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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 Amazon.com, 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 4G
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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Two issues with "4G Everywhere'....
By woody1 on 9/13/2012 6:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
1. Pricing: Putting 4G into everything is an interesting idea, but only if price plans support it. Probably the best bet would be a plan that links multiple devices to the same account and has bills for shared aggregate data.

2. Bandwidth: Not sure if AT&T and the other carriers could handle the load. If they want to put 4G into everything, they need to make sure they can provide good speeds.




RE: Two issues with "4G Everywhere'....
By aharris02 on 9/13/2012 6:05:13 PM , Rating: 3
Based on the state of AT&T and Sprint's current 4G networks, I also have zero faith that they can handle it. Verizon...maybe.


By othercents on 9/17/2012 8:56:05 AM , Rating: 2
None of the networks can handle the current load being produced by just the tablets especially when you toss in iCloud. Not to mention that the 4G networks are still not as fast as my Wi-Fi. If you want me to be on 4G and pay extra I should get the same performance as I get when connected to Wi-Fi, or have vendor specific Wi-Fi networks in key locations that my device will automatically connect to.

It also doesn't make sense for me to pay for technology that won't be use. My daughter never leaves the house with her tablet. My TV doesn't ever leave my house. My Xbox never leaves the house. My refrigerator never leaves the house. Why add 4G into those devices when they are always in range to my Wi-Fi?


RE: Two issues with "4G Everywhere'....
By dgingerich on 9/13/2012 6:10:46 PM , Rating: 2
We already know for sure they can't handle the load. At this point, our main infrastructure can't handle the load of what the country is putting it through. The companies managing the infrastructure (AT&T and Verizon, for starters, I think there are more) need to get their act together and get things upgraded first, then the ISPs who connect to them need to get upgraded. Wireless companies can't even keep up with Comcast's expansion efforts. I bet most people don't even realize that AT&T's main backbones in this country are running at 100% capacity from 6AM to 1AM EST on weekdays, and through most of the weekends. It's pitiful.

It's like we're trying to run a modern semi-truck based shipping system on gravel roads, with our current wireless suppliers being more like backwoods animal trails.


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
quote:
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


By chmilz on 9/13/2012 6:18:27 PM , Rating: 2
Privacy and security are even more worrisome. It's bad enough with GPS/cellular/wifi as it is now, but with always-on technology built into everything you'd be tracked forever, with multiple devices for an unheard of level of redundancy.

Hell no.


By Camikazi on 9/13/2012 9:14:06 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T has said they can't handle the load of all the smartphones now, wonder what makes them think they could handle all the smartphones, tablets, cars, houses and everything else at the same time.


By Natch on 9/17/2012 8:27:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"They should be building one device with Wi-Fi and 4G. It’s more efficient for them than having two [product] lines."


Reading between the lines, it seems as though what he's really saying is, "And it makes it much more likely that we will get more business, if their devices have 4G built in".

This is nothing more than a push to sell more of their own service. Adding 4G capability is nice, but adds to the cost. Plus, who's to say that everyone who buys the device in question will want to hook up through AT&T?? Now you have to offer 4G devices in two different "flavors", which adds even more to their bottom line!

AT&T would do well to shut up and spend their efforts beefing up their own system, before asking for more people to use it.


Proof once again
By anactoraaron on 9/13/2012 6:20:42 PM , Rating: 2
that AT&T is run by a d-bag.
quote:
"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."


There's sooo much wrong and out of touch here I just don't know where to start...

Hey Glenn Lurie! How about you stop selling many different devices @ AT&T and only sell the ones with wifi&4g? It would be more efficient !!




RE: Proof once again
By anactoraaron on 9/13/2012 6:31:17 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
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 have wifi since they should be paying me thousands of dollars each for that usage via 4g ."


There, fixed it for you ya d-bag.


RE: Proof once again
By geddarkstorm on 9/14/2012 11:57:36 AM , Rating: 2
Eeeexactly. The title of this article should be "AT&T Wants 4G Link Built Into All Computers, Cars, Etc. So They Can Take More Money". It's an amusing attempt to goad everyone into their market pool. Can't argue much against its potential effectiveness from a profit driven standpoint though.


Pointless
By Schadenfroh on 9/14/2012 10:14:57 AM , Rating: 2
Most use tethering on their smartphone these days to get 4G access on their laptops to avoid having to pay for two dataplans (no hope of a shared plan for those of us grandfathered in on unlimited plans).




In other news...
By bobsmith1492 on 9/14/2012 12:18:52 PM , Rating: 2
GM wants every American to buy a new car every 2 years. Gotta get the new safety features. It's for the children!




Obvious fallacy
By bsd228 on 9/14/2012 3:54:24 PM , Rating: 2
His argument that it's inefficient to have an additional sku for a wifi only product falls apart when you think about the number of different cellular models are already required for a popular Samsung or Apple product.

From an efficiency standpoint it makes much more sense to use the cellular link that everyone (everyone that would buy a cellular tablet in the first place) has anyway. Why do I need 3 or 4 devices, each with the added cost/complexity, when I could just use cheap wifi connections in all but one?

Mr. Lurie - your wants and needs for your company certainly do not match mine and most other customers.




Pardon my language, but...
By tayb on 9/13/2012 9:14:02 PM , Rating: 1
Fuck off AT&T.




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