5 ways of looking at AT&T's rate card

June 4, 2010: 12:13 PM ET

An attack on the bandwidth hogs? A price cut for the rest of us? Something else entirely?

Image: AT&T, PC World.

It's been four days since AT&T (T) announced the wireless pricing changes that go into effect on Monday June 7, and opinions about what they mean vary widely. The responses we've seen fall into five basic categories. Let's count them:

  1. A classic bait and switch. AT&T signed up millions of Apple (AAPL) customers -- first on the iPhone, then on the iPad 3G -- with the promise of a $30 all-you-can-drink data plan. That's gone now for new customers, replaced by what AT&T calls DataPro -- $25/month for 2 gigabytes plus $10 for every additional GB. Existing customers are grandfathered in, but there's no guarantee that won't change when their contracts expire.
  2. An attack on the bandwidth hogs. According to AT&T, only 2% of its users draw more than 2 gigabytes per month and they're clogging up the network for the other 98%. You can tell who the data hogs are; they're the guys who have been squealing the loudest. By forcing them to pay for the bandwidth they use, AT&T will either drive them away (relieving some of the stress on its network) or turn them into a new revenue stream. More
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