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Posts Tagged ‘Network Bandwidth’

Throttling unlimited data plans is pointless, study finds

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

AT&T’s questionable policy with regard to unlimited smartphone data plan holders recently found its way back into the limelight following a new wave of subscriber complaints. The nation’s No.2 carrier no longer offers an unlimited data plan to smartphone users, though many subscribers on its network still have grandfathered plans that provide an unlimited amount of smartphone data each month. Subscribers who approach the top 5% of unlimited data users in a single billing period see their data speeds throttled, however, and countless users have found that AT&T is now beginning to throttle users after less than 2GB of data usage in a billing period. According to a new study, subscribers are right to be furious at AT&T because throttling does nothing to alleviate network bandwidth issues. Read on for more.

Wireless bill analysis firm Validas extracted data from more than 55,000 cell phone bills belonging to AT&T and Verizon Wireless subscribers from 2011, and the firm sought to determine whether or not data throttling is necessary. According to Validas’s findings, throttling may indeed simply be a ploy to push unlimited users into newer tiered plans.

“When we look at the top 5% of data users, there is virtually no difference in data consumption between those on unlimited and those on tiered plans—and yet the unlimited consumers are the ones at risk of getting their service turned off,” Validas wrote in its report. “So it’s curious that anyone would think the throttling here represents a serious effort at alleviating network bandwidth issues. After all, Sprint does seemingly fine maintaining non-throttled unlimited data for its customers.”

Verizon Wireless subscribers on unlimited smartphone data plans actually used less data on average than those with tiered plans according to Validas’s data. The opposite was the case at AT&T, however the difference was 0.78GB on average and median data usage varied by 0.53GB.

AT&T is not the only wireless carrier in the U.S. that throttles smartphone data speeds for unlimited data plan holders, of course. Verizon throttles the top 5% of unlimited data users and T-Mobile throttles its smartphone subscribers after 5GB of data usage in a single billing period. AT&T has drawn the most attention of late because it has been throttling unlimited data plan holders after less than 2GB of usage in many cases. AT&T offers a 3GB tiered plan for the same $30 per month that unlimited plan holders pay for 2GB of full-speed data or less, however the tiered plan offers 3GB of full-speed data.

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Microsoft-led consortium to trial super WiFi network across the pond

Monday, June 27th, 2011

British mobile bandwidth hogs won’t have to curb their data enthusiasm anytime soon if a scheduled ‘super WiFi‘ trial minds it manners. Led by Microsoft and backed by the UK’s biggest TV providers, this roided-up wireless network surfs along the spare 150MHz spectrum that terrestrial television avoids. Christened the ‘white spaces,’ networks abroad (and in the US) maintain these unused frequencies to prevent signal interference, but with MS’ Dan Reed calling spectrum “…a finite natural resource,” operators don’t have much else to mine. Set for testing in Cambridge — chosen for its dense cluster of buildings old and new — this repurposed TV signal walks through walls its weaker mobile brethren smack into (at up to 16Mbps, no less!). With a similar British Telecom rollout already underway in Scotland, we’d say the tech has an imminent Anglo-future — pity the US can’t seem to unravel the red tape fast enough for a homegrown build-out.

[Image courtesy ZDNet UK]

Microsoft-led consortium to trial super WiFi network across the pond originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 27 Jun 2011 13:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sling Media: We didn’t work with AT&T

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Sling Player on BlackBerry Bold

Yesterday, we told you about an official AT&T press release that boasted of a partnership between AT&T and Sling Media, maker of the popular streaming television appliance Slingbox. In the press release AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said, “Just as we’ve worked with Sling Media in this instance, we look forward to collaborating with other developers so that mobile customers can access a wider, more bandwidth-sensitive, and powerful range of applications in the future.” AT&T’s CEO was referring to a compromise reached over the Slingbox Mobile media player that was banned from AT&T’s network due to bandwidth concerns. In a subsequent interview de la Vega continued, “They [Sling Media] made important changes to more efficiently use 3G network bandwidth and conserve wireless spectrum so that we were able to support the app on our 3G mobile broadband network.” So, what’s the problem? When Ars Technica caught up with Sling Media’s John Santoro, he had this to say: “We didn’t change anything, AT&T never discussed any specific requirements with us.” Santoro went onto explain that the code to optimize the Slingbox Mobile’s video stream, based on connection quality and network traffic, has remained unchanged since Slingplayer Mobile was first launched. A little egg in the face for AT&T, but hey, we’re getting Slingplayer Mobile, and in the words of Sling Media, “whatever the reason, we’re just glad AT&T has approved it.”

UPDATE: It seems that SlingMedia did, in fact, work with AT&T on getting this approved after all. Apparently while no code changes to the streaming portion of the application was changed due to AT&T’s requests, Sling did update it during continued development. AT&T later approved the application on their network for usage on iPhone devices. 


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AT&T finally approves a 3G-compatible version of SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

slingplayer-mobile-for-iphone-low-resTen months after we broke the news on the WiFi-only SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone, it looks like AT&T and Sling have finally come to terms on a 3G version of the video streaming product. During these intervening months, SlingMedia has developed a 3G optimized version (read: it won’t kill AT&T’s network) of SlingPlayer Mobile that AT&T has been testing since mid-December. Sling’s well-written code coupled with AT&T loosening grip on the application requirements for its 3G network has lead to success as AT&T announced today that it has given the rubber stamp of approval to Sling’s 3G mobile app. No word on when this 3G version will hit the App store but we are reaching out to Sling to see if we can get a ballpark date. We’ve been using a 3G-enabled SlingPlayer iPhone application for a while, and we’re not sure how we’d live without it, so this is really, really, exciting. Hit the jump for the full press release.

AT&T and Sling Media Collaborate on SlingPlayer Mobile app for 3G Mobile Broadband Network

SlingPlayer Mobile app optimized to conserve wireless spectrum

DALLAS, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — AT&T* today announced that its 3G mobile broadband network will support Sling Media, Inc.’s SlingPlayer Mobile™ app.

Sling Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (Nasdaq: SATS), originally developed its wireless app to make efficient use of 3G network bandwidth – and to conserve the finite wireless spectrum available to the wireless industry. Since mid December 2009, AT&T has been testing the app and has recently notified Sling Media — as well as Apple – that the optimized app can run on its 3G network.  The SlingPlayer Mobile app already is available for use today on AT&T’s Wi-Fi network, the nation’s largest with more than 20,000 hotspots.

“Just as we’ve worked with Sling Media in this instance, we look forward to collaborating with other developers so that mobile customers can access a wider, more bandwidth-sensitive, and powerful range of applications in the future,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Collaboration with developers like Sling Media ensures that all apps are optimized for our 3G network to conserve wireless spectrum and reduce the risk that an app will cause such extreme levels of congestion that they disrupt the experience of other wireless customers. Our focus continues to be on delivering the nation’s most advanced mobile broadband experience and giving our customers the widest possible array of mobile applications.”

“We’re delighted with AT&T’s decision to approve the SlingPlayer Mobile app on their 3G network,” said John Gilmore, senior vice president and general manager at Sling Media.  “SlingPlayer Mobile on AT&T’s 3G network gives customers the best experience possible for watching their home TV while on the go.”

AT&T will provide developers with wireless network optimization requirements for video and other applications by the end of the first quarter via its AT&T Developers Program website (

AT&T’s announcement today further demonstrates its commitment to fostering the development of a wide range of mobile applications for smartphones, quick-messaging devices and other mobile devices.  In January, AT&T hosted its fourth annual Developers Summit, where it announced a range of initiatives to support app development.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

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