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AT&T Launches 3G wireless data service, promptly shoots self in foot

AT&T launched their new “3G” high speed UTMS wireless data service in 4 cities today (Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco, and Detroit – no Portland *pout*), allowing wireless data speeds up to 300Kbps (comparable to carrying a DSL connection in your pocket). Fantastic – we’re finally getting somewhere with the much-awaited 3G wireless data technologies. It’s cheap, too – $25/month for “unlimited usage”. (Can you feel the foreshadowing here?)

But then, true to form, AT&T had to go and screw it up. *sigh*

I just read about the following restrictions that will be placed on UTMS usage over at mpx200.org:

This plan is only for UTMS customers in the 4 magical cities under these very strict rules:
  • You may web browse but the mMode site only
  • You may get email but via mMode only
  • You may not connect to another device via cable, Bluetooth, or IR or you will be charged $0.001/KB
  • You may not remove the SIM from your phone and use any other device or you will be charged $0.001/KB
  • You may NOT use this service for audio/video content, games, and other downloads or there will be an additional charge.

Gah. Is AT&T really that stupid? They never cease to astound me with how much just just don’t get wireless data usage…

I’m wondering, with the above restrictions, what exactly you can do with one of these fancy UTMS phones and a fat pipe. Browse their mMode site? *yawn* Get email via mMode? Who needs 300Kbps for that? You can’t download audio, video, or games (I’m assuming that includes other apps), and you can’t use the phone as a modem without getting charged extra.

I can’t believe that AT&T is really this clueless. It makes me a sad panda…

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