Ugh. It's things like "managing" and "crowded out" that we don't like
to hear from CEOs of wireless operators, and that's exactly what was
overheard during an AT&T
keynote speech at CTIA in San Diego this
week. CEO Ralph de la Vega didn't go so far as to introduce some sort
of throttling program to the world, but you can tell he has something
of the like in mind.
It's no secret that iPhone
users consume massive amounts
compared to other smartphone users. The Safari browser is essentially
the only phone web browser that can actually navigate the Internet in a
way similar to the desktop, so more users bother to try. Then there's
the App Store. With over 75,000 of them available, quite a few rely on
an Internet connection to operate. It doesn't even dawn on users that
those apps are sucking down large amounts of data, primarily because
they're already paying an incredibly lofty $30 per month for access to
an "unlimited amount" of data.
In a speech at the aforesaid conference however, the CEO mentioned that
if usage continues to grow (and it will), they'll be forced to manage
data so that normal smartphone users (as in, not iPhone users) aren't
"crowded out" by the small number of users who consumer the vast
majority of data on the network. In the same breath, he also pleaded
for the FCC to keep its net neutrality efforts at bay. That's
funny--this guy doesn't want the government regulating him, but he's
practically confirming that he's willing to regulate his end-users.
Amazing how that works, huh?
Do you think we'll see data management put into practice soon? Of
course, we could wish that AT&T would simply expand its network,
but Wall Street certainly wouldn't approve of spending billions on
something like "improved customer service," now would it?