

              If you want to have a different argument about exactly what bandwidth and capacity is, and how an ISP should be amortizing their network investment, we can do that, but that in no way erodes my original argument.

          • What are you talking about? AT&T is proposing to *not* charge on the download side, i.e. not count the bandwidth towards the download cap of the end user. Instead, they would charge for it on the upload side, to the service provider who is delivering the content. Sure, the service provider may pass that charge right along to you, but that's *still* only one charge for the bandwidth by my math.

            Oh? And do I get some kind of discount on my bill each month for this? Otherwise, all they're doing is upselling the bandwidth even more than they already are.

            Most "normal" people don't get close to their 2GB caps. If they use 200MB normally, and watch Netflix on Wifi, they will likely end up paying more for this when Netflix has to raise prices.

            So basically, your argument would only work if everybody routinely hit their caps and/or AT&T only charged by the MB.

      • by shaitand (626655)

        AT&T claimed they couldn't expand to accommodate growing usage due to technical limitations and that was the reason for the tight data caps. This was supposed to be a firm limitation not solvable by throwing more money at it.

        This move guarantees increases data usage dramatically which suggests there is no firm limitation, AT&T is just trying to charge more for data than the market will bear.

  • by trunicated (1272370) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @06:16PM (#39190311)

    If it had been, people would have noticed significant slowdown. I'm afraid that people confuse "spotty service in dense areas" and "too much bandwidth being used". They don't realize that in a lot of cases, they wouldn't be able to use their phone to talk when they're running into data problems. AT&T has been capitalizing on this, and making quite the pretty penny.

    I don't know why anyone wouldn't expect this out of them. It's basically free money, and it panders to an uneducated user base through letting them think that they'll save money, and that they'll still be able to blame others when there's a problem.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      they wouldn't be able to use their phone to talk when they're running into data problems.

      And I think that's pretty sufficient proof you have no business offering your opinion on this matter.

    • Talking on your phone requires somewhere on the order of 10kbps. Internet browsing or watching garbage quality youtube videos requires 500kbps to 1Mbps. That factor of 100 difference in data rate translates to 20dB difference in SNR (all other things being equal), so you should almost always be able to talk. You're probably right that poor data service is a coverage issue rather than a spectrum congestion issue in many cases, though, and that's ATT's fault for not adding more towers.
  • I love how now that they have data caps, they STILL charge for tethering, even though they have no justification for doing so. I also love how if you put a smartphone on their network, they will add a data plan and charge you for it, even if you have data BLOCKED on your account.
    • Re:Tethering (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dnahelicase (1594971) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @06:30PM (#39190525)

      I love how now that they have data caps, they STILL charge for tethering, even though they have no justification for doing so. I also love how if you put a smartphone on their network, they will add a data plan and charge you for it, even if you have data BLOCKED on your account.

      I think that always proved the point this article is making. Once they came out with data caps, they should have made tethering free. It's not a case where you use more data because you tether something, just that you use it differently.

      I've had numerous people ask me about getting a smartphone without a data plan, because they would be fine with only making calls/txts while out and about, but spend most of their time in the office/home/other wifi zones.

      It's ridiculous that you can buy an iPad in wifi or wifi+3g, and data is optional, but you can't buy a "normal" phone with an ipod touch built in. There are plenty of people that would be fine only using wifi for everything besides calls and texts.

  • The app devs are using a finite resource on the device to do their thing, and some of them are making money off this bandwidth. Someone has to pay for this bandwidth. Either the user, the telco, or the dev. The telco has no reason to pay for it. So it's either the user (by eating into the data allotment) or directly billing the devs. This seems to make sense.

    So for any given app you can either bill the dev a little bit, per installation or per use, or you can eat into the user's data plan. Either way

    • Re:makes sense (Score:5, Informative)

      by tkrotchko (124118) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @06:33PM (#39190577) Homepage

      "So for any given app you can either bill the dev a little bit, per installation or per use, or you can eat into the user's data plan."

      The point is that AT&T said that the bandwidth was the scarce resource in their network and that caps were necessary to conserve that resource.

