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AT&T Clarifies Data Limitations On "Unlimited" Data Plans

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-keep-using-that-word-I-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means dept.

Cellphones 247

MojoKid writes "Several months ago, AT&T notified customers that it would begin throttling network speeds for users who exceeded a certain threshold, with the definitive throttle point defined as an imprecise "the top 5% of mobile data users." The company has issued a statement clarifying this policy after irate customers with unlimited data plans demanded to know what the cap was and how the company determined who should and shouldn't be throttled. The magic number is 3GB, which conveniently happens to be the maximum amount of tiered bandwidth AT&T will sell you. So why would AT&T want unlimited users to move to tiered pricing when its maximum tier is also set at 3GB? Simple — the amount of money the company makes on customers who exceed that 3GB limit. The fine print reads: 'If 3GB is exceeded, an additional 1 GB is automatically provided at a rate of $10 for each additional 1 GB.' Anyone using above 3GB on an unlimited plan is a customer who isn't paying enough for the privilege (from AT&T's perspective)."

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The mobile phone networks (2, Insightful)

AgentSmitz (2587601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245707)

Those mobile phone networks are seriously hammered. If you want to know the exact price you pay, get non-unlimited right away. But it will be cheaper to get unlimited. However, unlimited only works because not everyone is using it to download 5TB off the internet a month. In turn, you get cheaper internet than dedi line.

Re:The mobile phone networks (2)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246467)

Do you have any idea how much people actually use and want to use with their current devices? You may as well have said "X only works because no one is using it to download an infinite amount of data in an infinitesimal amount of time." for all the sense that what you did say means. Unlimited on the other hand, does not work, and can only work when the networks are upgraded to handle the amount of data the users want to use at the speeds they contracted for. The gall of AT&T for thinking they can abuse the English language by using the term "unlimited" without actually meaning it, and for thinking they have monopolistic ability to dictate prices to users instead of participating an a marketplace where others are offering similar, better contracts.

So why offer an unlimited plan in the first place? (5, Insightful)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245711)

Hypocrisy thy name is "insert your choise company here" ?

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (3, Informative)

AgentSmitz (2587601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245717)

Because it is enough for most customers. They do specify these limits too. IF you want truly unlimited, non-capped bandwidth, buy it yourself. But expect to pay 25x more!

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (5, Insightful)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245731)

So then don't call it unlimited? it's not that hard -_-

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245785)

Bait and switch.

I just don't believe advertisements at all. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245823)

When I shop, I make a bee line for the charts that compare services and their agreements- after consulting Consumer Reports to see if they have anything.

Advertisements and sales fluff are just lies - to state the obvious.

Once I was in a very large home center. There was the guy with the table calling people over to buy their overpriced installation services (if you compare prices they charge 40% more than you local contractor - even though they too use local contractors.)

Anyway, while he was giving me his BS spiel, I was looking at the brochure and noticed these asterisks by the "guarantees". When he asked if I had questions, I just replied, "See these asterisks? That means somewhere in the fine print you're going to screw me."

"Oh no no! "

"And under state law, whatever comes out of your mouth is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what is in writing."

*Big dopey grin from sales dweeb* While I walked away happily - I enjoy wasting salespeople's time when I have nothing better to do.

Re:I just don't believe advertisements at all. (4, Funny)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245909)

*Big dopey grin from sales dweeb* While I walked away happily - I enjoy wasting salespeople's time when I have nothing better to do.

I had some phone sales rep yell at me for politely letting him go through his spiel before shooting him down. He basically asked me why I would listen to his whole spiel, and then he dramatically hung up on me.

As I was putting down the phone receiver, I was thinking to myself, "because you never gave me a chance to talk..."

Re:I just don't believe advertisements at all. (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246455)

*Big dopey grin from sales dweeb* While I walked away happily - I enjoy wasting salespeople's time when I have nothing better to do.

I had some phone sales rep yell at me for politely letting him go through his spiel before shooting him down. He basically asked me why I would listen to his whole spiel, and then he dramatically hung up on me.

As I was putting down the phone receiver, I was thinking to myself, "because you never gave me a chance to talk..."

A actually cut in on an AT&T rep once & told her to take me off all marketing lists, she sounded genuinely shocked that I would give the great AT&T the C&D finger.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (4, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245893)

So then don't call it unlimited? it's not that hard -_-

The bandwidth is not capped though, it's THROTTLED. So you still get "unlimited" bandwidth.

People need to remember that companies are going to sell you with the most non-obvious definitions available to them. How often do you hear "it's a steal at less than 14 thousand dollars!" Meanwhile it costs $13,999... sure it's true, but that doesn't make it misleading.

Cynics however are in the know, and we're constantly looking for how they could be using these words to their best benefit.

Other people just don't seem to get it, and no less always act surprised every time they get burned by assuming good faith in advertising.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245977)

The bandwidth is not capped though, it's THROTTLED. So you still get "unlimited" bandwidth.

To be a bit pedantic, throttled is the exact opposite of unlimited bandwidth. What they are talking about of course is unlimited data.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (2)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246147)

The bandwidth is not capped though, it's THROTTLED. So you still get "unlimited" bandwidth.

To be a bit pedantic, throttled is the exact opposite of unlimited bandwidth. What they are talking about of course is unlimited data.

Indeed, but we all should know that unlimited bandwidth is physically impossible, anyways...

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246253)

No, when they advertise unlimited bandwidth, what they mean is that they don't put any limits on it. If they put limits on it then it's not unlimited. The overly pedantic definition you're using is of no value to anybody ever.

