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

CmdrTaco posted about 3 years ago | from the cheap-at-twice-the-price dept.

The Almighty Buck 339

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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for pete's sake (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#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

Re:for pete's sake (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 3 years ago | (#35798288)

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

Re:for pete's sake (0, Troll)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 3 years ago | (#35798744)

The problem in reality is that the government got involved in the first place.
Gave away money for a private company to build infrastructure. Then the corps use the government to create regulations that severely limit the ability
for new companies to really compete against these government backed Monopoly/Duopolies.
Then the government uses their bad practices (Made possible by government regulations) to increase the regulation of the industry.

They have to be very careful though. They have to make sure that the new regulations while looking good actually allow the entrenched government backed
corporations to behave badly and increase their profits. The government can then use this as an excuse to regulate the evil corporation the next time.

Re:for pete's sake (1)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | about 3 years ago | (#35798884)

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...

Re:for pete's sake (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about 3 years ago | (#35798506)

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

Re:for pete's sake (1)

lennier1 (264730) | about 3 years ago | (#35798536)

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 (1)

tmosley (996283) | about 3 years ago | (#35798530)

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:for pete's sake (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798740)

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.

Re:for pete's sake (1)

haystor (102186) | about 3 years ago | (#35798768)

Because they think they can buy an iPhone for $49, then they complain that they are locked into certain providers.

Re:for pete's sake (1)

mellon (7048) | about 3 years ago | (#35798992)

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.

And downloading "data" to smartphone... (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about 3 years ago | (#35798218)

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

Re:And downloading "data" to smartphone... (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:And downloading "data" to smartphone... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798392)

Fascism, the merger of corporations and government.

Try and start a new wireless carrier, even if you have 500 billion dollars, you won't geta license to operate. The existing carriers will scream "OMG INTERFERENCE!"

Re:And downloading "data" to smartphone... (0)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 3 years ago | (#35798302)

If people are poor, why in God's name to they need a bizarrely useless fashion accessory like a smartphone.

Re:And downloading "data" to smartphone... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798368)

Yes. Why would the poor need to communicate or have access to the sum of human knowledge.

Re:And downloading "data" to smartphone... (2)

amiga3D (567632) | about 3 years ago | (#35798974)

God knows if the poor actually had access to such things they might not stay poor. (shudder)

Re:And downloading "data" to smartphone... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 3 years ago | (#35798402)

Being poor doesn't negate the ability to have post-paid service. Having bad credit does. If you've demonstrated that you don't pay your bills why would they want to extend you the option of paying for your service after you use it?

Non Sequitur Alert (1)

xx_chris (524347) | about 3 years ago | (#35798574)

Nope. It isn't a question of credit; it's a question of payment and price. If the unwashed poor have bad credit and they pay up front with their Go Phone account then they should pay the same rate as anyone else since ATT is incurring no risk by taking their money ahead of time. Or perhaps given the fact that they are prepaying and in fact extending credit to ATT maybe they should pay a little less. Or you could just rip off the poor. You could do that.

Re:And downloading "data" to smartphone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798580)

"Being poor doesn't negate the ability to have post-paid service. Having bad credit does."

Perhaps this is the case where you live, but in the US it is far from true.

All that's required is a deposit of reasonable size, and most anyone will
be able to have a contract for cellular service. The provider might not allow
an expensive phone "for free", but you certainly can get a contract and a cheap phone.
The provider can cut service remotely at any time, so the risk to the provider is minimal.

Re:And downloading "data" to smartphone... (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 3 years ago | (#35798806)

Perhaps you can bookmark your post, then come back and answer that question yourself... after you've lost your job or got wiped out by a lengthy hospital stay or been bested in a lawsuit, and are thereafter unable to continue making your monthly payments on the long-term contracts that are often required if you'd like to pay for service after the fact?

"Bad credit" does not always mean "irresponsible".

(BTW, in case you've never noticed... Being poor makes it a just bit more challenging to establish credit than being well-off does.)