      But as soon as a new revenue source was available, then the network was magically unconstrained. This is not "good idea", unless you're an AT&T shareholder, and then its magically a fantastic idea.

    • by s73v3r (963317)

      Someone has to pay for this bandwidth.

      The end user was already paying for it with the unlimited data plans. AT&T decided to be a greedy little bitch and end that. Now they want both the end user and the app developer to pay them money.

    • by Firehed (942385)

      If cellular data wasn't billed at a minimum of two orders of magnitude higher than a standard connection, I could almost agree that there's a hint of something sensible in there. But the reality is the cell companies either have a local monopoly over service or are colluding to keep prices artificially high (remember how SMS rates climbed from 10c to 15c to 25c per message, and the change took effect on all major networks within a week or so of the initiator's announcement? also, remember how SMS costs cell

    • I don't see why people get so bent out of shape when someone tries to change which of their pockets the money is coming out of.

      The people getting bent out of shape are the people who have an unlimited contract. Kind of an important detail in this topic.

    • and there's the cost of doing business.
      when someone "uses" bandwidth they can not go for more what they are allowed to. that is a bandwidth cap. Telcos are either lying or overselling said bandwidth. When you have a network that can serve at most X consumers at the same time, and allow access to 10X you run into problems for certain. Knowing that internet is more & more a central part of the daily life one should expect that 10X will be 100X shortly and add more capacity (which is one big shot $$$, but
  • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @06:28PM (#39190483) Homepage Journal

    Break 'em up!

    Oh, have we been here before?

  • AT&T is run by a bunch of greedy bastards and to expect anything different is foolish. Seriously. The FCC needs to man up and put them in their place.
  • by tkrotchko (124118) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @06:31PM (#39190537) Homepage

    " 'Apparently it has nothing to do with network management. It's a tool to get more revenue from developers and customers.'"

    To use a phrase, "Well, DUH!".

    If you had looked in AT&T Wireless's annual reports for the past two years, they never indicated they were reaching any sort of limits on their network.

    So either they were lying to their shareholders or to a gullible press and public.

    Which is more likely?

    • by tisepti (1488837)

      Is "both" an option?

    • If you had looked in AT&T Wireless's annual reports for the past two years, they never indicated they were reaching any sort of limits on their network.

      Duh, even if they were reaching the limits, they dont have to disclose it to their shareholders (well ethically they have to, but legally they can get away by not disclosing (if push came to shove, they could still claim they never knew and walk away scot-free)).

  • Telcos/ISPs are greedy and uncaring liars - film @ 11.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is another kick in the balls of network neutrality. These people won't stop until they get anyone that touches a bit in transit to pay for the privilege. The end-user already pays. They wanted the source of the data to pay (despite that they pay for their connectivity). Now they want the provider of the app that receives data to pay. I wonder what other such innovations are waiting for us in the future.

  • What is wrong with this? AT&T (Verizon/Sprint/etc/etc) are running a business and have a significant investment in the hardware to provide the service. Cell towers cost big bucks, and upgrading cell towers costs big bucks. That money has to come from sales.

    Here is a very simple metric to determine if the pricing model is fair and reasonable. Are people dumping their smart phones? Is another vendor reaching into the market with 'fair' prices?

    Clearly the market can bear the cost. I would add that the US'

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So when are they returning all the public funds they used to build this infrastructure?(with appropriate interest)

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Are people dumping their smart phones?

      No, and they won't because they don't understand how they're being screwed. The vast majority believe their handset is actually free because they paid nothing for it while signing up for an expensive 2 year contract.

      Is another vendor reaching into the market with 'fair' prices?

      Nope. New carriers can't crop up due to spectrum constraints and all existing carriers match pricing and features extremely closely.

      I would add that the US' cell phone providers are some of the le

      • by itzdandy (183397)

        [quote]No, and they won't because they don't understand how they're being screwed.[/quote]
        hmmm, that doesn't really sound like they are being screwed.