If they're placing any throttling or limitations on it, then it's not unlimited.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (2)

L1mewater (557442) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246323)

No, when they advertise unlimited bandwidth, what they mean is that they don't put any limits on it.

I don't think you understand what "bandwidth" means.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (2, Funny)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246239)

The bandwidth is not capped though, it's THROTTLED. So you still get "unlimited" bandwidth.

To be a bit pedantic, throttled is the exact opposite of unlimited bandwidth. What they are talking about of course is unlimited data.

I owe you an apology... apparently, there are people who need this explained to them... :(

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (5, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246165)

So then don't call it unlimited? it's not that hard -_-

The bandwidth is not capped though, it's THROTTLED.

I agree that this is the definition AT&T wants to use, but it's not advertised as "uncapped," it's advertised as "unlimited." Throttling is limiting. I'm sure there are many synonymous ways you could define "bandwidth throttling" which doesn't include the word "limit," but by reducing the available bandwith, you are limiting. Something which is limited cannot be called unlimited.

When AT&T first started throttling, it was supposed to be the top 5% of users, who apparently consumed something like 90% of the overall data. Now this seems to have come to serve another purpose.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (0)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246227)

So then don't call it unlimited? it's not that hard -_-

The bandwidth is not capped though, it's THROTTLED.

I agree that this is the definition AT&T wants to use, but it's not advertised as "uncapped," it's advertised as "unlimited." Throttling is limiting. I'm sure there are many synonymous ways you could define "bandwidth throttling" which doesn't include the word "limit," but by reducing the available bandwith, you are limiting. Something which is limited cannot be called unlimited.

When AT&T first started throttling, it was supposed to be the top 5% of users, who apparently consumed something like 90% of the overall data. Now this seems to have come to serve another purpose.

But the bandwidth has always been limited... you can't have unlimited bandwidth. Shall we say that I can't say "unlimited soup and salad" because eventually the restaurant closes, and you have to stop? Is it unjustified for a restaurant to say such as well, if they require that you can only order one plate at a time? "Because you cannot send me 1 billion plates of soup and salad at one time, your 'unlimited' deal is limited, therefore you're lying to us!"

As the person above you commented, it's about unlimited data, and indeed, your data is unlimited, because you can get as much data as you want, as long as you're willing to wait for it. I didn't think it were necessary to explain that bandwidth cannot physically be unlimited, so it shouldn't be necessary to mention... apparently, they built a better idiot though...

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

the_bard17 (626642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246537)

There are limits placed upon us by reality, the laws of physics, and what not. Then there are the artificial limits placed upon us because some company waved their collective hands and said "We're going to place limits on it."

I'd argue that most (probably not all, there's a few nutcases out there) under an unlimited plan fully understand that "unlimited" does not mean infinite. It means "not limited by the provider".

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246447)

Unlimited is defined as:
unlimited /nlmtd/ Show Spelled[uhn-lim-i-tid] Show IPA
adjective
1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined: unlimited trade.
2. boundless; infinite; vast: the unlimited skies.
3. without any qualification or exception; unconditional.
( http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/unlimited )

Legally the customers have a case in my humble opinion. They were sold "UNLIMITED" usage on data.
After they purchased it, then the company changed their plan. This is both unethical for the business and bait and switch.

Most likely what happened is the "sales" people sold what marketing told them they had to sell. Then the technical department said "hey our network is getting hammered" and management said "hey we need to fix this"

If I were an AT&T customer I would be taking my terms and conditions to my lawyer to fight the additional charges wherever possible.

"People are stupid" "there is a sucker born every minute"
If you believe those things, you get to be the ass who takes advantage of people.
let all that extra money buy you a couple of friends while you are at it.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246469)

So then don't call it unlimited? it's not that hard -_-

The bandwidth is not capped though, it's THROTTLED.

I agree that this is the definition AT&T wants to use, but it's not advertised as "uncapped," it's advertised as "unlimited." Throttling is limiting. I'm sure there are many synonymous ways you could define "bandwidth throttling" which doesn't include the word "limit," but by reducing the available bandwith, you are limiting. Something which is limited cannot be called unlimited.

When AT&T first started throttling, it was supposed to be the top 5% of users, who apparently consumed something like 90% of the overall data. Now this seems to have come to serve another purpose.

So, sue them [chron.com] .

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (4, Insightful)

the_bard17 (626642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246491)

Not the way I read it. You want to sell me unlimited data, it'd better be unlimited. As in, no limits at all. Not "no limits on the amount". I'm talking "no limits on the amount, no limits on how you use it, no limits on how fast you can use it."

Otherwise, you'd better stop calling it unlimited.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

edgr (781723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246441)

Exactly this happened in Australia with fixed-line broadband. ISPs offered 'unlimited' plans, in small print noting you get throttled after a certain figure. They got smacked down by the ACCC (the government consumer watchdog) and now plans are either "x GB - throttled" or "x GB - $y/GB excess fee", or genuinely unlimited.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (5, Insightful)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245757)

There is something inhertly wrong with an unlimited plan that is not unlimited. It's not about what is enough and what's not enough for most customers, it is simply that in this cases some customers are beind decieved ( because they expected to recieve something they were offered), to remedy this issue is to just don't call it unlimited. No one is forcing them to offer unlimited plans!

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (3, Interesting)

AgentSmitz (2587601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245789)

There is something inhertly wrong with an unlimited plan that is not unlimited. It's not about what is enough and what's not enough for most customers, it is simply that in this cases some customers are beind decieved ( because they expected to recieve something they were offered), to remedy this issue is to just don't call it unlimited. No one is forcing them to offer unlimited plans!

