Unlimited iPhone data plans and popular high-bandwidth video offerings are causing headaches for AT&T. In some saturated markets, such as New York City and San Francisco, the company's wireless network is unable to keep up with demand and transfers slow to a crawl.
According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T's head of consumer services Ralph de la Vega blames high-bandwidth users for these network shortages, and, in a recent meeting with investors, hinted at the end of unlimited data packages.
“This is going to get fixed,” Mr. de la Vega said. “In both of those markets, I am very confident that you’re going to see significant progress.”
With about 3 percent of smartphone customers driving 40 percent of data traffic, AT&T is considering incentives to keep those subscribers from hampering the experience for everyone else, he said.
De la Vega did not elaborate on what "incentives" AT&T plans to enact, but you can bet the agenda will have more in common with data caps and speed limits than free toasters.
Bandwidth-hungry iPhones may be the cause of AT&T's network problems, but they are hardly to blame. iPhone users are forced into unlimited data packages costing at least $30 a month. I don't think AT&T has any right to complain when a few of those users fully utilize their purchase.
Who do you feel is responsible for the struggling wireless networks? AT&T, high-bandwidth users, or both?