AT&T CEO admits possibility of lower iPhone rates, but only with capped data transfers

Thu, May 21, 2009


At the Reuters Global Technology Summit today, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega (what a cool sounding name by the way) confirmed reports that AT&T is exploring the possibility of slashing its monthly data plans for the iPhone, and potentially for other smartphones as well.

The current monthy cost of an iPhone is $70, and reports trickled in earlier this week that AT&T might lower that by $10. 

But, as always, there’s a catch.

If AT&T does in fact offer a lower priced data plan, it won’t be across the board for all customers.  Instead, the lower priced data plan would be a trade-off for limited websurfing and data transfers. De la Vega noted that AT&T’s financial well-being is very dependant upon its data plans, and it therefore makes sense, from their perspective, that any reduction in price would necessarily be accompanied by capped browsing capabilities.

To a certain extent, the iPhone, which did a lot to rescue AT&T at a time when it was struggling to stay afloat, has also caused AT&T a lot of headaches.  Studies have shown that iPhone browse the web much more frequently, and for longer periods of time, compared to the users of other smartphones.  AT&T probably never expected that iPhone users would really push their “unlimited” plans, and bandwidth infrastructure, to the limit.  In the end, though, it’s a good problem to have.



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