Generally, you cannot walk into a restaurant and just eat for as many days as you want, even when they advertise unlimited buffet. There are expected limits to unlimited offerings, and considering the state of the mobile network, it's not that surprise.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245807)

I agree, If I have a 10Mb/s connection my theoretical limit is 25Tb per month. I don't think I will ever reach that limit. But the issue is that if my company offered me an unlimited connection, then it is not logical for them to say I used to much if it was more than 100Gb in one month. The problem is not with the limitation with the network, the problem is with the naming of the service.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245877)

No, capping the monthly data volume is not fine. The total amount of data is not a cost to the provider. The cost of the network is determined by the maximum concurrent data transfers, i.e. peak load. You can construct the network for the minimum speed that users will tolerate at peak times, but no less. That is your cost driver. If you cap the total amount of data per month, the first to go is the bulk downloading, which is not timing sensitive and much more evenly distributed than typical "must have on the mobile" usage. In other words, caps are mostly ineffective at reducing a network operators costs.

So why are caps used anyway? It's price-gouging. Caps are not meant to reduce costs, they're meant to increase earnings per customer. If you accept caps, you have already accepted the price gouging. How they call the service is irrelevant. Suppose they stop advertising "unlimited" plans and start advertising "one price, no matter how much you use".

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (2)

AgentSmitz (2587601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246075)

Do you even know how much it costs provide dedicated bandwidth. It's not cheap. The only reason we home customers have as good lines as we do (arguably, i know) is because it's burstable bandwidth. Want dedicated? Then buy dedicated, at much higher price.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246095)

Allow me to quote myself:

You can construct the network for the minimum speed that users will tolerate at peak times, but no less.

That's not dedicated bandwidth.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246145)

This is easily the best comment I've read on the subject on slashdot.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (0)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246531)

I'd think caps as low as 3GB per month are going to be discouraging video streaming as well as bulk downloading.

That asside while bulk downloading may be more evenly spread it can also be massively higher in volume, should a user who is maxing out their connection most of the time and wose is doing so with agressive protocols like bittorrent really pay the same as someone who is just browsing the web and checking email?

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245931)

But buffets generally are not advertised as unlimited. They're somewhat vaguely advertised as "All-you-can-eat" .. so, arguably, when you stop eating then your buffet privilege is over. Its a limit. Or they state all you can eat for an hour. The word I have never seen describing a buffet is "unlimited"; however, there are plenty of unlimited data services with quaint limits.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (5, Insightful)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245973)

I disagree. You're trying to rationalize away the definition of unlimited with a poor analogy. An all you can eat buffet is not advertised as "unlimited". Usually plainly just "all you can eat". It becomes obvious after a certain point you cannot eat anymore. That is your limit. They are not offering "all you can eat for the next week/month/year/lifetime", but for your current meal. So if you're sitting there after having pounded down several plates of food, they're perfectly within their rights to ask you to leave since they satisfied their end of the bargain.

AT&T once upon a time did offer completely unlimited bandwidth. It was of course at a time when there was very little to consume while mobile so if anything, it was little more than a marketing strategy. The problem came when there was a boom in mobile internet activity, where people had a reason to consume copious amounts of bandwidth. They realized they could get far more money by removing the unlimited plans and moving to tiered plans. Their "unlimited" plan outlived its usefulness and they've been trying to remove and cripple it as much as possible to get everyone grandfathered out of it.

It is, however, and always will be shady to still claim something is unlimited if it is inherently not. No amount of rationalization of "expected" or "obvious" limitations will ever change that. If you're offering a finite resource, do not claim it's unlimited with an asterisk explaining the limitations. Offer the service with a proper name. We should not be tolerating this sort of false advertising.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (5, Insightful)

AnttiV (1805624) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246277)

[clipped]

It is, however, and always will be shady to still claim something is unlimited if it is inherently not. No amount of rationalization of "expected" or "obvious" limitations will ever change that. If you're offering a finite resource, do not claim it's unlimited with an asterisk explaining the limitations. Offer the service with a proper name. We should not be tolerating this sort of false advertising.

I have to disagree on this, to a point. Namely, I'm willing to let my current subscription to be called unlimited, with asterisk explaining limitations. No, don't yell at me yet, let me explain.

My current plan let's me download unlimited amount of data each month, no throttling, no caps. This truly is unlimited, but with an asterisk. See later.

My plan also doesn't cap my bandwith, at all, ever, but allow unlimited downloading each month, for the whole month. That, also, is truly unlimited, but with the aforementioned asterisk.

Okay, see here. The asterisk: Please note that these are limited with the current technology. The network available here is limited by the hardware and infrastructure to about 15-20Mbps, theoretical. It usually sits anywhere between four and twelve. So the amount of data, while unlimited in the meaning that no company limits your downloads, is still limited to a finite amount by limits in the hardware of the network and the device you are using. You cannot download 34579823475 TB of data each month, since the devices you own and the network provided are physically incapable of such speed that would be required for that amount of data.

