AT&T May Introduce Usage-Based Data Pricing

Over the last couple of years during its U.S. iPhone exclusivity, AT&T’s network has been brought to its knees by the demands of data-hungry subscribers. Sure, AT&T has been upgrading the network here and there, but CEO Ralph de la Vega said at an investor conference that they’re considering incentives for reduced data usage, and that there’s going to be no way of avoiding usage-based pricing in the future. Details are hazy, but de la Vega says there won’t be any usage caps (which can be bad news for end-users who don’t know their limits and could end up paying through the nose). Now, it’s a tough call – is it worth paying per kilobyte after X amount of megabytes for the luxury of never dropping a call? AT&T’s Consumer Reports rating amply illustrates just how bad their service is currently, and the weakness has been great leverage for competitors – AT&T really has to do something to get out of this rut, and usage-based pricing may be their most viable option right now.

[via WSJ]

  • After Forever

    IF AT&T follows through with a usage-base pricing plan, it would most certainly reduced data usage Mr. Ralph de la Vega…. It would be the incentive I need to jump ship to another carrier.
    Consumer Reports lists AT&T as the worst US wireless carrier. In fact, AT&T scored the lowest for customer satisfaction in 19 of the 26 surveyed cities. Stick that up your iphone.

  • Vince

    Class, today’s lesson is on signaling. As you know, price fixing is illegal in the U.S. (Europe, too, for that matter). Yet, when there are few players (an oliopoloy) it’s easier to indicate pricing intent.

    Here we have the CEO of AT&T Wireless stating that usage-based data plans are the future. Not more than 60 days ago, AT&T’s largest competitor, Verizon Wireless, in the form its CTO said that “flat-rate” data plans days’ are numbered, in so many words. VZW has already ceased to offer flat rate pricing for feature phones.

    So, what’s that tell you 2010 may bring to your smartphone service? Anyone? Just raise your hands…

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