The problem is that the carrier is getting touchy about the amount of its pipeline that ends up used for iPhone data. As we just mentioned in Friday's News Bits, AT&T Wireless CEO Ralph de la Vega has been making some noise about how iPhone users end up using a disproportionate amount of the operator's bandwidth. He cited his company's own research that 3% of AT&T customers (read iPhone users) use 40% of smartphone data, use 13 times the amount of data as the average smartphone customer but are only 1% of AT&T's postpaid customer accounts. Mr. de la Vega has been talking about "managing" the network so that iPhone users don't crowd out other users belonging to the cellular operator. That could mean rationing bandwidth and putting restrictions on those who hog the pipelines. AT&T could slow down the network for some heavy users at certain times of the day. During his keynote address at CTIA, the exec said, "“We have to manage the network to make sure that the few cannot crowd out the many.” To make sure everyone knew what he was talking about, he said the words “crowded out” at least five times in that part of his speech. And just like Oliver was rebuked for wanting more food, there is nothing that AT&T can say to iPhone users inquiring about tethering at this moment other than , "More? You want...more?" Unlike the orphan, users of the handset will eventually get what they are asking for even if there is no specific date being given by the cellular carrier.
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source: WSJ via iPhoneCentral (Tethering), (Bandwidth)