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6/22/2010
00:07 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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AT&T To Charge For Non-AT&T Bandwidth

Unlimited data plans for mobile devices is quickly going away and AT&T is leading the pack. For those of you that have a femtocell because AT&T coverage in your house is sub-par, the bandwidth you use on that may also count against your monthly data allotment, even though you aren't using AT&T's wireless network.

Unlimited data plans for mobile devices is quickly going away and AT&T is leading the pack. For those of you that have a femtocell because AT&T coverage in your house is sub-par, the bandwidth you use on that may also count against your monthly data allotment, even though you aren't using AT&T's wireless network.I get the need to back off of unlimited data plans. For three years AT&T has shown its network cannot handle the large amounts of data that iPhone users have been consuming. They recently announced new data plans that top out at $25 for 2GB of data. Start learning how to monitor your data usage now.

If your coverage in your home is weak though, you can buy a femtocell from AT&T, which they call a 3G MicroCell. You should now have 5 bars of 3G and voice coverage. For the privilege of getting good coverage from your carrier, you will need to pay about $150 to buy the device so AT&T doesn't have to pay for infrastructure upgrades in your area. You plug the femtocell into your home network and when you are home, all of the voice and data for your phone are handled by your internet provider as part of their monthly connection fee. No data flows over AT&T's wireless network.

Now, to add insult to injury, Boy Genius Report has info that AT&T will count data you use this way against your monthly limits.

Let me recap this to make sure all is clear. You have poor service from AT&T in your home, so you pay AT&T $150 to fix this problem by using your internet connection to make up for the wireless carrier's coverage deficiency. AT&T saves money by not having to build towers closer to your home, or the homes of millions of people in the same position. On top of that, AT&T will charge you for the data not flowing over their wireless network.

This is like a win-win-win for AT&T. The femtocell is a magic money machine that simultaneously raises revenue for the carrier while it is also cutting costs. You, however, get to pay twice for the bandwidth you use, once to your ISP, and then again to AT&T, and of course, you get to pay an up front fee of $150 to do so.

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