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Company says there's no point to have separate product lines for Wi-Fi and 4G variants

In an interview with Tricia Duryee of AllThingsD, Glenn Lurie, President of AT&T, Inc.'s (T) Emerging Enterprises and Partnerships division, said that he envisions a future in which all devices -- be it automobiles, tablets, home security systems, appliances, and, of course, the personal computer -- all have a cellular data link built-in.

Mr. Lurie also took issue with some of his company's partners like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and, Inc. (AMZN) who offer a Wi-Fi only tablet and a Wi-Fi+4G tablet, calling the idea of having a separate cellular-lacking product "inefficient".

He comments, "Wi-Fi only is not enough.  We try to look for all the opportunities in the world to get the OEMs to understand that they shouldn’t be building two devices. They should be building one device with Wi-Fi and 4G. It’s more efficient for them than having two [product] lines."

Of course, AT&T is notorious for sticking it to customers when it comes to usage charges or prohibitions.  For instance, it's the only major carrier to lock Apple's FaceTime service out of its HSPA+/LTE network for customers with older contracts.  It also drew flack for being among the carriers to kill unlimited data, though to be fair it does allow existing users to be "grandfathered" in, keeping their unlimited plans, but losing access to certain perks (like FaceTime-over-LTE).  AT&T also throttles the data connections of its cellular users who have clung to unlimited contracts.

AT&T says every device should have 4G access.

Mr. Lurie acknowledges these usage concerns in a roundabout way commenting, "You have a whole different ball game of usage it kills me when people still sing the praises of Wi-Fi only."

The real irony is that AT&T has been a tale of extremes.  The company also has offered some of the most novel pricing plans -- just few know about it.  The wildly popular original 3G Kindle 2 reader had a cost-free 3G link courtesy of AT&T (for the international version -- Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) provided a CDMA version).  The link's "price" was banked in as a percentage paid to AT&T from Amazon's customers' device and e-book purchase fees, so the customer never had to pay a bill for the link.  Likewise, the Kindle Fire HD offers users a year of 250 MB/month for one payment of $50 USD.

Perhaps those kind of more consumer friendly pricing schemes lend hope that Mr. Lurie's vision will be realized, but for now costs remain a major hurdle to universal, ubiquitous connectivity.

Source: All Things D

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RE: Two issues with "4G Everywhere'....
By danjw1 on 9/13/2012 7:31:27 PM , Rating: 3
There is only so much spectrum. The FCC has to allocate some of it to other things. The carriers feel they have to keep older networks running, for now. One of the problems, is they are running 3 generations technology on different bandwidths. If they would retire some of the old stuff, and move to the newer technology, maybe they could keep up with demand. But that either means forcing people to upgrade, when they don't feel they need to or possibly losing customers. They could just give those people new phones, but they don't want to spend that money. Anyway, you are right the whole thing is a mess,

The whole 4G thing is a joke anyway. No one actually meets what the original standard required. Instead of forcing compliance the standards organization just downgraded the standard.

It is all just a joke, all AT&T wants is to get everyone to have every device activated on their network. They don't really care one bit about anything else, the the additional cost of a second modem and that the 4G drains battery faster then WiFi.

RE: Two issues with "4G Everywhere'....
By spread on 9/13/2012 9:56:41 PM , Rating: 5
all AT&T wants is to get everyone to have every device activated on their network

SO they can nickel and dime you. Oh you tethered your device? Give us more money. Oh you want to use this specific app for messaging or voice? Give us more money.

Give us more money. -AT&T

By danjw1 on 9/13/2012 11:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, that was pretty much what I was saying there. I just don't see why anyone does business with AT&T these days.

By Mike Acker on 9/14/2012 8:58:51 AM , Rating: 2
="There is only so much spectrum."
and that is a final limiting factor

it could be that 4G will go in the trash and WiFi will end up as The Network as a result. The reason being: short range transmission is more reliable, faster, and allows better scheduling of spectrum use. allocating a channel to a device -- even temporarilly -- is reminiscent of the circuit v. packet switching argument -- which the phone companies have completely lost. maybe they just don't know it yet.

the Net could evolve into a pattern of WiFi cells

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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