We’re The Phone Company… We Don’t Care.. We Don’t Have To

On April 3, 2009

What’s old is new again— remember that Lily Tomlin SNL skit? No? Well here it is then…



And here it is now…

According to TUAW

AT&T has quietly changed their TOS (terms of service; it looks like the revision is targeted directly at the Sling software that is due out for the iPhone, and also other Sling apps that are currently running on other mobile phones on the AT&T Network.

The ATT document in question reads as follows–

This means, by way of example only, that checking email, surfing the Internet, downloading legally acquired songs, and/or visiting corporate intranets is permitted, but downloading movies using P2P file sharing services, customer initiated redirection of television or other video or audio signals via any technology from a fixed location to a mobile device, web broadcasting, and/or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition devices is prohibited.

On the 5GB DataConnect Plan, once you exceed your 5GB allowance you will be automatically charged $0.00048 per Kb for any data used. On the 200MB Data Connect Plan, once you exceed your 200MB allowance, you will be automatically charged $10 for an additional 100MB. Unused data from either your initial allowance or any overage allowance (e.g., the 100MB) will not be carried over to the next billing period; all data allowances must be used in the billing period in which the allowance is provided. On other plans with a monthly megabyte or gigabyte allowance, once you exceed your allowance you will be automatically charged overage as specified in the applicable rate plan information.

Here’s what I read- Dear iPhone user, Here at ATT we want to rope you into using our service and relying more and more on on-the-go data access. We want it to become a huge part of the way you live. Then, after you really get used to it, after we hook you, after you are ADDICTED we’re going to find way to make it impossible for you to do so without throwing ever-increasing amounts of money at us.


Sling has taken a beating by using the iPhone app to manufacture the obscellence of older units even though they work just fine in early versions of the app and force iPhone user to upgrade. Now ATT takes a similar path to gouge consumers. Although I am a devoted Apple-user I have done my share of Apple bashing here on WOiP. Now let me hold them out as THE MODEL!

When Version 2.0 of the iPhone OS came out they ensured that the first generation iPhone would work just fine minus the missing hardware elements like GPS. Since then they have offered numerous upgrades that work with all iPhones and Touchs. From what I can tell the same will be the case with version 3.0 of the OS. Sure you will need to pay a small fee to upgrade an iPod Touch, but short of that Apple has done everything possible to ADD VALUE to our devices. That makes me even MORE inclined to use their products and buy new ones when they come out and reinforces my comitment to being their customer LONG TERM. 

Sling and ATT could take a lesson from Apple’s playbook here.