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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson
AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson speaks up about iPhone woes

AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said he loses sleep over iPhone-related regrets, such as early AT&T pricing models for the smartphone and new messaging services like iMessage.

AT&T managed to get its hands on the iPhone when it first came out in 2007. The carrier offered unlimited data plans, where iPhone users could pay $30 per month for all the data they could want. In 2010, AT&T axed the unlimited option and switched to tiered data plans, which limits the amount of data used and places hefty costs on larger plans.

According to Stephenson, who shared his opinions on the wireless industry at the Milken Institute's Global Conference last week, initially offering an unlimited plan for the iPhone was a big mistake because of heavy data users not having to pay for all the extra data they ate up. Instead, light data users had to financially support the heavy ones.

"My only regret was how we introduced pricing in the beginning, because how did we introduce pricing? Thirty dollars and you get all you can eat," said Stephenson. "And it's a variable cost model. Every additional megabyte you use in this network, I have to invest capital."

While regrets still linger about the use of unlimited plans, Stephenson also has a current worry that keeps him up at night: Apple's iMessage service. 

The iPhone's iMessage service is free and Internet-based, allowing users to instant message one another in a way that is similar to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), yet offers an alternative to a carrier's texting package. Text messaging is a big part of AT&T's tiered plans, where users pay extra for a larger allotment of texts.

"You lie awake at night worrying about what is that which will disrupt your business model," said Stephenson. "Apple iMessage is a classic example. If you're using iMessage, you're not using one of our messaging services, right? That's disruptive to our messaging revenue stream."

While iMessage is a service that only allows Apple users to message other Apple users, Stephenson's concerns about the chat service are legitimate. A recent study from independent mobile analyst Chetan Sharma said that talking and texting on mobile phones is on the decline as data skyrockets.

Despite Stephenson's worries, AT&T is doing pretty well for itself. Last quarter, it reported $6.1 billion in revenue from mobile data. However, the carrier has had some issues lately with throttling unlimited data users after only 1-2 GB. AT&T said its contracts always stipulated data throttling, but eventually, the carrier raised the throttling threshold for unlimited plans after losing a case in a California small claims court. AT&T decided to raise the threshold to 3 GB for customers on unlimited 3G data plans, or 5GB for unlimited LTE.

Source: The New York Times

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It's all about them, not about you
By crimson117 on 5/7/2012 10:57:53 AM , Rating: 5
The hypocrisy is maddening.

So data apparently costs them a good deal of money per megabyte, and heavy users can skew the numbers.

On the other hand, text messages cost them microscopic amounts of money per message. They could earn nice profits offering 1000 messages for $10 ($0.01 / message), or $200 messages for $5 ($0.025 / message), to allow light users to prepay for some messages at a discounted rate - like they used to until last year.

Instead, they drop those options and force you to pay $20 for unlimited messages. Your other option is $0.20 per message - 8 times the previous $5 for 200 rate!

So I, as a light messaging user, get to subsidize the heavy texters?

But when it comes to data plans, this is unacceptable and unlimited plans must be dropped?

Ugh, makes me sick.

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By FITCamaro on 5/7/12, Rating: 0
RE: It's all about them, not about you
By 3minence on 5/7/2012 11:47:53 AM , Rating: 2
Or we could complain about it and maybe get AT&T to change their ways. And if that fails and the problem is big enough, we can go to our elected representatives (like all Americans have a right to do) and get them to pass legislation correcting the situation.

I have no problem using laws to protect myself from businesses because businesses have no problem using laws to protect themselves from consumers (or fair competition for that matter).

Personally I don't think this is a big enough issue to care about. So many hotspots are around I don't even have a data plan, just voice.

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By MrBlastman on 5/7/2012 11:56:50 AM , Rating: 3
The only way to properly complain is with your wallet. After all, Randall has to find some way to pay for his...

22,018,334.00 compensation in 2011... He's averaged 23.2 million a year for the last 5 years. :)

Oh, well, sorry, his Salary is only 1.55 million, he receives the rest in BONUSES which are very large--i.e. 7.7 million in 2011 and stock. Still, you wonder why you are being bilked out of your money for simple services that shouldn't cost a lot?

