back to article AT&T to ax unlimited data plans on iPhone Monday

If you're in the US and want an iPhone or other AT&T-provided smartphone with an unlimited data plan, get off your duff and sign up before Monday, June 7 — that's when AT&T will switch to capped data-service plans. June 7 is also the day that Steve Jobs is expected to unveil the next-generation iPhone. In addition to killing …


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  1. bolccg


    Makes you glad to be living in the UK, huh?

    1. Jonathan Cohen

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Bizzare. The UK prepay price of around £5 a month for 1GB (T-Mobile/3 etc) actually seems reasonable in comparison!

    2. Tom 35
      Thumb Down

      Some bits cost more then other bits...

      If your paying per use on a capped service why the hell do they think you should pay extra to use tethered data then other data?

      What's next, charge extra for youtube? Voip?

      1. Shadowmanx2009


        You'll just give them ideas :(!!!

    3. Myopic Aardvark

      Glad to be in the UK?

      Nope - because we usually follow whatever the US does, like feckless sheep.

      1. IanPotter

        There already

        O2 are already asking for £15/month extra to add tethering to the iPhone on a supposedly unlimited data tariff. Gougers...

        Any time I'm even remotely tempted by an iPhone/Android a quick look at the costs is enough to make me think better of it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          #There Already

          >Any time I'm even remotely tempted by an iPhone/Android a quick look at the costs is enough to make me think better of it.

          Updated my Nexus to Froyo last week - Froyo gives you a built in wireless AP/hotspot and unlimited data on T-Mobile costs an extra £5 a month.....

        2. Adam W

          O RLY?

          I upgraded to an Xperia X10i on Vodafone recently, and despite heavy usage on e-mail/internet/etc, I'm still not even coming close to my 500MB bundle (which is included in my tariff - I pay £40/month, and got the X10i for free when I upgraded). And that was even the case before I got issued my work Blackberry, too, and was using my personal phone for work use too in the meantime.

          Android ain't as expensive as some make out, especially as most of the Apps are free, too.

          Not attempted tethering with this yet, but not sure I need to. The networks have all been fussy over tethering for some time, and indeed Vodafone have only just realised that it might be worth offering it as an add-on for Business tariffs...

  2. ratfox

    Third reason

    There is a perfectly good reason to cut prices, even for nasty greedy corporation, and that is to grab more market share. Then of course, they claim that 65% of customers do not use more than 200MB on average, but that could well mean they all use more every three months.

    So far, I have mostly seen two types of reaction:

    "How dare they!? How can I watch three hours a day of video with only 2GB?"


    "Cool! I use less than 50MB anyway, welcome to low bills!"

    Anyway, to those who gloat at the misfortune of AT&T customers, beware: Your turn WILL come.

    The question is WHEN, not IF, other telcos will follow.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    I have done that in less than a day (and without downloading porn). Last month I did 27GB, and I did 32GB in February. Hell, if I could get lcd glasses, I'd be able to have a computer implanted so I'd never be without it.

  4. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


    It's as bad or worse here in Canada. Go oligopolies! But of course the best way to respond to this is obviously to completely deregulate the telecommunications industry. Somehow this will eliminate the barriers to entry and increase competition. In no way would such deregulation lead instantly into all the carriers in North America collapsing into a single megacorp.*

    *When I picture this, in my mind I see a Neutron star feeding off of a stellar companion until it reaches a critical mass point...collapsing inwards into a singularity while simultaneously blowing off its outer shell. End result: gravitational anomaly so dense that even light cannot escape…and a massive shockwave of hard radiation and plasma annihilating anything within a radius of a few light years. Thousands of light years away, the heavy particles created during this violent reaction seed a nebula with the ingredients necessary for it to collapse into a solar system; potentially even giving rise to life. Where the original solar system was, a menacing void ensnaring any who dare venture too close.

    But with the continental economy instead of a solar system.

  5. Robert E A Harvey


    Hmm. Just how much can you milk a cow before she turns nasty and kicks you in the buckets?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Jobs Horns


      can be milked forever. "Shiny, shiny" trumps "value" every time.

      I've got unlimited (throttled after 5GB a month and VoIP is not alloed) in Germany for € 10. Needless to say tethering does not cost extra works fine with my SE G900.

