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AT&T patent application could lead to pricier data for those who do bandwidth busting activities

Posted: , by Alan F.

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AT&T patent application could lead to pricier data for those who do bandwidth busting activities
A new patent application by AT&T might affect how its mobile customers use the amount of data they contract for each month. The patent, filed by the carrier back in September, just recently was revealed and offers the possibility of AT&T charging more for certain uses of data. Titled "Prevention Of Bandwidth Abuse Of A Communications System," the plan awards subscribers with a certain number of credits which are subtracted when a customer uses his data for particular tasks that use too much bandwidth, such as downloading a movie.

The patent application hints at a world in which AT&T would be offering different, more expensive plans for those wanting to use their data to download movies, or transfer files. Those who do not pay for the right to download movies or transfer files would receive a smaller amount of credit after each use, so that the "non-permissable" activity could not be repeated constantly.

Once a customer is down to zero credits, he could buy additional credits or simply be blocked from the activities that require them. Those who pay for the right to download movies, for example, would never run out of credits.

Before this turns into another debate about net neutrality, let's remember that this is just a patent application and AT&T has not mentioned anything about putting such a plan into action.

via: TorrentFreak, BGR

32 Comments
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posted on 03 Feb 2014, 13:18 3

1. wilsong17 (Posts: 1088; Member since: 10 Mar 2013)


they just going to lose more customer if i pay for something why should i be restricted

thanx god i have tmobile

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 20:13

27. profperez1 (Posts: 49; Member since: 08 May 2012)


I spent $250 to VZW and went to Tmobile. My monthly liability went up $50 for my house. Total political statement I can afford. If we stay with these carriers....that want to rape the consumer for their margins....things will never change. I'm predicting the market will settle on $50 per month...pay for your own phone.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 13:18 5

2. Finalflash (Posts: 1901; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


All hail the death of net neutrality. These guys will start this crap and everyone else will follow suit because no one wants to fall behind on wall street.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 13:23 2

3. PapaSmurf (Posts: 8922; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Lol AT&T is starting to become greedy like the Big Red. Smh.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 13:25 4

4. ZeroCide (Posts: 700; Member since: 09 Jan 2013)


AT&T has always been greedy. Thats why I left them years ago.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 13:32 2

5. alouden (Posts: 216; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


And every time I think of switching to AT&T, a story like this (and their customer service) remind me to stay put.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 16:38 2

17. NexusKoolaid (Posts: 312; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


My adopted daughter (now an adult) flew in to Boston to visit friends. The return flight was delayed by weather, and she was stuck in the airport for several hours. To pass the time she called some friends in her home country - we didn't have international calling for her phone and she didn't know how pricey that would be. Racked up $600 in charges.

A month later an AT&T CS rep calls to tell us that if we had signed up for international calling the total would have been around $200. She offered (meaning WE did not ask) to sign us up for international calling AND post date the signup to save us $400 in charges.

I concede that their service isn't cheap, but after this experience I find myself reluctant to call them greedy.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 13:46 1

9. JerryTime (Posts: 468; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


I managed for them for three years, and they have ALWAYS been greedy. This is just a new way of displaying it.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 18:01 1

26. phonetekmek (Posts: 70; Member since: 04 Oct 2013)


Ma Bell "starting" to get greedy? VZW is a spin off of AT&T and learned everything from them.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 13:34 1

6. eman99 (Posts: 238; Member since: 03 Aug 2010)


And this would be the answer to keep their customers total rip off

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 13:39 2

7. eN16HTMAR3 (Posts: 116; Member since: 08 Oct 2013)


Wow........thats insane. Just like another said. Why is what I am paying for being reduced. Thats like buying a loaf of bread and being told it has to last the whole month or that you can only make so many sandwiches out of said bread. Everyone knows they go thru tons of data just like bread. Maybe that was a bad comparrison.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 16:00

15. domfonusr (Posts: 372; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)


No, that's a fantastic comparison. To take it a step further:

This is like buying your loaf of bread, and being allowed to make as much toast out of it as you want, but you had better not make more than two sandwiches out of any of the bread in said loaf. So, for toast making, have at it, but for sandwich making you are restricted to using only four pieces of bread out of an entire loaf, so watch it with those sandwiches.

The entire loaf represents your data allotment for the month. The actual number of sandwiches you can make out of said loaf is your real capability to download movies or transfer files within your actual data cap. The four piece limit (two sandwiches) is this contrived limit by credits, simply a more stringent limit within an existing limit.

