AT&T Again Moves to Downplay Reports of Imminent Tiered Data Pricing for iPhone

In a lengthy BusinessWeek article, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega again attempts to clarify the company's plans for dealing with high-usage iPhone data customers by emphasizing incentives for shifting traffic off of its network rather than implementing tiered pricing as had been suggested earlier this month. The comments mark the second time a major media outlet has gone public with de la Vega's efforts to clarify his earlier comments.

Industry analysts have been figuring that AT&T would inevitably move from its $30-a-month, unlimited data plan for iPhone users to a "tiered pricing" model that charges according to usage. De la Vega says that no such move is imminent. "There are things people say I said that I didn't say. We have not made any decision to implement tiered pricing," he says -- repeating the last part for emphasis.

De la Vega's comments to BusinessWeek were made in a December 16th interview, which appears to coincide with the interview cited in the earlier Wall Street Journal report, although the latest report provides additional perspective on the misinterpretation of de la Vega's original comments that sparked the controversy.

Within hours the Web was filled with articles that said Ma Bell was about to raise prices or slap consumers with restrictive monthly usage limits. "There were no follow-up questions, so I figured everyone understood what I was saying," de la Vegas said in a Dec. 16 interview. "I guess I should have been more clear."

As noted in the earlier report, AT&T is looking to such solutions as free Wi-Fi hotspots and 3G MicroCell network extenders to shift data traffic to the Internet. The strategy sees Wi-Fi as a "lifeline" for overloaded cellular networks, whereas it had previously been seen as a threat to cellular companies.

It's a lifeline that AT&T plans to use heavily. On Dec. 15, AT&T announced a deal with McDonalds (MCD) by which the fast-food giant will waive for two hours a $2.95 Wi-Fi charge for customers at 11,000 restaurants. "Now customers can go to McDonalds and stay online as long as they want," says de la Vega. The agreement follows earlier deals with such retailers as Starbucks (SBUX) and Barnes & Noble (BKS).

AT&T has taken heat for apparent cuts in infrastructure spending, even as the iPhone has continued to drive increasing demand. Network performance monitoring companies, as well as more informal testing, have shown, however, increased performance for AT&T's 3G network, putting it on par with or better than its competitors.

Top Stories

iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
iPad mini pro feature 2

iPad Mini 6 to Feature 8.3-Inch Display With No Home Button and Narrower Bezels

Monday July 26, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
The sixth-generation iPad mini that's in the works will have an 8.3-inch display, according to display analyst Ross Young. That will be larger than the current 7.9-inch display, with the larger size due to the removal of the Home button and a narrower bezel design. Rumors about the iPad mini 6 have been picking up in recent weeks ahead of its prospective launch this fall. Apple analyst...
iphone 12 pro gold

Report: iPhone 14 Pro Models to Feature Tough Titanium Alloy Chassis

Monday July 26, 2021 1:12 am PDT by
Next year's "iPhone 14" series is expected to feature high-end models with a new titanium alloy chassis design, claims a new investors report by JP Morgan Chase. According to the report, the use of titanium alloy will be one of the biggest changes to the case design in the 2022 iPhone series, and Foxconn will be the exclusive manufacturer of the titanium frames for the high-end models....
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
apple mac business page

Apple Shares 11 Reasons Why Business Users Should Choose Macs

Monday July 26, 2021 11:35 am PDT by
Apple today updated its Apple at Work website with a new section dedicated to the Mac, which offers up 11 reasons why "Mac means business." On the webpage, Apple highlights the M1 chip as the number one reason why business users should choose a Mac, offering up an M1 overview [PDF] that explains the benefits of the M1 chip. The information isn't new, but it does provide a look at all of...
imac with accessories

Larger Redesigned High-End iMac Rumored to Launch Next Year

Monday July 26, 2021 3:45 am PDT by
Apple's larger redesigned iMac will arrive sometime in 2022 rather than later this year, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." On Twitter, Dylandkt claimed that Apple's "high end iMac" is not expected to release in the fourth quarter of 2021 alongside Apple's "M1X Macs" – a reference to Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro models – because "Apple simply does not want their devices to...
General iOS 14

iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 Patch Security Vulnerability That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Monday July 26, 2021 11:55 am PDT by
Apple today released unexpected iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates to the public, and according to a newly released support document, the software addresses a serious security vulnerability that may have been exploited in the wild. Apple says that an application may have been able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges due to a memory corruption issue. "Apple is aware of a report ...
apple bitcoin hack

Is Apple Really Buying Bitcoin?

Monday July 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
A large number of websites and posts on social media are stoking rumors that Apple has purchased $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin in the company's first move into cryptocurrency, but is there any validity to the claims? Many people are citing the fact that Apple was looking for a Business Development Manager with experience in alternative payments, including cryptocurrency, earlier this year as ...
tesla red orange bg feature

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Takes Shots at Apple During Earnings Call

Monday July 26, 2021 4:53 pm PDT by
During a Tesla earnings call that took place today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spent time sniping at Apple, reports CNBC. Musk criticized Apple's "walled garden" and made comments on the company's cobalt use. In a discussion about plans to allow Tesla competitors to use the Tesla electric vehicle charger network, Musk said that Tesla does not want to create a walled garden to "bludgeon" Tesla...
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Gurman: Face ID on the Mac Coming Within a 'Couple of Years'

Sunday July 25, 2021 7:09 am PDT by
Apple plans to bring Face ID to the Mac within the next "couple of years," respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter. In the newsletter, Gurman says that he believes Apple's ultimate goal is to shift all of its products to Face ID, including the lower-end iPhones such as the iPhone SE and the iPad Air, which feature Touch ID....