So, with a Sprint iPhone almost surely on the way, the dunderheads running AT&T decided to double down on stupidity. In a pre-"we lost out exclusivity on the iPhone" emotional outburst, they decided to finally enact customer despised tiered pricing for cell phone data. Here's a few major news reports (all with helpful AT&T spin).
AT&T execs have been saying for some time that tiered pricing was inevitable despite any logical reason for it. My imaginary source at Apple tells me that Apple's original exclusive deal with AT&T required fixed pricing but with the Sprint iPhone (supposedly) on the way, AT&T is free to go off on a drunken binge and beat on its best customers.
All of this press, filled with quotes from paid AT&T "industry analysts" is about selling an unpopular war. A war by AT&T against the American public. For this to work, the other telecoms will have to get on board and collude with AT&T on a pricing scheme that makes no sense. I don't think it's going to work, but the short term greed and stupidity of the people running AT&T means they had to try it. They just had too much invested in their own lies about why this is such a good idea. Like any unpopular war, AT&T had spent years dreaming about it, preparing for it, and even though now is probably the worst time for it, they push ahead despite the suffering it will cause all involved.
The final insult in all this is that they finally gave iPhone customers tethering for $20 (something many companies offer for free). It's clear now the lies to iPhone customers about tethering "coming soon" for two years were all about stalling until AT&T could roll out tiered pricing. If AT&T had simply offered iPhone tethering for $20 two years ago, everyone would have happily accepted it and AT&T would have made a good profit on it. But the best interests of it's customers are AT&T's last consideration. How to rip off as much money as possible is foremost in it's mind. And if that means denying customers needed services until AT&T figures out how to charge them excessively, then so be it. It's almost as if AT&T can't stand making an honest buck, they have to figure out how to fuck their customers or they aren't happy.
Here's a more accurate take on what tiered pricing is really all about: