AT&T saddles iPhone customers with useless data plan

David Pogue of the New York Times, reviewing the iPod said:

When you’re in a Wi-Fi hot spot, going online is fast and satisfying.

But otherwise, you have to use AT&T’s ancient EDGE cellular network, which is excruciatingly slow. The New York Times’s home page takes 55 seconds to appear;, 100 seconds; Yahoo. two minutes. You almost ache for a dial-up modem.

After reading that, I decided that since I would never use the EDGE service (too frustrating). I would forego the data plan on my prospective iPhone, and just use Wi-Fi at home and at work. But then I discovered that AT&T won’t let me do that. The data plan is an obligatory expense if you buy an iPhone.

Adding insult to injury, Randall Stephenson, the new CEO of AT&T, said in an interview in the Wall Street Journal:

With this particular device, to not have an inclusive data package with a voice package would be almost irrelevant, right? This is a data and a voice product. It’s nonsensical to sell a rate plan separate.

It’s as though he is unaware that the type of person that buys an iPhone almost invariably already has Wi-Fi. He must know that nobody is going to wait two minutes for a page to load; if David Pogue’s experience is the usual one, nobody is going to use the EDGE network. Customers will use the Wi-Fi connections they are already paying their ISP (maybe AT&T) for.

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