Look no further than executive compensation. The single most grossly disproportionate crime in the corporate world right now.

So, vote with your wallet, not your complaints. Cancel service and go elsewhere.

By BSMonitor on 5/7/2012 5:06:50 PM , Rating: 2
Right, stock, where AT&T dividends are 5.5% annual yield. As CEO, more towers and better service?? Or 5.5% on my $1M shares.

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By FITCamaro on 5/8/2012 12:05:47 AM , Rating: 2
We didn't get through Blastman. These sheep will continue to think that forcing companies to do their bidding through elected officials is the right way forward for America. As the winds in the rope come undone around them.

If I was a business owner of a vastly desired product with few competitors who already had all the money I needed, I'd be half tempted to give the middle finger to all ass clowns like this and stop offering my product. Then let them scramble until someone else comes along and starts offering the same product. See how much they complain then. Of course they'd probably try to get Congress to force me to stay in business.

By MrBlastman on 5/8/2012 10:52:19 AM , Rating: 3
It is pretty sad when people feel utterly powerless and shout for "handouts" from the Government. There was a time not too long ago when people hated the Government and didn't trust them one bit. You don't have to look too far back, but, if you did, you'd see the same pattern even 800, 900 years ago in Feudal Europe.

Oh how they have forgotten where that put them. Back when they were taxed to death, forced to break their backs every day so a few of the "chosen" could galavant about on horseback, frolicking with their women and even... take baths daily!

In the words of Monty Python (whom are oft ignored in this context), "Help, I'm being repressed!" Lest someone remember this prose and perhaps gleem some wisdom from it.

Those that you might entrust to oversee you, if given enough latitude, will eventually consume that power and after digestion, yearn for even more from what little or none you have left to give. This concept is frequently ignored or avoided I assume in the halls of modern academia because, if it were not, we would see flocks of individuals here speaking otherwise.

Money. Money is the single determinant as to why a business exists. If you want to cut the throat of a company, you need not grovel on the steps of our ascendancy, whisking the dust between your fingers for scraps that are thrown out with such abandon they are shredded into pure noise amidst the cries of despair. No, the beggar is only bespoke with with false hope--yet the true solution is not so far away.

Money. Money is the blood of a business. Sever the coin from their beating heart of productivity and you slay the lion on the throne.

We all have money and we can all choose where to place it. On one hand we have the smiling hands of authority who hold crossed fingers behind their backs. On the other hand we have the smiling fists of hardworking pride--the people, our neighbors, our friends, or relatives, all yearning to have it better. Who do we entrust? Those that seek to choose for us--which relative, which friend, which person will succeed? Or do we empower ourselves?

As I see it, or at least, how our schools and "keepers" would like us to see it, is to relinquish this option and place it in their warm, false arms.

No, we need not do this. We can choose ourselves. We need nobody to decide for us who will prosper and who will not. We can do this now! We can say NO to the companies we do not want. We can say YES to those that do us right--with our money. It is far easier than the alternative--picking the best snake out of the viper pit, where, in the end, they're all still the same hissing snake.

I fear though my words will fall upon deaf ears, as the bleating of the masses yearn to mute all reason that might speak out.

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By dark matter on 5/7/2012 11:46:43 AM , Rating: 3
I disagree entirely.

Cell phones used to be a luxury item. However these days they are a commodity item. Just as much as a washing machine, fridge freezer used to luxury items but are now commodity items.

Would you really be so glib to tell people not to buy a washing machine if you don't like the prices? Or a fridge freezer?

Especially if the manufacturers are colluding in the marketplace?

I also find responses such as "don't buy" to be a rather glib and juvenile argument. But then given you have no idea of economics judging by your claims that cell phones are a luxury item, I should have expected the argument level of a 10 year old.

By Reclaimer77 on 5/7/2012 12:13:41 PM , Rating: 3
We're talking about an increase of $10 here. Come on, let's be realistic and stop the dramatics. How does that compare to not having a washing machine or fridge in even the slightest?

