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Thursday June 17, 2010 9:27 pm

ATT wants to charge you for letting them use your broadband connection that you already pay for


ATT 3G microcell ripoff

You know, back when announced that calls made through their 3G MicroCell device would count against your minutes, we were kind of appalled that they’d charge for a device that helps them appropriately cover their service area, and then charge you for using said device to make calls, when the device routes its data through your home broadband connection that you already pay for. We were appalled, but not surprised.

However, today we are absolutely shocked at the latest tidbit of 3G MicroCell related news, as it has now come out that AT&T is also going to charge data used through the device (again, data that is going through your home broadband connection that you already pay for,) against your AT&T wireless data plan. Think about that for a moment, and let it sink in. AT&T, because they seemingly can’t get their act together and provide proper coverage, needs to sell the 3G MicroCell as a means to make up for the difference. You pay $150 to buy the MicroCell, which improves the signal in your home because it uses your much faster broadband connection. That should be the end of the story—but it’s just the beginning.


Instead, now that AT&T is granted access to use your home Internet connection, they take it upon themselves to charge you for the data that goes through the MicroCell. Data that AT&T Wireless does not ever have to touch (it goes through a different part of the AT&T network.) Talking minutes are deducted (unless you pay a $20 per month unlimited MicroCell talk fee,) and even worse, data usage is deducted. Remember how AT&T got rid of unlimited plans going forward, and even pulled off a horrendous bait and switch against iPad 3G owners? This company just has no clue how to better serve its customers.

It’s completely asinine. Imagine buying an Xbox 360 and paying $50 per year for an Xbox Live account, only to have Microsoft then say that they will also charge you a fee to use your broadband connection. Or buying a wireless router from Cisco, and before you can actually use the router, you need to agree to pay Cisco a fee to actually get data through the device. It would be unacceptable, and the same should apply here.

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Comments:

I’m not so dissatisfied with AT&T’s decisions regarding charging for 3G use, for two reasons.

Number one is that AT&T pays a lot of money to rent this part of the spectrum for 3G data and the microcell is making use of the limited radio space to do the data transfers. It’s not a public piece of spectrum and as such AT&T has a right to charge for it. 

Number two is that if you have a home broadband connection, you are very likely to also have a Wi-fi network that your modern smartphone should be able to connect to and utilize data at much higher speeds than over 3G to the microcell, dramatically reducing if not eliminating the 3G usage at all, and mitigating if not eliminating the impact of this particular AT&T policy.


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