If the company who sells the product/service to me does not intentionally limit the use in any way, I'm fine for them to call it "unlimited", even if it comes with an asterisk explaining the limitations of the underlying system.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245799)

One of the important prerequisites for a free market is informed customers. I have no problem at all with ISPs providing caps. If everyone saturated their connections 24/7 then they would not be able to provide the service, and the cost of actually providing that amount of bandwidth to everyone would be far greater than most customers are able to afford. The problem is not the capping, it is misleading advertising. If you are going to offer 5GB per month, advertise 5GB per month. If you are going to offer 50GB per month, advertise 50GB per month. If you are going to deploy a transparent proxy that resamples images, specify that. If you are going to block access to certain sites, or only permit HTTP traffic, don't say that you provide Internet access. Tell people exactly what service you will provide and allow potential customers to decide whether they think it is worth what you are charging.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (0)

zero.kalvin (1231372) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245819)

Thank you so much! That is the whole point! please mod parent up.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (4, Interesting)

Tx (96709) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245963)

Unfortunately, even when they are up-front about their bandwidth management policy, sometimes they make it so complex that it's still hard to know if you're complying. Check out the policy [virginmedia.com] for my ISP, Virgin Media. Props to them for publishing the policy, although you do have to keep checking that it hasn't changed while you weren't looking. But give me a break - two different periods during which traffic is metered, one including an upstream cap, one not, with different levels in each. Plus separate DPI-based management of P2P "between 5pm and midnight on weekdays and midday and midnight on weekends". And if you do exceed one of the caps, they throttle you to 25%, which would be fine, except that however they've implemented that throttling, it makes your connection almost unusable. Download a game from Steam at the wrong time, and you might basically lose the ability to stream video from the web for the rest of the day. Fun.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246275)

Forces you to go with their XXL package of 50mb. I don't have fibre right now but I will soon. I will need to get the 50mb package, to avoid throttling (they still throttle P2P but there is no download threshold like the other packages), even though I cannot actually get 50mb speed (probably tops out at around 40). Thats the only way unfortunately. It used to be 20mb was the highest and that was unlimited. Traditionally, VM's best package is the only unthrottled one.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246347)

Actually, the 50MB package still has some throttling in place - but only on upstream, not downstream (but I guess that isn't a problem for you as you've already researched). Only their 100MB package is totally unthrottled with no bandwidth caps. Seriously considering upgrading because a 75% throttle is intense butthurt at weekends (the only time I actually seriously use the 30Mb speeds to let BBC iPlayer download series links, Steam games etc).

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246391)

Yeah when I move into my fibre house, I will bite the bullet and pony up £35pm for the full (50mb) package (100mb is not offered here, presumably because they know we cannot consume it with our FTTC infrastructure). It's just about tolerable a price (though I won't get any other services like phone or TV. Not that I use those things anyway). Also, I doubt I would ever hit the upload throttling limit, unless I am backing up large files to my website or a storage locker, in which case I could do that during a time it isn't throttled.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246353)

What you said is what is same situation in many other places, like what "toilet flush day" tries to do, that every person in US would flush their toilets at same time. The sewer system couldn't handle that amount of water but it would fill all sewers with waste water and it would come up to streets and even empty water towers and other local reserves.

But the sewers and water distribution systems works because it is balanced by statics that everyone does not flush same time or take shower same time.
Same problem is with networking and especially when it comes to US where the networks structure lacks severely behind many European countries and all Nordic countries. In US, the network structure was never designed from the beginning to handle that amount of data transfer as in Nordic countries were. One of the reasons for that is there in Nordic countries government build and paid networks to every home. It was 99% coverage that every building had telephone lines and every town and city block were stand-alone distributing everything alone but together they build big network what is very well balanced.

But as in US, some Nordic countries the creed government officials got idea that there is need to private the network. So they stopped building new networks and they trusted private companies to handle situation. Prices went up and quality came down. And last 30 years that has been cause why ISP's are now whining not wanted to invest to network as they didn't do that for 30 years and now they would need to do so in once. It is big number to invest (like 1-2 billion) for a country to pull a fibernetwork to every home, and companies do not want to do that because they want to give that money to investors, who are usually foreign people. If government would have done that, it would pay about 800-1100 billion, time to upgrade all networks would take less than 1-2 years and every home would have at least 100MBits connections. And it would maintain the basic infrastructure of modern society, but capitalism and competition is cause why everyone is suffering now even by networking system.

Marketing has evolved since 1900-1940 to modern model where marketing is just a technic to push illusions and dreams to peoples minds. It is about quest to wake up the needs what people like at that moment.

For decades marketing has not been about informing people about your product, but to sell crap and do so again and again in endless loop.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246245)

This is just the same bullshit which reminds me that the word is "nigga" not "nigger" and only black people can say "nigga" so don't even try it. "Unlimited" means there is no limit in the same way that "nigger" is an obscene, derogatory and abusive word. But, if somehow a different party uses the word, it's "okay" especially when they redefine the whole meaning of words for the purpose of causing confusion.

It's okay... dat's AT&T ma nigga!

I'd like to see AT&T's upstream provider start to put limits on their access and then claim unlimited doesn't mean what you think it means.

We all live in "starbucks coffee land" where "tall" is the smallest size... I saw some "tall" people the other day at the circus... uh huh...

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (4, Insightful)

gsslay (807818) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245755)

It's not the plan that's the problem it is the entire concept, which is based on a logical impossibility.

So how much longer are ISPs going to be allowed to use this lie when promoting their products? It's not even misleading, it's a plain falsehood. Very little in life is "unlimited". We live in a world of limited resources. No company can sell you "unlimited" anything.

Or are we witnessing a lexical change to the language where "unlimited" merely means a vague "lots"?

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (0)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245885)

Eh, it's not like it's a new idea.

Consider for instance how buffet's offer you 'unlimited' food or the 'unlimited' access passes you can get from many establishments.

The business model is that you offer the customer 'unlimited' access so they can use the service as much as they want, however most people get stuffed/bored fairly quickly and usually end up paying for much more then they actually used.

