1. augidog's Avatar
    we can continue to bash ATT for it's newly-revised Data Plans & Policies...imo, they deserve a bit of (ethical) bashing...or we can try to help them get it (technologically) right.

    i'd like to see some feedback from ATT customers at all levels of experience and all levels of service.

    personally, i always know what i want, but i don't always know what's doable...so experienced IT feedback is also imperative to reaching conclusion about what exactly IS a good & fair Data arrangement.

    i used unlimited data on my messaging phone, and of course that was fine because i never came close to pushing the envelope of consumption.

    but now i'm on a new smartphone plan with a 4GB Tethering plan...and i find the logistics and policies very one-sided, and it seems i'm not alone.

    but, let's talk instead about what would be fair. if we can maintain an on-topic discussion about a solution that works for the customer, maybe someone who can make a difference will pay attention.

    since i'm already here, i'll go first...

    imo, based on my limited experience to date, ATT should quit concentrating on how to charge us for varying tiers of quantity and instead put together a Speed-Related Tier arrangement with fixed monthly fees. if you're an e-mailer and casual browser, buy the low speed...if you're a complete multimedia/gamer addict, then buy the best speed available. you'd be paying for the size of the pipeline, so quantity and tethering & hotspotting would no longer be factors.

    is speed-related tiering technically doable?
    Last edited by augidog; 01-11-12 at 12:29 PM.
    01-11-12 10:23 AM
  2. sedalia066's Avatar
    Being a many years long user of ATT services and a current 200mb a month subscriber my thinking runs a bit different than yours. First off the technical details of any billing plan are beyond my knowledge base but my guess is any company worthy of ATT status should be able to do anything at all with their pricing. The computers of today and the data monitoring of any such company should be able to combine to make lots of options available.

    For my family we would prefer a fixed rate per Mb used. The data plans are not much value to use with tethering charges the way they are today. We are low end users who might increase our usage over time but we are not going to pay an extra amount simply to get a 'tethering' plan.

    We would pay for our usage if we knew the cost. Data monitoring on a device off WiFi is pretty easy these days. We can watch our usage and adjust according to what we are willing to pay. Speed is of very little or no consequence at all in daily use for us.
    01-11-12 11:27 AM
  3. augidog's Avatar
    yes, i agree...the extra charge to tether (or hotspot) isn't technologically-justified. after all, the device is only going to stream data so fast no matter how it's connected. btw-there is no way that i've found for my device to monitor usage during "modem mode"...which makes it my responsibility to compare different usage-counters in different locations, and the count is almost always too far behind actual usage to be of any help...i hate using data during the final days of a billing cycle for fear of overages.

    the message i get from ATT is that this isn't really about quantity but bandwidth, and let's face it they need to make money, but i think they've gone about it the wrong way up to now. forget about how much data i use, or how i use it, just charge me for how fast i can get it.

    un-throttled (all-included) pay-per-use makes a lot of sense as a possible tier...however, let's say that later you wanna bump it (usage) up a notch, or simplify your billing...

    as a casual-user, would you pay a reasonable fixed-fee for a fixed-speed (but all-included) pipeline?
    as a power-user, would you be willing to pay a premium for an un-throttled (and all-included) pipeline?

    i find myself somewhere in between those two tiers, so i would order a "medium" if it was available. at the moment, altho i have a 4G device & pay for 4G service, i'm nowhere near a 4G area.

    i guess i should also ask: compared to the various carriers and packages offered, and reliability, technology, etc...how much is fair?
    Last edited by augidog; 01-11-12 at 01:45 PM.
    RudyWixon likes this.
    01-11-12 11:35 AM
  4. yoga.flame's Avatar
    The way that cellular providers, and ISP's, calculate data usage goes against logic. The carriers all have the correct model with the differentiation they've made between anytime minutes vs night and weekend minutes. It's not how much data a person is using that is important, so much as when a person is using that data.

    If a person wants to stream 2 Youtube videos at a time at 3 hour intervals and use 20GB of data throughout their billing period, but they do it at 1:00 am, then they aren't affecting anyone's experience because the network is wide open while everyone sleeps. If a person wants to stream Pandora and use navigation Monday-Friday at 9:00 am during the morning commute, then that person should pay a premium since that is when everyone's data speeds crawl because everyone is using their phones.

    Same goes for ISP's. It's not the amount of cumulative data a person uses that clogs a network. A person who browses simple web pages all day long, Monday-Friday, from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm is bogging their network down more than the online gamer who logs on at midnight, but who uses far more bandwidth when the network is empty. At the end of the month, the casual browser uses far less data than the gamer, but their little use of an already bogged down network negatively impacted all users. Conversely, the gamer who used a ton of bandwidth late at night, when there was a ton of open bandwidth available, didn't impact the network at all.

