AT&T and Verizon continue to tinker with pricing and promotions on their most expensive tiers as they try to counter T-Mobile disruption without entering into an all out price war. According to AT&T's latest announcement
, the company is bumping the data allotment of their 10 GB Mobile Share plan to 15 GB at no additional cost. The plan currently runs users $100 a month (plus assorted fees and service charges) for 10 GB of data, unlimited voice and unlimited SMS. The promotion is available to new and existing AT&T customers starting today, and is running for an unspecified "limited time."
Back in April AT&T announced that they'd be trying to shake up GoGo's dominance of the in-flight broadband market by offering a competing product of their own
. At the time, AT&T stated the company would work with Honeywell to build "an innovative air-to-ground network in the continental United States" that would launch sometime in the latter half of 2015, with the ultimate goal of "transforming in-flight connectivity."
Apparently, said transformation won't be happening.
Add AT&T to the list of companies and individuals who don't much like the FCC's "hybrid" net neutrality framework. As previously noted
, the FCC is considering leaving the last mile largely deregulated to avoid a larger legal battle, but classifying the interconnection points between ISPs and content companies under Title II.
Both Verizon and AT&T today announced that the carriers would be unveiling VoLTE interoperability in 2015 that will allow higher-audio call quality VoLTE customers on both carriers to talk to one another. Interoperability between devices and carriers, in addition to battery life concerns, have been the primary culprits in the delay of broader VoLTE deployment. According to Verizon's press announcement
, both companies have been working closely together on field trials that should result in seamless, higher-quality communications between the two networks next year:
Engineers from both companies are working through a full set of requirements, beginning with extensive testing in lab environments and then moving to field trials. This approach ensures customers will have a seamless experience making VoLTE HD Voice calls between networks and lays the foundation for interoperability of other Rich Communications Services (RCS) such as video calls, rich messaging, and more in the future.
After several delays Verizon officially launched VoLTE in early September
, though initially only via two devices -- a number that has since jumped to six (The Galaxy S5, LG G2, Motorola Droid Maxx, Droid Mini, and both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus).
Responding to continued pricing tweaks by Sprint and T-Mobile, AT&T has again shaken up the company's shared data plan pricing, adding larger allotments to several of the company's higher-end plans. According to an AT&T announcement
, AT&T is bumping the 2 GB allotment on the company's $40 Mobile Share Value plan to 3 GB. They're also bumping the 4 GB allotment on the company's $70 Mobile Share Value plan to 6 GB. AT&T says they've also extended their Double the Data offer on Mobile Share Value plans with allotments ranging from 15 GB to 50 GB until November 15. A breakdown of their offerings can be found below:
Earlier this week we noted that AT&T's handoff of their DSL and landline users to Frontier in Connecticut hasn't been particularly smooth
, with a lot of customers complaining about prolonged DSL and TV outages. As the week has rolled on the outages seem to have resolved, but the company's Facebook page
is littered with apologies for a wide variety of continuing issues, from DVR and VOD problems, to heavy pixelation of TV signal.
The FTC today announced they've filed a complaint against AT&T for the company's longstanding practice of promising "unlimited" data, only to significantly throttle back customer connections. According to the FTC press announcement
, an FTC inquiry found that while AT&T advertised unlimited data, the company in 2011 began throttling data speeds for its unlimited data plan customers after they used as little as 2 gigabytes of data in a billing period.
Some AT&T U-Verse users in our forums
say that an emergency alert warning appears to have hijacked their cable boxes, preventing them from changing the channel. Users say the alert switches them to a local channel to receive the alert, but the alert doesn't appear to deliver any information of note.
We've talked at length about how in many states, AT&T is refusing to upgrade their broadband networks -- while at the same time lobbying (and often writing) state laws banning anybody else from doing so either
. That's becoming a bigger problem than ever as AT&T hangs up on unwanted DSL users in many states
, yet leaves behind the laws they helped passed preventing those towns from improving their own infrastructure.
DSLReports regular Darknessfall
directs our attention to the fact that AT&T is running a new promotion
for U-Verse customers that offers users broadband, HBO, and a year of Amazon Prime for $40 per month. Like Comcast
, Verizon and others, AT&T has been offering a $40 broadband, HBO and limited TV bundle the hopes of appealing to (almost) cord cutters.