        [quote]New carriers can't crop up due to spectrum constraints and all existing carriers match pricing and features extremely closely[/quote]
        This is only partially true, WiMax is/was seen as a viable alternative to LTE and it can run in spectrum that is available in most markets.

        [quote]Bull. They're among the highest, coupled with ridiculous data rates and stup

    • by SageBrian (711125) *

      The simple metric is based on the people's knowledge and tolerance for beatings.
      Thankfully, AT&T wasn't able to merge with T-Mobile, as T-Mobile is the only other big player in the GSM market.

      What is going on now is nothing new. Think back (old-timers) to when we had to pay for EACH phone extension in the house! Same line, same amount of talking, but you were charged extra for what... the convenience of having an extension in another room? Monthly?

      And then there was the old Touch Tone charge... yes, we

    • What is wrong with this?

      It's fraud.

    • by Whuffo (1043790)

      WTF? US providers are some of the least expensive in the world? That's not true at all.

      We have two cell phones here and we pay about $5 per month for service on both of them. We don't pay for incoming calls or texts and there's no contract. If I want to use data, then I can pay $1 per day for unlimited - $5 for a week, $20 for a month. Tethering? No problem; they'll even almost give you the USB dongle for your laptop.

      I've got a WiFi 3g / 4g thingie that cost $25, and using it to support several devices is c

  • 'Apparently it has nothing to do with network management. It's a tool to get more revenue from developers and customers.'

    Cellular provider gouges customers and developers with data plan caps and pricing. News at 11.

  • Then there are people like me who actually went out bought a Wilson Amplifier and realized pretty good connections speeds compared to the lowely satellite alternative as I suffer to live in a quite, peaceful, rural area. My only problem is I get 2 GB monthly (Verizon) over my HTC Incredible and since the introduction of the iPhone (coincidentally?) have seen my 1.0+ mbps drop to about 512K (up and down). Still fast enough to work. But after watching just a handful of video (and all the freaking prefixed
  • I do think AT&T is basically Satan but in this case, I don't see it. They're absolutely guaranteed with this system to get paid for bandwidth that gets used. So if your app uses X amount of data and they know how much data will be used so you as a developer pay per megabyte for example, AT&T is assuring themselves that they'll have the money to upgrade their infrastructure if the need arises due to more data because the money is there to cover it. When it comes to just phones, you don't know if t
  • by robwgibbons (1455507) on Tuesday February 28, 2012 @07:56PM (#39191535)

    At first glance, this seems like a good idea for the consumer, but for smaller, independent and boot-strapped developers (from whom most of the innovative products come) this is basically a nail in the coffin. The only reason the Internet is as innovative as it is now is because any Joe Schmoe with a great idea, some time on his hands and a deep willingness to learn can get his software into hands of millions of people and literally disrupt industries.

    Allowing a company to pay for their users' data usage seems like a great idea for consumers, at least in terms of immediate monetary value. Google or Pandora can pay for my data usage and I can consume all I want.

    The real problem is that this allows large, well-funded (and probably stagnant) software companies to completely crush smaller, less well-funded companies who have innovative or disruptive ideas. Who's to say You and I don't have a great idea together and want to compete with Pandora? Oh that's right, they have millions in investment capital and we only have time and development skills.

    This is the same argument as allowing certain websites to pay extra for faster Internet speeds. Sounds like a great idea on paper, especially for consumers in the short-term, but in the long-term it will harm the entire industry in general by stifling creative innovators.

    In the end, whoever has the most money wins.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The dev's are the only people that can control how much bandwidth is consumed. If they have to pay vs consumer, then the devs will consider what data is important instead of programming like bandwidth is unimportant.

  • by thelexx (237096)

    To my old codger brain PK == Phil Katz.

    You aren't forgotten Phil.

  • Bandwidth is not the issue here people, AT&T is limited by the total spectrum they have available for wireless subscribers. As each device requires radio time on the network, there is essentially a limit to the total number of subscribers a tower and network can service. With iPhones and wireless users, it seems AT&T has opted to add a data cap to urge users to essentially use less "radio time." We have a number of M2M devices using the AT&T network around the US, although we use GPRS, not 3G.

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