Re:And downloading "data" to smartphone... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 3 years ago | (#35798866)

Excuse me, but I didn't say it made you "irresponsible". All I said was that a company has valid reasons not to want to extend you post-pay service after you have demonstrated a pattern of not paying your bills on time. It's not their job to ask why you failed to pay them on time or their problem that you didn't. I went through bankruptcy a few years ago -- you don't see me bellyaching about Citi not wanting to do business with me because of this fact.

Re:And downloading "data" to smartphone... (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | about 3 years ago | (#35798406)

Maybe, there are people who have no computer, no broadband, no landline and no TV but Do have mobiles and do know how to use the internet. It's possible that this item to them can do everything and more, be it a news paper in the pocket, a way of finding jobs, student study device etc. If you take away all the things "people have" prior to smart phones, you might find smartphones can fill an everything roll on their own to people who aren't power users. You'd be surprised at the need for information and knowledge the current 20s generation has with the internet. Oh and it's also a phone. Handy.

Re:And downloading "data" to smartphone... (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 3 years ago | (#35798546)

Because even the shitty Tracphones are starting to have "smart" features now? Or that by the time you figure in all the fees the cell is usually the cheapest way to go to get a phone? Or that the cable and teleco without competition have taken assraping to new heights so that is often the ONLY way short of getting in line at a library that a poor person can have email?

Take your pick, I know in my area the price for VoIP with Internet with the cable company is $103 with a 2 year contract with a shittastic 36Gb cap, the DSL option is $108 with a top speed of 756k and a 26Gb cap (not that you'd ever hit it on their shitpile o garbage) again with a 2 year contract, or they can get a smartphone from Fred's for $50 and buy minutes in $20 increments when they have it.

Now which do YOU think the average poor person is more likely to have? $100+ or $50 or less (as they often have sales, I have seen the semi smartphones going for as low as $20 on sale) with no monthly fees or penalties if they have a bad month and can't afford to pay? I have to agree with another poster we need regs NOW for both the teleco and cableco industry, as the reason they can get away with this leeching is the simple fact they know they have a monopoly. WTF? Where is the Anti trust?

I swear we need another Teddy "Trust Buster" Roosevelt right now, and it is one of the issues that could finally get us a third party pres (along with "Be Switzerland" as we are tired of spending billions propping up the third world) because this monopoly bullshit needs to DIAF.

Speeds in my area haven't changed in ages, even though I'm practically across the street from one of the largest private colleges in the state, my mom has been waiting 32 YEARS now for the cable company to run the whole BLOCK AND A HALF yet neither the teleco nor the cableco will service her, hell is it any wonder the poor are switching to smartphones? In the rural areas or even two blocks out of town its the only damned non dialup Internet you can get!!!

"Needs" (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798232)

Nobody who is poor or living paycheque to paycheque NEEDS mobile data. I would argue they don't need cell phones at all but that's neither here nor there.

Re:"Needs" (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 3 years ago | (#35798412)

Nobody who is poor or living paycheque to paycheque NEEDS mobile data. I would argue they don't need cell phones at all but that's neither here nor there.

Tell me, where is the nearest payphone booth? I don't know what it is like where you live but here in Canada, the only payphones that seem to still exists are in airports and shopping malls. It is expected that almost anyone can have a talk and text cell phone. Mobile data is not something that the poor should consider even using.

Re:"Needs" (1)

icebike (68054) | about 3 years ago | (#35798896)

Nobody who is poor or living paycheque to paycheque NEEDS mobile data. I would argue they don't need cell phones at all but that's neither here nor there.

Tell me, where is the nearest payphone booth? I don't know what it is like where you live but here in Canada, the only payphones that seem to still exists are in airports and shopping malls. It is expected that almost anyone can have a talk and text cell phone. Mobile data is not something that the poor should consider even using.

The grand parent was talking about MOBILE DATA.
You are talking about PHONE CALLS.

See the difference?

Text is not considered mobile data. Even el-cheapo feature phones have text. Email, web surfing, multimedia are mobile data.

