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AT&T’s claims that >95% of data users consumer less than 200MB/month is bunk…

On July 27th, 2010 at 7:12 am
by Mike

A few weeks back, AT&T made the monumental decision to completely cut unlimited falsely advertised, capped “unlimited” plans. At the time, they said it would benefit all of their consumers. Specifically, AT&T claimed that upwards of 95% of their iPhone user base never went above 200MB/month. In effect, all of those sub-200MB iPhone users saw their data plan bill halved. Certainly a good thing, and one that I do commend AT&T on. But, for heavier users (and come on, 200MB is nothing) their bills while dropping a solid $5, become increasingly more expensive at far lower data points under the new tiered plan. What am I getting at?

Today I stumbled upon an article over at Cellular-News which highlights an ongoing study by “Validas”. The study is focused on average data usage per month, and directly compares Verizon Wireless alongside AT&T. In one light, the findings aren’t surprising — essentially AT&T lied…again. However, far more interesting is that the study shows the new tiered plans were created in such a way to force even light users to upgrade to the heavy duty 2GB data plan. We’re essentially destined to lose…

What’s most revealing about the whole thing however is Validas’ findings that while Verizon’s data-consuming user base sits at roughly 54% using less than 200MB/month, AT&T actually has a lower percentage of “lite” users at ~%52 — a far, far cry from the claimed 95%+ that was quoted back when AT&T announced their tiered plans.

It’s important to understand that while very eye opening, these numbers aren’t quite “concrete”, and based off of a rather small 20,000 person pool of data. Nevertheless, even giving the 52% AT&T figure a 10-15% margin of error results in a figure that is still far lower than AT&T’s claims. All it does is show consumers that AT&T did not change their plans with their customers’ best interests in mind. It was for their profits and profits alone.

A far more reasonable (and pro-consumer) option would have been a 500MB and 3-4GB tier. But a 500MB low-end tier would have netted a far greater percentage of AT&T’s network — according to the Validas study, ~85-90%. (**Citing the Validas study, it’s reported that only 5-10% of AT&T users consume between 500MB and 1GB/month.) With that much of AT&T’s network spending 1/2 of what they used to, AT&T’s pockets would surely dry up as the data users continue their relentless assault on the fledging carrier’s network.

Is anyone surprised by this? I doubted AT&T’s lite user base claims since the day they uttered the >95% figure. Now that independent studies are finally sharing their collected information, we the consumer can finally see how screwed over we got, and how screwed over we’ll continue to get as more carriers head down the slippery slope of capped and tiered data plans.


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2 ResponsesLeave a comment
  • Security4all
    July 27, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Reader: AT&T’s claims that >95% of data users consumer less than 200MB/month is bunk…: A few weeks back, AT&T made…

  • Mike
    July 27, 2010 at 11:14 am

    RT @Gadgetsteria: AT&T's claims that >95% of data users consumer less than 200MB/month is bunk…

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