AT&T has openly admitted that their data coverage sucks (here) and all but admitted defeat in the telcom data wars. although they are the sole service provider of the iPhone – the world’s most pervasive handheld data device – AT&T has decided that for them to maintain the service quality (which already blows) they will need to implement new fees to encourage folks to limit their use of the iPhone. Wow, seriously, so they suck even more than I thought when I first railed against AT&T (here).
AT&T Wireless CEO Ralph de la Vega bemoaned the disproportionate wireless bandwidth usage of iPhone users in a speech to wireless industry professionals here today, and hinted at an unpleasant way of dealing with the problem.
De la Vega cited research showing that demand for wireless broadband has grown 5,000 times in the last three years. That growth as roundly expected to accelerate in the coming years.
But all that data usage is not evenly spread across AT&T’s wireless customer base, De la Vega says–far from it. He cited AT&T research showing that just 3% of AT&T’s smartphone customers [read iPhone users] use 40% of all smartphone data, that they consume 13 times the data of “the average smartphone customer,” yet represent less than 1% of AT&T’s total postpaid customer base.
Without the proper management of these networks, De la Vega said, regular data users will be “crowded out” by the small number of users [read iPhone users] who use massive amounts of data.
“We have to manage the network to make sure that the few cannot crowd out the many,” De la Vega continued. He said the words “crowded out” at least five times in that part of his keynote address.
And by manage De La Vega means using fees to discourage data use. I have never been happier that I have not succumbed to the shiny iPhone and turned my data communications over to the overlords at At&T.