Re:"Needs" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798508)

Not only that but you know what...
Let the "poor" pay for it. Just like they pay higher interest rates and a higher percentage of bank fees. I pay my bills on time, never carry over a credit balance, never overdraft and never go over my credit limits. When congress forced "bank and credit reform" a few years ago, it actually hurt people like me because banks have to make their money somehow so they took away some benefits like cashback %, started charging monthly fees for things that were free in the past etc. Well, that's out of my pocket now. My good credit and good financial management was rewarded by the banks with perks at the expense of those that were careless and I liked it better that way.

Re:"Needs" (2)

vell0cet (1055494) | about 3 years ago | (#35798646)

This argument is looking at it the completely wrong way. Whether you need it or not, should you have to pay $500/Gb? Poor or not?

How silly (5, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:How silly (1)

voss (52565) | about 3 years ago | (#35798298)

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

Re:How silly (2)

grcumb (781340) | about 3 years ago | (#35798732)

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?

Re:How silly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798404)

Perhaps the typical slashdot reader isn't the best qualified to make that kind of broad value judgment about low-income earners and their 'need' for data service. It also walks right past the issue of why the same service is 5 times the per-unit cost for different classes of credit scores or contract tolerance. I can understand twice or even thrice, to act as a buffer for payment uncertainty. But five times? And this is the result of a Grand Gesture, of bringing it down from fifty times? That kind of cost elasticity is staggering. I find it hard to believe sudden improvements in tech and process brought about such huge savings that they'd pass it on to the users. (Why not similar percentage cuts to post-paid users, then?) If so, they've been sitting on these kinds of earnings and would continue to do so were it not for outside forces. Clearly this is for the benefit of their merger consideration before the FCC and Congress, not the pre-paid users who didn't have the influence or ability to effect these cost changes on their own.

Re:How silly (3, Insightful)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

I am not poor, but I choose prepaid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798678)

My usage is infrequent and much cheaper with prepaid than with a subscription.

Overseas, I could use prepaid data too: enabling flat-rate data for a period of a day, a week, or a month would deduct from my balance exactly the same cost as post-paid subscription amortized over that period. There was no cost penalty for using prepaid. I did this because my usual data use was to use my work and home Internet connections, but I would enable mobile data on the occasion where I could not, e.g. due to travel or an Internet outage.

This is simply a restricted market in the US, where they are trying to force users to subscribe and pay for service they don't use. All of their pricing structures have the same bundling tricks which force you to pay for things you don't want, in order to get what you do. A competitive market would cause these commodities to be sold unbundled, and the big networks are using monopoly power to avoid that. They don't want to have to compete, as they have dreams of subscriber revenue dancing in their heads.

Re:How silly (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | about 3 years ago | (#35798874)

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.

Oh no! (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 3 years ago | (#35798280)

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! (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 3 years ago | (#35798390)

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?

Re:Oh no! (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | about 3 years ago | (#35798758)

I think you and any poor person who is using a smart phone need to get your priorities straight. If someone is poor, then that person should not be wasting money buying a smart phone or data plan. They have more important things to worry about such as the basics of life like food and shelter.

If you can not qualify or afford either a contract or a monthly plan, then you really shouldn't be spending the money on a smart phone because, honestly, you don't have the resources.

Complaining that poor people are getting soaked in the mobile phone data market is like complaining that poor people are getting a bum deal when it comes to buying champaign and caviar or driving exotic sports cars.. Just because a product is available, it does not follow that the product is going to be affordable for everyone. Every product or service is not not targeted at all segments of the population nor are they required to be priced so everyone can afford them.

Re:Oh no! (1)

goathumper (1284632) | about 3 years ago | (#35798642)

I would answer with the same to you bws...get some perspective. I'm not poor by any account, though I'm certainly not swimming in ca$h. I'm not based in the US nor do I have the ability to get one of the "cheap"(er) US phone plans so pay-as-I-go is my only choice when I travel to the US (which is often). This is very important for the same reasons your smartphone and tablet are important to you: keeping in touch with the fast-moving tech environment I work in.