I also find responses such as "don't buy" to be a rather glib and juvenile argument. But then given you have no idea of economics judging by your claims that cell phones are a luxury item, I should have expected the argument level of a 10 year old.

I find this ironic because your logic here is way off. The OP is complaining about texting fees. You can text on a $10 flip phone. Cell phones might be "commodities" as you put it, highly debatable but I digress: but smart phones most certainly ARE a "luxury" item as Fit described. Let's be honest here, none of us really need the very top end smartphones. Just like nobody really NEEDS a $100k+ vehicle. These are, in fact, luxury items.

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By MrBlastman on 5/7/2012 12:32:24 PM , Rating: 4
Washing machines _are_ luxury items, though. It might not seem so but they are. I know this by driving by laundromats seeing them full of patrons using them--the same ones that don't own their own washing machine/dryer. In India, for instance, people still wash their clothes on the banks of rivers from what I gather. Just because most of suburbia has a washer and dryer doesn't mean it is completely indicative of society in America.

Washers and dryers are costly to operate. They use water and electricity--and require routine maintenance of your dryer duct. This is on top of the detergent costs and square footage--not to mention you need to have proper outlets and space alotted for them. Since the housing crash, we now have millions of families that have been forced into apartment living... and many of these apartments don't come with washers and dryers.

Cell phones are the same thing. They cost money every month to operate--money that doesn't go back into your pocket. They are nothing more than a disposable income service that provides zero net worth appreciation to your bottom line. You can choose to have them if you wish, but you aren't forced to.

There are alternatives out there. The problem is, so many Americans have bought into the idea they are entitled all these luxuries and need to have them or else--thus piss their income into them rather than realize that they are living paycheck to paycheck accruing no growing financial position in life other than possibly their income (which they spend completely).

I suppose though, if you purely consider them a "commodity," which I could entertain based solely on the fact you can find substitute goods in place to swap them with other services--this can be done.

They aren't needed though, thus, the luxury stigma. Therefore I think an argument pro luxury or pro commodity can be made depending on how you look at it.

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By BSMonitor on 5/7/2012 1:32:11 PM , Rating: 2
Cell phone market is a different type of market than a lot of these other markets. The primary reason AT&T and VW can screw us is the pure cost of building a communication network. For each new competitor in this market, they each have to build all the infrastructure of the "cell phone product".

Imagine if EVERY dishwasher or television or washing machine company would have to find a way to deliver electricity into your home. Instead of one power line coming into every home, you'd have 15 different ones. One for each appliance, each using different plugs, different interfaces, etc..

Same for shipping companies, auto companies, etc... Would their be Fed Ex and UPS if they each had to build their own roads to each and every place of business.

I am sorry, but network and data companies need some government regulation. AT&T did it to us in the 70s, just waiting for history to repeat.

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By MrBlastman on 5/7/2012 1:59:44 PM , Rating: 3
I am sorry, but network and data companies need some government regulation. AT&T did it to us in the 70s, just waiting for history to repeat.

Sure they do. They need to split back up into many pieces like they were in the early 80's again as history has shown us now twice what happens when you allow them to grow to be so large.

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By Totally on 5/7/2012 8:53:00 PM , Rating: 2
Something more drastic need to happen. Carriers/Providers are getting out of hand. I wouldn't mind, in fact I'd welcome, if the government appropriated all network infrastructure and opened it up for use by any service provider. So sounds a bit socialist but it would actually encourage competition since anyone would be able play and get this they'd actually have to compete by the quality of service they provided.

By FITCamaro on 5/8/2012 12:09:04 AM , Rating: 2
You're in college aren't you.

By Reclaimer77 on 5/7/2012 2:11:23 PM , Rating: 1
I am sorry, but network and data companies need some government regulation.

They already do. They have way more than what could objectively be called "some" regulation. Aren't you aware of this?

By BSquared on 5/7/2012 2:35:07 PM , Rating: 2
I can agree that it's not so much a luxury anymore, as not everyone needs a smartphone, and flip phones are still present for cheap...but subscription costs still hold it at a point where a good amount of the American population, and those of other countries, would consider it more than just a commodity. Land lines can be subscribed at half or less the price of a monthly cell bill, and can double as internet access in many areas without the need for an expensive smartphone.

