AT&T last week raised rates on all their wireless data plans
, users now having the option of a $20, 300 MB plan or a $30, 3GB plan (up from $15, 200MB and $25, 2GB, respectively). Speaking during their earnings call today, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson tried to suggest that the rate hikes were because the government opposed AT&T's planned T-Mobile acquisition. The deal collapse, according to Stephenson, left them capacity constrained -- which then forced the company to raise rates and throttle wireless users. Kevin Fitchard at GigaOM
points out how the only problem with that article is that it's not true:
If AT&T were really that constrained by network capacity, it wouldnt be lowering the price it charges to deliver each byte. AT&Ts price hikes are simply a revenue play. By raising the prices of its data plan tiers, its guaranteeing it will get $5 more a month on each new smartphone customer, but it wont be limiting their usage. Instead its actually encouraging its customers to consume more.
There's really only so many times we can point out
that AT&T's claims of spectrum crunch and capacity constraints are completely contradicted by AT&T's own publicly-available data, and that if AT&T is
suffering any such limitations with their current resources -- it's due to poor network design and implementation. The truth is AT&T's raising rates because they can
in an uncompetitive market they dominate. Stephenson's just pouting because for one of the first times in a generation, his company wasn't able to buy government help in keeping it that way.