I already got fleeced once by AT&T, and all because of a late "no credit left" message. I got the "0 data credit" left message at 8am, when i reality the actual point of running out of credit was 3am. So naturally I got fleeced for those 5 hours my phone was using data without a "bulk plan". Nevermind that I had ample credit in my pay-as-you-go account to renew the bulk plan had I been notified in a timely manner (or, at least, my data traffic stopped until a selection was made as to how I wanted to proceed).

Pay-as-you-go isn't JUST for the "poor, wretched masses yearning to have phones". It also serves a large portion of traveling, non-american (yes, such people exist in the world and are actually more numerous than americans) businessfolk who simply find it an easier (or as in my case, the only) option due to frequency of travel.

And yes - while we're not exactly destitute, few of us are happy with paying such abusive data rates when clearly such an overcharge is unwarranted.

So I second your sentiment: get some perspective - but first, get a bigger picture so that perspective is a bit better informed.

Re:Oh no! (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | about 3 years ago | (#35798924)

Let me get this straight. You didn't monitor your usage and went over your allowed data plan and are upset because they notified you at 0800 instead of immediately when you ran out at 0300 even though they are not required to notify you at all. Does that sound about right?

Sounds to me like you fit right in here in America with your victim mentality.

You are responsible for monitoring your usage, not the cell company. Next time, act like a responsible adult and monitor your usage.

T-mobile web day pass (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798282)

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

Re:T-mobile web day pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798978)

That's nice and all, until AT&T finalizes the buyout of T-Mobile and that nifty deal silently dies a sad, undeserved death.

And please don't delude yourself into thinking there's a chance the FCC/FTC/etc will stop the sale. I mean, when was the last time they actually PREVENTED Ma Bell from reforming?

Disgusting... (1)

Karunamon (1845630) | about 3 years ago | (#35798326)

Not only the obscene markup on moving bytes, but the white-knighting of this behavior by some of the other posters

canada overage costs (5, Informative)

ustolemyname (1301665) | about 3 years ago | (#35798328)

TELUS: $50/gb
Rogers: $30/gb

Re:canada overage costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798542)

i pay ~$7 for 1gb/month. an additional gb costs ~$3
This is in Sweden and its far from the cheapest data-carrier if you need lots of traffic.

Re:canada overage costs (1)

Splab (574204) | about 3 years ago | (#35798828)

Denmark: less than $10 for 1GB plan and no overcharge, but you will be shaped to something akin to 1990 internet when you hit the 1GB cap.

So what? (3, Insightful)

Redbaran (918344) | about 3 years ago | (#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's one way of putting it... (4, Interesting)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:That's one way of putting it... (1)

TavisJohn (961472) | about 3 years ago | (#35798894)

The original statement works for more than just purchasing minutes/date/items.

Rent-A-Center caters to poor people, allowing them access to fancy furniture and TV's and such that they otherwise would not purchase because of cost... And yes you can rent to own, but if you do it that way you spend 2x or more than the retail price. A credit card would be cheaper...

But the poor with bad credit can't get credit cards.
The "system" is setup to keep the poor, poor. And it is currently moving to make the middle class poor.

You call it "melodramatic language" I call it "reality".

So ... (0, Offtopic)

Kohath (38547) | about 3 years ago | (#35798364)

don't buy it then?

To stop being poor, learn not to spend money you don't have on luxuries you can't afford.

Re:So ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798670)

To stop being poor, learn not to spend money you don't have on luxuries you can't afford.

You're telling them to learn different financial habits, but how does somebody learn these new habits? It's probably difficult to get a decent financial education if you're in the poor class, because who do you know that's actually successful and willing to teach you? Do poor people even know how to ask the question to begin with, or how to find the answer if they go into a library? How can they really determine what things are "luxury" or not? Maybe they're effectively forced into it one little step at a time. How do they even know that they're getting ripped off?

