Anthony Ha relaying AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson on stage at Fortune Brainstorm today talking about this nonsense:
“I’ve heard the same rumor,” he said, insisting that for now, AT&T is focused on working with Apple to get the technology stabilized, so “it’s too early to talk about pricing.”
Too early? It’s at most three months before this is a reality, as that’s when iOS 6 will likely be available.
What he’s really saying is this: we’re trying as hard as possible to figure out a way to fuck our customers over as smoothly as possible.
The correct answer would be: the feature uses data. If you’re already paying for data, you’re paying for the feature.
At this point I am waiting for Apple to throw AT&T under the bus and stand up for its customers.
Then again I am also waiting on proper legislation from Congress (just not *this* Congress) to properly regulate the mobile data space and end this “well this string of 1s and 0s is more lucrative, so we’ll charge more for it” ala SMS, and apparently FaceTime.
Data is Data is Data. Period. At some point even phone service will fall into the data pipe, just like video service is starting to fall into the data pipe, to the detriment of cable companies, but this is the way of the world.
It can’t happen soon enough, but it will never happen until we see one inter-operative network standard that we can buy a phone and pick (month to month even) the provider who can deliver the best service for the money.
Right now, the cellular market is artificial. There is no choice, no major repercussions for AT&T or Verizon being complete asswads on any given point, and no real alternative. Between long contracts, phone number lock-in, and the fact that the only two carriers with what can be generously called comprehensive national networks are both so horrendously fucking similar, in their treatment of customers, pricing, and any other meaningful measure of a company’s worth, we don’t have a “free market” for cellular data (or phone) service and more than we have a free market for physical service coming to our houses.