AT&T has revealed a new feature for 2017 with its marketing team seemingly having great fun rebranding ‘Data Throttling’ to ‘Stream Saver’.
The new feature, which will begin in early 2017, has been billed as a ‘free and convenient, data-saving feature’ allowing customers to gain more from their data allowances. Video will be downgraded to standard definition (480p) at some point, even if user’s data plans are unlimited, because like CO2 emissions, customers would be outraged if they were using more data than absolutely necessary.
And how much will AT&T charge to help customers continue on their quest to become more efficient and watch lower-quality video, irrelevant as to whether it will save them money or not? Why its free of course! Those guys! I mean, your correspondent wishes he could have an AT&T contract in the UK because it sounds like a brilliant deal. You pay for unlimited data and you get the option to limit it… free of charge! That’s like nothing ever heard before!
“We know our customers love to be entertained while mobile, and Stream Saver lets them enjoy more of what they love, whether it’s video or something else,” said David Christopher, CMO, AT&T Entertainment Group. “And, they are in control – it’s their choice on how to use this innovative feature.”
The feature will be the default setting for every contract, including unlimited data plans, and AT&T will notify customers once Stream Saver has been activated and provide instructions for turning it off and back on. How, when and what content will be throttled is not entirely clear, though Telecoms.com suspects DirecTV Now will continue to stream at high definition, is marching towards zero-rating for the offering.
AT&T has been under the watchful eye of the FCC in recent months because of data policies, mainly surrounding net neutrality. Considering preference has been shown to its own DirecTV Now proposition in recent weeks, AT&T’s efforts to throttle data is not going to see it make many friends in the offices of the FCC.
While AT&T is not the only one in the industry to throttle data usage, the efforts to polish the turd, presenting it as a value add to the consumer, certainly takes it up a level. T-Mobile and Sprint are two other brands which do offer unlimited data plans, however they do reserve the right to throttle data usage for the consumer. This is generally for customers who have particularly high data usage tendencies.
Data throttling is not new, and it won’t go away, but someone buy a drink for the AT&T marketing department. The team really has gone above and beyond to dupe the customer here.