Washing machines do not cost the amount to upkeep that a cellphone does. Heck, I still have the same machine I bought 15 years ago, and I pay about $150 a year in water bills for it, with electricity almost negligibile. That's a lot cheaper than $50+ a month for a cellphone that is limited in many areas, data, minutes, and sometimes under contract.

I also support the don't buy policy, as there are always alternatives. Just because you can't get your way, doesn't mean you have to settle for less at higher cost. There are more service providers and many pay as you go services, so AT&T is not the end all.

By dgingerich on 5/7/2012 12:06:47 PM , Rating: 2
Just last week, I got away from AT&T specifically because of this guy and the whole corporate attitude of AT&T. I won't give them any more money.

Unfortunately, cell phones are no longer a luxury, especially in Denver. The alternatives are dealing with Qwest (horrible, horrible service, extremely slow install times) or Comcast (even worse service, horrible reliability on top of that, but installs are pretty fast, you can even schedule a next day install). Oh, sure, you can schedule an install with Qwest 2 weeks out, but it's a crap shoot if the install techs even show up. My last apartment with a land line, I scheduled them to install on the day I moved in. I was there all day unpacking the truck. The install tech claimed he showed up and nobody was home. This happened 8 times, with one tech running up to my door, putting the "sorry we missed you" tag on my door, and running back to his truck. I finally got it installed 3 months after I moved in. Comcast will install next day, but having it work at any given moment is a 1 in 3 chance.

I have now carried my phone number through all 4 major carriers (Sprint for 4 years, Verizon for 2 years, AT&T for 5 years, and now T-Mobile) in just over 11 years. I stayed with AT&T for so long because they had good coverage and pretty good service, up until the last year. Verizon is a bunch of cheats, (they reset my contract 4 months in because I called in about a dropped call, then charged me an ETF for dropping them 2 weeks after my contract should have ended) and Sprint is just unable to support their customers with their available resources. (Sprint needs to invest in increasing their infrastructure badly. Yes, it will increase costs, and probably increase rates to the customers, but it is needed badly.) We'll see how T-Mobile does, but my family is mostly on T-Mobile, and they like it.

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By BSMonitor on 5/7/12, Rating: 0
RE: It's all about them, not about you
By Reclaimer77 on 5/7/12, Rating: 0
RE: It's all about them, not about you
By BSMonitor on 5/7/2012 5:02:15 PM , Rating: 2
When they both raise data rates by $10, while the company with cheaper rates, unlimited data and equivalent service is struggling to survive bankruptcy .... Yeah, I would say the telecomm market is in a state of "F the consumer hard" right now.

How is that I can pay for a product with a certain set of usable features, have the company then block some of the functionality of that product (i.e. tethering), raise the rates for using that product unless a give up certain features (like unlimited data) then charge me an even higher usage rate. Oh right, the competitors that aren't nearing bankruptcy, are charging the exact same price and have the exact same policies.

By Reclaimer77 on 5/8/2012 1:13:10 AM , Rating: 1
"I'm entitled! Damn anyone who profits from me, I should get everything I want for as little money as possible, if not free. Whaaaa!"

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By dgingerich on 5/7/2012 2:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
"duopoly"? Are you counting providers? There are 4 here.

"collusion pricing"?? Are you looking at the pricing for plans these days? I just saved $30/month moving from AT&T to T-Mobile. Granted, AT&T did try to get rid of competition by buying out T-Mobile, but the government stopped them. Despite being a free-market, anti-"government interference" type person, this is one rare case where the government's interference was a good thing.

This particular CEO is a braying ass. No doubt about it. I left as a customer primarily because of him. He doesn't know how to run his company. Their costs are too large if they can't make a decent profit on their rates, and he obviously isn't doing enough to bring them down. He's an incompetent CEO, plain and simple. He'll destroy the company pretty soon with his attitude. Then we'll have other things to worry about.

