AT&T Targets Hoggish Smartphone Users
After all, it recently released an iPhone app designed to make it easy for users to report outages and dropped calls. It's also "normal" for an iPhone to drop 30 percent of its calls in New York City. It is quite obvious that the network simply cannot handle all the traffic (and we don't need Verizon ads to tell us that).
It's true that voice plans are tiered for all carriers. It's also fact that as a relative data hog, the iPhone is unique. Its users grab far more data than traditional smartphone users, yet still have a $30 all-you-can-eat data plan. When AT&T sells a plan for its wireless-data cards, those are limited to 5GB of usage monthly. After that, customers are charged more based on their usage.
De la Vega said 3 percent of smartphone users consume 40 percent of AT&T's network capacity. Unsurprisingly, this sounds like the same sort of argument that Comcast and other ISPs have made in terms of throttling or "network optimization" when bottlenecks occur on their services. According to AT&T, most of the bandwidth is being consumed by streaming-video and audio applications, such as Internet radio.
This isn't the first time that AT&T has pointed to smartphones as the reason for its network issues. To be honest, despite clamoring for the iPhone to move to the Verizon network, it is unclear if that CDMA network could handle the workload any easier than AT&T's. Perhaps after Android phones have been around on Verizon's network for a while we might have a better feel for that.