This is ridiculous. They are going to tell customers how they can use their data each month. I'm normally not a big proponent of net neutrality, but this is insane.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 16:46

18. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1880; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Same thing that happened with unlimited data. When calling and texting were the most used services, they charged a premium for them. Now that data is the most used service, they capped it, charge a premium for it, and give away voice and text. If anyone figures a way to get blood from a stone, you can bet it will be a wireless carrier.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 16:52

22. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1880; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Supposed to be replying to comment #16.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 20:18

29. profperez1 (Posts: 49; Member since: 08 May 2012)


I get your post....but streaming a movie for 90 minutes "might" have a more negative impact on the network than dispersing data over a wider time period. I agree with you 100% you paid $3.00 for that damn loaf of bread!

posted on 06 Feb 2014, 17:24

31. miles16852 (Posts: 213; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


another idiot trying to sound like a lawyer! stupid!

posted on 06 Feb 2014, 17:22

30. miles16852 (Posts: 213; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


whats with the so called word usage of ' SAID BREAD ' really kinda redundant and not need for one to say SAID before bread or anything else, this is not a court case ! idiot!

posted on 08 Feb 2014, 19:12

32. domfonusr (Posts: 372; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)


Maybe we just like to talk that way once in a while...

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 13:45 1

8. Jommick (Posts: 211; Member since: 10 Sep 2013)


It *might* result in lower costs for people who only use low bandwidth activities and keep the same prices as they currently are for other higher uses, but that's yet to be seen.
Eitherways I can't wait for my interview for the local T-Mobile store.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 14:44 2

10. bigstrudel (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)


Canceling with AT&T today.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 16:48 2

19. atlvideoguy (Posts: 42; Member since: 24 Feb 2012)


T-Mobile will pay your etf!!! lol

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 15:02 3

11. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1880; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


And yet they want to kill off physical media and make everything streaming.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 16:08

16. domfonusr (Posts: 372; Member since: 17 Jan 2014)


Yep. What better way to set up an addiction to multimedia and entertainment, and then yank it away so that it can be rationed out for much higher profits inflated by excessive pent-up demand. Sick. We already have the end of physical media in sight, and everything is going streaming these days. Not only are they going to cap our data each month, but now they're going to tell us what we can and cannot do with that data. So, maybe they'll let us see a movie if we've all been good children today...

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 16:54

23. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1880; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


And let's not forget about the push to 2 & 4k video. How much data will that use? Hulu and Netflix are going to be the most costly apps around.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 15:21 2

12. hellonerds (Posts: 265; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)


Im on att from day of iphone 1.. have a tmo note 3 on att and my contract ends june and ill be going back to tmo. . Can't wait. .screw you att

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 15:55

13. tacarat (Posts: 213; Member since: 22 Apr 2013)


Sounds like a way of formalizing "unlimited web surfing" but not giving true unlimited data. In a twisted way, I'd love to see the concept of unlimited nights and weekends calling come to data. It might be nights and weekdays to manage bandwidth, but still.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 15:56 3

14. PK1983 (Posts: 195; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)


Hey! Let's develop LTE-A that can get you 300 Mbps data connection, but cap you at 2 GB data per month!

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 16:51

20. VZWuser76 (Posts: 1880; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)


Yeah remember those commercials saying never worry about going over or having to watch your data, now they pull a 180 and you better watch it like a hawk.

I'm still wondering how they're going to handle VOLTE, since it will come off our data plan. I can see that tipping people who are close on their data but ignoring their calls over the edge. The next few years could really suck.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 16:52

21. atlvideoguy (Posts: 42; Member since: 24 Feb 2012)


you will be able kill your data allotment credits in the first 2 minutes of your billing cycle!

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 16:59 1

24. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6729; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


First loosing our UNLIMITED DATA now this crap? so glad i left AT&T and went to pre paid best thing ever happened.

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 18:00

25. phonetekmek (Posts: 70; Member since: 04 Oct 2013)


So even though I pay for X amount of GB's depending on what I choose to do with the data I have paid for I may be charged even more? If this enables those who do not use bandwith hogging activities to have unlimited data again, I may be for it. But if it still tiered data this would be insane. This is why net neutrality is so important. Of course Ma Bell would want to patent this idea. Her biggest offspring Verizon would surely jump on the idea!

posted on 03 Feb 2014, 20:14

28. Jayshmay (Posts: 65; Member since: 27 Mar 2011)


And yet people still support this company!!!
Gosh, I really hope there id a leveling out of the market in the U.S.
in the coming years.

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