    That said, I think a good data plan, and solution to network congestion, is to model data charges similar to voice minutes.

    For example:

    200MB peak usage time + 1GB night and weekend for $15

    2GB peak usage time + 5GB night and weekend for $30

    5GB peak usage + unlimited night and weekend for $50

    Or, something similar with peak data usage times coinciding with peak minute times. As much as I like having the unlimited data plan, I completely understand why AT&T wants it gone, I would just like to see them come up with a plan for capped data that doesn't seem so arbitrary.
    augidog and BoldWorld like this.
    01-16-12 12:58 PM
  5. augidog's Avatar
    sedalia066: i pondered the "tethering fee" and i did the math...actually i don't pay extra to tether, i just buy 4GB at $45 compared to 2GB at $25. however, i still agree that anyone should be able to tether/hotspot as it makes no difference how the data is used.

    yoga.flame: explained your way, i see that my speed-tier idea wouldn't float...premium users would suffer during peak hours when all the basic users are on. i like your plan...i'd happily queue my downloads for off-peak and be fine with it.

    i don't wanna cross-talk with my other topic about accurate usage-monitoring, but i'm throwing this out there as someone who's in the middle of a thing with AT&T over this issue: what would satisfy me with the existing data arrangement would be rollover of any unused plan or extra purchase, with a reasonable expiration period so i could see what i really have to work with.

    i think data-rollover's a good idea, and it seems mutually beneficial...i don't have to stress every MB used, and AT&T doesn't lose anything by providing service already paid for, while it saves money in customer service time spent on the confusion...

    it'd be a great selling point, and boy it sure would make them look good, eh?
    Last edited by augidog; 01-16-12 at 03:48 PM.
    01-16-12 02:47 PM
  6. yoga.flame's Avatar
    I agree that data rollover is a good idea, simply because people like the idea. I'd be willing to bet that most people's rollover data usage would be low because users who do use a lot of data wouldn't be likely to accrue much rollover. Those who do accrue rollover would likely benefit more from a cheaper middle-ground data plan since their usage probably wouldn't spike very often.

    I'd be interested to know how much of data fees are there simply to recoup the cost of a subsidized smartphone. I doubt 200MB of data is costing AT&T very much, but there has to be a minimum data charge in place simply due to money lost on the phone. I'd also be interested to know how much individual account holders helping to subsidize family plan smartphone phone subsidies, if at all. I know that my sister has five iPhones in her family plan, all on the $15 200MB data plan, $40 450 minute family plan, and $30 family texting... her bill (without tax) comes in at $185. My individual plan with an iPhone comes $80 with the 450 minute plan, $30 data, and $10 texting plan. Either some family plan holders are getting monster deals, or individual users are getting overcharged. Basically, they pay less than half of what I pay per line ($37 to my $80). *Note, I didn't factor in employee discounts.

    If I was privy to this info then I could give a more well-reasoned idea of my ideal data plan.
    Last edited by yoga.flame; 01-17-12 at 02:01 PM.
    01-17-12 01:59 PM
  7. augidog's Avatar
    that's interesting logistics to ponder...who's subsidizing who?

    i think a one month rollover would let everyone better administer their data accounts.

    "Data Rollover, Only on AT&T"...they could pull that off easy if they wanted.
    (nobody else better steal our idea either)
    Last edited by augidog; 01-17-12 at 06:29 PM.
    01-17-12 05:53 PM
  8. dadymon's Avatar
    I am pondering ditching my grand farthered unlimited plan for a 4g tether plan. Seems like a rip that I can't tether with an unlimited plan or have the option of adding a tethering plan. ATT! Grrrrrr!
    01-17-12 08:22 PM
  9. cntrydncr223's Avatar
    I'm not budging from my grandfathered unlimited data plan.
    With the birth of the PB in my household, my data has spiked enormously over previous usage. I don't need to worry about forgetting to turn it off, how much data I've used/have left, or paying extra fees for the same usage I had when I had unlimited.

    That said, and knowing that's not an option anymore, if I were in those shoes, I'd see how much data use at it's peak and go one level higher.
    01-17-12 09:55 PM
  10. Dylan255's Avatar
    I to have a grandfathered unlimited data plan and I am not giving it up. I recently picked up a Bold 9900 bridged to my Playbook, even though the most data I have pulled down is a little over 2 gigs I am not giving away unlimited data for a 4 gig with tethering. Even though I don't have tethering now bridge works plenty fine for me. I know there is a 5gig with Tether plan they don't advertise it but if you speak to a representative they will likely give you that option.