Buffet's would get rather ticked off if they suddenly got invaded by people with bottomless stomachs and would rather quickly start putting up 'Max 3 refills' signs.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246127)

Reminds me of my first web host back in the 90s, crosswinds.net. Free unlimited storage and unlimited data transfer -- the only catch being you had to upload through a browser interface that required files to be less than a couple megabytes, took forever, crashed half the time... and then the site would be down for power outages every weekend. "Unlimited" is something I try to avoid.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246209)

The argument in the UK always used to be that "Unlimited" meant whenever you wanted, rather than however much you wanted; it was something of a holdover from the dial-up days when a lot of ISPs offered a totally free service (no subscription, freephone number) with a 2 hour connection cap whereas their new services were "always on".

It was a bullshit weasely definition then and it's just as bad now.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (2)

freaktheclown (826263) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246309)

"Unlimited" here means "without artificial limitations." At least that's what it used to mean when they first advertised it.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (3, Informative)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245773)

They don't offer one. But they have grandfathered old unlimited plans so as not to piss off existing customers. It's a strange idea, though, because anyone still with AT&T at this point is already a certified masochist.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (4, Interesting)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245793)

Better yet, get rid of the ridiculous idea of "data plans" in the first place. Charge users a certain per-megabyte fee on their bill for the data they use and offer them the option to pre-purchase data per-gigabyte at a discount.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246363)

Charge users a certain per-megabyte fee on their bill for the data they use and offer them the option to pre-purchase data per-gigabyte at a discount.

Which would be different than the current tiered (non-unlimited) dataplans... how, exactly?

Did you mean "cut off the service when the cap is reached instead of assraping the customer with overage charges?" If so, then good luck with that. These guys are certified bastards.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246461)

I meant eliminating the data plans completly (including the requirement to buy one because AT&T thinks your phone is a "smartphone") and replacing it with the ability to buy data in 1gb blocks at a discount to the normal per-megabyte price. In particular, there wouldn't be a hard limit on how many of these data blocks you can buy.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (2)

Likes Microsoft (662147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246133)

I have an unlimited 3G plan with Verizon Wireless for my smartphone, and this made me curious. Verizon has a nearly identical throttling policy: http://goo.gl/RIXbF [goo.gl]

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (2)

camperslo (704715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246297)

The U.K. and E.U. do a god job with truth in advertising. Why can't the U.S.too? Maybe if we ban paid radio t.v. political ads (stations running only as much non-paid balanced public affairs programming as they choose), we would not have so many elected officials selling influence through those corporate campaign contributions.

Re:So why offer an unlimited plan in the first pla (1)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246485)

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

run a data counter (5, Interesting)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245719)

In my experience, AT&T doesn't even deliver the data I bought. So when they throttle you at 3Gb, they may actually be throttling you at 1Gb (the difference is far larger than what can be explained by network overhead). Run a data counter on your phone to see what is actually going on, and compare that with the data they claim you used.

Re:run a data counter (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245887)

This sounds very similar to the old usage caps when they were first introduced in Australia. 3GB of download? Hell no mate, we'll count your uploads too. In reality you get about 2.2GB of downloads if all you're doing is heavy use of the web. Skype? Peer to Peer? Nah you'll never see 3GB of data come your way.

Re:run a data counter (1)

redleaf8 (894893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246061)

Before I got Comcast setup in my new apartment I had to use my T-Mobile Blackberry tethered to my laptop. In just one night of streaming Al-Jazeera over that I used 2.5 Gigs according to the meter on their site. But once I got Comcast setup I tested it with their meter and it came nowhere near that much usage. I don't know how to call them on it thought. Can their really be that much overhead on a mobile connection compared to a cable one?

Re:run a data counter (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246315)

The data counter I use is typically accurate to about 1%, the error probably being caused by the delay in used data showing up on my bill.

Re:run a data counter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246407)

Gb or GB?

Ah, history repeats itself (1)

Apothem (1921856) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245765)

You would think AT&T would learn from the response of their customers. But that will never happen at this point. It would seem that a lot of companies want to follow this as well. This is probably going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Re:Ah, history repeats itself (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245927)

They're a phone company.

Time and again we've seen evidence that a telco's business model is "sign up as many customers as you can, gouge them for as much money as you can and provide the bare minimum service necessary to be able to claim that the customer was getting exactly what they paid for in the event you get into trouble. We don't care. We don't have to. We're the phone company."

Re:Ah, history repeats itself (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245991)

Of course they learn from their customers. Their customers get a valuable service, and they're willing to pay a high price for it. If they weren't willing, they wouldn't pay. It doesn't matter that a few customers complain about the price, as long as they pay.

limit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245831)

lim data ->inf = 3 gb
Seems to be following the same line of thoughts as the calculus test I am correcting right now ;)
Oh wait this guys looks be be failing....

Re:limit? (0)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245839)

lim of what when what tends to inf ?

Re:limit? (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245843)

Thank God you're not correcting an English test.

Re:limit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246303)

Thank God you're not a matematician!

speed. (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245881)

is there a bandwidth cap on these networks or is it what can the device (phone) muster ?
I've never seen the logic in capping usage as something that can prevent congestion. if all hell Should breaks loose at a given time in the day it will caps or no caps (especially for a conventional ISP). One can argue that the diffidence with cellphones is that ppl always have them and if there were no caps everybody will use them. but I think that ppl have better things to do during the day to just watch videos on their cellphones all day long.

VirginbMobile Australia (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245901)

Yeah like fucking Virgin Mobile Australia charging 2c per KB over.. which means you can clock up $thousands in a very short time.

Yes, Virgin Mobile, I am talking about you.

They are the damn pirates.

50MB over = $100. Ouch. For a lousy $600 phone on a $40 per month plan. You go over.. you PAY.. bend over boy.

My first over the cap bill was $5500. You can't kill me. Wife already tried and damn near succeeded.

