AT&T exec links data load to fees

Dec. 10, 2009 at 10:38 AM
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DALLAS, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A top executive at U.S. phone giant AT&T said wireless customers may need to pay rates that vary depending on how much data they demand from the system.

Referring to AT&T's 81.6 million wireless customers, Ralph de la Vega, chief executive of mobility and consumer markets, said "about 3 percent of smart phone customers are driving about 40 percent of the wireless traffic," The Dallas Morning News Online reported Thursday.

"If 3 (percent) are costing 40 percent, then we're going to focus on making sure we give incentives to that small percentage to either reduce or modify their usage so they don't crowd out the other customers," he said at an analyst conference in New York.

De la Vega said video and audio "that plays around the clock" was putting extensive demands on the service. He said heavy use customers needed to "change their pattern or there will be other things they have to do to reduce their usage."

"This is meant not to punish the 3 percent, but to protect the 97 percent until more bandwidth can be brought to bear," industry analyst Jeff Kagan said.

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