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By BSMonitor on 5/7/2012 4:51:19 PM , Rating: 2
Check the balance sheets buddy. T-Mobile and Sprint are struggling to survive. Bankruptcy looms for Sprint. And T-Mobile wants to sell. So good luck with your T-Mobile coverage getting better or expanding.

The two top / relevant companies removing unlimited data simultaneously isn't collusion?? Why wouldn't one maintain such an obvious incentive to draw customers. Why are their calling plans nearly identical in cost and structure??

Shouldn't Sprint be easily outpacing these two with unlimited data and cheaper service contracts??

By DJ Brandon on 5/10/2012 12:07:18 AM , Rating: 2
FITCamara - You often make good points except I am going to have to disagree with you on this.

It's not really a luxary anymore. Almost a necessity. Cheaper than a laptop for checking emails and such. AT&T is sadly who I am with but I hate them. I won't switch because they have the fastest and more reliable data connection. However, they are a complete ripoff and the CEO is a whiney little girl. He stays up at night? Really? Do you have any idea how many txt messages you need to send to get your money's worth on $20 a month? over a million! THey make loads of dough.

By nafhan on 5/7/2012 11:21:35 AM , Rating: 5
My problem with connection speed throttling is that they do it based on personal usage, not network congestion. If they were actually throttling to relieve congestion, I feel like they would do something along the lines of:
1) Keep track of data usage
2) Throttle users (starting with the heaviest users) on busy towers, only.
3) Leave users that are not in congested areas alone.

Basically, usage shouldn't matter unless they're in a situation where congestion is actually occurring (or close to occurring). The way they're currently doing it seems more like a ploy to explain why they no longer provide unlimited data plans.

By nafhan on 5/7/2012 11:23:00 AM , Rating: 2
One more thing: as a text messaging user, period, you are subsidizing everything else the cell phone provider does. It's a huge money maker for them.

RE: It's all about them, not about you
By kingmotley on 5/7/2012 12:03:01 PM , Rating: 3
The problem with SMS is that it actually is costly for the telcos. SMS is basically creating a connection, but the same way voice does. It's complicated and hardware and network heavy, unlike the data connection. Perhaps it's time the telcos reworked how SMS actually works, but that would require hardware changes on phones. iMessages are actually MUCH MUCH easier on the cell towers than a SMS message is.

By avxo on 5/7/2012 3:25:53 PM , Rating: 2

What are you talking about? Do you have the slightest idea about how SMS operates and the air-interface components of GSM?

SMS messages are basically sent multiplexed over data the phone would have to send out anyways according to the GSM spec - that's the reason behind the limit on message size, and the payload-based workarounds with prefix mesage counts to enable multi-part messages.

I wish people who have no idea what they're talking about would just stay quiet rather than pitch in their opinions and misunderstandings.

By nafhan on 5/8/2012 11:15:45 AM , Rating: 2
SMS is sent on a completely different channel than voice or data, the equipment has been in place for years, and it's not generally capacity constrained. So, while there are costs to set up a 2G or 3G network capable of SMS, those costs have already been paid, and the per message cost is essentially 0.

Also, the fact that the hardware IS in place, means that SMS will probably be around until 3G service is physically disabled.

By Targon on 5/8/2012 8:37:01 AM , Rating: 2
You clearly have not thought about what is involved in MOBILE users that chew up a lot of data, or you wouldn't be complaining so much. With cable/DSL, the Internet Access Provider can clearly see the number of people in each area, and planning for bandwidth usage is fairly straight forward. Yes, there will be ups and downs, but in general, people not moving around allows for easier planning. With mobile, it is a real nuisance, since you have people moving around continually, and those using data are moving from place to place. You could have a huge demand that moves from one tower to another, and planning requires a LOT of guesswork.

Complaints about slow data speeds is one of those things that has gotten AT&T a LOT of grief over the years, and that is because insane amounts of extra bandwidth need to be set up in towers that would normally get very little usage. A town of 300 people shouldn't require a ton of equipment/bandwidth for example, but due to people demanding top speeds EVERYWHERE they might go, suddenly the carriers need to have over ten times the amount of available bandwidth, just in case people passing through the area might want bandwidth.