    Its best to have more data then you would need because the overages could come costly if you don't monitor one's data usage.

    I think my biggest problem with ATT and which has prevented me from signing onto another 2 year contract is data speeds. I live in NJ and work in NY and contacting ATT regarding speed issues they have flat out said there towers are operating perfectly except they are under too much load, so very congested. They said faux 4g should get between 2-6mb down, the best I have gotten is probably 1.6mb what is the best one has experienced, sorry for being off topic a bit.
    01-17-12 10:14 PM
  11. BoldWorld's Avatar
    I am having problems with AT&T. I know I’m an extreme example but I’m wondering if any other people have the same experience.

    I have the old $30 unlimited plan and have already used in a busy month around 8GB (ya I know) of data without tethering. usually I use around 5GB but the last few months I have been having problems with the speed, basically when I reach around 2GB for the billing cycle they lower my data speed and I can’t stream any music or video. I really hate them for doing that but I don’t know what I can do. any ideas?
    01-17-12 10:58 PM
  12. toobs623's Avatar
    i too am grandfathered and my data usage, along with every other pb owners has doubled since april.

    i think a ~8 gig unthrottled plan should be offered for a premium. there is no reason a power user shouldnt be allowed to use, but i understand them wanting payment.

    i know family data plans are in the works, no idea on pricing yet though. this will alleviate some of the over pricing when your dad uses 40mb on his 4s, your wife uses 1gb on her galaxy and you use 1.5-3 gigs on bb (my fam plan). instead of 70 bucks a 5gig family data would prob be 50-60. still the real question for us is how much will our usage go up with lte and qnx and will it be worth giving up the unlim. prolly not.

    in reallity the $15 plan should be at least 400mb. 200 is nothing. a 4s will eat through that sitting a counter by itself for a month. 2gb seems a reasonable upgrade, but my main gripe is tethering. even if they want to charge more for it charge 10-20 a month for the ability to tether regardless of plan. i would love a separate tethering package i could add and remove at will without the fear of losing my current plan.

    so i guess ideally 400mb $15, 2gb $25, 4gb $35 with 10/gig overage and $10/month tethering fee, but personally i would be happy to pay $20. maybe throw in a 8gb for $60 or something
    01-17-12 11:35 PM
  13. augidog's Avatar
    toobs, you got in while i was posting...i'll point out again that the 4GB (tethering) plan is actually less expensive per GB than the 2GB plan...and anyone who wants to tether already knows full well they'll use the 4GB and more, 1 $10GB at a time...i've not seen mention (or technical evidence) of throttling with this plan, i'm quite pleased with the technology itself (Dylan, i've seen 2Mbps speeds with a 3G off-peak tether) and with a few tweaks in billing logistics i feel that the plan could actually be pretty fair. offering larger blocks (like your suggested 8GB's) for big users at a decent discount wouldn't be bad policy i think. bear in mind, i can only address the new plans, and grandfathered unlimited doesn't factor into my personal situation or opinions.
    I am pondering ditching my grand farthered unlimited plan for a 4g tether plan.
    Its best to have more data then you would need because the overages could come costly if you don't monitor one's data usage.
    if I were in those shoes, I'd see how much data use at it's peak and go one level higher.
    i'd like to mention that i have a thread here on CB where you can read about my (newcomer's) real-time adventures concerning the 4GB tethering plan and how difficult it is to monitor your usage with any accuracy...any miscalculations, whether yours or AT&T's, whether over or under, is going to come out of your pocket: http://forums.crackberry.com/ask-t-r...6/#post7031225

    and i'd like to ask that we try to keep this thread more about "what would work " than about "what's not working"...

    based on your experiences to date, please tell us what changes in technology or policy would satisfy you as a "valued customer?"
    Last edited by augidog; 01-18-12 at 01:01 AM.
    01-17-12 11:43 PM
  14. The_Kills's Avatar
    The thing is though... fair pricing is not on their agenda. they want you to struggle and figure out which plan is suited for you. The low tier that you might go over sometimes, or the upper tier that you dont come close to reaching, that then makes you feel like your over paying.
    01-17-12 11:51 PM
  15. augidog's Avatar
    The_Kills...after all, that's the apostrophe, isn't it?

    altho it translates to dollars, we're really talking ethics here.
    01-18-12 12:19 AM
  16. RudyWixon's Avatar
    I feel that they should have the ones they have now and the choice of unlimited. There are big business men that dont really use there phone off the internet, even tho there company probably pays it, its still not fair that they cant have that choice of unlimited.

