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AT&T's 5GB Wireless Broadband Mystery Cap
Heavy users can prepare to pay a fortune...
by Karl Bode 03:13PM Tuesday Mar 18 2008
For years, Verizon Wireless was trying to have their cake and eat it too, by advertising their EVDO service as unlimited, but quietly imposing a 5GB monthly cap. That advertising charade ended courtesy of NY's attorney general (no, not client-9) last fall. Back in January, AT&T insiders insisted that the company was preparing to apply a 5GB monthly cap of their own to their unlimited HSDPA service. The company's terms of service already states as much:
quote:
The parties agree that AT&T has the right to limit throughput or amount of data transferred and/or deny, disconnect, modify and/or terminate Service if you use more than 5 gigabytes in a month. If you require more than 5 gigabytes per month, ask us about our DataConnect 5GB Overage plan.
That plan doesn't appear anywhere on AT&T's website. Gearlog called in to ask about the plan, and found that actually using AT&T's wireless broadband network in any volume can be a very pricey proposition:
quote:
if you call in, you'll find it's $350/month for 5GB, plus $0.50 per megabyte (really, $.0005 per kb, but my megabyte formula is more readable.) Since you're probably a heavy downloader, let's think of that as $500 per gigabyte. Yes. They want to charge you $350 for exactly what you're paying $60 for. Want 10GB instead of 5GB? That'll cost you $2,850 for that month. Now, to be fair, an AT&T rep told me that they'll probably give you a pass for a month or two if you accidentally go over 5GB. Then they'll give you a call and try to convince you to move to the Punitively Expensive Plan.
AT&T's website still advertises "unlimited" data for Blackberry and PDAs provided you don't tether, but we'd be interested to see if any users have tested the boundaries with smart phone consumption alone.

Note that life as a bandwidth hog on Verizon's network is no easier. Buried amidst all the fawning adoration of Verizon Wireless for their recently announced unlimited yammering plan was the fact that they implemented some very pricey data overage charges of their own.

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Dogfather
Premium
join:2007-12-26
Laguna Hills, CA

1 edit

Not meant to be your primary connection

And permitted usage is clearly stated in their TOS. Like Verizon, only the most basic uses (eg email and browsing) are permitted. So if you're going trough 5GB data, you're very likely violating some other portion of the TOS as well.

Those using an aircard or the like as their primary connection should obviously avoid AT&T.

But the 5GB cap isn't new. I've had my AT&T aircard for a while and my original TOS listed the 5GB cap when I signed up.

trebzon

join:2001-09-03
Grandville, MI

Re: Not meant to be your primary connection

Well at least it gives me a good way to get out of my TOS. They won't let me out and I have 5 months left. No prorating either. I guess my best bet is to set it to downloading Gutenburg on a roaming network.
Doug135

join:2008-01-12
Laredo, TX
Its a mobile internet connection, that's why you have a HSI connection at home or at your office. I think the most you should really use it for is checking/sending email or light browsing. I have the unlimited media net plan from AT&T and I barely used 30MB last month. I really don't see how some one can go over 5GB a month.

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4

Re: Not meant to be your primary connection

said by Doug135:

I really don't see how some one can go over 5GB a month.
Tethering. if you don't have broadband in your area and use your phone as a modem, its EASY to blow five gigabytes.
--
You can never be too rich, too thin or have too much Bandwidth

Dogfather
Premium
join:2007-12-26
Laguna Hills, CA

Re: Not meant to be your primary connection

Which goes back to my point that it's not meant to be your primary connection.

And it's not easy to blow five GB unless you are engaged in activities prohibited by AT&T's TOS/AUP.
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

Re: Not meant to be your primary connection

What about high-def flash? Flash is web browsing right? Its in a browser.

Dogfather
Premium
join:2007-12-26
Laguna Hills, CA

1 edit

Re: Not meant to be your primary connection

5GB of Flash? Uh huh. Go explain that to AT&T and see if they go for it.

comcastuser

@comcast.net
Why would you pay 50+ dollars a month for 30 mb of data. I wouldn't. And a broadband connection at home on top of it. I don't have or need to blow that kind of money. It's just another overpriced feature that most people can't afford. And, most of these add-ons, or additional features by Verizon and Att aren't worth the ridiculous price they ask.

