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[ NNSquad ] FW: [IP] AT&T forcing data plan changes
- To: <email@example.com>
- Subject: [ NNSquad ] FW: [IP] AT&T forcing data plan changes
- From: "Bob Frankston" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 9 Feb 2010 10:29:32 -0500
From: Bob Frankston
Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 14:47
To: email@example.com; ip
Cc: Chris Kantarjiev
Subject: RE: [IP] AT&T forcing data plan changes
Counting bits is so easy that even a phone company can do it –
if they force you to go via their billing towers and they do. They also get the
identifiers for your phone and look it up in their database to determine what
device it is. It is not your phone – it is their phone explicitly and
intentionally designed to disclose a lot of information about you. Even if you
thought you bought it – you bought a phone vetted by the carriers. It has one
and only one purpose – to serve the needs of ARPU.
ATT seems to be getting more aggressive on this. I wrote about
my recent experience in http://www.nnsquad.org/archives/nnsquad/msg02462.html.
I don’t know if they’ve changed policy since but old PDA plans were
grandfathered. Perhaps the difference is that I don’t seem to have a data
plan but it’s very hard to figure out what is going on using their site –
talking telegraph companies billing skills are circa 1860.
In looking at the prices I noticed they have been jacked way up
with $20/month for unlimited SMS and $50/month for a PDA bundle that ATT
recommends (surprise surprise).
The continuing question is how these relics are able to so
flagrantly defy Moore’s law. It’s as if Intel sped up the processor but made
you share it among more users at a higher cost each year because we’ve been
conned into thinking that computing is expensive and bits are scarce. After all
if you use up the ones and zeros we’d be in deep trouble. Why do we still
believe the people who claimed Hush-A-Phone
would be the end of civilization?
PS: You’ll only be getting Edge not 3G using an ATT SIM on a
T-Mobile device – why not just switch to T-Mobile and save money?
From: Dave Farber
Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 13:41
Subject: [IP] AT&T forcing data plan changes
Dave, for IP if you wish:
Last Saturday morning, I was awakened early by an SMS to my phone. It was from
AT&T Wireless, saying "Did you know a data plan is required for your
Smartphone? Call 611 for details."
This was shortly followed by another: "Your Smartphone requires a data plan.
For convenience, we have added a minimum plan to your phone. Call 611 4
I found this quite puzzling, since I already had an unlimited data plan on my
account, and have for quite some time, since I first got a Cingular 5125
"smartphone" - I've been using wireless data for about 5 years, and
had slowly moved up from a 5MB/month plan to unlimited.
I didn't call 611, but instead went my account page at the AT&T Wireless
website. When I looked at my feature list, I saw that they had moved me from my
pre-existing $15/month unlimited data plan to the $30/month "Smartphone
personal" unlimited data plan ... and that the $15/month plan is still
highlighted as "recommended". (I tried switching back to the
$15/month plan, but received the same set of text messages again in under an
The light began to dawn. For the past month or so, I've been borrowing a Nexus
One to see what it's like. I simply inserted my AT&T SIM into the phone and
started using it. I am probably using more data than I used to, but 'unlimited'
seems like it should have covered this?
Apparently AT&T is doing some sort of inspection of the data stream. Their
latest terms of service say
If it is determined that you are using an iPhone or other
smartphone without an eligible data plan, AT&T reserves the
add an eligible data plan to your account and bill you the
Hmm. And just how are they determining this, I have to wonder?
Palo Alto, CA