I need a phone, but I can't afford or justify a monthly plan, so I'll pay as I go. Now I want to check my yahoo or facebook on the phone (whether for job search or socializing). There's only one data plan option with my phone. Five dollars per mega-whatstit isn't that much, just this once. Wow, the phone went through that five dollars of data really quickly.

Re:So ... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 3 years ago | (#35798714)

Actually, just the opposite is true, in a way. Let's say you want to spend money on shoes. You could buy a $40 pair of Converses. I've done this plenty, they fall apart in a year of normal work (I walk up the stairs and up a 1/3 mile hill to my office job 5 days a week). Or you could spend $150 on a pair of military issue (Matterhorn, Bellville, etc; I have Bellville 770, $145 shipped from Botach) boots, waterproof (GoreTex with breathable canvas, not to mention the leather), insulated (200g/m^2 3M Thinsulate), made of quality leather that you can spend 5 bucks a year to maintain (black leather obviously means shoe shine, but rough leather treatments exist too). They'll last you 10 years maybe, maybe more, if you're walking in them a lot (homeless, bike/walk to work, etc), and keep your feet warm, protected, and dry.

More often you see people spending money on shit like Uggs ($150) or Reeboks($100), funny enough these don't hold up to heavy-duty use. The soles fell off my Reeboks after a year! They're hollow, after they wear a little the glue starts giving out and you start getting holes and such and find out there's a large honeycomb structure inside. Uggs don't hold up to anything, at all, and they directly tell you this (not for "heavy walking" or rain or snow). Despite that, poor people buy 'em.

My mom has gone through ... who knows how many $50-$80 juice machines. They break in a year under daily use, sometimes less. I suggested a $200 juice machine of better quality, but the Wal-Mart special is a favorite and shelling out so much money over and over seems like a deal to them. It's odd because they had an Oster Regency kitchen center for like 25 years before the motor wore down, which should have hammered the "Buy Better Shit" thing in.

In some cases the ROI is immediate: socks at $8/8 pair vs (decent, not overpriced quality-fucked designer!) $20/3 pair, the $8 ones will wear down QUICK under normal use and even faster under strained use, getting holes and in general providing no cushion after just weeks; I still have 3 year old pairs of socks that are just now starting to thin out, just a bit, but they still provide cushion and they're long discolored. In other cases, the ROI is slow: appliances that last a year or two, versus decades-lived ones that cost two or three times as much.

It all adds up. That cheap-ass washing machine you bought that needs constant repair after one year and replacement after five is you paying for it 3 times in 5 years; buy one that costs twice as much instead and lasts a decade. Stop buying crap you don't need, just for a little while; buy yourself a $100 chef's knife or a Wii or a luxury couch later, after you've saved up a little money from not having to replace/repair shit constantly. Yes it's hard to save up to get out of the consumerist society, but once you've made that first little victory it becomes that little bit easier. You did it once, do it again... and again... and again, until you get out of that damned hole and find some sunshine.

Re:So ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798816)

This, agree 100%. If you *need* internet and a phone, get a landline and ride your bike to the library. But if the poor want to keep spending their money on shit they don't need, more power to them. Thats the power of free choice and I for one applaud it. As for me, I'll stay within my means and not be in debt or ruin my credit.

Re:So ... (1)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | about 3 years ago | (#35798838)

~Stop talking sense man! People might hear you and learn that they can live without the latest gadgets, or even realize that they don't need the highest levels of all services available to them. If that happens their bank accounts might fill up, their anxiety might go down, and they won't have to use shopping/services as a security blanket in their unfulfilled lives. Stop trying to undo 100 years of marketing already!~

And to whoever modded you off-topic, forget them. The hardest thing about railing against corporations which screw us: learning that it's not rape when we're helping them.

Looking out for the consumer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798374)

I, for one, applaud AT&T's 90% cut in price. Moar kool-aid please. This stuff is delicious!

so what? (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 3 years ago | (#35798384)

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?

Re:so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798552)

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.

