AT&T made my brain hurt

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

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AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:25 pm

I had a little time to kill at lunch, so I went to the AT&T store to look at the new phones. I'm not in the market for another month or so, but I thought I would look to see if there was any Android based machine that I would get instead of replacing my iPhone with another one (when the new ones are launched). Short answer, no, I will probably stick with the iPhone.

Anyway, while there, I asked the salesman about tethering my laptop to my iPhone. The cost is $45 to tether. I asked him how much additional data that gives you. He said simply "none". I told him that didn't make any sense, whether I am using the iphone or the laptop, it's still the same bucket of data, why would it cost that much extra. His answer? "The PC processes faster". Huh? WTF does that have to do with anything. Minutes is minutes and bytes is bytes. How they are processed has nothing to do with usage. I can't see any justification for a $45 monthly recurring charge simply to access the same bucket of minutes indirectly through the iPhone rather than ON the iPhone.

I take it Verizon does the same thing. I just don't see how or why that's legal. I suspect it will just get worse when T-Mobile goes bye bye.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:52 pm

I was in the store this weekend with my wife. She moved to a droid from a Blackberry, so she's pretty happy. I also found the tethering charge interesting. unlimited data, should mean unlimited data.......
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:02 pm

do you pay for cable TV?
does that mean you should get free HBO, free On demand because it comes from the same line to your house?
do you pay for an entry level cable modem and expect business class speeds just because the same line is used?

alot of people dont seem to get this, a web browsing phone doesn't use anywhere near the amount of data a PC would use
you are not paying for 'unlimited' GBs to fall out of rainbows, you are paying for 'unlimited' use of a phone to connect
of course, ATT is hosing you on the charges, you should sue them
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:16 pm

potatochobit wrote:do you pay for cable TV?
does that mean you should get free HBO, free On demand because it comes from the same line to your house?
do you pay for an entry level cable modem and expect business class speeds just because the same line is used?

alot of people dont seem to get this, a web browsing phone doesn't use anywhere near the amount of data a PC would use
you are not paying for 'unlimited' GBs to fall out of rainbows, you are paying for 'unlimited' use of a phone to connect
of course, ATT is hosing you on the charges, you should sue them

I think you misunderstood.

It sounds like the deal is that you have the same monthly data transfer limit whether you transfer the data to the phone, or through the phone to a PC. Same amount of data, presumably at the same bandwidth (since the bandwidth is capped by the speed of the wireless connection), but you get to pay an extra $45 just because the endpoint of the data transfer isn't the phone. OP please correct me if I've misunderstood something here...

That said, companies do this sort of thing (charging more for something that does not cost them any more to provide) all the time. Yes, it's annoying... but it is a fact of life.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:17 pm

potatochobit wrote:do you pay for cable TV?
does that mean you should get free HBO, free On demand because it comes from the same line to your house?
do you pay for an entry level cable modem and expect business class speeds just because the same line is used?

alot of people dont seem to get this, a web browsing phone doesn't use anywhere near the amount of data a PC would use
you are not paying for 'unlimited' GBs to fall out of rainbows, you are paying for 'unlimited' use of a phone to connect
of course, ATT is hosing you on the charges, you should sue them


He didn’t ask for unlimited data, just a justification for the additional $45. If they cap the iphone at 10GB then for $45 more you should at least get 10GB more.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:25 pm

Actually, since some phones allow you to use 'non-mobile' web sites, the reason for a tethering surcharge is ignorant. The carriers are trying to set precednts based on the lack of technical knowledge of consumers and lawmakers. That lack of knowledge also allows ISPs to limit 'unlimited' internet.
Anyways, it is a bogus charge, and it should be illegal unless they increase your caps.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:36 pm

JMccovery wrote:Actually, since some phones allow you to use 'non-mobile' web sites, the reason for a tethering surcharge is ignorant. The carriers are trying to set precednts based on the lack of technical knowledge of consumers and lawmakers. That lack of knowledge also allows ISPs to limit 'unlimited' internet.
Anyways, it is a bogus charge, and it should be illegal unless they increase your caps.

