NNSquad - Network Neutrality Squad

NNSquad Home Page

NNSquad Mailing List Information


[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[ NNSquad ] ATT pushing "toll free" data plans, implies extra charges for Apple FaceTime users -> major anticompetitive risks

ATT pushing "toll free" data plans, implies extra charges for Apple
FaceTime users -> major anticompetitive risks

http://j.mp/NzQFZb  (Fierce Mobile)

    AT&T (NYSE:T) CEO Randall Stephenson said Tuesday the company is still
    mulling a proposal to charge application developers for data consumed
    by customers, stating that some content providers have asked the
    operator to implement the change.
    Earlier this week, 9to5Mac posted an error message discovered in
    Apple's iOS 6 beta 3 software that asks users to contact AT&T to
    enable FaceTime over cellular, which could be an indication that AT&T
    plans to charge for the service. In the past, all FaceTime calls have
    taken place over Wi-Fi connections, but Apple enabled the feature to
    run over cellular data networks for iOS 6, which will launch this
    fall.  "I've heard the same rumor," Stephenson said Tuesday. He said
    that for now, AT&T remains focused on working with Apple to stabilize
    the technology enabling FaceTime over 3G, adding "It's too early to
    talk about pricing."

 - - -

It's critical to understand the essentially duplicitous game AT&T is
playing here.  If large content providers are paying AT&T to provide
data access to their users without consuming those users' data
allocations, there will be every incentive for AT&T to further
restrict those generic data allocations and raise associated data
prices, arguing that "Most users just use the big guys' 'free data'
Web sites anyway!"  One can even imagine "free data" cell plans where
*only* data access to those sites that are paying AT&T would be
allowed.  Either way, this will have the effect of squeezing out new
players who can't afford to pay into AT&T's double-monetization
scheme, and would likely have drastic anticompetitive effects.
Pressure on other carriers to play the same game would be enormous.
As for Apple FaceTime, Stephenson's quote that "It's too early to talk
about pricing" should be viewed with notable alarm.  AT&T shouldn't be
even *involved* in "FaceTime pricing" -- this strongly suggests that
AT&T may indeed be planning some sort of charge above and beyond the
app's ordinary data usage itself.

Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren 
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org 
 - Data Wisdom Explorers League: http://www.dwel.org
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org 
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com 
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Google+: http://vortex.com/g+lauren / Twitter: http://vortex.com/t-lauren 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com
nnsquad mailing list