Thursday, July 19, 2012

AT&T CEO on FaceTime Surcharge and Toll-free Data; Launched Shared Data plans

Anthony Ha reports to Techcrunch on AT&T's CEO, Randall Stephenson (pictured) response to the recent news about charging extra for Apple's FaceTime service over cellular and 1-800 Data service (here and here).

So - will AT&T follows the South Koeran MNOs ("Korea's Net No-Neutrality: MNOs may Surcharge for OTT VoIP and Messaging" - here) ?

According to the article, Stephenson "didn’t rule the charge out" for FaceTime, and said that "I’ve heard the same rumor .. for now, AT&T is focused on working with Apple to get the technology stabilized, so it’s too early to talk about pricing”.

A post by Dan Deeth to Sandvine's blog "FaceTime Facts and Figures" (here) compares Skype and FaceTime traffic (as seen over mobile and fixed networks in North America, yet FaceTime does not support 3G directly yet) and shows that "Skype is the undisputed video call leader, consuming over 50 times the bandwidth of FaceTime on fixed access networks"

As for 1-800 data ("where app developers pay for their users’ data usage") Stephenson "acknowledged that this is something people get “emotional” about .. but he compared it to toll-free, 1-800 phone numbers. Just as it helps Sears to pay the bill for calls from its customers, there are mobile companies that have “business models premised on traffic,” so why not pay to remove any barriers to that traffic? In fact, Stephenson claimed this is something that some of the content providers are asking AT&T for".

See "Will AT&T Charge For 3G FaceTime? CEO Randall Stephenson Says It’s ‘Too Early’ To Know" - here.

AT&T also launched shared data plans (1-20GB, here) - "With new AT&T Mobile Share plans, available in late August, new and existing customers can share a single bucket of data across smartphones, tablets, and other compatible devices, plus get unlimited talk and text. AT&T Mobile Share plans make it easy for customers to manage their data, voice minutes and texting, without needing to keep track of multiple plans".

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