This is what I got for my wife (my work pays for my phone). I'm not poor, but I don't like spending a ton of money on a phone, so we went prepaid. The Intercept isn't the best phone out there, but it's good enough for what we use it for. The LG phone came to VM after we got the Intercept, it's supposed to be better if you can deal with no physical keyboard.

I also bought one of VM's pay as you go USB modems from Walmart; the Walmart one has a 1GB/30 day option for $20, the regular ones are $10/100mb & $40/unlimited (5BG then slows down) only. Useful for family vacations. For some reason I got it for $35, but usually it's $80 or so.

Wow! Just Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798394)

Here in New Zealand where we usually get the rough end of the stick with regards to pricing etc. we actually only pay $20 for 1GB of 3G data on "PrePay" (what you would know as "no contract") with a local operator 2degrees - http://www.2degreesmobile.co.nz/prepay/mobilebroadband

Re:Wow! Just Wow! (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 3 years ago | (#35798578)

Three in the UK & Ireland has reasonable rates too. 7.5GB monthly costs €25 prepay, or you get 15GB for €20 under contract. Inclusive of VAT. Roaming is same price too to other 3 networks.

I have to wonder what is wrong with the US. Not that Europe is perfect, the roaming rates for most data plans is criminal.

AT&T Seeking to Destroy the Internet (2)

paulsnx2 (453081) | about 3 years ago | (#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.

Two year contracts are required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798398)

What's sad is that products like the GoPhone target the poor and those living paycheck to paycheck. Because they can't commit to two-year contracts, they pay a lot more for the services than their better-off counterparts. Telecom is hardly the only example of that; banking and credit are other critical areas of daily life where the poor pay more to get less.

Buy a phone at full retail price and sign up for month to month service. Two year contracts are basically just loans so little Timmy can get a shiney iphone to break at a discount. If you are a bit strapped for cash, buy a prepaid phone and use that with a regular plan. Screw your credit up so bad that you can't afford a deposit on service? Well, who's fault is that? I'm only sympathetic to those just getting started who don't have credit histories.


Re:Two year contracts are required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798756)

The problem is, when I buy the device outright, I don't get a break on the monthly service fees. So what's the point?

Only T-Mobile offers a break on monthly charges. No one else does.

Not a necessity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798416)

The poster makes an issue of pay as you go being what the poor and people living paycheck to paycheck use.
But for that to be a real issue cell phones and data access would need to be considered a necessity and it is not,
it is a convenience.

Oh Plah-Ease! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798418)

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."

Anyone who agrees to AT&T's contract is a moron - or any cell phone provider in the US for that matter.

Those contracts are soooo one sided that the mafia are looking into getting into the cell phone business but they wont because they're afraid of the other providers.

I for one refuse to have a cell phone in my name. When the US cel carriers start being fair to the consumer, then and only then will I consider getting one.

Pay as you go?!? Please! They suck even worse!

US cell carriers are scum - there are no exceptions.

Virgin Mobile USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798444)

Virgin Mobile USA (part of Sprint) has plan with unlimited data, text and 300 minutes a month prepaid for only $25/month.

A little misleading (2)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | about 3 years ago | (#35798446)

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.

Does it expire? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | about 3 years ago | (#35798872)

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.

Re:A little misleading (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 3 years ago | (#35798946)

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.

This is not about the poor but tourists. (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 3 years ago | (#35798462)

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.

Smartphones for the poor? (1)

davev2.0 (1873518) | about 3 years ago | (#35798464)

Don't the poor have better things to do with their money than paying for a smart phone and its associated data plan? You know, things like food, and shelter?

You and others elitists like you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798762)

Have no idea what you are talking about and I would like to know who you think you are to say what "poor" people should and shouldn't be spending their money on?

I was poor for a while after being laid off. I had to look for work and guess how I did it, I used the internet.

You might say "go to the library" but where I lived there was no public transportation so I hooked my pc to my blackberry and submitted my resume ...online. I searched for companies who were hiring...online, I filled out my unemployment worksheet every week...online. I paid my electric bill...online.

