Feeds

AT&T to choke your iPhone

Death to unlimited data plans

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

AT&T has finally figured out how to fix its much-maligned US mobile data services: stop users from eating up so frickin' much bandwidth.

As reported by the Associated Press, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility Ralph de la "Darth" Vega told attendees at a New York investors' conference on Wednesday that his company plans to force data-plan subscribers to "reduce or modify their usage."

In Darth's world, consumers are dumb and selfish data-piggies. "We've got to get them to understand what represents a megabyte of data," he said.

We're not all sinners in his eyes, however: only three per cent of smartphone users eat up 40 per cent of AT&T's capacity, he said, adding that the hungriest online swine are concentrated in San Francisco and New York.

Hmm...The capital of tech-savvy Silicon Bay Area, and the center of US media. No worries about offending those constituencies, eh?

As part of his high-minded educational effort, AT&T's connectivity Cassandra pointed out that - whodathunkit? - video and audio streaming account for most of that bandwidth hogging. Note to Pandora, Last.fm, and Shoutcast, and oh-so-many others: Darth is planning to swing his bandwidth-slicing lightsaber directly at your revenue streams.

But the freewheeling, freeloading, free-bandwidth days are numbered. Although he didn't assign a date to when the data hammer will drop, Darth did say that bandwidth metering and usage-based pricing is inescapable.

Right now, however, AT&T doesn't make it easy - no, make that "possible" - for its subscribers to monitor their bandwidth suckage even if they do know what a megabyte is.

But that will soon change. "We're improving all our systems," said the Mobility man, "to let consumers get real-time information on their data usage."

AT&T has also launched another subscriber-based effort to improve its service - an iPhone app, Mark the Spot (App Store link), that allows disgruntled users to send reports directly to Big Phone when their service is spotty or nonexistent.

AT&T's service-quality iPhone app, Mark the Spot

AT&T calls their service-reporting iPhone app "Mark the Spot" - we call it "Tell Us How Badly We Suck"

Exactly how the free app is supposed to send a resounding FAIL to AT&T when the network is too clogged to be used is uncertain - although the app does include a map-based interface to pinpoint problem areas, then to complain as soon as you find a decent connection.

But perhaps we're being a bit too harsh on Darth and his crew. After all, Mark the Spot is at least an acknowledgement that AT&T's service is woeful. And the company has said that it's working to improve service in some selected cities - including our bandwidth hogging hometown of San Francisco. No hard news yet, however, on improvements in New York, where AT&T admits that up to one-third of all calls are likely to be dropped.

One thing is certain, however: don't expect bandwidth-hungry internet tethering to be available for your AT&T iPhone anytime soon. And odds are that when it does arrive, it will be neither free nor unlimited. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
A moment of brilliance? UPnP for Internet of Stuff lightbulbs
Thus doth tech of future illuminate present, etc
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.