That is the nightmare, and iPhone users sucking up a ton of bandwidth means they will use that bandwidth continually, EVERYWHERE they go. Those without an unlimited plan do tend to think in terms of not using cellular data when possible, and that helps the carriers, and shifts the data load to 802.11, which helps.

I would NOT want to be the one who has to pick and choose which cell phone towers get data capacity upgrades, because no matter what, no one is ever satisfied, and complaints will be continual.

Youtube on At&t doesn't work
By HrilL on 5/7/2012 11:24:43 AM , Rating: 1
At&t blocks youtube videos. First few seconds load and then it stops and never loads any more. If you switch wifi on the videos load fine. I have unlimited data and only use about 350MB a month but would use more if youtube worked. This is beyond throttling because the videos will never load no matter how long you wait.

By Brandon Hill on 5/7/2012 11:28:58 AM , Rating: 2
What? I've never had that problem on AT&T's wireless network.

RE: Youtube on At&t doesn't work
By kingmotley on 5/7/2012 12:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
Haven't seen that problem here. Perhaps there is another cause? Is your phone so full there is no room for buffering perhaps?

RE: Youtube on At&t doesn't work
By Camikazi on 5/7/2012 5:07:00 PM , Rating: 2
Well if videos load on WiFi but not on the network then that suggests the problem is with the network connection doesn't it?

RE: Youtube on At&t doesn't work
By 1ceTr0n on 5/8/2012 1:59:12 AM , Rating: 2
No, try again. Like maybe your phone itself is screwed up? I was able to play youtube videos on my Galaxy Note on the 300mb plan, so your theory is bunk

RE: Youtube on At&t doesn't work
By HrilL on 5/8/2012 12:39:23 PM , Rating: 2
Phone is fine. It plays videos on other flash sites and streams video as well. Just youtube on 3G is the fail. I have a GS2 on ICS 4.0.3 Samsung's build. Everything works fine other than that.

By Motoman on 5/7/2012 10:39:31 AM , Rating: 1
...basically you're upset because you did something stupid, and you don't have anyone to blame but yourself?

RE: So...
By Yofa on 5/7/2012 11:27:28 AM , Rating: 2
no, to be more specific, they're upset because their business model of high profit margins are being eroded by the iphone.

even though i'm generally anti-apple, i have to say kudos to apple for bringing change to the industry. let there be a wireless future where customers aren't getting screwed by their carriers! charge per text because of high bandwidth consumption is just a bunch of b.s.!

RE: So...
By Ramstark on 5/7/2012 11:44:59 AM , Rating: 2
Let me correct it for you...
"... kudos to RIM for bringing change to the industry."
There, my pleasure...

RE: So...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/7/2012 12:23:26 PM , Rating: 2

Apple makes insane profit margins. How is Apple transferring high margins from the providers to themselves helping to change the industry exactly? Who are they helping besides themselves here?

Apple is just going to cause everyone's services plans to go up because they're squeezing the providers so much. You're an idiot if you think this is something to root for.

RE: So...
By melgross on 5/7/2012 12:35:51 PM , Rating: 1
Apple has helped everyone. Before the iPhone, 10% of phones were smartphones, and that percentage was growing very slowly. After the iPhone, smartphones are about 60% of phones, and growing rapidly.

In addition, we didn't get free OS upgrades before. We barely got a few small updates for bugs. Better screens. Better OS's. Far more apps at about 10% of the cost of what they had been. Use of features such as Bluetooth and Wifi, which had been restricted by the carriers. Accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses, etc. came from the iPhone.

All of that and more can be attributed to the iPhone, whether you irrationally hate Apple or not.

And as far as RIM goes, yes, BM came before, it's true. But how many phones used it? About 3% of the phones that were out there. It was of no consequence. But iMessage will be used by 30% of phone users shortly, and by next year, as we see iPhone sales become the majority in the carriers that have them (they are, in sales now), that could be over 50%.

