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AT&T Downplays Talk of Tiered Pricing for iPhone Data Plans
A senior AT&T Inc. executive dismissed speculation that the telecommunications carrier is planning to change the way it prices data plans for its wireless customers, but said it will give customers incentives to limit their use of its wireless network for surfing the Internet or downloading mobile applications.
"We have not made any decision to implement tiered pricing," AT&T Mobility Chief Executive Ralph de la Vega said Wednesday, referring to plans that would charge based on how much data a customer uses rather than the unlimited plans that are popular today.
In particular, de la Vega reportedly cited the possibility of increasing free access to Wi-Fi hotspots for AT&T customers, helping to shift traffic off of the cellular network while also providing users with faster connections. He also pointed to AT&T's 3G MicroCell program, which customers can connect to their home networks to seamlessly shift wireless calls to the Internet. The 3G MicroCell is designed to provide greater signal strength indoors and offers users the choice of using their own cellular minutes for calls or purchasing an unlimited calling plan for wireless calls routed through the device.