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Cellphones

AT&T Moves Closer To Usage-Based Fees For Data 441

CWmike writes "AT&T has moved closer to charging special usage fees to heavy data users, including those with iPhones and other smartphones. Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, came close on Wednesday to warning about some kind of use-based pricing while speaking at a UBS conference. 'The first thing we need to do is educate customers about what represents a megabyte of data and...we're improving systems to give them real-time information about their data usage,' he said. 'Longer term, there's got to be some sort of pricing scheme that addresses the [heavy] users.' AT&T has found that only 3% of its smartphone users — primarily iPhone owners — are responsible for 40% of total data usage, largely for video and audio, de la Vega said. Educating that group about how much they are using could change that, as AT&T has found by informing wired Internet customers of such patterns. De la Vega's comments on data use were previewed in a keynote he gave in October at the CTIA, but he went beyond those comments on Wednesday: 'We are going to make sure incentives are in place to reduce or modify [data]uses so they don't crowd out others in the same cell sites.' Focus groups have been formed at AT&T to figure out how to proceed."

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