10 December 2009

AT&T to Urge Customers to Use Less Wireless Data

AT&T is considering ways to encourage customers to use less wireless data as its network struggles to keep up with demand, a company executive said Wednesday.

“What we are seeing in the U.S. today in terms of smartphone penetration, 3G data, nobody else is seeing in the rest of the planet,” Ralph de la Vega, president and chief executive for mobility and consumer markets at AT&T, told analysts at a conference in New York. “The amount of growth and data that we are seeing in wireless data is unprecedented.”

The company has been criticized by owners of the phone for delayed text and voice messages, sluggish download speeds and other network problems.

Mr. de la Vega cited the heaviest data users, saying that 40 percent of AT&T’s data traffic came from just 3 percent of its smartphone customers.

But he emphasized that the company would first focus on educating consumers about their data consumption in the hope that doing so would encourage them to cut back, even though they are paying for unlimited data use.

“We’re going to try to focus on making sure we give incentives to those small percentages to either reduce or modify their usage, so they don’t crowd out the customers on those same cell sites,” he said.

That iPhone sure is slick. It's too bad the network is garbage. I was holding out for a Verizon iPhone but with the Droid commercials trashing the iPhone, I doubt that's in the works.

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