As annoying as I find billing practices like this, I don't see how it can be made illegal. On what grounds? They're selling a service; you're free to pay their asking price, or go elsewhere.

Unless they become a monopoly (which could yet happen, given the fact that they're still assimilating competitors...) IMO the government has no business dictating what they can charge.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:05 pm

and that is how people recieve 8,000$ phone bills which are becoming more and more common place /golfclap
the government has every right to regulate prices and stop extortion in the interest of the consumer and a fair market place
I think I heard in 2009 the FCC will 'look into it'
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:06 pm

potatochobit wrote:do you pay for cable TV?
does that mean you should get free HBO, free On demand because it comes from the same line to your house?
do you pay for an entry level cable modem and expect business class speeds just because the same line is used?


That analogy does not all apply here. This situation is more like my cable company saying that they are going to charge me $45 extra just because I bought a new bigger TV.


I totally do agree that the charge is outrageous. But I am not sure if you can do anything legally.

Also, weren't there apps available on the iPhone that let you tether for free? A friend of my uses one of those to serve his laptop and I am pretty sure he does not pay anything extra. Although, the situation might be different where you live (I am in Canada).
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:14 pm

Here's why it should be made illegal: Because carriers are charging for no additional service. They're charging you to lift an artificial limitation. AT&T had to literally take extra measures to prevent people from tethering, they didn't have to take additional action to allow people to tether. It's an evil practice that takes advantage of consumer ignorance. There's a endless number of laws in place that protect people from themselves.

sid1089, those apps are available only via jailbreaking the iPhone. In addition, they are no longer usable as AT&T has some system in place that detects their use and sends customers a text and later an email stating that if you continue to use such apps you'll have the tethering fee added to your bill.

Yay for being charged for something that's free.

Next lets talk about text messaging fees!
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:21 pm

He gave you bad info.

The $45 tethering charge includes shifting you on to the 2GB data plan (assuming you're not already on it) and then adding an additional 2GB of data for you to use.

So you get Tethering and a 4GB data cap.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/ ... adline.ars
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:29 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:He gave you bad info.

The $45 tethering charge includes shifting you on to the 2GB data plan (assuming you're not already on it) and then adding an additional 2GB of data for you to use.

So you get Tethering and a 4GB data cap.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/ ... adline.ars



Yea I just look at packages for both vzw and att&t. For vzw it's 50 dollars for 2GB of tethering, and unlimited for data phone. For at&t it's 45 for tethering and 4 GB of total usage.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:45 pm

I'm going from iPhone4 on AT&T to Nexus S on T-Mobile tonight actually. My wife is going from a 3GS to an android phone she has yet to choose. Coupon from Best Buy makes it $99 for the Nexus S and thats a hard deal to beat, along with I get all the same plan features as AT&T for $60 less a month across 2 phones. Not a bad deal.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:59 pm

just brew it! wrote:
potatochobit wrote:do you pay for cable TV?
does that mean you should get free HBO, free On demand because it comes from the same line to your house?
do you pay for an entry level cable modem and expect business class speeds just because the same line is used?

alot of people dont seem to get this, a web browsing phone doesn't use anywhere near the amount of data a PC would use
you are not paying for 'unlimited' GBs to fall out of rainbows, you are paying for 'unlimited' use of a phone to connect
of course, ATT is hosing you on the charges, you should sue them

I think you misunderstood.

It sounds like the deal is that you have the same monthly data transfer limit whether you transfer the data to the phone, or through the phone to a PC. Same amount of data, presumably at the same bandwidth (since the bandwidth is capped by the speed of the wireless connection), but you get to pay an extra $45 just because the endpoint of the data transfer isn't the phone. OP please correct me if I've misunderstood something here...

That said, companies do this sort of thing (charging more for something that does not cost them any more to provide) all the time. Yes, it's annoying... but it is a fact of life.



