Less than a week ahead of the expected announcement of Apple's latest iPhone, AT&T is putting the clamp on bandwidth hogs.
The only network carrier for Apple's smartphone announced it will stop letting new customers sign up for its unlimited Internet data plan for smart phones and iPads. Users who hog the network's precious bandwidth will be charged more.
AT&T has been plagued with complaints about dropped calls and shoddy performance with Apple's high performing phone. Some have even hinted that the iPhone is the very problem bringing down the network.
The new plan signals the death of already weak rumors that Steve Jobs could announce a new carrier -- namely Verizon -- along with the new iPhone at a scheduled press conference in San Francisco next Monday.
AT&T is preparing for a gold rush on an iPhone rumored to have a front-facing camera and a fancy new pixel ratio. The cellular carrier is framing the new data plans -- $15 a month for 200 megabytes of data and $25 a month for two gigabytes of data per month -- as a chance for customers to "break free from the 'one size fits all' pricing model."
The company says the $15 plan will work for about 65 percent of its current customers, who are not required to switch over to the new rate if they like their all consuming price.
But how much data are we talking about here? A gigabyte is easily enough for hundreds of e-mails and basic web surfing but add streaming YouTube videos and rumored videoconferencing and the plan quickly becomes obsolete.
AT&T says the 200 megabytes offered under the $15 plan is enough for about 20 minutes of streaming video.
For its part, AT&T will warn users with either a text message or email when they reach both 65 percent of their monthly data allowance and 90 percent.
But will the plan actually quiet people from complaining about AT&T's network? You tell us.