If Data Caps Lack Clarity, Then Data Hogs = Flying Pigs

February 15, 2012 AT&T , Data Caps , Mobile Communication , National Broadband Plan

AT&T started throttling the cell phones of some of its heaviest data users (sometimes referred to as “data hogs”) a few months ago. Reports from the field indicate that those heavy network using “data hogs” are not that different from anyone else. 

AT&T says it only throttles the smartphones of customers who use “extraordinary level[s] of data usage.”  It turns out that these “extraordinary levels of data usage” on unlimited plans are actually a lot lower than amounts offered by the tiered plan at the same price.  What does this discrepancy mean?

First, the most current definitions of “throttling” and “data hogs:”

Throttling (verb)

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It’s Never Over For AT&T: Sting Of ATTMobile Defeat Lingers On and On

January 31, 2012 AT&T , FCC , Spectrum Reform

This is a great week for taking a step back for a good look at how Washington works.  It’s also a great demonstration of that wonderful saying, “It’s never over until it’s over.  And it’s never over.”

On the menu are AT&T’s failed takeover of T-Mobile, a bill to set rules for spectrum auctions, a payroll tax bill pending in Congress, a bill to change FCC procedures, and Verizon’s planned collaboration with Comcast and other cable companies.   They all have something in common:  big companies trying to obtain their fair advantage over consumers and competitors.  In these cases, it’s generally in the wireless market.

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Sneaking 3 Horrible Wireless Ideas into One Bill

January 31, 2012 AT&T , Broadband , Competition , Mobile Communication , Mobile Innovation

Here in Washington, a classic way to get a bad policy passed is to attach it to the back of some unrelated “must pass” piece of legislation. Attaching one bad idea to a bill is sneaky.  Attaching two bad ideas is bold.  Attaching three?  Well, that’s what we have with a trio of horrible wireless ideas that some people in Congress are trying to attach to the upcoming Payroll Tax bill.

It is almost as if the proponents of these additions took a few years’ worth of ideas that will make wireless worse, wrapped them up in a bundle, and glued them to the underside of a bill that – if it does not pass – will raise taxes for millions of Americans.  In this case, these conditions would apply to spectrum freed up by the transition to digital TV broadcasting, and would impact some of the most useful spectrum to become available for years.  What are these conditions?

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Public Knowledge Calls AT&T Spectrum Statements ‘Unfortunate’

January 26, 2012 AT&T , Press Release , Spectrum

The following is attributed to Harold Feld, legal director for Public Knowledge:


“It is unfortunate that AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson still believes that buying out the wireless industry is the only way to improve his company’s spectrum efficiency.


“His comment in this morning’s earnings call that the FCC has made it clear the agency won’t allow acquisitions as a means of increasing spectrum holdings is inappropriate for two reasons. The failed acquisition of T-Mobile would have had far wider implications than simply a spectrum acquisition. It is unfortunate that AT&T thinks that the only way it can increase its spectrum holdings is to purchase a competitor.  Using its current holdings more efficiently would also go a long way to relieving the company’s purported spectrum shortage. In addition, the Commission did allow AT&T to purchase spectrum from Qualcomm. 


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Public Knowledge is Thankful AT&T/T-Mobile Merger is Over

December 19, 2011 AT&T , Press Release

The following statement is attributed to Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge:

“In this age of cynicism, it is important for the American people to see that Washington does not always go to the highest bidder. The Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission stood up to tremendous lobbying pressure as AT&T spent tens of millions of dollars trying to push this merger through. 

“We hope that AT&T and T-Mobile will focus on deploying the best, most competitive networks possible rather than trying to merge to duopoly. These businesses are fundamentally sound, and have what it takes to bring broadband and jobs to America on their own. We look forward to seeing them rethink what’s possible, rather than trying to rule the air.

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