Nope you got it. Same data. This plan is not unlimited. I get 2 GB whether I use it all on my iPhone, use some of it on the iPhone and tethered laptop, or 100% on the tethered laptop. Same bucket of data, just have to spend an additional $45 a month to use the phone as a wireless router to share the available data. To me, this is the same as telling a home user that they can use the cable modem to download a total of 100GB, but if they add a wireless router, they will charge you another $45 a month. It makes absolutely no technical sense because data is data is data and 2GB is 2GB regardless of which device is responsible for sending the request.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:03 pm

just brew it! wrote:
JMccovery wrote:Unless they become a monopoly (which could yet happen, given the fact that they're still assimilating competitors...) IMO the government has no business dictating what they can charge.



I would disagree with you a bit. I think the industry has effectively become a cartel. The large companies mirror each other's practices, if not prices, which makes shopping for a competitive advantage based on price or services sort of meaningless. The only real differentiation is coverage area, which creates its own tendency towards monopoly.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:04 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:He gave you bad info.

The $45 tethering charge includes shifting you on to the 2GB data plan (assuming you're not already on it) and then adding an additional 2GB of data for you to use.

So you get Tethering and a 4GB data cap.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/ ... adline.ars



Not according to the genius at the AT&T corporate owned store here. Cap is still 2GB, shared between the devices.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:06 pm

Especially since the act of sending the data from your phone to the tethered device completely bypasses the carrier. It doesn't cost them anything. Its just another senseless fee they feel they can charge.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:12 pm

Surely the artificial limitation isn't far off limitations that are in place to create a range of GPU's and CPU's. They're all pretty similar within the product ranges, yet given slightly different bioses, and/or certain features deactivated, the prices vary hugely.

It makes perfect business sense to charge for a service that is probably going to see the user using more data (i'm far more likely to spend longer on my laptop, than browsing on my phone).
Last edited by mikehodges2 on Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:14 pm

Ignore the genius. If he had added the functionality to your plan, despite what he said, you would have gotten a 4GB data cap.

There's no reason to even work through the local store. You can make the changes to your account online.

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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:17 pm

Thresher wrote:
Ryu Connor wrote:He gave you bad info.

The $45 tethering charge includes shifting you on to the 2GB data plan (assuming you're not already on it) and then adding an additional 2GB of data for you to use.

So you get Tethering and a 4GB data cap.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2011/ ... adline.ars



Not according to the genius at the AT&T corporate owned store here. Cap is still 2GB, shared between the devices.



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DataPro 4GB is required for use of Internet Tethering or Personal Hotspot. Internet Tethering over Bluetooth or USB requires iOS4.0 and iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4. Personal Hotspot over Wi-Fi requires iOS4.3 and iPhone 4 .

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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:19 pm

sid1089 wrote:That analogy does not all apply here. This situation is more like my cable company saying that they are going to charge me $45 extra just because I bought a new bigger TV.
The cable weasels charge "only" a $10/month "HD fee" for connecting a current-technology HD television instead of an old analog TV.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:38 pm

The thinking is that people who tether are statistically going to use more data. Statistically, that is the reasoning. The pricing they give you is based on the statistics of usage. Even though you have a certain data cap, tethered users are going to use more data, and thus they are going to charge more. Notice that any tethering charges are for data caps, not for pay-as-you-go data packages.
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Re: AT&T made my brain hurt

Postposted on Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:41 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:The cable weasels charge "only" a $10/month "HD fee" for connecting a current-technology HD television instead of an old analog TV.

...and way back in the day (before some of you were born), AT&T used to charge extra if you wanted to connect a current-technology DTMF (touch-tone) phone to your line, instead of an old-school rotary dial phone. Never mind the fact that the entire network had been converted over to DTMF, and they actually needed extra equipment to continue supporting the old rotary phones!

(Which brings up an interesting point: The land line phone network is probably one of the best examples of backward compatibility you'll ever find. A few years ago I remember reading an article that said you could still connect a turn-of-the-last-century antique crank telephone, turn the crank, and get an operator on the line to put your call through for you. Not sure if this is still true...)
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