The point is, that it's not up to you elitist jackasses to say who should be spending money on what. Back then data access was more of a necessity than it is for me today. You snobs who have never had to do without just mind your own business how other spend their own money,

units (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798496)

The units are a bit deceptive. We pay $15/250MB data with one-month expiry. If you actually used a GB/month, you'd pay the $35/2GB rate my parents in law pay. (Both prepaid rates, however, not for smart phones, because that's more expensive. Duh, why would you pay the rate intended for the rich guy who doesn't care about his phone bill and just occasionally uses data on his fancy phone he bought to impress his boss?)

That's what I would call pretty expensive, and it's probably a dumb marketing move by AT&T, but putting $/GB units on the most expensive / least data prepaid option is pretty deceptive when actual GB/month data rates are orders of magnitude smaller. Kind of like saying the poorest people can't afford steak, they have to eat hot dogs, and then berating a street hot dog vendor in an upscale neighborhood for their exorbitant prices.

A'la carte prices for small quantities are much higher than bulk rates. Poor people can't afford to buy a'la carte. Film at eleven.

Willingness to pay (1)

captaindomon (870655) | about 3 years ago | (#35798510)

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.

Re:Willingness to pay (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 years ago | (#35798686)

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.

Re:Willingness to pay (1)

captaindomon (870655) | about 3 years ago | (#35798832)

Touché. Seriously, though- thank you for an insightful post base on some real economic theory instead of inflammatory rhetoric. Mod parent up.

Another way to look at the cell industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798566)

I'm really not sure why people still do business with these companies.
At one point in time, a businesses actually CARED about their image, and quality of services.
Somewhere along the line, companies shifted gears and started being driven by levels of financial interest.
While the financial well-being of a company is important, I would argue that the integrity, direction, and quality of product is just as important.

In respect to this view, why are things so lopsided on the financial side?
I would guess to assume that we live in business world that is bankrupt, from at minimum an integrity point of view.
I would have never guessed that any functional business could race to the bottom, in terms of customer satisfaction, product, and quality....

Everyone has choices, at least those of us in the Northern Hemisphere...
Perhaps society needs to look inward, and decide what is most important to ourselves, as consumers. Not everyone has to ride the biggest, fastest, cheapest bandwagon.



Re:Another way to look at the cell industry... (1)

Thexare Blademoon (1010891) | about 3 years ago | (#35798664)

I'm really not sure why people still do business with these companies.

Because almost every option is equally bad.

GoPhone Market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798606)

The GoPhone does not really target the low income market, there are things like Boost for 50/60 a month unlimited everything. Anyone who actually uses their phone will burn through that much at least with prepaid cards in a given month. It's sorta like a step up from tracphone, something you give as an emergency phone or something to less chatty older folk. Also the plans are somewhat popular for tourists, since it is a pre paid GSM provider instead of a CDMA or iDEN provider. It allows them to use their own phone and (assuming the store you go to will do it, some are asshats and don't) just purchase a SIM Card. In the past T-Mobile was somewhat competitive with GoPhone for that market, but about a year ago they switched more to a servicing low income and bad credit model with the shift to month to month no contract plans. (I forget the specific name they used for it, but basically you did not get a full subsidy on the phone up front, instead you got a partial subsidy and then pay 1/10 the remaining balance over the next 10 months along with your monthly service bill.)

Also -- take a look @ the GoPhone phones, they're friggen ancient old Samsung clamshells with low resolution screens anceint WEP browsers, and in my opinion no real easy way to generate a GB of traffic. This punishes the fools who use a smartphone with gophones pay as you go.

It should also be noted that they offer Pick Your Plan or some crap, which would be somewhat better for a data customer, but really prepaid AT&T is not the way to go if you want to use data on your phone for any real reason besides downloading ringtones and getting box scores from ESPN.

AT&T "Lowers" Data Access To Just $500/GB (1)

Hermanas (1665329) | about 3 years ago | (#35798610)

There, fixed that for you.

In your defense, I think everyone read that word with a sarcastic tone of voice anyway. $500/GB is /lower/ ? Surely you must be joking.