Re:VirginbMobile Australia (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246247)

Yeah like fucking Virgin Mobile Australia charging 2c per KB over.. which means you can clock up $thousands in a very short time.

Yes, Virgin Mobile, I am talking about you.

They are the damn pirates.

50MB over = $100. Ouch. For a lousy $600 phone on a $40 per month plan. You go over.. you PAY.. bend over boy.

My first over the cap bill was $5500. You can't kill me. Wife already tried and damn near succeeded.

When she asked you why you used so much data It was probably a mistake to tell her how much better the porn movies are in HD.

More expensive everywhere, getting cheaper here... (5, Interesting)

PARENA (413947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245915)

I live in Finland and I can't understand what is going on in all those countries where they start charging more while giving less. I wanted to get an extra set of text messages in my mobile package. So the guy looks at my info and says "I see you have the '500 minutes + 100 text messages' package and a 3G package on top of that. Let's improve on that." The result was that I have those 2 packages for the price I used to pay for just the minutes+texts. Making my 3G (1/3rd of the price of the old agreement) 'free', really. And there's no data limit. Maybe it's the advantage of having a 'large' country with a big network, but very few people.

Re:More expensive everywhere, getting cheaper here (2)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245929)

I live in Finland and I can't understand what is going on in all those countries where they start charging more while giving less.

That comes with network congestion... or more precisely with congestion of the RF spectrum: more and more users are competing for a larger and larger chunk of what amounts to a finite resource. Maybe Finland's RF spectrum isn't congested yet as that of other countries?

Re:More expensive everywhere, getting cheaper here (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39245983)

Finland has Nokia and just across the border there is Ericsson. This means that the local telephone companies get to test a lot of new networking hardware before it goes into mass production, which lowers their costs. The problem in much of the rest of the world is that phone companies sold data plans for early smartphones that had tiny screens and could just about do web browsing if you had a lot of patience and just about managed email. An unlimited plan for one of these phones was well under 1GB - irrespective of how fast the network was, you just couldn't consume much data on them. Then people took the same plans and started using modern smartphones with them. A single YouTube video on a modern phone will use more data than a month with an early Blackberry, for example. The networks were very slow at adapting, and are now trying to readjust their prices to levels that actually make sense.

Re:More expensive everywhere, getting cheaper here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246285)

they faced impossibility of adapting 'unlimited' to real world. The first to do so will have to bite anger of customers who do not give a damn about realities of running networks. They do not have to know anything but a little thinking would help. Still this does not mean it would ever happen so we have this dance till first operator scraps all unlimited one way or the other and the rest will follow. OC the first one to do so will have to pay the sucker's fee.

Re:More expensive everywhere, getting cheaper here (4, Interesting)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246047)

The thing here in Finland is that usually the upload/download speed is limited, not the amount of data you can use. E.g. I'm Saunalahti-customer and they offer this mobile broadband-thing in various "sizes." The smallest one, the Mini, costs 4.99€ a month, has absolutely no throttling or data cap, but the speed is limited to 512KB/s. I think such pricing works great and there is absolutely no worries of going over the cap. Oh, and before someone asks: no, you're not required to sign a 2-year contract or anything, you can end the contract whenever you wish.

That said I have full package myself; no caps, no throttling, and I can upload/download at full available speed. It still costs only 15€ a month, so it's still tens of times better than anything those poor Amercans are gettin'!

Re:More expensive everywhere, getting cheaper here (1)

PARENA (413947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246065)

Yeah, I'm with Saunalahti, as well. So now I have 500min + 100 SMS + 1mbit no-cap 3G for €19,90. Could do worse. :)

Re:More expensive everywhere, getting cheaper here (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246307)

Hmm, at least here in the UK we get unlimited SMS (subject to Fair Use Policy, usually 2500 per month)

Re:More expensive everywhere, getting cheaper here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246545)

I have as well Saunalahti but for me it is 2€ a month for unlimited upload/download speeds without amount limitations.
I can download/upload as much as my device or the current cell can handle.
Right now my speeds were 742KB/s for download and 435KB/s upload so my phone full 7.4Mbits download speed is available and full 5.76Mbits upload as well. But that is now possible middle of day, but after the school ends and hundred kids gets homes and people returns from work it drops to 250-400KB/s download and 150-300KB/s upload almost exactly when time hits 16:30, as there are about 150 houses covered with one cell tower.

But I can live with that well.

Everytime I read about any US carrier network speeds and "amazing services" I laugh (ok, I used to laugh but now it is just boring) and I hope they would demand that carriers would start investing money to their customers instead shareholders. Why does US citizens allow corporations to rip their rights away, slowdown and limit their nation development by capitalism? God damn.... someone stop that grazy thing there and demand government to build the information network and that then to rent it to small local carriers who will maintain and upgrade the local network for every US citizen. Capitalism does not work but it just slows down and delivers bad qualities (were it then technology, healtcare, electricity etc).

   

Re:More expensive everywhere, getting cheaper here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246259)

Maybe it's the advantage of having a 'large' country with a big network, but very few people.

That is exactly the argument used here in Canada to justify the exorbitant prices charged.

Cellphone contracts in Canada are criminal. All of them state: "no guarantee of service". i.e. Give us your money and we may or may not give you something for it. No other business is allowed to get away with this. I am constantly amazed that people sign these agreements. I guess the desire to look cool overwhelms all reason.

The credit reporting agencies are complicit in this extortion scheme. People continue to pay for something they may or may not receive, because if the criminal networks (Rogers, Bell) decide to report you, then you can never own a home, buy a car, rent a motel room... etc. Want to contest the report that a fraudulent corporation makes to the credit agency? That will cost you at least $50. It is an extortion racket, nothing more. It seems this is perfecctly legal for these companies. Just try it as an individual and your ass will be in jail before you can say "extortion racket".

