AT&T’s Unlimited Customers Have More Reason To Choose VoIP

There are a number of very smart business reasons why you should consider transitioning from a legacy telecom company like AT&T to a VoIP telephone phone service like Telzio in general, but — if you are still pondering whether or not to make the move — AT&T this past month, just provide you a couple more.

Is your Unlimited Plan really Unlimited?

Back in the government’s crosshairs once again, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the filing of a recent lawsuit alleging that AT&T misled its mobile customers with “unlimited” data plans, deliberately slowing their connection speeds in a practice known as ‘throttling.”

The FTC taking a hard line is accusing AT&T of failing to “adequately disclose” when their ‘unlimited’customers had reached a certain data limit in their billing cycle, and then intentionally reducing their connection speeds by as much as 90 percent. In so doing, customers began noticing that their web  browsing, GPS navigation and streaming video became “difficult or nearly impossible to use.”

These were not isolated instances — as at least 3.5 million unique customers said they were affected by the throttling tactic.

AT&T called the allegations “baseless” and said it has been “completely transparent with customers since the very beginning.” The telecom pointed to a 2011 press release announcing the throttling policy, and said it had notified roughly 3% of its customers who were directly affected, via text message.

It’s All in the Fine Print

However by pointing to an old press release, it sounds like AT&T is limiting (pun intended) the basis for their argument. Similarly to burying a policy like throttling in the fine print of the company’s terms and conditions, critics feel that instead of transparency, in actuality they simply are covering up their missteps.

In interviewing Chief Executive Officer Diana Chu at Telzio today regarding this issue, she noted that her company and their VoIP service differ from these type of practices in that they “don’t have contracts with hidden language – what you see is what you get.”

In fact “that’s why we recently made this video to explain why we don’t offer unlimited plans,” added Chu.

According to the Better Business Bureau. . .

Tom Stephens from the Better Business Bureau also thinks AT&T should have done more. “If you’re going to throttle (and) if you’re going to change the terms, you need to tell people up front: ‘When you reach X number of gigs, we’re going to slow it down because that’s all we can afford to give you at this price,'” asserts Stephens.

Earlier this year, when the regulators at the Federal Communications Commission criticized a similar throttling plan by Verizon, the telecom was quick to abandon the practice.

Milk & Supercookies

If the throttling issue wasn’t one you could easily wash down with some milk and cookies, there’s another dastardly deed under foot. If you can believe it (and why shouldn’t you, based on the skullduggery just mentioned), AT&T is quietly tracking the Internet activity of more than 100 million mobile customers with “supercookies.”

It’s been reported that this technology has allowed AT&T to monitor which sites their customers visit, while easily cataloging their tastes, preferences and interests. Consumers cannot erase these supercookies or even work around them by changing their browser settings — such as the the “private” or “incognito” modes that are popular among users wary of corporate or government surveillance.

Critics within advocacy groups are finding ways to fight back, alerting the public that this type of tracking could expose a user’s Internet behavior to hackers and surveillance teams.

One civil liberties group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation have reached out to the Federal Communications Commission once again, urging them to use their power to block this type of activity.

All Cookies are not Alike. . .

The standard cookie that a VoIP service’s uses differs markedly from a supercookie. They do not present a threat for viruses or malware. As a short text file, it’s purpose is mainly to allow users to navigate a website quicker and more conveniently.

An acceptable example of a cookie on your mobile phone is the ability to tag data such as your geographic location. Cookies can also analyze Web traffic, customize banner ads and store items in one’s shopping cart.

As far as the ‘Remember Me’ functionality, Telzio’s founder and chief technology officer Peter R. Schrøder notes that his VoIP service uses cookies “to allow users to stay signed in over longer periods of time than the standard 20 minutes (that a user session usually lasts on a server), in addition to the standard social networks and Google Analytics plugins utilized for analytical purposes.”

To VoIP or Not To VoIP?
So if you were still sitting on the fence, hopefully today’s post has provided you with yet two more solidreasons why you might want to chuck that old landline and that legacy telecom service it’s attached to, in favor of a VoIP service for your business.

If you’re interested in reviewing your options, feel free to check out Telzio’s demos – and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to give them a call to take a test run today.

Ron is part of the marketing team at Telzio, covering everything from tips and tech for growing businesses to customer success stories for the Telzio blog.