AT&T plays the scrooge
December 26th, 2010 by scaredpoet

You know, with all the rumors going around that AT&T is losing its iPhone exclusivity, the LAST thing it should do is pick the holidays to stir up some more bad publicity.

But alas, it has.  Despite “grandfathered” iPhone owners being allowed to stay with their unlimited data plans  (in lieu of a newer 2GB monthly cap), it’s still watching those users like a hawk.  And if they somehow  manage to exceed the 2GB threshold that was supposed to be nonexistent for them, AT&T gives those users a little slap on the hand, to encourage them to limit their usage on their supposedly-unlimited data plans.

Hence the friendly letter that one iPhone user received recently when his Pandora-streaming habit ran afoul of AT&T’s good graces:

I got a letter from AT&T yesterday stating that they’ve noticed that I use more than 2gb of data per month which puts me outside of 98% of their customers typical data use. The letter gave me a friendly reminder that AT&T has many free wifi hotspots, and, if I wasn’t aware of this, that I should turn on wifi in my iphone settings and that the iphone would automatically connect to those free wifi hotspots. I guess that streaming internet radio and podcasts all day puts me into the 2% category. I feel special.

I’m glad that I’m grandfathered into the unlimited data plan. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they’ve reserved the ability to move me to a 2gb plan at their discretion.

I would LOVE to get one of those letters!  It would allow me to brush up on my old-fashioned letter writing skills…
“Dear AT&T,

Thank you so much for your letter received on December 21 about my data usage. I was disappointed that it wasn’t a Christmas card, however, as that’s what people tend to get sent this time of year. Maybe you guys don’t celebrate Christmas or something?

Anyway, I appreciate your concerns about whether I’m aware of my data usage, and am writing back to assure you that, indeed, I am totally aware. I use that nifty MyWireless App that you have on the App Store, which shows me my data usage. Using apps are fun. By the way, did you know that using the MyWireless App uses data? How crazy is that!

I was blown away that my data usage is in the upper 2% of your customer base, though. AWESOME! Thanks for congratulating me on this wonderful accomplishment! I’m such an over-achiever, and love being at the top.

I’m also thankful that my data plan – which binds me to a 2-year contract regardless of the price I pay for my iPhone, for some silly reason – covers 100% of my data usage, regardless of how much data I use each month. I have an unlimited data plan, and I’m using data… well, unlimited-ly.

As a company AT&T agreed that although new customers were stuck on a stingier plan with 2GB-per-month cap, those of us who have stuck with AT&T over the years, provided it with substantial profits since buying our older model iPhones, and haven’t left despite the numerous service issues that have left everyone with the impression that our iPhones get spotty coverage, drop calls all the time, and have left us to be the butt of jokes by numerous overly-smug Droid users, have been (reluctantly) permitted to keep our older unlimited data plans.

As such, I totally expect AT&T to live up to its end of the bargain. We all know that AT&T didn’t score too well in the latest Consumer Reports survey, and we’ve all heard those rumors about a certain other, better-scoring carrier possibly selling iPhones in the not-too-distant future. If AT&T renegs and puts people like me on a capped plan, that would cause some pretty bad publicity AND give your customers good reason to jump ship, now wouldn’t it?

Anyway, that’s just a little something to think about. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stream some more video from my slingbox.

Merry Christmas!


P.S.: Your WiFi hotspots really aren’t all that great. Half the time I’m at a Starbucks, the Wifi is either broken or extremely slow thanks to all the laptop jockeys who take up all the seats there for hours on end and suck up the bandwidth, leaving people like me with no place to sit and a speed slower than EDGE. And why would I ever set foot in a McDonald’s?  Besides, isn’t the whole point of mobile data to be, mobile?  Why should I be arsed to go sit in a crowded area with a slow, overburdened WiFi hotspot just to do you a favor?  What have you done for me, AT&T?”

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