Dogfather
Premium
join:2007-12-26
Laguna Hills, CA

Re: Not meant to be your primary connection

Because I use it for business. I'm not paying to get gobs of data, I'm paying to get a moderate amount of data from anywhere I happen to be when I need it.

People make the mistake of comparing aircard service to residential and/or fixed services as if they're equals. It's like comparing a T-1 to residential service. They aren't the same thing.

I pay $60 a month for up to 5GB of monthly usage virtually anywhere in the nation. For business, $60 is nothing. My business T-1 is $400 a month. And given the amount of work it enables me to get done, $60 is a steal.
Corydon
Cultivant son jardin
Premium
join:2008-02-18
Denver, CO

Wasn't Sprint offering a kitchen sink plan at $99/mo?

Ah yes... »Sprint Unveils $99 'Unlimited Everything' Plan

mindfrost82

join:2003-04-19
Elgin, IL

Re: Wasn't Sprint offering a kitchen sink plan at $99/mo?

...and there's been no reports of any type of cap with Sprint.

en102
Canadian, eh?

join:2001-01-26
Valencia, CA

1 edit
I don't think that includes tethered data.
Sad thing is that AT&T doesn't realize that I could get almost 6 of those 5GB plans for the same price as hitting a 5GB + overage plan.
--
Canada = Hollywood North

gaforces
United We Stand, Divided We Fall

join:2002-04-07
Santa Cruz, CA

Re: Wasn't Sprint offering a kitchen sink plan at $99/mo?

Sprint charges $49.95 for an unlimited no cap data connection. It looks like people are getting around 1400 down and 400 up with the EVDO Rev A if they can get coverage.
--
There is no greater sign of a general decay of virtue in a nation, than a want of zeal in its inhabitants for the good of their country. ~ Joseph Addison

not

@comcast.net

Not a problem

I don't really have too much of a problem with these kinds of caps on WIRELESS broadband service, because after all, that uses cell tower infrastructure and just taxes the weak network anyway. However, I don't believe that hardwired (ISP) data should be so limited at 5GB/Month as most ISPs do. That's just silly. I don't use that much at all, but if you want to download a bit more one month, paying an overage fee is BS in my book. In the end it's nothing more then putting more money in the greedy pockets of the CEO's, not about taking that money from the customer and reinvesting it back into the company/technology field to help better the products you sell so that you can provide more cost affective means in the near future. Oh my god! Wouldn't that be a good concept for big business to have?!

Haste9

join:2001-06-08
Oak Brook, IL

Re: Not a problem

Just remember that landline OC connections cost money, too. Caps are usually proportionate.

OSUGoose

join:2007-12-27
Columbus, OH

Wait a minute.....

There is no fricken way it will cost that much money if you go over, jusus Karl can u at least try and hide your anti-telco shill bashing.

There is no way at&t is this balsy or gutsy to try and pull this, even consider it is at&t were talking about. Are they seriously wanting to loose all data business they have. I'm shure alot of those corporate acts will get pulled once a few of their users get dinged with these overages, esp when its proven the employee was using it SOLELY for work needs.

Perhaps at&t should start billing their service and repair centers for their usage of the wireless data network. Yes thats right kiddies that tech that comes to fix your POTS/DSL/U-Verse line, with that nice metal looking laptop (panasonic toughbook) is taking up data space when he is running tests and getting maps to get to your house and such. And i doubt they are charging landline repair for their usage which is def more than 5gb a month.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Re: Wait a minute.....

said by OSUGoose:

There is no fricken way it will cost that much money if you go over, jusus Karl can u at least try and hide your anti-telco shill bashing.

There is no way at&t is this balsy or gutsy to try and pull this, even consider it is at&t were talking about.
Yes, I'm sure at&t would never attempt to charge someone such a ridiculous amount of money for a wireless service....