Poor people's pricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798618)

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.

So what? It's capitalism! If you can gut the poor (who're probably just lazy, anyway) and make some profit, this isn't just the way it is, it's good and right. Besides, these prices can't be too high. If they were, somebody else would offer lower prices. Didn't anybody teach you about the invisible hand of the free market?

The only thing I see wrong here is that we're unfairly taxing these juggernauts that contribute so much to society. What would we do if Atlas shrugged and decided to not offer these $500/GB plans to us plebs anymore? We really need to show AT&T some love, people. After all, people exist for corporations, not the other way around.

Poor Folks? (1)

d6 (1944790) | about 3 years ago | (#35798638)

>>pay-as-you-go pricing is what the poor and people living paycheck to paycheck use

Perhaps Canada is different as far as the efficiency of pay as you go pricing levels (I doubt it),
but I've had a pay-as-you-go phone for years. I buy my phones up front. No contract & pay as I go.
It suits my usage patterns much better than a plan.

And yeah, the data rates are so wrong I can't wrap my head around it. No argument there.

Well if They Didn't Suck .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798716)

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.

Blah, blah, blah. Let them eat gigabytes. If they didn't suck, they would have a job. If they had a job, they would actually need gigabytes of bandwidth.

Fundamental (2)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | about 3 years ago | (#35798752)

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

That's true almost everywhere in Capitalism.

Re:Fundamental (3, Insightful)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 3 years ago | (#35798848)

Indeed. I'm glad i can afford to buy a year's supply of toilet paper at Sam's Club. If i had to buy each pack of 4 rolls individually, i'm certain the price per gigawipe would increase tenfold!

Lowers? (1)

angiasaa (758006) | about 3 years ago | (#35798788)

Here in India, you pay $2.45 for a 1GB chunk. Larger chunks, cost even less. 5GB goes for just over $6!! Pay-as-you-go is all fine if one sticks to small data transfers, but in the long run, is certainly not worth it. Works out to many times the cost.

I understand that fewer players in the market tends to resist cost reduction, but seriously, $500 per GB is ridiculous, right?
What am I missing here?

compare to the rest of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798900)

I just got back from an extended international trip and I was startled how expensive GoPhone is compared to prepaid plans from other countries. I use around 200mb of bandwidth on my iPhone for normal usage. Here's an example of what a month of service costs in other countries:

AT&T GoPhone: $75 for 200mb + unlimited calls (there's no other package for data)
Airtel India: $2 for 2gb
China Mobile: $12 for 4x50mb
TrueMove Thailand: $12 for 500mb 3g
Orange Jordan: $7 for 200mb 3g

India and China do not have 3g service. Still, the huge difference in prices has left me scratching my head.

US Cellular Customers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798912)

What's ATT's pricing got to do with US Cellular Customers?

I'm a US Cellular customer and although, we at least have a 5GB/month cap, instead of the 2GB/month that other carriers impose, but we still have to pay $30/month for data on our Android smartphones, with $0.25/MB if we go over the 5GB cap, with a max monetary cap of $200/month for exceeding the data plan quota. If we tether, we have to pay an additional $25/month on top of the data plan.

Won't someone please think of the sensors??! (1)

warmflatsprite (1255236) | about 3 years ago | (#35798914)

Now, I think these prices are absolutely still outrageous, but does this mean that they're also willing to drop machine-to-machine (web-connected sensors) rates by 90% as well? Christ I hope so...

Re:Won't someone please think of the sensors??! (1)

warmflatsprite (1255236) | about 3 years ago | (#35798940)

For those not in the know, mobile sensors/control devices typically only use a few MB of data transfer a month and they get charged out of their cable glands for it...

6-figure Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go customer (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 3 years ago | (#35798976)

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.

Benefitting from mistakes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798986)

If those carriers had any shred of conscience or their customers were intelligent enough to demand this by market force, they'd introduce upper limits on cost, after which the subscription transforms into a low bandwidth flatrate...
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