Saturday, January 16, 2016

AT&T Caves In on Unlimited Data

AT&T is a huge, publicly traded corporation that has a legal and moral responsibility to both it's current and future customers, as well as a fiscal responsibility to its shareholders.  In many areas, like local landlines, it has a government mandated monopoly, which brings with it huge responsibilities to serve the public good.  In other areas, it is one of maybe two choices for residents to have access to important life saving communications.  Moreover, it owns large amounts of critical infrastructure, including public airwaves and internet backbones on public thoroughfares, that make it an important player in America's overall economic well being.  It should be at the vanguard of tech and finance.

So why does it keep acting like a crooked desert horse trader or a slimy used car salesman?  Why is it constantly scamming and scheming and welching and hustling America?  It should be the finest company in the USA.  There is nothing standing in it's way but it's own greed and laziness.  It continually acts as if it would rather steal a nickel than earn a dime.

AT&T's cellular service was build from a very minor player to a big number two player thanks to it's original monopoly on the iPhone.  Critical to its success with the iPhone was the fact that it offered unlimited data plans.  They were expensive, but people love unlimited data and are willing to pay for it.  Profits from AT&T's iPhone services gave it a lot of cash to buy up more and more local landlines and grow.

But rather than build on that great opportunity the iPhone and unlimited data gave them, about five years ago AT&T started saying (lying) that there was a huge crisis and Data Hogs made it impossible to continue to offer unlimited data plans.  They planted stories in the press about the crisis of data delivery, they connected it to some people downloading too much porn, and basically invented a fake problem.  Their motivation was simply to raise rates and shift customers onto a pay-per-bit plans so they could try to double dip and charge them for unused bits and all sorts of other tricks to run up their bills for services people didn't really use.  Anyhow, I covered all that bull a long time ago, as AT&T colluded with Verizon to eliminate unlimited data plans.  Of course, part of the plan was to buy up T-Mobile and Sprint (who still offer unlimited data) and make sure Americans had no choice.  But that part of the scheme didn't work out.

Still AT&T stuck to it's guns for years, refusing to offer unlimited data to new customers, claiming it wasn't feasible.  Meanwhile, they did every trick in the book to try to force customers that had grandfathered unlimited data plans into lousy pay-per-bit plans.  They throttled them, they lied to them, they tried to trick them, and in the process drove many to T-Mobile and Sprint.  But in some areas, Sprint and T-Mobile don't work well, so AT&T was taking advantage of its monopoly control to force customers into pay-per-bit  plans they didn't want.

Then, not too long ago, AT&T bought up Direct TV (using profits that should have been invested in improving infrastructure).  The jokers running AT&T thought it was a brilliant idea to buy up a TV service, just before everyone in America started cord cutting.  So… guess what?  The Direct TV thing isn't going so hot.  For some reason, customers who are already being overcharged by AT&T for their annoying pay-per-bit cellular service, aren't so hot about also overpaying for fading TV channels.

So what can AT&T offer to customers to get them to pay for both their phone and TV services?  What is it that American customers really, really want bad enough to hold their noses and sign up for AT&T's marginal Direct TV service>

You guessed it… unlimited data.  So now, for a limited time, AT&T is offering unlimited data plans, proving it was lying when it said was impossible to offer them for the last five years.  Here's the link:

AT&T Caves In on Unlimited Data

Of course, they are hinting that it's only being offered for a limited time.  So BUY, BUY, BUY!

Much as I like being proven right, and being able to say I told you so, AT&T, please, I'm begging you.  Stop with all the schemes.  Just offer customers reasonable rates for reasonable services and keep improving you service.  You're too big and important a company to keep playing all these silly games.  People shouldn't have to buy crappy TV services to get unlimited data.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.