»video.nbc5.com/player/?id=160647

$3000 Iphone bill
--
"Regulatory capitalism is when companies invest in lawyers, lobbyists, and politicians, instead of plant, people, and customer service." - former FCC Chairman William Kennard (A real FCC Chairman, unlike the current Corporate Spokesperson in the job!)

supergirl

join:2007-03-20
Pensacola, FL
said by OSUGoose:

There is no fricken way it will cost that much money if you go over, jusus Karl can u at least try and hide your anti-telco shill bashing.

There is no way at&t is this balsy or gutsy to try and pull this, even consider it is at&t were talking about. Are they seriously wanting to loose all data business they have. I'm shure alot of those corporate acts will get pulled once a few of their users get dinged with these overages, esp when its proven the employee was using it SOLELY for work needs.

Perhaps at&t should start billing their service and repair centers for their usage of the wireless data network. Yes thats right kiddies that tech that comes to fix your POTS/DSL/U-Verse line, with that nice metal looking laptop (panasonic toughbook) is taking up data space when he is running tests and getting maps to get to your house and such. And i doubt they are charging landline repair for their usage which is def more than 5gb a month.
Instead, maybe AT&T deploy fiber and get rid of most of the copper techs. What do you think VZ is going to do in the future?
--
Saving the world keeps me busy. However, I find Earth very primitive from my home planet of Krypton.
-Supergirl
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

Your EV-DO connnection might Byte your pocket book

Welcome back to the minefield of wireless services pricing, where a wrong turn will blow up your bank account. At least Verizon advised it's customers it was going take punitive financial action if they exceeded their 5GB monthly cap. On the other hand AT&T's overage fee is chump change when compared to Verizon's. Verizon should advertise their EV-DO service as follows:
The first 5GB cost $59.95.
Each additional 5GB costs $2,500.00.
It looks like AT&T's service offering is less outrageous but still over the top.

The question is what will Verizon do for nontechnical customer that has unwittingly installed up malware that sends spam or forgot to remove that screen saver they installed years ago, that allows an organization to use the customers unused CPU Cycles. Will the customer be expected to pay that $20,000.00 invoice for excessive usage. It is easy to tell when someone is using your wireless handset, it is not that easy to detect when malware is using your wireless data connection.
cOOLguy0

join:2002-07-25
Torrington, CT

My first $2200 Phone Bill

I bought an ATT Tilt online with a pda personal plan (unlimited @ 29.99/month on 1/23). Apparently, the billing system does not talk to the ecommerce system, so the Tilt was placed on a Medianet 1MB plan.

After about 30 days of RSS, checking 3 email accounts every 5 minutes, downloading some CABs and watching MobiTV I got a phone bill for $2200.

So not only do they want to charge you a huge amount of money for data, they do not want to protect you either, like sending you an SMS when charges exceed a certain amount.

The most aggravating part of the experience was having to wait for a $2100 credit to be "reviewed and approved" until the Billing Dept could call the Online Commerce Department to actually see if I ordered the unlimited plan with the phone.
stridr69

join:2003-05-19
San Luis Obispo, CA

3 edits

Ahhh, yesss....

nothing like living life via SprintSpeed. Here in the Federation Outpost of San Luis Obispo, CA., there is no other cellular operator here that offer's 3G service. Verizon "has" said:"3G is comming..", and I heard that line of B.S. 3 years ago. And I left. ATT? not. T_mobile? Nada. CellularOne? Nope.
If Sprint get's their customer service act together(I have NO problems) as well as the Nextel debacle, then I see the other two(sorry T-Mobile, you're out of the mix here) start offering what Sprint already offers.
No Caps.

Moon1234

@tds.net

Re: Ahhh, yesss....

Sprint is definitly the best network out there for power users. They go out of their way in Wisconsin to setup data roaming agreements with other carriers to cover dead spots. They have expanded their EVDO service to cover much of the populated areas where they have spectrum.

I have a PDA phone that I use for just e-mail and attachments and some on phone web browsing. I average between 700mb and 3GB per month depending on how heavy my use is.

