Why AT&T's reversal to metered data usage will move Internet innovation in the wrong direction.
Starting next week, new AT&T subscribers will no longer have the option to pay a flat fee for unlimited data, as they have since the dawn of our smartphone economy. Many users may end up saving money under the new pricing plan, but the demise of unlimited data will likely have a more negative impact on how people use their devices, how start-ups develop new applications, and the advancement of the Internet itself.
When the iPhone launched in 2007, AT&T (T) charged $20 a month for unlimited data, $10 less than the flat fee iPhone 3G/3GS and iPad users paid, unless the latter group opted into a lower data plan for $14.99. Current unlimited data users, as well as iPad 3G buyers who order by June 6, will be "grandfathered" in -- those users will not see their plans change until their contract is up for renewal. New subscribers will encounter two new options: $15 a month for 200 MB, with $15 for every extra 200 MB, and $25 a month for 2 GB, with a rate of $10 for every extra gigabyte.
The carrier, which is the first major one to make this move, says the goal of its new strategy is to give subscribers more choice.
According to AT&T's own research, 65% of its users download 200 MB or less, and 98% use 2 GB or less each month. If that's the case, users who keep close tabs on their data usage could stand to save as much as $15 a month.
Because that's what the market will bear -- at least for now
If you buy the digital editions of Popular Science or TIME Magazine on the iPad, they cost $4.99 each -- same as on the newsstand.
However, one-year subscriptions to Popular Science (the paper magazine) are currently selling for $12 -- or $1 an issue. And TIME subscriptions can be had for $20 -- around 35¢ an issue.
That disconnect was one MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 30, 2010 6:43 AM ET
Not feeling the magic? You can take it back if you move quickly, but it will cost you
Buzzmachine's Jeff Jarvis, one of the Web's most prolific scribblers and author of What Would Google Do?, has decided to return his iPad. He says he knows two other people who are planning to do the same.
[UPDATE: Jarvis has ostentatiously posted a YouTube video of his iPad reboxing in which he gives his MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 7, 2010 12:38 PM ET
Topic A in the blogosphere: An agency wants to suss out paid endorsements on blogs.
Log on to New York food blog AmateurGourmet.com today, and you'll see an advertisement for cookbook publisher Cook's Illustrated, served up by Google's (GOOG) AdSense service.
No surprise, really, since AdSense matches advertisements to website content. Indeed, Adam Roberts, who writes the blog, has twice tested and reviewed recipes from Cook's Illustrated. What could be more relevant MOREMaha Atal - Oct 5, 2009 6:11 PM ET
|GM raising Corvette prices|
|Albertsons to merge with Safeway|
|Everything must go: There's a flood of store closings|
|Boeing reports wing cracks on Dreamliners|
|Bitcoin matters. Ignore the media circus.|