AT&T Looking to Crack Down on Mobile Bandwidth Hogs

AT&T is the exclusive U.S. carrier for the Apple iPhone as well as a plethora of other smartphones and mobile devices, and it’s no secret that the company has had difficulty expanding the capacity of its wireless network to keep up with the bandwidth demands of all those mobile users. The company has been aggressively building out its network to increase capacity, but now it appears the company is considering other ways to get its mobile users under control: changing service plans so high-bandwidth pay more to push so much data through the network.

Apple-iphone-sg3

Speaking at a UBS investors conference in New York, AT&T’s head of consumer services Ralph de la Vega said the company is considering ways to get high-bandwidth users to “reduce or modify their usage” in order to free up bandwidth for other users. De la Vega did not offer any specifics, but AT&T is widely considered to be eye usage-based fees for mobile broadband data, rather than the flat rate all-you-can-eat data services it currently offers.

According to De la Vega, about three percent of smartphone users are consuming about 40 percent of AT&T’s network capacity, with video and audio streaming consuming being responsible for a good deal of that bandwidth consumption. De la Vega also reiterated AT&T’s claims that it offers the fastest 3G service in the United States, and contended most problems with data congestion occur in the San Francisco and New York City areas. The company is working to build out its network capacity in those markets and others. De la Vega also said the company is working on tools to help mobile users better monitor their data utilization.

Changing over to a usage-based fee system for mobile data could be a major headache for both AT&T and its customers, most of whom don’t want to be bothered with having to meter data usage in the same way many mobile phone users monitor usage minutes: one reason flat-rate plans are so popular is that they eliminate headaches and guesswork involved in mobile communication. However, if AT&T really is trying to reign in just the top 3 percent of smartphone users, it might be able to introduce a usage-based plan as a cost savings to ordinary phone users…and that might just earn the company some points in consumers’ eyes.

Mobile

5G is going to cost you a few bucks more, at least on Verizon

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Mobile

Google Fi: Phones, plans, pricing, perks, and more explained

Google's wireless service, formerly Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi, and it's now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about Google Fi.
Mobile

Free yourself! How to unlock a phone from the icy hands of your wireless carrier

Do you want to know how to unlock a phone through your carrier or a third-party service like DoctorSIM? Regardless of which way you want to go, we've compiled a list of requirements and methods for doing so.
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Wearables

Spring is here, and Apple’s beautiful new Watch bands will help you celebrate

Apple knows that seasons matter in the fashion world, and has refreshed its most popular Apple Watch bands to celebrate the arrival of spring. See them all, including our new favorite teal versions, here.
Deals

Get your hands (and ears) on Apple’s new AirPods — here’s where to find them

Apple's new AirPods with wireless charging are the latest version of the much-loved wireless earbuds. Unfortunately, they aren't widely available yet. Here's where you can find them right now, and where they will show up soon.
Mobile

Apple’s AirPower wireless charging mat may be coming soon

At its September event in 2017, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods might be new and improved, but they aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, with attractive features. These are the best AirPod alternatives on the market today.
Computing

If you have $5,200, Apple has 256GB of RAM for your iMac Pro

Professionals looking to run intensive applications will be able to push their work a bit further with Apple's latest iMac Pro, which holds 256GB of DD4 ECC RAM for $5,200. Here's why it costs so much to upgrade your iMac Pro to the top.
Deals

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for March 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.
Mobile

Apple iPad Air vs. iPad (2018): Which Apple tablet is right for you?

The new iPad Air replaces the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but it doesn't pack quite the same punch. It is a fair bit cheaper, starting at $500, but it's a lot more expensive than Apple's 9.7-inch iPad which starts at $330. If you're shopping for…
Social Media

Facebook Messenger adds quoted replies to better organize group chats

Facebook is rolling out a feature that should help make group chats a whole lot more organized. The feature allows you to reply to specific messages within a group chat, so others will be able to tell what you're replying to.
Mobile

The 2018 iPad is often the best iPad for most people — and now it’s only $250

Apple may have recently taken the wraps off of a new iPad Air and iPad Mini, but it's still the standard iPad that is best for most people. Now, the standard iPad has gotten a pretty significant discount -- it's down from $330 to $250.
Photography

Looking to keep prying eyes at bay? Here's how to hide photos on your iPhone

People take tons of photos using their smartphones, but not all are meant to be shared or seen. Luckily, hiding photos on your iOS device is easy, whether you want to use built-in utilities or apps with added security.