Sprint has never bothered me about data usage. I think their customer service has been great. Their prices are stellar if you use a promotional or employee referral plan. How many other carriers offer a $30 plan that includes:

- 500 Anytime minutes
- Unlimited Data (Including romaing)
- Unlimited text messaging
- Unlimited MMS
- Unlimited night and weekend calls starting at 7pm.
- Unlimited Sprint to Sprint calls
- Discount on the phone/PDA of your choice.

Verizon and ATT would cost more for their base package without data even using employee discounts. I don't work for Sprint, but I sure try to sell them to my family and friends.
T4K

join:2002-03-13
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Alltel?

Anyone know if alltel has a cap limit?

dberdusco
Elviejon
Premium
join:2006-01-27
Phoenix, AZ

Re: Alltel?

alltel has no caps i use it to download movies from legal entities and i sometimes leave it downloading all night and it wrks great. every month on the day i pay my bill same every time no overage or anything and im tethered to my razor for 25 dlls a month and i use my wireless router to connect other computers at my house to the same connection through ics on win xp i love it man

heres the speed its probably not much compared to cable and dsl but cant beat the mobility and the price


--
I love porn as much as i love steak, and no im not a vegetarian.
T4K

join:2002-03-13
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Re: Alltel?

Considering I'm getting only 1xrt speeds in this roaming zone on verizon. Alltel seems to be in the area. An I would like something unlimited. Thanks for your reply

FixYourThinking

@mycingular.net

A simple call is all it would take

I called in as soon as researching this VERY poorly researched and footnoted article. When I called in; I was told it is TRUE there is a 5GB data "limit" on the "Unlimited Data Plan" BUT this is a system / backend requirement of the system. My monthly usage was at 145GB --- YES 145 GIGABYTES!. However, the system bills you $0.00 for every KILOBYTE after 5GB. Let me say that again - $0.00. In laymen terms: The computer/switch is not yet set up for unlimited usage - because it really hasn't been an issue until very recently. To compensate - you STILL have unlimited usage - you are just billed NOTHING after 5GB. It's hard to see how this makes logical sense ... but it does once it was explained to me. I spoke with the Southeast regional VP of wireless data operations for AT&T - he said there it is a merely computer notation and AT&T has never nor will ever as far as he can see charge ANYthing extra for the unlimited plan and that they are quite aware of Verizon's poor business and customer service decisions regarding this matter.

jcook

@comcast.net

Re: A simple call is all it would take

I'm in the wireless business selling Sprint so I called up too to check what was up. Here's what I found:

1) The ATT TOS do, indeed, reference a "DataConnect 5GB Overage Plan" here: »www.wireless.att.com/learn/messa···ices.jsp

2) I received the following email concerning "overage" (over 5GB):

The “Unlimited Data connect plan” is actually a 5gb data connect plan…if a customer goes over their 5 gb’s in a month they will not be charged any overages…they will however be notified of their over use and be asked to curb their usage…if they continue to go over they will contacted and moved into a higher use business data plan…if they’re not downloading tons of movies or songs, or playing online interactive games for 12 hours a day they should have no problem…

Sincerely,

Daniel J. Sanderson

Sales Manager- at&t Mobility

Phone- xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (couldn't stiff the poor guy by posting his info)

Cell- xxxxxxxxxxx

Incidentally, they do describe this plan initially as $0.00/kb over 5GB (has to do with the fact that their system still "monitors usage" over 5GB), but dig deeper and they'll give you the straight dope.

3) I have not yet been able to find someone who knows the terms and pricing of the "DataConnect 5GB Overage Plan". This is concerning since it is referenced as your high-usage destiny in the contract you sign. Maybe DSLReports has it right, maybe not.

FYI> Sprint's unlimited plan has no caps and from my understanding, the agreements they have in place are the reason for this. It's not that Verizon/ATT don't WANT to offer this, it's that they just don't have capacity. With Sprint, you want online gaming, YouTube, Slingbox, hosting, always-on, P2P? No problem. Fast, too.