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Will AT&Ts Microcell + New Pricing Mean Data Costs More?

Yesterday AT&T announced new data pricing for mobile phone users. Today, pal Dean Bubley brings up and asserts a very interesting question in his blog post channeling Peter Jarich's assertion that Femtocell traffic (which runs on other carrier's networks, like your cable operator) will remain in the count.

"The other detail missing from the press release is the apparent fact that femtocell traffic ("Microcell" in AT&T parlance) is *included* in counting towards the quota, but WiFi traffic is *excluded*."

So to translate...this means:

1) You pay AT&T for the traffic even if it really isn't going over their wireless network

2) You will pay for the the pleasure of having a Microcell in your own network, possibly carrying your neighbors traffic because of coverage gaps in the AT&T network

3) Users are better off using WiFi

Like Dean, I think AT&T will come up with some answer and "bundle" in a Microcell, thus getting the price point back to $30.00 by taking a razor blade strategy and giving away Microcells for free in exchange for a monthly contract that moves more data over the other guys networks. In my view the user is only at risk if the cable or other network operators start to imposed data caps, making the end user responsible for the data traffic, not the peered operator, such as AT&T


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What application or company is auditing consumer data usage on the phone? How do you know you are not being overcharged? I see massive lawsuits and a customer service nightmare for carriers and this being a short lived experiment.

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