RE: So...
By melgross on 5/7/2012 12:36:19 PM , Rating: 1
Apple has helped everyone. Before the iPhone, 10% of phones were smartphones, and that percentage was growing very slowly. After the iPhone, smartphones are about 60% of phones, and growing rapidly.

In addition, we didn't get free OS upgrades before. We barely got a few small updates for bugs. Better screens. Better OS's. Far more apps at about 10% of the cost of what they had been. Use of features such as Bluetooth and Wifi, which had been restricted by the carriers. Accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses, etc. came from the iPhone.

All of that and more can be attributed to the iPhone, whether you irrationally hate Apple or not.

And as far as RIM goes, yes, BM came before, it's true. But how many phones used it? About 3% of the phones that were out there. It was of no consequence. But iMessage will be used by 30% of phone users shortly, and by next year, as we see iPhone sales become the majority in the carriers that have them (they are, in sales now), that could be over 50%.

Uh huh
By Kyuu on 5/7/2012 11:13:54 AM , Rating: 4
So basically, "Oh noez, messaging services are bypassing our rip-off SMS service where we charge absurd rates to transmit tiny amount of data that cost us next-to-nothing. Oh, and we oversold our data plans and didn't want to invest the capitol into our network to handle the extra traffic, so I'm gonna bitch about it."

RE: Uh huh
By JackBurton on 5/7/2012 11:34:58 AM , Rating: 1
I think you can read between the lines perfectly.

Big dumb data pipe
By chmilz on 5/7/2012 11:10:40 AM , Rating: 2
That's all you and your competitors are now. The sooner you realize that and the sooner you tailor your business around it, the better off you will be.

RE: Big dumb data pipe
By MZperX on 5/7/2012 12:12:29 PM , Rating: 2
This is the future. It's not here yet but I agree that they need to realize this and plan accordingly. I refuse to buy their subsidized handsets or be tied to a contract anymore. Did that once and that was more than enough. As a customer I want access to fast and reliable wireless voice/data service for the lowest possible cost for the device of my choice. I want to be able to do whatever MY device is capable of, and not be boxed-in with artificial/arbitrary limitations. Whoever can best support this model will prosper as a provider. Those who want to keep playing their revenue generating games will go the way of the dinosaurs. It still might take a few years but the writing is on the wall.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against revenue when the company provides value, but to me charging exorbitant fees for SMS is a textbook example of "We are charging just because we can". People will figure it out and will not accept it forever.

Cell Phones
By mchentz on 5/7/2012 11:00:52 AM , Rating: 2
Are nice Tech, but the cost of using them is crazy.

is it just me...
By kattanna on 5/7/2012 11:02:39 AM , Rating: 2
is it just me or is that pic showing just how hard they plan on fisting their customers??

By dark matter on 5/7/2012 11:52:28 AM , Rating: 2
Capitalism is fine on its own. However when you place megalomaniac sociopaths as CEO's are large organisations they forget their primary purpose is to serve what the customer wants so they can maximize efficiency and then deliver results to investors. Instead they see themselves as little Kings and act like despots to protect their power base and realm, and will do anything to prevent this happening, often losing sight of the reality of their task in hand.

Piss your customers off enough and you have some SERIOUS answering to the investors.

Too Bad, You Crybaby
By Arsynic on 5/7/2012 11:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
Charging for text messaging is idiotic. It costs AT&T NOTHING. It's nice to see someone have a carrier by the balls for once instead of vice versa (which is more common). I can see how data usage can cause a carrier to have to upgrade or expand equipment. However, I don't see how text messaging has a high-impact on infrastructure.

Texting should be free.

Free messages by everyone?
By melgross on 5/7/2012 12:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
What also has to be understood, before anyone here dumps on Apple for this is not just that if the carriers wanted to stop free messaging they should have had to tell RIM "NO" in the beginning when they began that, but that others will be doing it as well

Facebook has come out with a messaging app with free messages. I've had other apps that offer free messages. Does anyone really doubt that Google will do so for Android? What about Microsoft, will they then be left out?

So we'll see this from everyone.

