Why do AT&T's data plans differ between phone platforms?
June 26, 2007 11:29 AM Subscribe
Wireless data plan pricing annoyance. To wit, how can AT&T justify charging what they do, apparently based on the phone platform?
posted by caution live frogs to Technology (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here's the deal. I have a Nokia E62. AT&T (at the time still Cingular) told me that to have an unlimited data plan, I needed to shell out $49 extra a month, on top of the current price plan. (Even better, as of today they have apparently eliminated this PDA plan for non-AT&T branded phones - currently, my phone would qualify as a Blackberry and would cost me $79 extra per month if I wanted unlimited data!)
However - if I happened to have had a Windows-based phone, rather than a Symbian one, I could have unlimited data for $20 extra a month. They insisted this was because the Windows based phones were typically for corporate use, and the corporations paid a premium to lessen the burden on the end users (which sounded to me like so much bullshit).
Now the iPhone pricing is announced. The basic data plan starts at $49.99, and includes unlimited data. How the hell can the company tell me that I have to pay that much for the data plan alone, if the unlimited data for the other phone models is only a $10 to $20 markup from the normal rate plans? In a word, this is complete bullshit. The cost per kilobyte should not at all be affected by the model of phone used to download it.
I spent about an hour talking to people at the company, trying to get them to justify to me why data would cost more for them to send to a specific phone model, using the same network. I told them it was basically like telling me that broadband users would have to pay more if they preferred using a Mac vs Windows. No progress, of course - like talking to a wall.
This has been annoying me for some time now. What I want to know is this: First, is there a real, actual, technical reason behind the pricing difference, or do I have a legitimate beef?
Second, if I am justified in my outrage over the disparate pricing plans, should I be talking to someone about a class-action suit on behalf of all of the Symbian phone users currently getting scalped by what look like sweetheart deals between Microsoft and AT&t on one platform, and Apple + AT&T on the iPhone?