All cellphone services in Canada are fraudulent and criminal. I guess if you are a corporation, then that is OK these days. I think I will incorporate so I can be a criminal with no fear of punishment too!

Re:More expensive everywhere, getting cheaper here (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246305)

I live in Finland and I can't understand what is going on in all those countries where they start charging more while giving less

Here is some clarification:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_v._Ford_Motor_Company [wikipedia.org]

Re:More expensive everywhere, getting cheaper here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246437)

I live in Finland as well and a 15 months ago I wanted a data plan to my phone.

So I called to two operators and asked their services. In three days I had unlimited speed and amount (unlimited as by companies, only limited by current network situation on area where I might be at that point and my used device) and price for that was 2 euros a month (about $2.8). And the SIM and phones are unlocked, so I can freely just swap card where ever I want. I don't need to care about where I am or what carrier network I am using as in Finland you automatically use every carrier network without any extra price or limitation. If your own carrier network is slower than competitors network, your phone automatically switch to strongest one so you swap even carriers networks on the fly without any limitations.

I have enjoyed a lot about unlimited speed & amount. My data usage has been between 20-40 gigabytes by avarage, some months it has gone up to 60 gigabytes. But then it means I use a lot tethering and hotspot feature in my Android phone.

Oh and did I forget that in Finland you are not charged extra for features like tethering and hotspot or even amount of laptops and desktops using your mobile network device?
You can even place your SIM to 3G WLAN 802.11n router and share your connection to 100 people if wanted.

The now typical data package from cheapest carrier in Finland is about 5-9 euros a month. And it is usually 1Mbits to what network/device can handle (un-locked SIM and devices).
I just bought a few day ago for friend a 3G modem and it is 24 month contract, price being 9,90 euros a month for unlimited speed but amount is capped to 60 gigabytes and after that 60 gigabytes your connection is throttled so you are second class user for that cell tower when others are using it but your connection speed does not drop under 1Mbits ever (that is quaranteed) so you do not get anymore those 14MBits or higher speeds after 60Gigabytes.

And for me it is hard to use that 60 gigabytes a month, for typical users it is even harder. Only way to get that 60 gigabyte line crossed is to watch lot of HD streams. But when the HD television and services are trough DVB2-S or DVB2-T it does not matter for your data.

I'm gonna be a minority here, PLEASE READ TO END (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39245951)

Please read until the end of the post, because I'm going to be in the minority here. Some posters say that AT&T shouldn't use the term "unlimited" if it means 3 GB. Another poster says they declare that you have reached 3 GB when approximately 1 GB has gone over the wire -- which cannot possibly be accounted for by network bandwidth. I'm about to express a minority view here, but I will tell you why I'm doing it so please read to the end.

The minority view is: AT&T has a fiduciary and legal obligation to promise whatever will convince the most customers. If it's unlimited, it's "unlimited" if it's "ten times faster than fiber" they should promise that. Further, AT&T has a fiduciary and legal obligation to reduce its costs as far as the market will bear: in other words, if it were possible to keep its customers to THEIR promise (their contracts) while closing down ALL of their network towers, then AT&T should do that. AT&T has an obligation to the shareholders to promise as much and deliver as little as it can get away with.

Now let me explain why I'm expressing this minority viewpoint: out of sarcasm and irony. Go fuck yourselves AT&T, one day every one of the three hundred million Americans you attempted to fuck over will fuck you right back and you will have to deliver a coupon to each and every one of us, and every one of your leadership will be replaced. On that day I will look at that coupon and laugh at you, you sorry fucks.

Re:I'm gonna be a minority here, PLEASE READ TO EN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246067)

Your minority view is like a luminescent gem that glows at night and during the day dazzles the eyes with its untamed bending of the rules of physics -- twisting light, bending it, and re-emitting it in ways that should not be possible but are of mesmorizing beauty -- creating magnificent rainbows of wonder and inspiring awe. I truly have no idea which minority you support or even if there is a minority but, whatever the case, I support you because your comment is so clear in expressing its opinion that transparent takes upon a new meaning; transparent just does not do your comment justice. Super-transparent-with-added-beauty-and-succinct-vision is probably a more apt term, but that it hard to type.

Re:I'm gonna be a minority here, PLEASE READ TO EN (1, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246079)

Alternatively, if AT&T can convince the network abusers to leave and go to another network, they will be able to avoid spending billions on network improvements just to cater to the 1% of customers who use 90% of the network capacity. They have a legal and fiduciary duty to do that, and as the beneficiary of AT&T's profits (i.e. shareholder to whom they pay the majority of their profits), I am all for that.

So, go fuck yourself, and have a nice day.

Re:I'm gonna be a minority here, PLEASE READ TO EN (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246187)

Alternatively, if AT&T can convince the network abusers to leave and go to another network

Network abusers? What are you, a corporate shill?

These people are using the bandwidth they purchased and paid for.
If you buy a tank of gas, is it ok for the gas company to say you can only drive 10 miles, then have to pay more for the gas that's already in your tank?
If you buy a car, should you have to pay more for how far you drive past some arbitrary mileage? (I'm not talking leasing here....buying your car outright).

If they don't want people using their network, why are they in the business of being a provider?

This whole thing came about because Internet Service Providers started selling faster and faster connections, without building the back-end networks to handle the increase in use. Why should I care if I can download something at 50Mb/s if I'm limited to 3Gig of data per month? I'd rather have speeds around 10Mb/s with no limitations.

Re:I'm gonna be a minority here, PLEASE READ TO EN (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246301)

Your tank of gas analogy is flawed.

