AT&T has had trouble keeping up with wireless data usage, leading to dropped connections and long waits for users trying to run programs on their devices.
AT&T is upgrading its network to cope, but its head of consumer services, Ralph de la Vega, told investors at a UBS conference in New York that it will also give high-bandwidth users incentives to “reduce or modify their usage.”
De la Vega didn’t say exactly how or when the carrier would change its policies, but he said some form of usage-based pricing for data is inevitable.
Right now, the carrier has a monthly usage cap of 5 gigabytes on its data plans, the same as other carriers. That’s an ample allowance for most people, and gives them little reason to curtail their usage. AT&T also doesn’t make it easy for subscribers to know how much data they’re consuming.
“We need to educate the customer … We’ve got to get them to understand what represents a megabyte of data,” de la Vega said. “We’re improving all our systems to let consumers get real-time information on their data usage.”
Just 3 percent of “smart” phone users are consuming 40 percent of the network capacity, de la Vega said, adding that the most high-bandwidth activity is video and audio streaming. Several applications on the iPhone provide nonstop Internet radio.
Source: Cellular News