On the heels of T-Mobile's announcement last week
that they've started a heavy push toward Wi-Fi calling, AT&T says they'll also be offering Wi-Fi calling starting in 2015. AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega stated last week the company will be offering it next year, but hasn't been in a rush because, they claim, their network coverage is good enough (unlike T-Mobile's, the CEO implied).
AT&T has sued Cox Communications, claiming that the cable operator has infringed on seven patents covering various DVR and modem technologies. In the complaint
(pdf, via Ars Technica
), AT&T alleges that Cox has avoided paying AT&T by "repeatedly delaying and rescheduling negotiations." "Given every opportunity, Cox has failed to provide substantial arguments for either non-infringement or invalidity of AT&T's patents," complains AT&T. "Cox’s conduct constitutes a steadfast refusal to take a license, even though Cox generates billions of dollars in revenue every year through its use of AT&T’s technologies."
It's fairly obvious that Google Fiber's entry into the broadband market has made significant waves. While the actual deployments have been limited (with only just Kansas City significantly online just yet), the service's very presence has rekindled debate over the abysmal state of broadband competition in the United States. story continues..
AT&T has a very long history of working to prevent towns and cities from wiring themselves with broadband, even in cases where nobody else will. This history goes way back to when we used to discuss how AT&T (then SBC) and Comcast would try to ruin municipal broadband efforts by using push polls
that would ask questions implying that taxpayer funds would be used for pornography
, ban access to religious programming, or result in government rationing your TV usage
Frontier's $2 billion attempt to acquire AT&T’s local wireline, broadband and video operations in Connecticut (originally announced last December
) seemed to have been going swimmingly, recently gaining approval by the FCC
and even union leaders that had originally opposed the deal
. But the deal appears to have hit a snag in the form of the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), which has denied a deal settlement
the companies reached with state officials.
PURA argues that the deal's conditions don't mean much, and the deal doesn't do enough to benefit Connecticut consumers:
But the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority said in a filing Thursday that the settlement, as drafted by Connecticut's Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz, does not do enough for state residents. Instead, regulators sent the parties back to the drawing board, saying the settlement's provisions contained "merit for further discussion in an effort to rehabilitate them wherever possible."...Proposed broadband internet investments lack specifics, they said...
The deal is still expected to ultimately move forward; meetings on hammering out updated technical specifics of the deal are expected this month.
The New York Post
claims that AT&T has struck a deal with the Department of Justice that would allow AT&T's $48.5 billion plan
to acquire DirecTV to move forward. The report fails to specify what precise conditions the DOJ will place on the deal, though it does suggest that regulators are leaning toward approval with DOJ approval coming as soon as October.
Add Jacksonville to the growing list of AT&T markets where the company will selectively deploy 1 Gbps U-Verse "Gigapower" service. According to the latest AT&T announcement
, Jacksonville will join the list of planned AT&T cities, which so far includes Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Charlotte, Houston, Greensboro, Raleigh-Durham, and Winston-Salem and Miami. As with all the announcements, AT&T says that "specific locations of availability and pricing for the Jacksonville market will be announced at a later date." As noted previously
, these deployments will primarily focus on a very select number of high-end development communities, though AT&T's getting ample marketing mileage in their PR battle with Google Fiber. Update
: Cuppertino in Silicon Valley
is also being named as a Gigapower market.
AT&T's flurry of cities where the company will offer limited deployments of 1 Gbps speeds continues, with the announcement
that Miami will also be a GigaPower market. As with previous announcements for Dallas, San Antonio and Nashville
, the announcement lacks any meaningful detail, AT&T simply stating that "specific locations of availability and pricing for the Miami market will be announced at a later date." Before Miami locals get too excited, you might want to read why these latest announcements by AT&T are a bit of a bluff
, and will focus primarily on only a select few high-end developments, college dorms and apartments.
While Verizon's legal victory over the FCC did gut the agency's net neutrality rules, it kept some of the FCC's authority over ISPs intact -- specifically the agency's transparency rules
-- which require that ISPs be straightforward about the "network management practices, performance, and commercial terms" of their broadband services.
In a statement issued today
, the FCC "reminded" wireline and wireless ISPs alike that those rules are still intact and need to be adhered to, lest the agency lightly slap a wrist or two -- maybe.
Senator Al Franken has been a very vocal opponent of Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and now the Senator is taking aim at AT&T's attempted acquisition of DirecTV. In a letter
(pdf) to regulators concerning the merger, Franken warns to take AT&T promises like offering standalone broadband services with a grain of salt.
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