AT&T Wrongly Thrown Under the Bus for MicroCell Data Use

AT&T Wrongly Thrown Under the Bus for MicroCell Data Use

The news broke on Thursday that any data that flows through AT&T's MicroCells, which are their versions of femtocells and transmit voice / data over your broadband, counts against AT&T's new data caps. Everyone was all over this, screaming about another AT&T misdeed. The non-hysterical view of the issue, however, is: so?

First off, we are no fans of the fact that AT&T charges $150 so you can buy a device to give you better AT&T coverage in your home, particularly when that device is using up our broadband cap. We're also not fans of the new data caps, but that's another story. Here, however, AT&T is being blamed unfairly.

To be absolutely fair, any 3G data is routed through your broadband, but eventually reaches AT&T's wired network, so it does use their "pipes." Even without that info, let's look at it rationally:
  1. Simply put, if you have a femtocell, you have broadband.
  2. If you have broadband you likely have a home network with a router
  3. If you have a home newtwork, you likely have wi-fi
  4. If you have wi-fi you can connect your smartphone to it
If a smartphone has a wi-fi connection it will use that for data. Therefore, there is no issue, unless you don't have 2, 3, or 4 above.


  
It's possible, actually, to not have a home network, and just have the cable / DSL modem directly attached to a computer, but that's not the expected installation setup for a MicroCell. It's supported, because it has to be, but AT&T's manual assumes a home network with a router as the standard install.

If you have 2, you'd better have 3. Why would you have a home network without wi-fi? And if you have 3, you'd darn well better have 4 (although we will make exceptions for those with older smartphones that don't have wi-fi).

At any rate, this time AT&T isn't really a villain. Don't get us wrong, they have plenty of other things they have done wrong, and continue to do wrong (crippling Android phones with whacko decisions, data caps, and more). This isn't one of them.
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Its still amazing that you need to shell out money to get service in your home, they should provide the femtocell for free if you prove you can't get service in your home.

Then again maybe if you can't get service which you pay for in your home they should waive the femtocell data use from the cap as a we're sorry for the inconvenience. If your ISP had you on a data-cap as well you might end up doubly-screwed.

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I totally agree with digitaldd. I'm not subsidizing minitowers for them. If they want more customers, they can fix their 3G availability, or make the femtocells actually worth paying for (i.e. - no data cap penalty).

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Why would you have a home network without wi-fi?

1) Because WiFi sucks.

2) I agree with the other two. I already pay AT&T for texting services that literally cost them *nothing* to provide. I only have an unlimited data plan because I was grandfathered into it. No way in hell would I pay for this schlock, too.

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This is baloney.

The article says AT&T isn't the villian because it still uses their pipes. The part of the AT&T network that is bottlenecked in the 3G network is the backhaul transport from the towers to their data center. Lets think about this rationally. How much do you pay for your iPhone dataplan? Ok, how's that compare to the cost of your high-speed broadband connection?

Here's my answer, they cost the same. So, I'd say, I alleviate AT&T inability to provide adequate network infrastructure by installing a MicroCell in my house (which I have), use MY internet connection to get to their data centers. I've more than paid for that broadband connection already with my service plan. This article make absolutely no sense.

I'll tell you what.. traditional telecom model of reciprocal compensation would suggest that it would be appropriate for ME to meter AT&T's usage of my internet connection and bill THEM for their usage. After all, I don't know what they are really doing with my internet connection.

AT&T is without question a villain here.

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"To be absolutely fair, any 3G data is routed through your broadband, but eventually reaches AT&T's wired network, so it does use their "pipes.""

How is that fair, again? The fact is, they needlessly route 3G data to their own core network instead of through the customer's existing infrastructure. They DON'T need to use their "pipes" for data. PERIOD. They do it simply to screw you and I. Shame on AT&T and shame on Cisco. These people know better about network routing.

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What hilarious is that this device is probably no more than an access point that actually just uses your own bandwidth and the only data that hit at&t's "pipes" is a count of how much data is being used.

You really want me to beleive this device is going over your broadband just to hit an AT&T proxy server to get internet access? I call BS. That would create a horrible latency and cause a bottleneck in your bandwidth. It's unnecessary steps that I suspect AT&T is not taking because the see how ridiclous it would be to do that as well.

I've said it before... Someone somewhere is sitting back collecting offensive amounts of money and sitting back and laughing because he can't believe people are actually paying for this crap.

Also, the article makes a good point that anyone who actually pays for this anyway is an idiot and I would like to add that if you have the $150 to shell out to buy this peice of garbage... you also have the cash to get a new smart phone with wifi support.

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I would also like to add, that if you do not have wifi, and you do not want to give up your wired network. It is incredibly easy(and much cheaper) to add a wireless access point to your wired network rather than buying this garbage.

I'm tired of these big companies trying to screw over their customers just because they(the customer) don't know any better.

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