The real analogy is that gas stations have the absolute right to ration purchases to make sure everyone has at least some gas.

If you buy a car, you do have to pay more for how far you drive, by purchasing more gas, and paying for more maintenance, and paying higher insurance, and paying tolls in some places. People who use more should have to pay for.

In any case, if you would go read your AT&T terms of service, you would find that you are not paying for unlimited service. You are paying for use of the network on an as-available bases without a set data cap. You are not paying for and are not entitled to 100% utilization 100% of the time to the detriment of other users of the network.

Re:I'm gonna be a minority here, PLEASE READ TO EN (2)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246191)

'Network abusers'? You really did drink the coolaid. How about your duty to deliver what your customers have paid for?

Re:I'm gonna be a minority here, PLEASE READ TO EN (0)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246281)

Go read the terms of service in your AT&T contract before you make such stupid statements.

Re:I'm gonna be a minority here, PLEASE READ TO EN (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246099)

Most people I know with a smartphone use around 1gb. No one cares about your revolution

At&t wants you to go to sprint to kill them off

REally? (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246005)

"The magic number is 3GB, which conveniently happens to be the maximum amount of tiered bandwidth AT&T will sell you."

that's funny because I am paying for 5Gb from them. It's available on the website and at any location. Sounds like the article writer did not know anything about it's data plans.

Yes you can get a business 5GB data plan on your phones, and it had better be outside that 3Gb data cap or they are refunding a lot of money.

Re:REally? (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246059)

I am paying for 4GB w/ tethering, yet they still throttle me at 3GB. It was like a switch was flipped and my phone is going to be useless for the next few days.

611 denies that I am being throttled, but it's plainly obvious that my phone is, in fact, throttled.

Punishing Customers for Their Purchases (5, Insightful)

guitardood (934630) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246077)

They knowingly and willingly over sold their infrastructure (bait) and now that customers are trying to use the service they signed up for, their service is being throttled (switch). Period.

The real truth here is that they offered services which they knew they could not provide and rather than do the correct thing and increase their infrastructure capacity, they opted to increase shareholder profits and to purchase the other smaller companies who were coerced into selling selling off their business for lack of ability to compete with the unlimited plans. Now that they have a large percentage of the market share, their strategy is to punish the customer that they probably wouldn't even have if it was not for the unlimited plans. Basically they gambled that customers would not utilize the service and lost. However, unlike when we get our pockets emptied at a casino, they're somehow able to pawn their losses on the customers.

I couldn't imagine a more clear example of a ponzi scheme than this.

Re:Punishing Customers for Their Purchases (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246271)

If they were not allowed to "oversell" their network, and were forced to provide 100% utilization 100% of the time to 100% of the users, cell data would cost $5000/month to pay for the cost of rolling out such a network.

Re:Punishing Customers for Their Purchases (1)

guitardood (934630) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246481)

I completely agree with you on your point. But.....

They should not have marketed and sold unlimited accounts offering the 100/100/100 knowing full well they could not provide that. If I were to sell you a car that you can take anywhere for $10,000, sign a contract and take your money only for you to find that the car is a matchbox, I'd probably go to jail.

They know their capacity better than any of us. If we know they could not provide this type of service, I'm sure they knew this as well and IMHO feel that they have defrauded their customers and should have some cost for that fraud. I can guarantee that the average non-techie user has no clue about the limitation/cost. All they know is that they signed up for unlimited access and expect it to be unlimited. Anything else is......well, limited.

Re:Punishing Customers for Their Purchases (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246509)

They never offered 100/100/100. Not one piece of advertising from AT&T said "You can get 10Mbits 100% of the time with no data limit"

The marketing literature and the terms of service say that speeds are not guaranteed and that you may not use the network in such a way that causes it to be less available to other customers.

It's not fraud at all. It's customers making assumptions about things and failing to read the terms of service before signing. I have no sympathy for them.

Good ol' AT&T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246101)

Ah Telecom companies, the biggest scammers on earth right behind polticians.
They never ever disappoint you.

They never specified what the unlimited stands for (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246181)

Unlimited Billing

The data is still unlimited. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246211)

Just throttled.

Besides, no one should be mad about the use of the word unlimited, it doesn't ever mean truly unlimited. You can't get unlimited bandwidth, at an "all you can eat" they will eventually kick you out if you stay past closing, etc.

The top 5% (0)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246223)

Also known as Zeno's Paradox.

A finite amount of bandwidth for an infinite amount of money.

Vodafone in Holland, 7GB, 47.50 (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246311)

Vodafone finally has started to put simple clear limits on its dataplans, granted this is pure data (tablets, laptop) but at least you know what you get. Two years sees the first year for half the price, so it is in reality 75% of 47.50 with either a cheap dongle or wifi/3G modem for "free". 19% sales tax is included in the price.

Net result, roughly twice the data for the same price. But no sign of LTE so far in Holland.I suppose one way or another, you get what you pay for. In Holland the competition is rather strong with few people staying with the default subscriber. Raise the prices, loose customers. Seems Americans still give AT&T enough room to control them. Vote with your dollars.

Lawyer time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39246459)

So.... Anybody want to fire up a class action lawsuit?

Bandwidth != Usage (4, Insightful)

kbolino (920292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39246471)

The magic number is 3GB, which conveniently happens to be the maximum amount of tiered bandwidth AT&T will sell you.

BANDWIDTH is the RATE at which bits are transferred.
USAGE is the AMOUNT of data that has been transferred.

After 3GB of USAGE, AT&T will limit your BANDWIDTH.

I'd expect this kind of confusion on CNN, but Slashdot?

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