And then, it's even worse. While we've had Vonage and Skype, plus Google, offering free calling for years, Microsoft bought Skype, and is integrating it into WP7. That's bypassing voice calls. What will this do to voice minute plans if it's part of the OS, and not some add-on? If it proves successful, do we doubt that Apple and Google will do it as well?

Perhaps carriers should be more worried about VOIP more than texting. After all, texting is something that only became popular here in the States a few years ago. Before that, texting was rare, and almost no one here used it because the plans were expensive, as opposed to overseas, where texting was cheap and so kids bought those plans instead of big voice plans.

Someone here said that texting is expensive for the carriers, but we know that it's not so. It's been shown that texting costs almost nothing to offer, and so it's almost all profit. I understand why they don't want to lose it. But tough! Times change.

After all, most everyone here has complained about the restrictive, and expensive policies of the carriers for years (tethering, anyone?). And most people would be very happy to see them as what they don't want to be—pipes, and nothing else. So when I see sympathy here, I wonder if it's not misplaced all of a sudden because of the name of the company breaking the carriers closed, and expensive, barriers. If it were Google, or Microsoft, would we see the same amount of complaints against them?

Corporate Greed
By jeffbui on 5/7/2012 1:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
I never knew how much we were being overcharged here in the states until I spent a month overseas in Vietnam. Over there, I spent the equivalent of $20 USD for a sim card and airtime and it lasted me the 4 weeks I was there. I made international calls on it, texted every day, and made local calls every day. Coming back to the states, I get my AT&T bill for my iPhone. I know it was my own fault for leaving my phone on overseas but the bill came out to $75 in roaming fees for getting about 15 missed calls. This doesn't include the usual $30 for data, $20 for texting, and $60 for voice service. We're being gouged, plain and simple.

By Boze on 5/7/2012 2:13:10 PM , Rating: 2
Every single one of these cellular providers takes a short-term view, I guess because the highest level executives are all either worried about their jobs, or because they realize our economy is about to go into a toilet the size of the Milky Way galaxy, since our debt-to-GDP ratio is high and climbing.

Anyway, if these executives would focus on massive expansion plans and infrastructure upgrades, if they'd spend the necessary money and buy all the unused spectrum that's going to waste currently, then they could see even bigger profits down the road, while giving customers what they want - unlimited everything.

Sadly, until the 90% or so of unused wireless spectrum gets out of the hands of people who just want to hoard it, and into the hands of companies that are willing to utilize it, expect more of the same.

It's a sad pathetic day
By FITCamaro on 5/8/2012 12:01:07 AM , Rating: 2
When people in first world countries think a cell phone is a requirement of life.

Land lines are still around, there are internet based phones, you can use tools like Skype for free to "call" your friends.

Cell phones are still luxuries and always will be. The world got along just fine before everyone had a cell phone.

I left Verizon...
By 1ceTr0n on 5/8/2012 1:50:27 AM , Rating: 2
After being a customer with them for years with few complaints. However, once I saw and started looking into the Galaxy Note, I just had to have one to replace my aging Droid X. After countless hours scouring the depths of the internet, I couldn't find hard evidence to state Verizon was ever gonna get the Note.

Wanting the phone badly enough, I dropped Verizon a few weeks ago and signed up with AT&T and got a white Note. I had to pay early termination fee with Verizon, but I don't care, this phone is totally worth it.

On a bonus side, I actually now have 4G on my phone were as my state still is stuck in 3G land with Verizon, so its a win win for me

Go with sprint
By eagle470 on 5/8/2012 1:57:17 PM , Rating: 2
Why are all of you users whining about AT&T? I have had sprint for 12 years now and whil eit hasn't always been a picnic, nor do I always have the fastest service, mines cheaper and I don't have to fret over data costs. Most of the time I don't use that much, but the months I do, it doesn't matter. Oh and the reason Sprint has a hard time? Because you all choose to use AT&T and that means Sprint has less money to do dev and stand up new towers with. Sprint has always been the most innovative (first 4g) and will continue to be. I personally am looking forward to the day when google buys sprint.

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