de la Vega did use most of his time, after announcing VoIP over 3G for iPhone, to rail against the FCC's net neutrality push. He claimed a small percentage of heavy data users (i.e. iPhone users) were hogging most of the limited data resources, and "crowding" out regular (i.e. non-iPhone users). He also stated that AT&T would need to "manage" the network so that the few couldn't crowd out the many.
This is what makes PC World think:
In the face of exploding data service demand and scarce wireless spectrum, does AT&T intend to quietly begin rationing the data usage of bandwidth hogs like the iPhone? Will AT&T begin to quietly “manage” the duration and speed of my 3G connection based on how much data I’ve used in a given day, or on the type of content or services I’m using the bandwidth to access?
Aside from "AT&T should spend some of their billions making a better network and getting 4G here faster", it's hard to argue that the iPhone hits the network like a freight train, and when you multiply that by tens of millions of users, it's a huge load (something RIM emphasizes to carriers when pitching their highly compressed, proxied BlackBerrys as "better network citizens").
That's an immediate problem for the iPhone on AT&T, but arguably if another device with a great internet experience ever succeeds enough to reach those numbers on a single network -- Android or webOS for example -- it will become an everyone problem everywhere.
Dieter Bohn, editor-in-chief of our Smartphone Expert network was live at AT&T's keynote yesterday, but his takeaway was a little different:
It's pretty clear from [de la Vega's] complaints about the top percentage that he would want tiered data prices instead of unlimited for everybody. That seems more likely what was meant by 'managing.' I think that rather than rationing, ATT would just like to charge that top percentage more.
What do you think? Do you want AT&T "managing" your iPhone usage? Does it sound fair to charge heavy users more for that heavy use?