This may shock you, but giving large companies special tax deals doesn't magically lead to full employment and economic paradise. The Wall Street Journal reports that both AT&T and Verizon started receiving huge tax breaks starting in 2008 as part of a stimulus package and since then have actually reduced their combined employee counts by around 100,000 people.
While AT&T' introduction of Voice over LTE in May was good news, you couldn't exactly call it a massive launch when just four states got those clearer phone calls. The situation is much better as 2014 draws to a close, though. The carrier has switched on VoLTE (aka HD Voice) in both the District of Columbia as well as certain areas in 13 other states, ranging from Washington to Texas. The company isn't saying just which cities are getting the improved service, but it's a big step forward for a fledgling technology -- if you subscribe to AT&T, you're now that much more likely to have a pristine-sounding conversation. Now if only American providers could get their LTE calls crossing networks.
[Image credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew]
When AT&T throttles the data speeds of its customers who have "unlimited" data plans, it really means business. Ars Technica reports that AT&T "unlimited" data customers can't stop AT&T from throttling them even if they turn off their phones' LTE radios and try to get their data solely from the carrier's HSPA+ network.
Competition is a glorious thing for consumers, even though wireless carriers would obviously prefer that you had fewer choices so they wouldn't have to work so hard to keep your business. Barron's points out that both AT&T and Verizon have cited increased competition as having an impact on their quarterly churn rates and earnings per share, respectively.
It's no secret that AT&T throttles its users unlimited data connections. The company has been rather open about the policy. However, the carrier insisted that the practice is used to reign in the biggest bandwidth consumers, only necessary to keep network congestion at a minimum. Well, that doesn't seem to be the case. Big Blue's info page for "customers with legacy unlimited data plans" explains that when folks hit the 5GB threshold, they're gonna experience reduced speeds until the billing cycle is up. The reduction to compensate for congestion bit only applies to phones with unlimited data between the 3GB and 5GB mark. Of course, the FCC claims AT&T hasn't been clear about such practices, including just how slow the connection can get, despite the carrier claiming throttled customers get a text message when speeds are cut. In fact, an Ars Technica report found those figures to dip to half a megabit per second. At any rate, if you're a big data user, you can expect slower speeds above 5GB, even when the network's traffic is manageable.
[Photo credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
Via: Ars Technica
AT&T has been taking heat for throttling the data speeds of some users who supposedly have grandfathered "unlimited" data plans. Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin has found that while the carrier has stopped throttling some unlimited customers, "the company’s older, more draconian throttling policy still applies to customers with unlimited LTE data." What's more, AT&T says that it will change this policy for all of its customers some time in 2015, although it won't give us a timeframe of exactly when we can expect it to happen.
When you're getting beaten down by your larger and smaller rivals, it's time for desperate measures. And there's certainly a hint of that with Sprint's latest offer for AT&T and Verizon customers: Switch over to Sprint starting on December 5 and your cellphone bill will get cut in half. The carrier will also cover early termination fees at up to $350 per line (something it started doing earlier this year). This isn't just a temporary discount -- Sprint says you'll keep the lower price as long as you stick with your plan. But of course, there's a bit of a catch. You'll have to lease your new Sprint phone or buy it outright, you won't be able to take advantage of contracted pricing. You also better make sure you love your plan, as any future upgrades will nuke the discount. You can count this generous offer as yet another "bold action" by Sprint's new CEO Marcelo Claure, who laid off 2,000 employees last month in an attempt to revitalize the ailing carrier.