  6. Reading Your E-mail
    Black Helicopters


    ....people will doubtless moan and complain but they won't go to another provider, all noise and no action, that's what AT&flea are banking on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not won't - can't

      This is the US - it's not a question of won't got to another provider, it's a question of can't, because AT&T is the only provider of the network that the iPhone works on. Verizon and Sprint use a completely different technology (CDMA), and T-Mobile uses the same "technology" (GSM) but on different wavelengths.

      Competition? Yeah, US phone companies have heard of it.

  7. Martin


    Come on.

    I know it's a US story, but El Reg is still a UK site.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      I responded earlier with a one word comment - Ars - but our lovely Moderatrix didn't see fit to let it pass. I doubt this one will either.

    2. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      Quite right

      The British spelling is "auxh," right? I know you guys love throwing extra "u"s and "h"s into every word willy-nilly, a throwback to the days when the official language of Britain was, ahem, French.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge


        A lot of your spelling is our *old* spelling - for instance -ize endings. I also seem to recall that the unfortunate mm/dd/yy format is a 'throwback' as you put it. Having said that, I love the USA and its denizens and will be over there like a shot as soon as I get the chance :-)

  8. chris lively

    my usage radically increased this month

    After reading this article I decided to actually check my usage, something I've never bothered with before.

    Excluding last month, the prior 6 months were all less than 100MB. Last month, for some reason, my usage apparently jumped to just shy of 300MB. I haven't done anything different and I don't watch videos. Honestly, I just use it to read sites like this one when I have a few minutes.

    My wife's phone shows the same type of jump. My guess is that right along with getting rid of unlimited data they are also changing the way they are counting the bits. Lovely.

  9. Graham Lockley

    Troll Food

    "a throwback to the days when the official language of Britain was, ahem, French"

    And very few spoke it, rather like our colony across the pond where the official language is English but....

  10. Ammaross Danan


    I would say they're charging extra for tethering because people tend to think of a computer as a bottomless pit, and in many cases, they're right. I would have no qualms about downloading a 4GB torrent on my computer, however, with my smartphone, I'd start wondering if I actually had the storage for it. Basically, all that data would have to be streaming data, rather than downloaded bits, due to capacity of the device. Also, switching from "unlimited" to caps will prevent those tetherers from thinking they can download torrents on the go. (yes, I'm using torrents for an example, simply due to their usual nature of being monster sizes)

  11. BioTube


    Do you really think a company could survive if it ticked off all its customers? Business have folded because of minor indiscretions by their owners that had nothing to do with what was being sold! Besides, heavily regulated markets are harder to enter than less regulated ones.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


      Yes. Companies piss off their customer base all the time and retain customers. That's part of being a monopoly. Or oligopoly. Small amounts of very power companies can do essentially whatever they feel like.

      And no, when a market has collapsed into monopolies or oligopolies, regulation is the only hope for ever having anything close to the ability to enter the market. By the time it has been allowed to become a monopoly or oligopoly the incumbent has all sorts of resources at their command to make entering the market hard. The less regulation, the harder it is to stop that.

      “Sell only Intel processors and you get a 25% discount.” Well, **** me, hard to compete with that, especially since the incumbent already has the “economy of scale” thing you don’t. You could have the moon on a stick and it wouldn’t matter because Intel is able to crank out crappy stuff at lower cost and buy their market share.

      This holds true for almost any market in existence. Regulation is necessary to prevent corporate excess, period. The “Free Market,” left free, collapses rapidly into a small number of very powerful companies that will not allow competition of any sort.

      1. Lou Gosselin


        Absolutely. The free market will eventually degenerate into oligopolies and monopolies unless there is some kind of intervention to balance them.

        Consider the simplified economics of the game monopoly, where players start out evenly. Anyone has a change to become the winner, if they take the right risks. The more resources a player accumulates over other players, the more the resources themselves become responsible for the player's success rather than the player's skill. Consider if a new player were to join near the end, or if the winner swapped places with the looser, he'd have no chance of winning. Although more complex and regulated, the real world does share this same natural trait.

        As unpopular as I know this will be, the free market without regulation is not a viable long term model. Instead of using resources to make products better, monopolists often (and more effectively) use corrupt deals and manipulation to guarantee their rivals never get a chance to compete. Without competition, everyone including workers and consumers, loose out.

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