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RAIN 6/2: AT&T to eliminate unlimited data plans

Posted on: 06/02/2010

LIMITS COULD MAKE USERS MORE WARY OF USING NET RADIO APPS

AT&T has announced it will soon eliminate their unlimited data plan for new wireless customers and introduce caps on usage — but with lower prices. AT&T currently offers an unlimited $30 per month data plan for mobile devices (including the iPhone). But starting June 7, reports The Wall Street Journal (here), AT&T will offer two plans: a 200MB per month plan at $15 and a 2GB per month plan for $25. Current customers can reportedly keep their $30 unlimited plan as long as they like.

AT&T will charge for data over those caps in bundles rather than per kilobytes, as other carriers do. So then, if you have the $15 plan for 200MB and go over the limit, you buy another 200MB that month for $15 ($30 total for 400MB). On the $25 plan for 2GB, you buy an additional 1GB for $10 if you go over ($35 for 3GB). A&T will also let customers easily switch between the two plans. The company also announced that iPhone users will (finally) be able to share their data connection with other devices (called “tethering”) for $20 a month when the new OS 4 is released.

While AT&T says 98% of its customers use less than 2GB of data per month, the change could affect heavy data users and make consumers more wary of using data-hungry services — like Internet radio. As AT&T is currently the sole carrier of iPhone and iPad devices — which have been extremely important for the mobile growth of Internet radio — this could have a noticeable effect. Furthermore, industry analysts believe this sort of change is coming to other mobile providers as well — indeed, the U.S. is unique in offering unlimited data packages. Just how much data does Net radio use? Well, Net radio was my primary use of data on my Sprint Palm Pre last month and I exceeded 200MB. That’s not too bad, though it puts me above AT&T’s cheaper data plan. But just the fact that limits exist may be enough to make users think twice about launching Internet radio applications. — MS

RADIO INK’S TECH SUMMIT STARTS TODAY

Radio Ink’s RadioTech Summit begins today at the Microsoft Conference Center in Mountain View, CA. Skip Pizzi, technology editor of Radio Ink, promises the summit “will not be your typical ho-hum technical conference.” Among the presenters set to appear at the summit are SomaFM’s Rusty Hodge, Paul Brenner of Emmis Communications, radio expert James Cridland, Bill Moore of RadioTime, Jake Sigal of Livio and executives from Jelli, RadioDNS, Triton Digital, ESPN and more. Find out more about the summit here.

Radio Ink’s RadioTech Summit is followed by Convergence, which begins tomorrow. Former Apple exec and social media expert Guy Kawasaki will speak, as will Mark Ramsey, Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell and social media expert Jeffrey Eisenberg. On Friday, AccuRadio CEO (and RAIN publisher) Kurt Hanson will deliver his “State of the Industry Address,” then will moderate a panel about online radio in which AccuRadio COO John Gehron will appear. Find out more about Radio Ink Convergence here.

NIELSEN: PANDORA AMONG TOP 5 SMARTPHONE APPS

Nielsen has found that, across smartphone operating systems, Pandora is among the top 5 apps. Among the 4,200 surveyed by Nielsen, 27% of iPhone users and 26% of Android users had downloaded Pandora in the past 30 days.

Overall, 46% of smartphone users downloaded a music application in the past 30 days. Interestingly, Nielsen found that Pandora and Sirius XM’s app appealed more to men, while Yahoo’s Music app was evenly split gender-wise.

This yet again confirms the popularity of Pandora and streaming radio on smartphones. Add to that the fact that 21% of cellphone owners use a smartphone (according to Nielsen), and that’s a big potential pool of listeners.

TRITON LAUNCHES APP STORE FOR BROADCASTERS

Triton Digital has launched the Triton Free App Store, a site with tools freely available to broadcasters or other media services. Currently, three applications are offered: Live Intent, which helps drive visitors to social media sites, TinBu, which offers a range of content “widgets,” and Cyberscramble, an online game “where listeners unscramble songs to win prizes.” Triton’s VP/Strategy Jim Kerr said, “this is just the beginning of what will be regular additions to the App Store.” Find Triton’s app store here.



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