    My story tho, i have the BB Torch (first one). I got a BB Playbook around christmas time and i called about tethering the devices and i have the 2GB plan. They wanted me to pay another 40 dollars a month. There is no way im gonna do that, its ridiculous if you ask me. Ill stick to wifi only.
    01-18-12 04:22 AM
  17. yoga.flame's Avatar
    The thing is though... fair pricing is not on their agenda. they want you to struggle and figure out which plan is suited for you. The low tier that you might go over sometimes, or the upper tier that you dont come close to reaching, that then makes you feel like your over paying.
    This is why I wonder how much of the data plans are used for recouping a smartphone subsidy. It's entirely possible the profits on the 200MB data pack is super low.

    For example, say that $13 of the $15 data plan is used to recoup the subsidy, and that's the reason there appears to be such a large markup on the 200MB data plan when compared to the 2GB data plan. At first glance, it looks like you get 10x's the data for a 40% price increase (The natural question then is, "How is it that AT&T can offer me 10x's the data for such a small price increase if they aren't ripping me off with the 200MB plan?"). When in reality, AT&T is only receiving $2 for the 200MB and $12 for the 2GB data plan. The the jump in cost from the 200MB data plan to the 2GB data plan makes perfect sense since the network costs are nearly fixed.
    01-18-12 10:58 AM
  18. augidog's Avatar
    myself, i've been wondering...is the confusing arrangement contrived by design, or simply mistakes and growing pains? only AT&T can tell us, either through dialogue or lack of dialogue.

    so, is the good data plan evolving towards a universal monthly fee for the data connection itself, and then the user chooses a quantity-plan? the power user is offered a bulk discount? (i'd still want one-month rollover)

    Dylan, to make the stats on-topic...i just did another (tethered) speedtest.net, peak hours, 3G (H+) connection: 2.17Mbps down, 0.76Mbps up. to me, it looks like the new plans do receive premium bussing.
    Last edited by augidog; 01-18-12 at 02:04 PM. Reason: got my up's & down's backwards, plus i ramble a lot.
    01-18-12 01:14 PM
  19. yoga.flame's Avatar
    Not what I had in mind:

    The new smartphone plans include:

    AT&T Data Plus 300MB: $20 for 300MB
    AT&T Data Pro 3GB: $30 for 3GB
    AT&T Data Pro 5GB: $50 for 5GB, with mobile hotspot / tethering

    Oh well.
    01-18-12 05:56 PM
  20. crackcookie's Avatar
    They clearly want you to use around 5Gigs but pay for such use, I think this is good that they are implementing change and overtime Verizon will counter, or already did in a sense since they offer 4 gigs I am not sure.

    Either way, it is good they took initiative to change, the bad is, things became more expensive and they still won't let us do what we want with our data, why must I pay 5 Gigs to use my mobile hotspot feature, why can't I use that with 300mb or 3 gigs?
    01-18-12 07:45 PM
  21. augidog's Avatar
    Cookie: i've never complained about paying for what i want or need (it's really just want) but it's getting old never knowing how much that's gonna be. what i'm resenting about the large block i had to buy in order to be "allowed" to tether is that i can't keep track of it accurately enough to make the plan worth the money...last month, through no fault of my own, but because of faulty reporting by AT&T software, i learned after the fact that i'd "forfeited" about a GB of data...that's $10 i sure could have used elsewhere in my meager budget.

    They're gonna price me out a bit at a time.

    again, rollover (with a one-month expiration to be fair) is the only thing that would make me comfortable with these $10 GB's. and again, tethering & hotspotting shouldn't be an issue if we're buying data by the block, no matter what size plan we start with.

    imo of course.
    Last edited by augidog; 01-19-12 at 02:35 AM.
    01-18-12 10:21 PM
  22. augidog's Avatar
    the heck with "plans" i guess.

    following my own OP, i'll sum up & stay on-topic.

    i think that this blackberry (at a 2-year price) & all it's related AT&T services, with un-fettered technology and hassle-free billing, would be fairly priced (under contract) at a steady $80 a month...with insurance and taxes i'd be good with laying out a c-note (max) for a month of not worrying about anything.
    01-20-12 01:52 AM
  23. augidog's Avatar
    after some heated but civil discussion elsewhere, i have decided (again) that i would totally buy an unlimited-but-throttled data plan.

    the "smartphone basics" plan: pick a reasonable fixed-speed, bundle it similarly to the competition ie one-click/all-included/simple-billing, and i'll take it. tether/hotspot at customer discretion, but same fixed-speed, impossible to abuse. i'd gladly do $100/month (total) for that.

    anyone who wants premium speeds pays the $10/GB and i'll stay out of your way with my basic plan.
    Last edited by augidog; 01-26-12 at 10:01 AM.
    01-26-12 09:37 AM